There are certain diet practices that will ensure that your kid has a healthy heart. Dr Swati Garekar, Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, says, “The traditional Indian diet is considered to be heart healthy. These need to be followed by kids too.” Here are some tips by Dr Swati that you can follow:

– Use lots of spices. Most of the spices we use, are medicinal. Flaxseed (Alsi) can be sprinkled over all preparations after mildly dry roasting it.

– Ghee in moderation is good for health. Use less oil while cooking. A good starting point is to date/ record the purchase of your oil, and note how long it lasts. Then aim to make the next can of oil last a week longer than the previous one. Some heart-healthy oils are Rice Bran, Canola, Sunflower, Groundnut and Olive oil. The total fat intake should not be more than 30% of total daily calorie need for children over 2yrs of age.

– Legumes are considered to be a super food; a bowl of dal twice a day should be a regular part of meals. Soybean and Horse Gram (Kulith) could be used more often. A mixture of sprouted legumes are a good idea as a breakfast side, or in the lunch box as chaat.

– There is a huge variety of fresh vegetables available in every season in India. We Indians tend to eat less salad in general; they provide essential vitamins & micronutrients. Consumed as starters, they fill up the stomach adequately. They can be made appealing to children by adding freshly squeezed lime juice, chat masala, chopped Almonds, Raisins, Walnuts and peeled and chopped Apples.

– Tiffin boxes are where the school going child gets most of his/her meals. Avoid packing pre-packaged foods as meals. Teach your child to resist peer pressure by explaining why certain foods are best avoided. It helps if their tiffins are attractively packed. Other than the usual tiffin, a small box for dry fruits & fresh cut fruits could be given daily to your kid in their school bag.