The Little Mermaid teaches you how to stay hydrated in Pooja Makhija’s new book
Fairytales could help your child get fit. Just tell them the way celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija does. In her new book, Eat.Delete.Junior, the mother of two narrates familiar stories with a bit of a twist. Sleeping Beauty, for starters, wakes up to tell you about the importance of sleep and Ariel, The Little Mermaid gives you reasons to stay hydrated all day. “My kids love fairytales and I love nutrition, that’s how it got started,” she says. The idea was to speak to her children in a language they understood, with relatable characters for motivation. Turns out it worked like a charm.
Making a ‘habit’ of eating right, however, is the next step. For this Mumbai-based wellness expert — who boasts a clientele of A-listers like Deepika Paduko-ne, Ranbir Kapoor and new mother Mira Rajput — the emphasis has always been on the psychology of eating and not on the food itself. So she advises, if you want your kids to eat vegetables, attach the incentive to a story.
For instance, ‘If you want rosy cheeks like Snow White, eat your beetroot’. But follow this up with a little bit of the vegetable every day for a week. The routine Pooja explains, “will help your child develop a taste for it.”
Surprisingly, this dietary expert who also runs a wellness clinic in Mumbai, which goes by the name Nourish, discourages parents from sweeping restrictions on sweet treats like ‘no chocolate or ice cream’. “To have a healthy relationship with food, children need to understand caution sizes instead,” she says. “That means, how much unhealthy food you can eat, how frequently and how much at one time,” explains the 40-year-old, who has a Masters in Food Science and Nutrition.
Over the years, the FAQs with first-time parents have been largely similar, she shares, “When should I stop breast feeding? What solid food should I introduce to my child first? How much is enough?” The latter is often asked by new mothers because as Pooja elaborates, “She doesn’t know the size of the stomach of the baby and so that is often a concern.”
As for the evolution of a child’s diet — from breastfeeding to tiffin box lunches — this book has you sorted from 0 to 15 years. “We’ve demarcated the chapters into different age groups covering newborns, six months to a year old, the toddler years, pre-school... all the way to adolescence,” says Pooja. Through it all, she sheds light on how a child’s palate develops, methods to keep junk food at bay and how to revent obesity. As for what she’s working on next, and Pooja says she’s going to be curating chapters for senior citizens in the future. “Eat. Delete. Senior seems to be the need of the hour,” she says, elaborating, “It’s going to be about how to heal yourself with food, and relying less on doctors as you grow older.”
Available in bookstores and on Amazon, Rs 299.