Dear Komal: How do I make my son eat fruits?

You can make fruits appealing to children by serving them in fancy shapes, says Nutritionist Komal Jethmalani.

Dear Readers, are you worried about your health?

Concerned about what you and your family are eating?

Struggling with weight gain?

Or are you facing other heath issues like diabetes, blood pressure, joint pain or heart problems?

Please mail your questions to Nutritionist Komal Jethmalani (Subject: Ask Komal) for her advice.

Hi Komal.
My youngest daughter, who is six years old, is susceptible to weather change sickness.
The doctor said it’s normal as her immunity is still growing but I am quite worried.
What should I do to boost her immunity?
Also, she now detests khichdi and soups that I feed her when ill. How do I make sure she is well fed without burdening the system?

Children around six years of age need a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals, protein-rich foods like eggs, lean meat, pulses and legumes, dairy products, nuts, etc, and good quality fats to increase their immunity.

If your daughter does not like certain foods when sick, use these foods in different combinations. For example, make vegetable pulao with dal or paneer or soya which makes for a wholesome meal.

If she does not like soups, you can serve her other hot liquids like hot milk with turmeric and a pinch of pepper. You could also give her fruit/oats/nuts/dates smoothies.

Make vegetable/fruit preparations with colourful combinations and different shapes like a veg quiche or a wrap.

Fruit juices with mint, ginger or other flavourings will add healthy nutrients to her diet.

Berries with chia seeds or green vegetable juices will add valuable antioxidants and healthy fats.

Make sure she remains well hydrated.

Provide small and frequent meals and try and make sure she gets ample rest.

  • Looking out for interesting recipes? Click here.


Hi Komal.
I am a 27-year-old woman.
I recently switched to a completely gluten-free diet. I can already feel significant improvement in my energy levels and I wish to continue with this new lifestyle change.
However, is it true that going gluten-free makes you more sensitive to gluten?

Today’s trends show inclination to go on gluten free diet for a variety of reasons.

The main misconception is that it is a root cause of many health issues.

Gluten is not an issue for the majority of people except those who have celiac disease or wheat allergy.

If someone without celiac disease or a wheat allergy switches to a gluten-free diet, they actually may run into nutritional risks.

It will take your body some time to adjust to any major diet change.

If you reintroduce it again, it will have the same reactions of adjustments like headaches, bloating, abdominal pain or some gastric distress.


Dear Komal,
I am 45 and weigh 89 kg. I don’t have diabetes or any heart condition. I am on a diet for the past 10 months. I have lost three kilos so far but I don’t enjoy the food I eat. I love to eat a bit of junk and street food but my dietician says No. I walk or run at least 45 minutes in a day. Pls help.

Eating healthy within the nutritional requirements is the need for a balanced diet.

You need to focus on complex carbohydrates and fibre-rich foods like whole wheat grains, vegetables, fruits, etc; high protein foods like low fat dairy products, pulses and legumes, nuts, soya, eggs and lean meat to increase your immunity and endurance; and low fat and low sugar foods.

Coupled with a regular regimen of cardio and weight training exercises, it will help increase your lean mass and lower body fat.

Consistency and regularity in following these guidelines will enable you to attain a healthy body.


I am a mother of a 3-year-old. My son hates milk and fruits. I have tried giving him natural juices but he prefers the canned ones because they are sweeter. How do I get him to eat more fruits?

Fruits are sources of essential nutrients like Vitamin A and Vitamin C which are excellent antioxidants, Vitamin B6, folate, fibre and other minerals like potassium which help increase immunity.

You can make fruits appealing by serving them in fancy shapes, serving a low-fat dip or yogurt with cut fruits, blending fruits into smoothies, using frozen fruits, serving them as a dessert, using fruits as toppings for breakfast cereals, establishing a first fruit rule, etc.


Dear Komal,
My teenage daughter has grey hair. We consulted a trichologist who said it could be genetic, due to poor nutrition or even stress. Is there any way a good healthy diet can help her?

Grey hair at a young age is not uncommon.

Genes, stress, unhealthy food habits and certain health conditions can lead to premature grey hair.

Good nutrition can help preserve existing pigmentation and delaying overall greying of hair.

Protein is the most important nutrient as hair is almost entirely made up of protein. So consumption of good quality protein in our diet is mandatory.

Vitamins A, C and B12 are the most important nutrients for melanin production in your hair.

Include iron rich foods like spinach, beans, lentils, prunes, dates, eggs, lean meat, etc, in your diet.

Copper, needed for certain essential enzymes that are crucial for melanin production, is available in foods like walnuts, green leafy vegetables, lentils, mushrooms, etc.

Lentils are packed with Vitamin B9, which is an essential component in the production of DNA and RNA.

Black sesame seeds are high in antioxidants and stimulate production of melanin.

Following a balanced diet, increasing metabolism with a healthy exercise regime and sleeping well are contributing factors to prevent premature greying of hair.

  • You can read all of Komal Jethmalani’s columns here. 

Komal Jethmalani is a dietician with over 25 years of experience in food, nutrition and dietetics, with an MSc in food science and nutrition.

A certified diabetes educator and lifestyle coach, specialising in diabetic, cardiovascular, weight loss and various therapeutic diets, she consults under the brand The Diet Mantra.

And she will try and help you achieve your dietary and fitness goals through healthy lifestyle changes.

Do share your complete health details including age, weight, height and health issues if any.

Write to g[email protected] (Subject: Ask Komal), along with your name.

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