If you were to visit my home at meal times, you’d sense tension in the air. It’s nothing short of a war-zone with the parent in me trying hard to feed my child. Mind you, we are aiming to feed a few morsels and not platefuls of food. Pari can be seen armed with a quiver full of negative responses ready to be shot at me for every question I might ask. The tension is not solely because she is a fussy eater, but also cause I spend a lot of time cooking food that she had agreed upon (or has been excited about) while I was cooking and is now not ready to even taste.
I have written at length about my feeding woes here.
The result being, as the clock ticks to show that its time to eat, I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, with anger and stress build up in my system. I have begun to lose appetite because of the endless drama that ensues at the dining table with Pari’s grandparents only adding fuel to fire backing her up, rebuking my sincere efforts more often than I’d like to overlook.
This was when I chanced upon this book, whose blurb on the back reads:
“In an era when children have limitless food options- deep-fried chips, giant burgers and imported chocolates- and obesity is becoming a common malaise, PARENTING IN THE AGE OF MCDONALD’S comes as a comprehensive handbook that helps parents make the correct dietary choices for their children.
How do parents encourage choosy kids to eat right? How is the diet in your foodie son to be controlled, so that his body weight doesn’t become unhealthy? Are there items to be included in the food regimen of a young sportsperson?
Dealing with every kind of child across the diet spectrum- the overweight one, the picker eater, the underweight student, the young athlete, the stressed pre-teen, and the opinionated pre-schooler- PARENTING IN THE AGE OF MCDONALD’S is chock full of practical tips and real-life examples. Authored by Tanuja Sodhi, an established dietician, this book is certain to help parents strengthen the nutritional foundation of their children even when permitting the occasional fast-food indulgence.”
I was desperately in need for some guidance. Though the Internet did bombard me with plenty but the more I read, I felt the articles were contradicting each other leaving me more baffled than ever before.
The book had an interesting title and the picture of the child happily devouring the McDonald’s burger was one most parents could relate to. I could almost see my child in that cover and was at once interested in knowing more about the book.
The introduction of the book shares an insight into how the author had been at the receiving end of the troubles of feeding the ‘right’ food to her (then) obese child. How her visit to the nutritionist jolted her up enough to battle out the moth-eaten feeding practices. She later studied to become a nutritionist herself. This made the parent in me see sense in diving in the book because I was confident that besides the knowledge from a nutritionist’s point of view, the author knew how to deliver information to a tired, frustrated, dreaded-by-the-thought of visiting a nutritionist parent.
The book has been written understanding that the food issues of all kids can’t be clubbed under one broad heading but need to be addressed individually. The book serves as a ready reckoner to parents of kids with varying profiles such as a picky eater, an overweight child, the underweight child, a young athlete, fussy pre-schooler, children preparing for exams, children preparing for a road trip, kids going through growth spurts and also perfectly healthy kids whose parents need a general insight into food and nutrition.
The chapters are independent of each other leaving room for reading from any point in the book without difficulty in understanding. The short, concise chapters highlight key elements of nutrition like the macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, indicating their rich sources with daily requirements, fibre (talking about fibre-rich substitutes for ingredients we frequently use that helps making the healthy switch a breeze), immunity boosters (vegetables & fruits) with a quick fix for veggie-loathers.
The book also touches upon the essentials like water and the dreaded trio of sugar-salt-fat (that’s rich in the junk foods & foods we love to indulge in). I particularly loved the latter because the chapter gives an insight on the innocuous-looking sodium rich food items (besides touching upon sugars and bad fats) that we consume guilt-free passing on the blame on that tiny pinch of table salt for our high blood sodium level causing hypertension.
With the TV advertising brain boosters endlessly, I was happy to have a full chapter dedicated to this topic. I liked the touch upon sports drinks versus energy drinks because I feel this topic is most often neglected from discussion.
The book addresses childhood obesity (in India) in a matter-of-fact, eye opener way while providing interesting snack suggestions for kids of all age groups and dietary needs. The high points of the book are the simplicity of its language, verdicts summarizing every chapter at its end and the myth busters towards the end of the book that demystify the most common nutritional fallacies.
The book does not come across as a thesis, is free of medical terminologies and is easy to follow for a layman. The narration is simple, free of grammatical errors and the book inspires the reader to return at a later date to note progress or to revise the tips.
The shortcomings in the book lie in the fact that many chapters come across as directly plucked from the Internet (though the author duly mentioned the research sources in the end). Being a parent who has been reading about this area extensively I found this a bit of a put off. Sometimes the tips offered don’t pass the pragmatism test though they may seem like ‘common sense’ on reading.
Overall, it is a handy book that a parent would like to read more than once as their child grows up and his nutritional needs change. The book encourages the reader to exercise regularly as an aide to changes in the eating practices. It doesn’t encourage banning junk food but strongly advises practicing moderation in indulging.
Like all books on parenting advise, this too strongly underlines the fact that parents have to adopt a healthy lifestyle to be the role models for their children to adopt healthy choices.
I highly recommend this book to all parents, children in their teens (who can learn first-hand by reading this simple book) and everyone with children in their household looking for information on nutrition and for handy, nutritious snack ideas and their recipes.
About the book –
Title – Parenting in the age of McDonald’s – Raising the fast-food generation
Author – Tanuja Sodhi
Publisher – Rupa Publications
Genre – Non-Fiction/ Parenting
Pages – 182
Price – INR 295
ISBN – 978-81-291-3772-2
About the Author – Tanuja Sodhi is a well-known diet and fitness consultant, and a marathoner with numerous podium finishes. She has a number of blogs on nutrition and fitness to her credit.
Rating – 3.5/5
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