Author: Rujuta Diwekar
I must admit I have been waiting for Rujuta Diwekar’s latest book, Notes for Healthy Kids for a while now. One of India’s leading sports science and nutrition expert and amongst the world’s most followed nutritionists, Rujuta’s fundamental views around food and nutrition are already widely known.
Yet- this book was special. Why?
Because, as a parent, I – and almost every parent I know fights a daily, frustrating battle with our kids’ mealtimes. And this book does a fantastic job of busting our self-created myths. From mobile phones, to
As an ardent follower, I am already aware that Rujuta has few basic fundas about food which are time and again emphasized in all her books– eat local, eat seasonal and avoid anything which comes out of a packet. But, what I loved about the book is that Rujuta seems to know exactly where we are struggling, and like the proverbial stern aunt- tells us to drop the unnecessary drama around our kids’ eating.
Rujuta brings the spotlight back to traditional age-old practices around food. She unabashedly points out the hype around use-and-throw plastic plates and glasses, but our unexplained reluctance to eat in a Silver thali that our grandmother fed us from. She puts the spotlight on our obsession with counting calories causing us to ignore everything our body is screaming hoarse at!
The book has been very logically divided into two parts. The first part is further divided into two sections – FOOD and EXERCISE. In the FOOD section, Rujuta talks about the Food Confusion that we all (parents) suffer from. She also explains beautifully how the food industry has the power to manipulate us. Her book explains the fall and rise of many foods as superfoods and opens our eyes to the underlying motives.
In order to clear this confusion, Rujuta suggests four simple ground rules. Moving further, the book talks about making the right food decisions by identifying what to eat. Rujuta gives a simple three-step test, which can be very easily understood by parents and explained to the kids as well.
In the EXERCISE section, Rujuta brings our attention to the highly sedentary lifestyle which is bad enough for adults but is absolutely horrid for children. Rujuta brings it down to common sense again, reminds us that “Children do not as we say, but as we do’ – and urges adults to get moving and making fitness an important and non-negotiable goal for themselves. For children, Keep Moving is her mantra and lists down five easy to do activities to stay fit for children.
Part Two of the book is about the practical application of all that we read in Part One. This part elaborates the food habits in an age-wise and occasion-wise manner. It covers all the ages and essential milestones right from the day the child is born up to the age of puberty and covers all the occasions one can think of, be it school days, holidays, vacations everything. The book is a treasure trove of various easy to follow, and power-packed food options for all the important milestones, days and events for kids.
Section 3 & 4 of the books brings our attention to the various health conditions that children develop, often leaving parents and caregivers baffled. Rujuta explains the direct connection between eating habits and the ongoing health issues in children. Her tips to work out the food problem are grounded in knowledge, technique, and empathy.
Towards the end is a list of food items and how to eat them along with certain tips in a tabular format. This can be a great reference chart, which makes for a great refrigerator pin-up.
As a best-selling author and the country’s foremost speaker on health and wellness, Rujuta has several books to her credit which have sold 1 million copies in 7 languages, but this is by far Rujuta’s best work- probably because it is all about the most precious pieces of our heart, our kids. It is not just a book – It’s a revolution! If we adults consciously start following even half of what is written here, our kids could be a lot healthier than what they are today.
To sum up the messages in the book: Go back to your roots, there’s great wealth(and health) in traditional food wisdom, do not brush off your grandmother and teach your kids to trust their own bodies more than any flashy advertisement or noisy advice!
Neha Modi is a Chartered Accountant-turned-Storyteller. An avid reader and a dedicated mother, she was associated with Thakur Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai as a Finance Professor for 4 years. She is currently a visiting faculty at coaching institutes and teaches commercial applications to 9th & 10th standard students.
Her mantra in life is – Grow through what you go through.