Give children fruits, vegetables in place of artificial snacks – Nutritionist to parents

The Immediate past Director of Nutrition at the Ghana Health Service, Ms Esi Foriwa Amoaful, has advised parents to replace artificial snacks with fruits and vegetables for their children.

This, she said would help save children from some chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension which have become a source of concern.

Ms Amoaful, also a Public Health Specialist, in an exclusive interview with the Ghanaian Times expressed worry at the rate at which children consume processed foods with preservatives and additives that were not kind to their health, adding that the act of feeding was killing children, who were the future leaders.

“Nowadays children go to school with snack boxes and the content of such packs include soft drinks or fruit juices and other sugary stuff with preservatives and pastries made with refined flours,” she said.

She said though parents were busy with their work and other related issues, they must have time to prepare food for their children, rather than buying food prepared outside.

“Prepare food at home with more vegetables, less fat blend, blend your own fruit and vegetables or cut your fruits.  You can wash banana and put in your child’s snack pack, no need to put these soft drinks or sweets in their boxes, so as much as possible feed them locally available foods which are rich in nutrients.“

“You can prepare beans cake locally known as ‘koose’, soya bean milk or khebab, fruit salad, smoothies among others and these would help the children to grow up and be get used to eating these healthy things throughout their lives,” she said.

Ms Amoaful said fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals which help develop the general wellbeing of children.

“Fruits and vegetables contain minerals such as vitamins which prevent children from stunted growth, develops their cognitive ability, saves them from childhood diseases,” she said.

Eating fruits and vegetables, she said was the surest way to improve one’s health and the ability to save money which would have been used in treating sickness.

According to her, no child was born to like any sugary drink “it is what we give to our children. Indeed if you ever tasted breast milk, breast milk is not sweet so when these children arrive they get used to breast milk, therefore if we wean them off breast milk we should feed them with food without sugar”.

Ms Amoaful said when children begin to eat solid foods, sometimes they refused to eat, not necessarily because the food was not delicious or sweet, but learning to eat any food was an act that needed time and patience.

 She said mothers should not be in a hurry to add sugar or sweetener to their child’s food to lure them to eat but rather have patience and feed them well.

BY AGNES OPOKU SARPONG

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