Being well into the summer, we can’t get enough of various ways to beat the heat. Cold soft drinks, soda and other aerated drinks, smoothies, milkshakes, ice-creams and other cold things to eat and drink is all that we can think of. We want to consume everything chilled and right off the refrigerator. Although there is enough awareness that the best food to consume during the heat wave is fruits and vegetables, we often head towards a quick solution.
This is not the case with summers alone. Throughout the year, we reach out to junk to feed ourselves. Reasons a plenty - hectic working hours and careers to concentrate on, stressful lives, lack of resources or lack of help, lack of time, so on and so forth. We have a hundred reasons to reach out to these quick options. Children are not spared either. In fact, it is often assumed that packing junk for kids is the easiest thing to do since they consume less and need variety to keep them fed. Despite knowing that processed and junk food is harmful to our health, we tend to take the easy way out.
What are the effect of consuming processed and junk food? What do processed food and junk contain that is so harmful to our bodies?
- The high amounts of sugar in soda
- Trans fat in cookies, processed pastries, cakes, brownies, quick bread mixes
- Energy drinks with sugar, carbohydrates and caffeine
- Packaged fruit drinks consist of high fructose corn syrup and preservatives
- Potato chips contain unsaturated fat, salt & sugar
There can be multiple classifications of the effects of such harmful food. Effect on physical health includes diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, certain types of cancer, stroke, chronic inflammation etc. Numerous studies on the effect of being obese have proven that obesity can eventually lead to depression due to individuals not being able to socialize and feeling left out. Studies have also proven that the content of processed foods can often lead to a decline in mental health
What can the solution be?
- Thirsty? – grab a bottle of water, unsweetened tea or coffee, low fat or fat-free milk or even fruit juice makes a better alternative than soda or soft drinks
- Snack alternatives? – bake the cookies yourself! This helps in controlling the amount of sugar and the ingredients are fresh and monitored. No time, no problem. Look for places online that sell home-made snacks instead of being mass produced for commercial purposes
- During or post-workout drink – Substitute energy drinks with tender coconut or carry a bottle of water mixed with chunks of mint, cucumber and lemon. It is an instant energizer
- Alternate foods - There are a variety of options to switch over to from white bread. Brown bread, whole wheat bread, mixed grain bread etc.
- Similarly, one could switch from processed fruit drinks to fresh fruit juice or just eat a piece of fruit.
- The most dreaded Potato Chips – the best alternative to the commonly addictive junk could be something equally crispy like carrot sticks dipped in hummus or air-popped popcorn
In general terms, it is good to focus on getting complete nutrition – incorporate fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and plan intake with multiple meals spread across the day. Exercising for at least 45 minutes, 4- 5 days a week, getting a good night’s sleep for 7 – 8 hours, and reduced usage of screen time, especially at night are all part of the good lifestyle, other than just right eating.
We at Samsidh, realize the importance of instilling the right values in our children. This includes creating awareness about the right kind of lifestyle one ought to follow for a balanced healthy life. Overall development and moulding of a child is far more important to us at Samsidh than mere academic accomplishments. More such activities are conducted at all our four campuses. For more details, visit the school website http://www.samsidhmlzs.com/ or visit the nearest centre at your convenience.