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India is becoming an obesity hub and childhood obesity is on the rise. As a mother, though you may be striving to give the best to your child, it is very important to know and understand the types of fats.
Here is a simple guide on the types of fats with examples:
Source: Krause’s Nutrition and Diet Therapy
Among these, fats that you see and use everyday like ghee, oil, butter etc. are known as visible fats and what you might be including in your child’s diet but not visible to the naked eye like rice, wheat, nuts, dairy, snacks, pastries, coconut, fatty fish, eggs etc. are known as invisible fats. (1)
Fats are extremely essential and have a crucial role to play in the diet. Some important functions of fats are (2):
1. Fats insulate the body and cushion internal vital organs
2. They help in absorption of fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K
3. Good fats are essential for brain development and nervous system
4. It’s an alternate source of energy when carbohydrates are deficient
Tips to include good fat in the diet
1. Use a blend of oils or rotate oils once in 3 months
2. Include nuts like almonds, walnuts, seeds like pumpkin seeds in your diet
3. Try taking cod liver oil capsules at least once in two weeks
4. Try having a fruit like avocado / butter fruit and olives which are good source of MUFA
5. You can Include dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa) in your child’s diet which can also serve as a good antioxidant
6. Try a peanut butter spread instead of regular butter/ margarine
7. Try using tofu instead of paneer
Excess carbohydrates in the body get stored as fats and hence it is very important to keep a check on the quality and quantity of carbohydrates incorporated in the diet. (3)
Tips to reduce invisible fat in the diet
1. Feed the right quantity of rice and rotis to your children. Do not overfeed them.
2. Include adequate pulses in your child’s diet
3. Use whole grains instead of refined cereals. E.g. Lapsi instead of rava
4. Boil/ broil/ steam foods before cooking
5. Trim the fat from non-vegetarian sources and use lean cuts
6. Reduce intake of nuts like cashews and peanuts and include seeds like flax seeds, garden cress seeds in your child’s diet
7. Increase intake of citrus fruits, berries, melons and reduce intake of carb dense fruits like bananas, sitaphal, mangoes, chickoo etc.
8. Increase intake of leafy vegetables, gourds, brinjal, onion, tomatoes, salad vegetables and limit the intake of root vegetables
9. Limit intake of high fat milk (more than 3.5% fat) , cream, cheese in your child’s diet
10. Limit intake of sugars, sweet, colas, sodas etc.
A right beginning will go a long way in ensuring your child’s health in the long run. Sahi Khilao Future Banao!
3. Minehira K, et al Effect of carbohydrate overfeeding on whole body and adipose tissue metabolism in humans . Obes Res. (2003)