Encourage healthy eating among children by opting for trans fat free food
Rachna, a 35 year old working woman found that her 8 year old kid was gradually moving towards obesity and losing interest in outdoor activities. Similary, Rajat found it difficult to manage his 10 year old daughter as she was not paying attention to her studies and was not interested in activities.
Rachna and Rajat are not alone in this league. There are many such parents who are not aware of the unhealthy transfatty laden foods that are harming the health of children. Rachna found that his child was eating lot of packaged and processed food like chips, noodles, bakery items etc. Rajat also found that both he and his child were consuming a lot of oily food which were being made at home. Coupled with minimal physical activities, this resulted in weight gain too.
Let’s understand what transfatty acids are and why they are harmful:
There are two types of trans fats found in foods. Naturally formed trans-fats are found in animal products, including high-fat meat, lamb and dairy foods. While trans fats is a form of unsaturated fat, trans fat is also produced when vegetable oils are chemically altered by partial hydrogenation to stay solid at room temperature, giving them a much longer shelf life
Food manufacturers use these hydrogenated oils/vanaspati to extend shelf life, add texture, taste and increase stability.
Why are they harmful?
- Increase the risk of heart attack, heart diseases and diabetes
- Raise LDL (Bad Cholesterol )and lower HDL (Good Cholesterol )
- May reduce serotonin production in the brain affecting mental health
Where they are found?
- In processed and packaged food like sausage rolls, meat pies, noodles etc.
- In fried items like jalebis, boondi laddus, pakodas, puri, samosa etc.
- Baked food items like pastries, cakes, cookies etc.
- Fats and Oils like margarine, vanaspati etc
- Reheating of oil – When same oil is used again and again
What you can do?
Though we can’t avoid sweets, snacks etc completely but we can always make healthier choices:
- Encourage children to choose healthy options. Children follow their elders, parents so it’s important to create a healthy food environment at home.
- Encourage children to go for fruits, seasonal vegetables, and homemade snacks.
- Avoid oily food, reheating of oil at home while preparing snacks /food etc.
- Avoid foods high on salt, sugar, fat and saturated fats.
- Always try to serve /have fresh food instead of packaged & processed foods.
- Talk to children and communicate about importance of healthy food and healthy life.
- Indulge children into physical activities like running, swimming etc.
- Packaged and processed foods are easy foods don’t consume them as they are easy options and don’t let children have access to such easy foods.
- Look at the labels and go for products using natural vegetable oil /fat and are not made in hydrogenated vegetable oil /vanaspati or fat of animal origin
- Avoid items which are prepared using reheated cooking oil.
Lead – Projects , Consumer VOICE