Easy ways to get kids Protein with a balanced diet

Adding high quality protein food to a kids daily diet can be challenging specially when the child does not eat meat. Kids aside, adults also face deficiency of protein in their daily diets. According to the Protein Consumption in the Diet of Adult Indians Survey, 9 out of 10 Indians consumed less than adequate proteins daily. 91% of the vegetarians and 85% of the non-vegetarians were protein-deficient.

Protein is considered the body’s building block and repair agent. It’s also integral in forming enzymes and hormones in the body. From digestion to immunity, from hair to nails, everything requires protein. The suggested intake of protein is decided at 0.8 gm per kg of body weight. For athletes or kids in active sports, few studies state that it is best to eat protein within 30 minutes of exercise. This is the period when most of muscle formation or muscle repair happens, and timely protein consumption enables that.

One of the most common signs of not getting enough high quality protein is swelling. This usually happens in legs, feet, hands or abdomen. Proteins circulate in blood and keep fluid from building up in tissues. In the absence of enough protein, fluid begins to collect together thereby resulting in swelling. More generally, kids who are protein deficient develop weaker bones and muscles, damaged skin, hair nails, lower immunity and also compromised or delayed physical growth.

The suggested intake of protein is decided at 0.8 gm per kg of body weight. It can be helpful to include a high quality protein food in most meals and snacks to help child achieve the daily intake. It is even better to give protein in kids preferred food formats like chocolate covered nuts (recipe), lentil wraps (recipe), pizza (recipe), nut butters and others. Here is a quick list of some easy high quality protein food for kids:

  • Nuts & Seeds: Consuming protein though nuts can be an easiest form consumption. Peanuts, Almond and Pista (what are their benefits?) are higher in protein than other nuts. 20g of these nuts or 1 tablespoon of nut butter spread can be enough for 7g of protein.
  • Pumpkin seed is the highest source of protein with 7g protein in just a spoon of seed powder.
  • Mixing this in the batter or dough is an easy way to feed nutrition to kids in their favourite formats.
  • Lentils & Beans: All types of dried beans, lentils, split beans are great sources of protein. They can be cooked to consume directly, or sprouted (why sprout?) or made into a batter for wraps (recipe for lentil wrap or lentil soup). These can also be boiled and added to the dough (along with the water).
  • It is necessary to soak these before cooking. Soaking (why soak?)breaks down the phytic acid which makes it easy for the body to absorb all the nutrients and also digest the food better.
  • A cup of cooked lentil can give roughly 18g of protein which is around 50-60% of the child’s daily requirement.
  • Dairy: Dairy and its products are a great source of protein. Dairy can be consumed directly, or mixed with nut powder or, flavoured with fruits. Dairy products like cheese (which cheese is better?) can be consumed raw or with pizza and wraps. Together the meal will be rich in protein.
  • For those who are off dairy, soy or nut milk, tofu is a great alternative for added protein (tofu wrap recipe). It is although less preferable to consume nuts or soy or oats in milk form after filtering out all the fibre.

If your child is not a fussy eater then other sources of high quality protein can be spinach, cauliflower, broccoli etc which can be grated or pureed and added to whole-wheat or multi-grain dough to make bread/ roti/ pizza or batter for wraps/ pancake/ cheela/ dosa (Recipe).

Recipe for Cauliflower Pizza

Dough:

  • Both handful of cauliflower, pureed with little water
  • 2 cups Wholewheat flour or half mixed with Rye flour
  • Salt and Oregano seasoning
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)

Mix all together into a sticky soft dough. Leave covered with cotton cloth and dry lid in a dark space for 2-3 hours. Once done, take a small ball of dough and roll into pizza base. Top this with sauce, veggies, greens, cheese, tomato as per your wish. Preheat for 5 minutes and Bake for 12-15 minutes at 250 celsius. Serve!

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TOP 10 FOODS TO BOOST YOUR KID’S BRAIN POWER

Brain develops rapidly from birth to age 5 in children. It affects overall growth of a child. There are four main areas of development in any child: motor (physical), language and communication, social and emotional and cognitive. Brain development is part of cognitive development. The first 8 years can build a foundation for future learning, health and life success. When it comes to kid’s growth and development, meal time is just as important as play time. Activities like listening to music, reading to your child, letting them explore their surroundings all encourage brain development. But, it’s not the only way you can help your child’s brain blossom. Feeding nutritious food is equally important.

Foods that contain antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, choline and complex carbohydrates are helpful in boosting brain health. Lets understand them below.

  • Choline: Vitamin B4, also known as choline, is a nutrient that is essential for brain development, memory and muscle function. It also helps the brain communicate with the rest of the body and can help regulate mood (What other foods help with mood?).

Antioxidants: studies have shown that antioxidants may help to counteract the unstable molecules that comprise free radicals (What are they?), counteracting the negative effects of oxidative stress.

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: these healthy fats are crucial to brain and eye development, and can help stabilize mood. (What kind of fat is good?)
  • Complex carbs: these nutrients not only fuel brain, but also protect brain cells against damage from free radicals released from pollution, stress (Some super tasty carbs for kids)

BRAIN BOOSTER FOOD FOR KIDS

Because the brain demands such high amount of energy, the foods we consume greatly affect brain function. One of the best things you can do for long term brain health is eating right. Here are some power foods for brain development of children. There are numerous choice for kids who are picky eaters too. The goal is to balance nutrition which supports carbs, good fat that are essential for brain cells to develop.

  • Walnuts is plant based omega-3 fatty acid and also possesses more polyphenols (micronutrients) compounds than any other nut. Both polyphenol and omega-3 fatty acids are considered critical brain foods that may counteract oxidative stress and inflammations two drivers of cognitive decline. Eating a handful of walnut a day may help improve memory (5 benefits of walnut for kids?)

  • Flaxseeds are rich source of certain compounds that stimulates omegs-3 fatty acid, which helps improve brain function in kids and eye tissues. It also contains protein and fibre, nutrients necessary for healthy digestion (Other foods than help with digestion?)
  • Diet deficient in folate (vitamin B9) can cause problems like anxiety, depression, fatigue. B- Vitamins are critical to brain function, especially for memory health. Spinach (Try the recipe of spinach wrap) is one of the most potent memory boosters. It is established fact that spinach contains some of the most valuable vitamins and minerals for promoting cognitive development. Spinach contains 65% of the daily requirement of folate and over 20% of daily vitamin b6.
  • Eggs are good source of several nutrients tied to brain health, including vitamin B6, B9 and B12. Eating whole eggs (egg white and yolk) helps regulate memory because of Choline. Research said that regular consumtion of eggs has been associated with improved cognitive performance in kids and adults (What are some more brain food options?)
  • Avocado contains high quantities of unsaturated fatty acids. A study conducted in 2012 found that unsaturated fatty acid helps protect cells in brain which provide support to the information carrying nerves in the brain. They are highly nutritious including 20 different vitamins and minerals. Avocado not only increases nutrient absorption from other foods, but they also are high in antioxidants. A study has shown that they are linked to reducing the risk of common eye-related ailments in individual. So, eating avocado can benefit kid’s long term eye health also (What other foods can help with eyesight?)
  • According to studies, the antioxidant in blueberries may affect areas of your brain that essential for intelligence. Blueberries help to maintain brain function and improve memory. A study says that antioxidants (What are they and why we need them?) in blueberries stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain to help keep the mind fresh.
  • Compounds in broccoli can help children’s brain grasp better. Intelligence can be categorised in two types: fluid and crystallised. Fluid intelligence is ability to solve new problems without help, any from prior knowledge. On the other hand, crystallised intelligence is problem solving ability stemming from experience. Study says that Lutein, a pigment found in green vegetables like broccoli, helps in preserving crystallised intelligence, by protecting the neuron in the brain (What other vegetable are good?)

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6 SCIENCE BASED HEALTH BENEFITS OF MORINGA OLEIFERA

Moringa oleifera is a multipurpose herbal plant used as food and also for medicinal purposes. Moringa food contains more nutrients than any other single food source. It supports an overall child growth by providing nutrition for brain, bones, eyesight, immunity, skin & hair, digestion. Backed by scientific research, it has gained massive respect worldwide for the health and healing benefits it possesses.

Millions of people use Moringa as a supplement in the form of powder or tablet or tea. In certain parts of Asia, this plant is consumed as a fresh vegetable, almost everyday. For parents struggling to keep up with the daily nutrition of their child, this miracle food tops the list. Moringa could single handedly deliver most of the nutrition for the day, making the task of feeding healthy food way less challenging.

  • Eye Health: Moringa oleifera contains beta-carotene (how to preserve vitamin A in food?), lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and vitamin E. These nutrients can preserve eyesight and also reduce the risk of eye diseases. Moringa powder is the richest common food in lutein and zeaxanthin. There isn’t a recommended daily intake for beta-carotene. Scientific data shows that about 3-6 mg of beta-carotene per day is good. Scientists found the amount of beta-carotene in Moringa powder to be about 28.5 mg per 100g.
  • Antioxidants: They are compounds that act against free radicals in our body (what are free radicals?). 46 kinds of antioxidants including Vitamin A, C, E have been found in the leaves of Moringa that prevents or delays body damage from naturally occurring oxidative stress from lifestyle and food intake, mental stress, pollution etc.
  • Complete Nutrition: Almost every part of the Mooring tree is used for medicinal or nutritional purposes. Just 1 tbsp of Moringa leaf powder is equivalent to 60g of fresh leaves which contains 6 grams of protein, 70% of the daily required vitamin B6, 50% of vitamin C, 36% of iron, 33% vitamin A and 25% of magnesium and many others. All these nutrients help to keep the immunity high, alert brain, high energy, reduced stress, strong bones and muscles. (What vitamins do kids need?)
  • Bone Health: Consuming a healthy diet that contains adequate amount of vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin D, K are extremely important in preventing bones disorders. Moringa has 3 times more Calcium than milk making it an excellent food to treat weak or damaged bones. Some study indicates that Moringa can also heal damaged bones. (How to preserve bones?)
  • Skin & Hair: Moringa being an excellent source of antioxidants like vitamin A, C , E helps to block the oxidation (what is oxidative stress?) of healthy tissues, thus delaying the ageing process. In ancient times, Moringa leaf powder was applied on cuts and wounds for quick heal and removal of any marks. Health problems or nutritional deficiencies can hinder hair growth and cause several hair problems. Moringa powder contains all the required vitamin and minerals, essential nutrients conductive to healthy hair. It also contains the amino acid Methionine which supplies sulphur to your hair, thus preventing hair loss.
  • Stomach Ailments: Moringa has found to help in some stomach disorders such as constipation, gastritis. The antibiotic and antibacterial properties of Moringa along with its high vitamin B content helps with digestion. Moringa contains over 40 anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce bloating, gas and constipation. (Which food is the best for digestion?)
  • Mood: Moringa is especially beneficial in treating severe mood disorders such as stress, anxiety and depression, which is increasingly becoming common amongst kids too. It also reduces the feeling of fatigue by giving the required boost to your energy because of its high Vitamin B, iron and protein content. It is also packed with tryptophan, an essential compound that regulates appetite, sleep, mood swings and helps the body to produce relaxation hormones called serotonin. (How can kids sleep better?)

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IMMUNITY BOOSTING FOODS FOR KIDS

As if the flu season was not enough to worry about, this corona virus is threatening our heads. In present scenario it has become important to take care of our health, as well as health of our family members. We have to put extra efforts with children, as most of them are picky eaters and it also difficult for them to follow health advisory that have been issued. So, it has became necessary to take care of their health and to feed them a proper balanced diet which is required to make their immune system strong .

To keep kids healthy, powerful antioxidants like Vitamin A, C, E are needed. Having nuts and seeds daily, eating green leafy vegetable, staying hydrated are some of the preventive measures.

  • Vegetables: Colourful veggies like carrots, tomatoes, beetroot, broccoli, peas has to be introduced to brighten up your child’s meal. These veggies are great source of vitamin A, C, E, fibre and antioxidants (why are they important?) that helps your child fight infections.
  • Probiotics: They are live bacterias that help in digestion and build immunity. Also called good bacterias, they help to keep the gut of a child healthy. Healthy digestive system is vital for childhood immunity and eventually complete body development. Kefir is a healthy probiotic, similar to drinkable yogurt, that can boost the immune system of a child. Being rich in calcium is also improves bone health (what does sugar do to our bones?).
  • Root vegetables: Turnips, potatoes, carrots, beetroots and sweet potatoes are some of their examples. Root vegetables absorb lots of nutrients from the soil like phosphorous, sulfur, magnesium (how does this mineral help with stress?), calcium along with being rich in fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants that together protect against diseases and illness.
  • Honey: It has been used as a medicine for thousands for years. Some studies support this claim that Manuka honey has antibacterial potential.  It is further researched that the concentration of honey and the bacteria it possesses ultimately impacts the anti-bacterial claim it can make. Nevertheless, frequent runny nose, cold, cough and wheezing can compromise the growth and learning of a child. 2 teaspoon of honey, therefore, may safely relieve coughing and make the child sleep calmly (what else helps in sleep?). Honey is also a good replacement to refined sugars for dessert or drinks.
  • Legume: It is a type of dry fruit usually produced by plants. An important nutritional aspect of legume foods is that they are rich in protein, because plants are generally well nourished with nitrogen, which is essential for making protein in the body. Beans, peas and peanuts are legumes that we use commonly. Soybeans are exceptionally nutritious (like tofu, soy milk). Legumes contain antioxidants that help prevent damage of cells and fight illness. The fibre and other nutrients benefit the digestive system by supporting a stronger gut (what else helps in digestion?).
  • Fats: They not only supply energy to kids, but also help other fat soluble nutrients like Vitamin A, D, E to do their job properly. They have antioxidant properties which help to fight infections and keep immunity high. For toddlers and young children, giving nut butter is also a source of good fats (Recipe: easy peanut butter balls)
  • Sprouts: Some research indicates that sprouting increases the level of antioxidants and vitamin C in the legume. Consuming this boosts the immune system of the child. Once soaked, a seed gears up all the necessary superpowers (nutrients) to germinate and grow into a plant. Some studies suggest that sprouting also helps increase protein content of seeds which is also easily digestible. The nutrition in sprouts is also 30 times higher than the cooked food, which makes it an essential food for kids. (How does soaking food help?)
  • Turmeric: There is a enough scientific evidence that curcumin compound of turmeric aids in boosting immunity. They also prevents body from any pain, swelling, fever due to its anti-inflammatory property. Medicines derived from this plant have played an important role over years and the plant has been traditionally used for medical purposes over the last 4000 years for both preventing and healing purposes. As temperature changes from cold to warm, intake of turmeric can help keep the kids safe from common cold or flu. Mixing roasted powder with milk or honey to make a syrup can do the trick.
  • Vitamin D: Every single cell in the body requires this Vitamin. There are tonnes of scientific research backing up that a deficiency in vitamin D increases chances of infections. Our body can also produce this vitamin through exposure to sunlight (cholesterol produces vitamin D). However, deficiency of Vitamin D is extremely common in kids and results in weaker body, including reduced immunity. Food products including ghee, cheese, milk and yogurt are considered to be the most important sources for vegetarians. If the child is allergic to these, then food fortified with vitamin D e.g. cereals, milk etc should be preferred (Do healthy kids need supplements?)

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Why is it important for children to eat balanced diet ?

Healthy body is key to a better future. As a parent, the most important thing you can do to give your children a healthy life is to make them learn healthy eating habits. Children need a balanced diet with food from all 3 food groups: vegetables & fruits, whole grains & protein, fats . Children need complete meals and snacks during the day. Healthy snacks are just as important as the food you serve at meals. For body to work effectively, it has to be fed the balanced nutrition for the day.

Children who don’t get enough healthy foods may face delayed growth and development, compromised cognition and reduced immunity. Usually children love processed or packaged foods because they enjoy the taste and experience of digging into a packet. Surprisingly, these happy emotions are further charged up by the development of dopamine from these processed foods. This tricks the brain into consuming more and more of these empty, nutrition-less calories (what harm does this cause?).

Most commonly we hear parents say that their child is active and looks healthy too, so, nutrition is not their worry (Do healthy kids need supplements?). Some parents also add that ‘they also turned out fine without their parents worrying so much about nutrition when they were young’. Compared to today’s time, food earlier was less contaminated, primarily local, fresh and seasonal. Sadly, kids nowadays consume at least two servings of processed food in a day. This only worsens their chances of consuming a balanced diet.

While it is not apparent to a parent everyday, but the child is in utmost need of balanced nutrient rich diet, especially in the growing and foundation years. Every living moment, the child’s body cells are oxidising (like ours) and aging. Which means, the cells are deteriorating in quality and performance. It is not evident so easily, however, lower immunity, early greying of hair, weak muscles, disturbed digestion, lowered vision, hormonal imbalance are all examples of this. To make sure that the quality of body cells remain for as long as possible, the cells have to be fed the necessary nutrition everyday. What we feed our kids today will only show many years later.

WHAT IS A BALANCED DIET?

Balanced diet contain different kind of foods in certain quantities and proportion, so that the requirement for Carbs, Protein, Fats, Vitamins and minerals, Fiber and Water can be fulfilled. Eating a balanced diet helps children maintain good health, reduce their risk of disease, build up strong immune system and help them in growth and development of a healthy mind and body.

CARBOHYDRATES: They are the biggest source of energy for kids. Almost 60% of energy (calories) for the day must come from carbohydrate foods.They provide instant energy and keep the kids on their toes. Every gram of carb consumed gives 4 calories to the body. So if a child has to consume 2000 calories in a day (as per height weight), then 1200 calories should come from carbs (this means 300g carbs in a day), preferably whole grains and not processed carbs like sugar (why is sugar harmful?).

PROTEIN: They are essential nutrients for children and third highest provider of energy for the day. Along with being the building blocks of the body, they also give 10-15% of energy (calories) to kids. A child must consume almost 1g protein per kg of weight. So if a child weighs 40kg, then he/she must consume 35-40g of protein everyday. Every gram of protein consumed gives 4 calories to the body. Food rich in protein is a must for kids since it digests slowly, support hunger for long, and is great for skin, hair, muscle of the body. A child roughly gets 150 calories a day from protein food like lentils, beans, cottage cheese, moringa (what is it?) etc.

FATS: Body needs fat (what are saturated and unsaturated fat?) from natural sources. They help to fix hormones that can otherwise cause the body to go haywire impacting weight, mood, acne, bloating, PCOS, thyroid, sleep and the list goes on. Our brain, that is just 2% of our body mass but consumes 25% energy of the body, needs fat to perform efficiently for life. Saturated fat also stays inside the body cells to build a defence system and attack viruses and bacterias. 25-30% of the body energy comes from fat sources like nuts, coconut, avocado, dairy etc. Every gram of fat gives 9 calories to the body and hence should be consumed in limited quantity not exceeding 60g.

VITAMINS: They helps the body grow and work the way it should be. There are 13 essential vitamins A, C, D, E, K and vitamin Bs. Some helps in eyesight and energy production, while others support healthy nerves and cell and in fighting infections. A balanced diet and help meet the requirements of these on a daily basis (do healthy kids need supplements?)

MINERALS: Just like vitamins, minerals also help kids grow, develop and stay healthy. Minerals support stronger bones and teeth, healthy nerve function, absorption of important vitamins, protection against current lifestyle and process food damage. Essential mineral includes Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Potassium.

FIBER: Not exactly a nutrient but extremely critical to the body, fibre is the roughage of plant based food (grains , fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans ) that body can’t break down. It helps kids with digestion by providing food for the bacteria (what is a gut bacteria?) in the gut and also support transfer of important vitamins to the stomach.

WATER: Water plays an important role in all the body functions including digestion. It carries nutrients to all cells in the body including the brain.

While it is usually preferred to get the nutrients a child needs from food rather than a pills or syrup or gummy supplements, its not always possible . That’s because some kids are picky eaters and their intake of food is limited to a chosen few. Or despite consuming healthy complete meals, a child may have a severe deficiency of a particular vitamin due to a prevalent health concern. This may result in a deficiency of any key vitamin in their body. The next best solution in such situation is to consume supplements made of real foods and fortified with the necessary vitamins. For example, some cereals are fortified with vitamin B12 as its found deficient in many vegetarian kids. Oils can be fortified with vitamin D for kids who are off dairy.

  • Recipe of Oats Chocolate bar:
  • Equal parts of whole oats and rice flour (3/4th cup)
  • Add honey (as per sweetness desired)
  • Add pinch of salt
  • Add handful of melon seeds (or any other seed or broken nuts)
  • Add 2 tbsp heap of peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
  • Add pinch baking soda (½ tsp)
  • Add 1 handful of dark chocolate (melted)
  • Add milk just as little to make this mixture stick together.
  • Check sweetness. Transfer to a lined baking pan. Pat hard to make it settle in the pan.
  • Preheat oven for 5 min at 200 Celsius. Bake for 18-20 min in the middle rack.
  • Take out and leave to cool.
  • Cut in any shape and store in the refrigerator.

Feel free to add any nut or berries to the mix. My boys like it this way only

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10 Proven Power Foods To Supercharge Your Child’s Immunity

For the world, 2020 was all about immunity. We had never dreamt about going through such trying medical and emotional conditions. It taught us that in some situations science and medical also fail to help us as spontaneously as our own immunity can.

From past two decades, our lifestyle, especially food habits, has evolved. This change, not necessarily all good, has mainly affected kids as they are the ones latching on to the trend of packaged comfort foods . Have you ever thought about what you had snacked on as a kid? For most of us, the meals were simple, seasonal, locally procured veggies and fruits. The cart of street vendors could easily detail out the oncoming season. At the beginning of autumn season the carts would be full of corn on the cob to strengthen our gut for seasonal changes and allergies. Once that would pass, the season of roasted peanuts, jaggery sweets, oranges would come to build our immunity further to fight the winter flu. Our kids are deprived of the science of eating the naturally available superfoods in particular seasons or rather not eating them at all. They are forgotten and sadly forgone.

The food we eat plays a key role in determining the overall health and immunity. Replacing carbs-heavy comfort-food with a good balance of nuts, grains, veggies and fruits adds Vitamin A, C, D, E which are high antioxidants and prepare body to fight . It gives body a condition of being able to resist a particular disease.

  • Oranges: Kids should consume sufficient amount of vitamin C during growing years to support development of bones and teeth. Vitamin C keeps the immunity of the child high and safeguards from unwanted bugs and germs. Orange is great source of Vitamin C.
  • Nuts: Full of Vitamin E, they are a great source of antioxidants that keep body healthy and disease free by neutralising free radicals and reducing inflammation. Study presents that some roasted nuts appear to have an increased antioxidant level compared with raw ones.
  • Moringa: The flower of the Moringa tree can be cooked and added to gravy. It gives a taste like mushroom. The can also be brewed and enjoyed like hot tea (or cool drink with added flavours of lemon or honey). Hot tea is great way to feed kids added Vitamin C for immunity during the period of congestion, cold or coughs. Moringa leaves haves 7 times more Vitamin C than oranges, making it a super food for immunity.
  • Curd: Yoghurt or curd helps to boost immunity mechanism. It has been proved that If you consume two cups of curd for five months everyday it will boost up the fighting capacity with infections in your blood by 5-6 times as compared to not eating curd. The good bacteria found in curd (fermented food) helps in building a stronger immune system. Kefir is also a great way of feeding gut friendly bacterias.

Mulberries (Shahatoot): They are colourful berries that are eaten both fresh and dried. They are a good source of Iron, Vitamin C, and several plant compounds. A single serving of mulberries can meet the daily requirement of vitamin C, keeping the immunity high and lower stress, anxiety. It is rich in antioxidants which reduces chances of infection too.

Jaggery and Sesame: As a natural sweetener, it is loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc which help prevent free radicals (responsible for weakenIng of body cells). It helps boost resistant against infections thereby building stronger immunity. Jaggery bar made with peanut and sesame are great for fighting winter flu. Sesame seeds are a good source of several nutrients crucial for immune system including zinc. Zinc works as a shield to protect the body from any virus attack.

  • Turmeric: Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, offers therapeutic relief. It is a rich antioxidant which supports against body cell damage. It has found to delay or reverse diseases or age related decrease in body functions. Other good herbs are Shallaki, Brahmi, Ashwagandha, Licorice (Mulethi).
  • Ghee: This cultured butter is high in vitamin A (good for eyes and immunity) and omega 3 and 6 (good for brains). It also portrays an excellent ratio of omega 3: omega 6 (1:4) making it a safer nutritious choice. Not many other commonly used oils have this ratio resulting in health damages.
  • Papaya, Apple, Banana, Guava – Enriched with nutrients, Papaya is a lot more than a fibre rich fruit which has been used in medicinal science since ages. It is packed with immunity boosting Vitamin C and antioxidants. Other easy fruits to feed kids are Banana, Apple or Guava, one each of these can meet at least 50% Vitamin C requirement for the day making them ideal for immunity building.
  • Garlic – Garlic contains compound called alliin that help the immune system fight germs. These compounds have been shown to boost the disease fighting response of the body when they encounter viruses of common cold or flu.

Top fruits good for Teens and Kids

Teenagers undergo major physical development during their puberty phase. These physical changes are regulated by changes in the levels of hormones which are produced by the pituitary gland—luteinizing hormone (responsible for menstrual cycle in girls) and follicle-stimulating hormone (responsible for reproductive system in both girls and boys). Surprisingly, a new born baby has high level of these hormones which taper down in a couple of months. At adolescence, these hormones spike up again and cause major physical developments in the body of teens.

In the early puberty phase, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone increase, resulting in major physical changes including weight gain, outbursts of acne, height gain and behavioural change like anxiety, hyper-activity and short-temperedness.

The recent lifestyle trend of teenagers has also added to much higher consumption of food which is high in both carbohydrates and fat (why is this bad?) This not only results in excessive weight gain, but also anxiety and stress leading to further hormonal imbalance.

Some (forgotten) seasonal fruits which can help solve these concerns of the growing kids are mentioned below.

Eating right assures an adequate amount of key nutrients like calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and D. Some teens need more nutrients than average intake, particularly if they extremely active in sports and do not eat variety of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds regularly

SHAHTOOT (MULBERRY)

  • They have unusually high levels of protein and iron for a fruit. They are rich in dietary fibre which helps in fixing digestion issues like bloating, constipation.
  • A single serving of mulberries can meet the daily requirement of vitamin C, keeping the immunity high and lower stress, anxiety.
  • Mulberry is also high in vitamin A which strengthens the eyesight and reduces the strain on eyes.
  • It is rich in antioxidants which reduces early greying of hair and keeps the skin acne free.
  • BER (JUJUBE)
  • It is a good source of calcium, phosphorous that helps in developing and maintaining stronger bones and more height.
  • It also has a calming effect on the body and releases stress and anxiety.
  • This fruit helps in inducing sleep. In certain traditions, it has been used to treat insomnia.
  • Loaded with fibre, this fruit also helps to reduce constipation and other gastrointestinal issues.
  • Lastly, this fruit is loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C which do wonders for keeping the skin acne-free.
  • JAMUN (INDIAN BLACKBERRY)
  • Just a bowl of this sweetish berry can serve half the daily requirement of vitamin C and Manganese, keeping the immunity of the body high. It is also high in antioxidants which keep the skin healthy.
  • These blackberries are loaded with fibre which is essential for easy digestion and solving bloating and stomach pain. It can give half the daily fibre in just a single bowl serving.
  • Over 35% of daily required Vitamin K in a single serving of this berry can keep the bones strong and control menstrual blood flow.
  • LYCHEE
  • This fruit is exceptionally high in Vitamin C which keeps the immunity of the body high and the skin healthy. A compound present in this food tends to have anti-viral properties also.
  • The high fibre content in the fruit helps to regulate bowel movement thereby solving constipation, bloating, stomach pain, and other tummy troubles.
  • Along with the high fibre content, this fruit also has a lot of water content which aids in maintaining healthy weight.
  • It is also loaded with calcium absorbing minerals resulting in stronger bones.
  • High level of copper and Vitamin Bs in the fruit help with reducing stress.
  • CHIKOO (SAPOTA)
  • This fruit is good for immunity because of its high Vitamin C content. It also keeps the skin healthy and helps treat acne.
  • The high dietary fibre in the food helps to solve the irritable bowel syndrome and works as a laxative to solve constipation.
  • It is also high in calcium and phosphorous which work together to keep the bones strong. Consuming this fruit early in life will take care of bones troubles in future.
  • Many other berries and fruits like Phalse (Wild Blueberry), Amla (Gooseberry), Karonda (Conkerberry), Lasoda (Glueberry), Nargundi
  • (Chasteberry) are loaded with goodness of health for growing kids. They are seasonally available and help to meet the daily Vitamin and Mineral requirements.
  • Some of these are sour in taste and best can be consumed in the form of pickle or sweetened drink. Some are bitter like chaste berries but offer tremendous health benefits in balancing hormones and reducing stress levels. They are available as powder supplements.

Recipe for Wheat Berry cookie

  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • ½ cup semolina
  • Handful of cranberries
  • Pinch salt
  • Honey (as per desired sweetness)
  • Milk (just little to puree cranberries)
  • 2 tbsp Ghee/ Butter unsalted
  • Pinch baking soda
  • Pinch cumin seeds (optional) or choco chips

Puree cranberries with milk. Mix all ingredients (except cumin seeds) into a soft sticky dough. Make balls and press lightly. Sprinkle cumin seeds on top and press. Place on baking sheet. Preheat 5 min at 180 celsius. Bake for 15-20 min. Once done, cool outside on rack. Enjoy!

10 Foods for Your Child’s Brain Development

There is no magic pill to prevent cognitive decline. However, consuming a lot of nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains can protect the brain from early aging and (now common) dysfunctions.

Nutrients like omega-3, B vitamins and antioxidants support brain health. Incorporating food rich in these on a regular basis can improve the health of the brain, memory, cognition and attention.

  • Ashwagandha: This herb is known to reduce anxiety and stress. It has been seen to increase acetylcholine levels which support better memory, mental focus and intelligence. This herb also reduces mental fatigue and enhances sleep quality. It protects the brain nerve cells from damage.
  • Brahmi: This Ayurvedic herb is believed to sharpen the brain by protecting cells and increasing chemicals associated with learning and memory. It has shown to improve spatial learning and retaining power.
  • Shallaki: This herb improves brain function mainly due to its antioxidant property. The antioxidants present fight against the free radicals responsible for causing brain cell damage and supports stronger memory.
  • Curcumin: A compound found in turmeric, offers therapeutic relief. It is a rich antioxidant which supports against brain cell damage. It has found to delay or reverse brain diseases or age related decreases in brain function.
  • Walnut: A top nut for brain health with a significantly high concentration of Omega-3. Study has shown it to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance and prevent cognitive decline. Consume soaked walnuts.
  • Hazelnut & Almond: Both are the most concentrated sources of vitamin E available which aids in cognitive development of the brain and delays brain decline. It is best to soak these overnight and then eat.
  • Peanut: Peanuts are high in Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and B1 (thiamine) which support healthy brain function in a child. The high concentration of Vitamin E antioxidant in peanut protects against brain nerve damage. It is best to consume soaked peanuts as that increases the antioxidant content manifolds, while retaining the Vitamin Bs.
  • Pumpkin Seed: Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and much higher in zinc than other seeds, which help in increasing concentration and memory. Magnesium in the seed helps with stress-busting and the presence of a unique compound supports the production of good mood chemical serotonin.
  • Soy: The nutrient content of soy foods is linked to improvements in cognitive and memory functions. This bean is rich in a particular group of antioxidants called polyphenols which save the brain from free radical damage.
  • Banana: It improves the memory power. Vitamin B6 in banana promotes the production of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which enhances concentration and ability to focus.
  • Spinach: It has a wide variety of brain-boosting nutrients- Vitamin A, B12, K and Iron. Researchers have found that even one serving of spinach per day may help your brain stay a decade younger (probably owing to Vitamin A) than those who do not consume the green leafy vegetable on a regular basis. 
  • Dark Chocolate: A study showed that eating cocoa for five days improved blood flow to the brain. Compounds in dark chocolate boost memory, attention span, reaction time and problem-solving skills.

Some Intresting Facts About Uses of Moringa For Kids

It is the most difficult task for a parent to feed their child healthy food. This task of preparing and feeding at least three healthy meals a day is not only repetitive but also the most important one. This is all the more true during the early foundation years of the child when the bones and brain are developing. Preparing nutrient dense food covering most important vitamins and minerals for the body is an inevitable requirement. With limited food choices that the child prefers, it does certainly become a daunting task to achieve complete nutrition.

A parent makes endless efforts to balance all the nutrition required for the complete growth of a child. If only there was a miracle food which could single handedly deliver most of the nutrition for the day, this task of feeding healthy food would have become way less challenging.

Does nature have such a nutrient-dense food? Moringa is one of the best food for children’s growth. All the parts of Moringa tree- leaves, fruit (drumstick), flower and root have a health purpose.

The leaves can be cooked and consumed directly. They can also be stored for longer periods after drying. For kids it is easy to serve powdered moringa by mixing it in dough or adding to any gravy or soup or shake.

Just 1 tbsp of Moringa leaf powder is equivalent to 60g of fresh leaves. This portion of Moringa contains 100% nutrition of Vitamin E, K which is great for making bones stronger and better skin and hair. It also meets 50% of Iron requirement (Iron in Moringa is 25 times higher than Spinach) which is essential for higher energy in the body. In addition, 25% of Vitamin A nutrition for healthy eyesight is also provided. It has 4 times more Vitamin A than carrots.

  • The fruit of the Moringa tree is called the Drumstick. It can be added to any gravy or soup or lentil for consumption. Although Drumstick can be tough for the younger kids to consume directly.
  • Study indicates that moringa has shown to protect against the impact of arsenic in the body.
  • The high content of potassium (15 times more than banana) in Moringa also helps fight the adverse health effects of current lifestyle (food choices) that kids prefer.
  • The flower of the Moringa tree can be cooked and added to gravy. It gives a taste like mushroom. They can also be brewed and enjoyed like hot tea (or cool drink with added flavours of lemon or honey). Hot tea is a great way to feed kids added Vitamin C for Immunity during the period of congestion, cold or cough. Moringa leaves have 7 times more Vitamin C than oranges making it a superfood for Immunity.
  • In addition to other bones friendly nutrients, Moringa also has 3 times more Calcium than milk making it an excellent food to treat weak or damaged bones.
  • An excellent source of Vitamin B1 and Vitamin E, Moringa works wonder on Brain of the child. The high content of Iron in Moringa, enables mental alertness.

Lastly, Moringa can also improve digestion in kids. The high fibre content of the miracle food helps in fixing any gut disorder which is quite commonly diagnosed found in kids nowadays due to choice of refined food.

  • In nutshell, Moringa food contains more nutrients than any other single food source. It supports an overall child growth by providing nutrition for brain, bones, eyesight, immunity, skin & hair, digestion.