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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nutrition For All-Play Your Role (National Nutrition Month 2011) -I | දරුවාට නිවැරදිව අමතර ආහාර දීමෙන් ඔබේ වගකීම ඉටු කරන්න.

Health and Nutri­tion Ministry has declared June as the Month of Nutrition and countrywide awareness campaigns have been organized to mark its signifi­cance under the theme Nutrition for all – “Play your role”.

Daily News interviewed Medical Research Institute Department of Nutrition Head Dr. Renuka Jayatissa who emphasized the importance of a nutri­tious diet in order to lead a healthy life. "There are five main food categories which are essential for a healthy diet • cereal food, vegetables, fruits, milk and milk prod­ucts, and protein rich foods. The main thing that ire should concern about is, how to spread these food groups in our three meals Dr. Jayatissa stat­ed.

Food groups
As she mentioned, at least three of these food groups should be included in a meal and throughout the day we should take all five food groups which is the only way we can have sufficient quantity of pro­teins, fibres, vitamins and minerals which are the components of a balanced diet. "So everybody must remember that food plays a major role in our life and we should eat what we really need," Dr. Jayatissa noted. 

Number of meals
Dr. Jayatissa added that a normal healthy person requires only three meals per day and there is no need of taking extra meals unless a person is having some special health condi­tions. In today's context people are very interested in taking multi vitamin capsules than eating healthy food ,but it is obvious that having neces­sary food is the best way as it has many benefits. For example, if we eat fruits and vegetables we get fiber which helps absorb sugar, cholesterol and do bowel habits prop­erty - so eating healthy food is more helpful than taking multivitamin capsules. But if a person is asked to get multivitamin capsules for any deficiency by a doctor, then that 'par­ticular' person must get them.

"Variety of food does help one carry on a healthy life. In Sri Lanka there is no doubt that it is possible to get different types of vegetables, fruits and cereals without being framed into monotonous food patterns. No need to put a big effort to make the variety but it could be done automatically while doing shopping. If you can buy small amounts of dif­ferent foods without buying a large amount of one food," Dr. Jayatissa men­tioned.

"When it comes to chil­dren, it is very important that they should be given proper meals. Supplemen­tary feeding can be started after six months and the best thing to give first is rice and can add other food one by one gradually. when we introduce a new food group to a child we must remember to give small amounts first, to see whether there are any allergies.

"Children are 'small eaters', so they need very small amounts of food. Never force children to eat a large amount of food. Another significant factor is not to give food to chil­dren all the time because an interval is needed digest what they eat - leading to them skipping their main meal.So wait till they are hun­gry and give food, then ' food will become an inter­esting experience for them. Always try to prepare food in an attractive manner with different colors.

Children will love to eat them and children should be give what they like also. Then only they will be good eaters." Dr. Jayatissa said. 
Dr.Renuka Jayatissa,Head Dept of Nutrition ,MRI
-Original article by Nipuni Wimalapala
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