Keep your child refreshed and belly full with these simple diet ideas for the sweltering summers in India!
Keep it Light
Light meals are easier to digest for kids during the summers than heavy meals laden with oil, cheese or butter. Simple recipes with rice, whole wheat rotis, idlis, dosas, oats, poha, upma and other sprout based broths, whole grains, beans, lentils are great options. You could also just serve homemade soups with veggies for any time of day as these are filling and nutritious at the same time. For sandwiches and rolls, choose whole wheat, multigrain, brown, oats bread over white bread as the former options keep the gut clean as they are low on yeast and gluten. Avoid meats as these are complex carbs, fats and proteins for a child’s digestive system to breakdown in the heat, eat eggs sparingly in case non-veg is part of your child’s usual diet.
Being hydrated is key to good health in the hot and humid climate that India is prone to at least during the summers. So increase your child’s fluid intake with freshly blended juices, smoothies, and milkshakes to keep them refreshed and high on energy. Avoid packaged beverages and colas as these contain artificial sweeteners, salts, preservatives which can be detrimental to a child’s delicate immune system in the long run. Lemonade, sweet lime, watermelon juice, or even a glass of ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) containing electrolytes are ideal for all growing kids in the summer. Coconut water and its inner kernel is naturally cooling and high in B complex vitamins which help kids remain hydrated while building their bone and muscle health. Nothing beats the goodness of water, so ensure your child is carrying his sippy cup or bottle with them at all times, and avoid sharing the bottle to keep oral allergies and infections at bay.
Every kid loves chips, pizzas, biscuits, chocolates, toffees and just consumes them without any thought especially while they are vacationing and busy at play during the summers. These contain a host of artificial flavors, preservatives, salts and sweeteners which can lead to unhealthy addictions, eating patterns and obesity in later life. Try replacing these with homemade chips, baked goodies, flavored popcorn, homemade sweets in ghee with chocolate and other fresh fruit extracts instead. Seeds and nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios soaked in honey are great source of protein, manganese, omega 3 fatty acids and other healthy fat sources. 2-3 servings of seasonal fruits like mangoes, oranges, muskmelon, papaya, watermelon, apples in the summers are recommended as these are rich in Vitamin C. AHA’s and other water soluble vitamins which are necessary to keep your child’s skin and hair healthy. Warm and cold salads with cucumber, cabbage, carrot, beets, corn, sprouts, broccoli and lettuce are a wholesome meal by themselves are rich in multiple Vitamins A, B, K along with iron, calcium and other minerals.
Cool as Ice
Summers are incomplete without licking on an ice-cream cone! Children love the cool, melt-in-your-mouth sensation and the explosion of flavors that ice-creams bring. Waffles, baked cones and scoops made from soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk and fruit extracts are healthier as than those refrigerated for months and made from cow’s milk. These can be consumed by adults who are lactose intolerant as well and are a great source of calcium apart from being so indulgent. Slush’s, candy cones, cold coffees and homemade sundaes are beneficial for health than those available in packets outside, especially if you’re unsure of the ice/water quality.
Which are some of the things you enjoy and serve to your kids during the summers? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.