It is not surprising for anyone of us to know that a mom spends atleast 60% of her day thinking about food and nutrition for her kids. Over conversation with another mom the other day we were discussing about all the new cooking oils that are now available and each one of us was unsure on what actually is best for our kids and most suitable for Indian cooking.
The reason I emphasize on suitable for Indian cooking is because Indian cooking requires high flame cooking, deep frying and a has a lot of spices, blends and flavours. A common myth that olive oil is great for cooking. Yes it’s healthy but experts say not for Indian cooking. Experts recommend choosing an oil to the region you belong as that determines the food you eat. E.g. South coconut oil, East is Mustard Oil. Also that’s the oil that suits you best as you have grown up eating that.
The conversation started withall the new advertising that we see around us about Rice Bran Oil. As moms we are easy targets as we want to give our kids nothing but the best. But as new age moms we must understand what is actually beneficial.
Kidsstoppress caught up with Sonali Shivlani, an internationally certified Pregnancy, Lactation and Child Nutrition Counselor about the right cooking oil, benefits of each of the oil and the right requirement. Also featuring excerpts from renowned nutritionist Rujuta Diwekars various workshops especially this one addressing queries on Filtered vs. Refined oil, Nuts vs. Vegetable Oil.
Q1 Name three most healthy oils for kids?
Sonali: I would use flax oil, groundnut oil, safflower, sunflower oils. Olive oil if it is the cooking variety
Q2. Which oil is best suited for Indian cooking for kids?
Sonali: Any of the above can be used. Flax oil if unrefined and stored in the refrigerator can be the highest in Omega 3.
Q3. Is Ricebran oil healthier than Canola oil?
Sonali: Neither rice bran nor canola actually makes much of a difference. The only time canola can be trusted is if it is organic else it is generally loaded with pesticides and genetically modified. Rice bran has the highest smoke point and hence used for frying. Although technically frying food is the least healthy of all options. But since Indian cooking does include some kind of frying then rice bran would be the choice
Q4. Which oil out of the two has higher calorie content?
Sonali: Canola oil is higher in calories.
Q5. Name the oils that mothers should avoid cooking their food with.
Sonali: Mothers should avoid cooking with butter and ghee.
Q6. What are the essential benefits that cooking oil should give kids?
Sonali: There are 3 types of fats
a. Trans fats which should be avoided completely. Hence fats such as butter, margarine and coconut oil should be avoided. Mums should always check the labels and buy the option which has zero transfats.
b. The next type fat would be saturated fats which will be again in the same options but if the transfats have been removed then they can actually help balance fat consumption ratio. We normally recommend that 1/3 of your fat intake should come from saturated fats. Ideally a child would need 6-9 tspoons of fat per day and hence 2-3 tspns can come from saturated fats.
c. The next group is the unsaturated fats ie monounsaturates and polyunsaturates. this is where your olive, flax, etc come in. the interesting part is that these fats can also be gained from other sources such as eating walnuts or almonds etc. Fats would help to digest the food and absorb the fat soluble nutrients namely vitamin A D E and K. Fat is also essential for protein synthesis which in turn improves calcium absorption hence for growing children the right fats are also essential. As parents we should ensure that children consume the right balance of fats and not just the saturated fats as seen widely.
Q7. Which oil keeps your food interesting?
Sonali: Its not only oil but the overall spices and also the visual appeal which will make food interesting.
Q8. One tip you would give moms on serving fried foods to their children?
Sonali: Avoid fried food, keep for occasions or when your child is eating out once in a while. Remember that taste buds are formed, which means that we get used to particular tastes due to constant and regular exposure. If a child is exposed to non-fried cooking on a regular basis he / she will get used to the same and will not crave fried foods. However if we keep offering fried items on a regular basis the palate is developed in that manner. All foods can actually be pan cooked with a little oil in a non-stick pan. Just get innovative.
That was Sonali Shivlani speaking on healthy cooking oils. Let us know your views on cooking oils in the comments below and if you would have any questions that she will be happy to address them.