VITAMIN D, CALCIUM AND KIDS: ARE THEY BUILDING STRONG BONES?

One of the most important minerals in our body is CALCIUM. Bones are 70% calcium and it is only calcium which gives bones their hardness for protection and support. Bones also serve as the calcium bank of the body. Sometimes people get confused between vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D helps body to absorb calcium and works with it to build strong bones. It moves calcium from the intestine to the bloodstream and into the bones. If you are thinking that your child is getting enough amount of vitamin D only by drinking milk, then you may be partially correct. Recent study shows that most of the children are not getting essential vitamin and minerals, and especially vitamin D. Some children with low vitamin D complain of pain in the legs and body. Very low vitamin D can lead to soft bones, causing rickets, a bone softening disease and also increase the risk of bone fracture in children. From age 9 – 18 children need more calcium to meet the daily recommended intake. Interestingly, it is only till mid-20s that kids can improve their bones which will last them a lifetime. Sunshine is considered as the natural source of vitamin D in body. Every cell of our body has vitamin D receptors. So, if your child is in the sunlight three times a week for about 15-20 minutes he/she will get enough UV rays to produce vitamin D. Not just bones and teeth, vitamin D builds immunity in the body and fights off attacking viruses and bacterias.

THE BEST FOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN-D AND CALCIUM:

Cow’s milk and its products: It is the most commonly consumed type of milk and naturally a good source of many nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus and Vitamin B2. In several countries, it is fortified with vitamin D because milk doesn’t naturally contain vitamin D, but is a great source of calcium. These two work together to keep bones strong. There are some options of dairy products made of cow’s milk like cheese, yogurt which too are a source of vitamin D (How is it used in the rest of the world?)

Cereals: In comparison to other natural resources, fortified cornflakes and oat meals or granola mixes may provide less vitamin D, but still they can be a good way to boost the vitamin D levels. These cereals can be consumed together with milk or yogurt to achieve both calcium and vitamin D for the body. The most important check to make here is the sugar levels in the cereal. Added sugar intake can adversely impact calcium and vitamin D levels. (how does sugar impact bones?)

Egg yolk: Eggs are one of the highest natural sources of vitamin D. Just one whole large egg provides 50% of vitamin D required for the day. It helps to maintain strong bones and teeth. Those who can, can opt for fish (salmon, sardines) also as a source of vitamin D.

Banana: The yummy bananas are a great source of magnesium, which plays an important role in activating vitamin D in the body. Journal of the American osteopathic Association, suggest that- it is essential to consume the recommended amount of magnesium to obtain the optimal benefits of vitamin D. So while banana doesn’t have vitamin D directly, it enables absotion. In addition, banana is also a great source of quick energy (simple carbs) and prebiotic fibre (for digestion) for kids. Win-win!

Moringa: Moringa is a superfood. It has 3 times more calcium than milk which makes it an excellent food to treat weak or damaged bones. Some studies also indicate that moringa can heal damaged bones. Dried moringa leaf powder has 17 times more vitamin D than fortified milk. In addition to this, its a fix for digestion troubles, immunity and iron. (Some easy ways to moringa)

Ragi: It is said that no other plant source provides calcium the way ragi can. It also has vitamin D and along with calcium, it can help in improving bone strength. It is a whole grain that is gluten free also and can be used in baking cakes and cookies.(Easy nutritious ragi recipe)

Mushroom: Mushroom is a rich ‘plant’ source of vitamin D. Researchers have found that we can increase levels of vitamin D even more by exposing mushrooms to sun for 10-15 minutes. Mushrooms can be consumed either directly or also in the form of dried mushroom powder, which can be used throughout the year, even when the season of mushroom has passed. For kids who are picky and don’t particularly enjoy eating mushroom, using the powder is an easy option. it can hide in any batter or dough to make pancakes, wraps, bread, paratha, pizza. (Easy pizza recipe to hide mushroom powder)

Recipe for Ragi Dough:

  • 1 cup ragi
  • 1 cup whole wheat or sorghum
  • ¾ cup shredded cheese or cottage cheese or paneer
  • Salt as per taste
  • ½ Beetroot puree (optional)
  • Water for kneading

Mix all together into a soft dough. Roll out flat breads/ parathas. Eat directly with yogurt or fill it up like a wrap with some spread and veggies.

(Recipe for easy and healthy spreads)

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IS IT GROWING (LEG) PAIN OR SOMETHING MORE SERIOUS?

Is it ever happened with your child, that he/she seems perfectly fine in the morning, and in late afternoon or by evening complains of leg pain? It must be a sign of growing pain in your child. Growing pains are cramping, muscles pains that can be occur in preschoolers or in preteens (what are some best fruits for teens?). It usually caused by overuse of muscles. This can be because of childhood activities, such as running around or playing games, or dancing in birthday party for too long. Adults may also experience this pain due to some muscle soreness following by workouts. In some kids these pains get accompanied by stomach pain and headaches. It might be related to stress and anxiety.

What is growing pain?

Growing pain is an ache or throb in the legs usually in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. It affects both the legs and occurs at night, and may disturb the child’s sleep. Data suggests that almost two out of five children get growing pains just around the time of their growth spurts. A specific cause for growing pains is unknown. Kids are growing rapidly and their muscles, tendons and ligaments are also growing. One theory suggests that the body parts might not be growing at the same rate as the body, thereby causing a protest and leading to pain or ache.

Other common reasons for leg pain in kids can be running, jumping and playing throughout the day, or psychological issues, or vitamin D deficiency, or restless leg syndrome or arthritis.

How can you help your child?

You can comfort your child from the pain by using simple procedures as massaging gently, applying heating pads, making him/her do some stretching exercises, giving warm bath before bed time and pain- relief medicines if it becomes necessary.

Diet rich in vitamin D, calcium, magnesium (some easy food sources), phosphorous and protein will in general take care of bone and muscle health. (What are some common vitamin D and calcium food sources?)

How to know if it is something more serious?

Keep a close watch on your kid and if you see any other symptoms mentioned below, then it might be a cause for concern.

  • Pain continues for a longer period of time
  • Ache in the joints
  • Fever
  • Unusual rashes
  • Limp
  • Less active than usual

Arthritis and Kids:

Arthritis is mostly associated with older people but kids also might be suffering from it. Kids arthritis is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Arthritis is commonly confused with growing pains in kids and that is why it is important to understand the difference between the two conditions.

Arthritis is a disease that causes swelling, stiffness and pain in a person’s joints thereby affecting the proper working of joints and causing pain in the joints like knees, hips, ankle, shoulders, elbows and knuckles etc.
Cause for juvenile idiopathic arthritis is not known but it is mostly associated with genes which are passed on from parents to their children having a family history of arthritis.

Nutrients and Food sources that will help:

Protein: Getting enough protein is important for holding on to muscle mass and function. Chickpea, lentils, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, Quinoa, nuts and seeds have high amount of protein which helps in building the muscles of the body. (Is whey protein good for kids?)

Calcium: Calcium is the mineral everyone needs throughout his/her life to maintain bone health. Bone formation and repair are at its peak during early years. This is the time kids need calcium the most. Other antioxidants like vitamin A,C and K , which protect cells from free radical damage (what are they?) and are high in bone preserving calcium.

Fatty acids:-: Studies suggest that intake of omega 3 fatty acids results pain reduction and functional improvement in patients with growing pain. Fatty fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts are some sources which can help to get required amount of omega-3 a body needs. It can soothe muscle soreness, stiff muscles, and can improve range of motion. (Is consuming fat good for the body?)

Garlic: Garlic is rich in both sulfur and selenium, which can help to relieve joint and muscle pain. It contains an anti inflammatory compound called diallyl disulfide, which helps to fight inflammation and even prevent cartilage damage caused from arthritis. (Easy immunity building foods for kids)

Ginger: Results showed that raw ginger reduces muscle pain by 25%. It has muscle relaxant properties that can help relieve cramps and have relaxing effect in muscle pain. Less than.1 teaspoon of ginger consumption a day can help with this ailment. (What is the ginger remedy for cold and cough?)

Olive Oil: Olive oil seems particularly beneficial when consumed since it relieves swelling. When combined with fish oil (source of omega 3 fatty acid), the result can be even better. In one study, this combination significantly improved joint pain, muscle pain, swelling and morning stiffness in people with arthritis issue. (How does this help with acne?)

Moringa: Moringa contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin K which help to maintain healthy bones and heal bone problems. It also has natural anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce swelling and pain in the muscles. (What are other benefits of Moringa and how to use it?)

Recipe for Veggies Rice

Remedy for body pain

  • Mix of small cut capsicum, cauliflower, onion, chopped garlic
  • Soy chunks or firm tofu
  • Cumin seeds (optional)
  • other veggies (optional)
  • semi brown rice or any other
  • Olive oil

Heat olive oil briefly, add cumin seeds and all the veggies to sauté. Once done for 5 min, add rice and Sauté for two more minutes. Add double water and cover the lid to cook. I cooked extra for my kids to enjoy soft broccoli and cauliflower. I saved this dish with mushroom and peas gravy for additional nutrition.

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BRUSHING TEETH SHOULD BE PART OF NIGHT TIME ROUTINE

Kids are so busy with school, family and co-curricular activities now days. They are learning numerous things every day. Among all these rush, one of the necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his/her teeth properly. When you brush your teeth, you help remove food and plaque (a sticky white thing forms on your teeth) which contains bacteria. After you eat a meal or snacks, the bacteria in plaque produces acids that attack tooth enamel. It is best to brush teeth twice a day, in morning as you wake up and at night before going to bed. Brushing at night is actually more important than during the day. The food you eat leaves particles and residue on your teeth that feed bacteria while you sleep.

Why is taking care of your teeth so important?

Your teeth are important in many ways. Strong and healthy teeth helps to chew food properly, speak clearly and to look your best with that lovely smile. Taking care of your teeth and gums will help to prevent the formation of plaque and cavities which cause tooth decays, if left untreated. Plaque is a combination of bacteria, food particles, saliva and acid that sticks to your teeth. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing. So, taking care of your teeth is as important as taking care of any other part of your body.

What are the common dental problems faced by kids?

Most of the dental problems faced by kids are the same as faced by adults, but since young teeth are still developing and softer as compared to the adult’s teeth, adopting a healthy oral hygiene habit at this young age becomes more important to avoid serious problems as child grows up. Let’s understand the common dental problems that are affecting kids:

Tooth decay: Tooth decay is the most common dental problem faced by kids across the world which is caused by the accumulation of plaque on teeth. Carbohydrate (starchy, sugary kinds) rich foods help plaque to grow and eat away the teeth gradually. Cookies, candies, soda, fruit juice and other sugary foods are the preferred choice by kids these days and the main reason for the rise in the number of cavities in kids. Tooth decays can be prevented by following proper brushing routine.

Bad breath or Halitosis: The bacteria in our mouth feeds on leftover food, fluid and plaque and produce hydrogen sulfide, which leads to a bad smell in the mouth. In children, it is most common in the morning when they wake up. Brushing your teeth before going to bed at night can prevent this problem to a large extent. Other than that, cleaning your tongue and using an antibacterial mouthwash can also help.

Sensitivity: If your child complains of irritation or discomfort after having hot or cold foods/fluids, it is a sign of sensitive teeth. Children’s enamels are thinner than that of adults and are easily eroded by plaque and acids which may cause receding gums and developing of cracks on the tooth surface thereby exposing the nerve endings and causing the pain. A soft- bristled toothbrush can help your child to combat this pain.

Gum disease or Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue which is caused by poor oral hygiene and plaque buildup resulting in gum bleeding, bone damage & sometimes tooth loss too. The best way to prevent it is to brush twice daily.

Why nighttime brushing is so important for kids?

Nighttime brushing can prevent bad breath caused by the food which is left in your mouth overnight. It will help to get rid of the acidic waste created by the bacteria that leads to tooth decay. While you are sleeping, production of saliva in your mouth decreases and the damage caused to the teeth and gums caused by bacteria increases. Whatever food you have been eating throughout the day, ends up sitting in your mouth and acts as the feed for the bacteria. Brushing at nighttime can also prevent the formation of plaque and tartar on the teeth thereby preventing tooth & gum diseases.

Food choices that can improve your a child’s dental health

Calcium: Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for healthy teeth. It strengthens the hard outer shell of tooth called enamel, which is the defence against erosion and cavities. Calcium rich food like milk, cheese, broccoli and other milk products are the best food sources for kid’s healthy teeth development.

Magnesium: This is a vital vitamin for the body. Not only is it deficient in most of the kids, its deficiency can result in the calcium deficiency too. Magnesium helps too absorb calcium in the body and hence has a role to play in building teeth strong and teeth enamel. (What are some easy food sources of magnesium?)

Foods with fluoride: It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugar in the mouth. Grapes, spinach, raisin are good source of fluoride.

Fiber rich fruits and vegetables: Foods with fiber help keep teeth and gums clean, says research. Next to good home dental care, this is the best natural defence against cavities and gum disease. In traditional times, people never used toothbrushes but rather used their teeth to cut and chew on hard, fibrous veggies to keep their teeth clean and gums strong. Orange, carrots, apricots and dark leafy vegetables are rich sources of vitamin A, which is most important for teeth enamel formation and also to keep gums healthy. (How to cook foods with Vitamin-A)

Neem: Traditionally neem sticks were used as toothbrushes. Neem has a high place in the traditional medicine world. Due to its antibacterial properties, neem is considered to treat bacterias and heal. It is quite useful in dentistry for curing gingival (tissues which provide a seal around teeth) problems and maintain oral health in a natural way. Neem is an additive in some branded toothpastes nowadays.

Peppermint: It is a widely used herb for dental health as it acts as a breath freshener and teeth whitener. Recent scientific studies have found that peppermint fights bacteria inside your mouth which causes gum disease. Peppermint oil is an effective way to reduce plaque (a combination of bacteria, food particles, saliva and acid that sticks to the teeth). Rinsing with diluted peppermint oil can solve bad breath also. (What are some ayurvedic herbs to build immunity?)

Recipe for Veggie Cheese Dough

  • 1 medium capsicum shredded
  • half broccoli
  • 1 long carrot pureed
  • 2 handful corn kernels whole or shredded
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 200gm cottage cheese/ paneer grated
  • 1 bowl sprouts pureed
  • 1 bowl oats or oats flour
  • 1 bowl sorghum flour or wheat flour or any other

Sauté the veggies- onion, brocolli, capsicum, corn, carrot. Add them to the wheat flour and oats. Add salt and pepper. Add cottage cheese. Add carrot puree and sprout puree. Mix well to make a soft dough. Add more flour if required. Roll a small ball into a paratha or wrap or tortilla. Serve with any curry to yogurt or plain.

Super yummy and nutritious!

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HOW WHEY PROTEIN HELPS IN A CHILD’S GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Being a parent it’s important to understand the needs of your child’s body for proper growth and development. The series of growth stages as an infant to a toddler followed by adolescence (puberty phase), they have to go through not only physical changes but also emotional ups and downs. What do these growth stages exactly mean?

The term growth includes physical growth (height/ weight), while development is growth in function and capability of various organs which can help your child to learn, understand and perform their routine work efficiently. Between 2 to 10 years, a child grows at a steady pace. The main growing phase begins at the start of puberty, between ages 10 – 16. A child’s body needs some special nutrients with these changes in growth rates.

Let’s look at one nutrient closely.

  • WHEY PROTEIN: Whey is considered to be complete protein because it contains 9 essential amino acids and has low lactose content which makes it easily digestible. Leucine present in whey helps with building muscles too. These are the main reasons, why whey protein is essential for kids during growing age. Although protein is the main building block for your kid’s body, but getting it from supplements could lead to health problems. So acquiring it from natural sources like hand full of nuts and seeds or some dairy products is much beneficial.

SOURCE OF WHEY PROTEIN: When baby born, mother’s breast milk contains 90% whey protein and about 10 % casein, that is why it is recommended to breastfeed babies for six months. Breast milk acts as best immunity booster for new born. Other than that, whey is derived from cow’s milk which is made up of 80% casein and 20% of whey. It is a left over fluid when yogurt is curdled (what is the process?) during the process of cheese production.

WHEY PROTEIN FOR KIDS: Whey not only promotes growth and development of muscles in kids, but also boosts their natural defence power against infection and support a healthy immune system. The suggested intake of protein is about 0.8 per kg of body weight. For example, if your kid is 12-13 kgs, then the amount of daily protein intake would need to be roughly around 10 gm. Apart from healthy eating habits, it’s important to understand the role of whey protein in your kid’s growth.

WHEN WHEY PROTEIN IS NEEDED: Toddler years are time of growth and development and protein plays an important role during this phase. Whey is also a rich source of protein for fussy eaters. Nowadays, it is sold as the most popular type of protein powder as it easy to source and comes in various flavours too. However, excess intake of protein through protein powders can be unnecessary if you are getting more than enough protein through your daily diet.

It is an interesting fact that body has no space to save that extra protein you eat. It all gets converted to fat or carbs which is not what you would prefer. Protein is made of 20 amino acids and the body needs all of these in certain ratio to make protein. The moment one of the amino acids required to make protein gets finished, protein making process stops. Hence, there is no point in bulking on protein from a single source. Keep variety in food and that will help achieve the goal of consuming all the amino acids to make protein in the body.

Excess protein intake can have health consequences. Very active children (who participates in sports activities) may need little more protein than other kids. Home made whey protein shakes or dishes (whey protein buns recipe) are a wonderful way to pack in some protein along with a bunch of other healthy vitamins and minerals.

Ready!

Recipe for mixed grain/ millet pizza:

  • 2 cups of flours (mix of any- whole wheat, ragi, sorghum, rye, amaranth, teff)
  • Add oregano seasoning and salt as per choice
  • Add 2 tbsp psyllium husk
  • Add whey protein liquid or whey protein powder + water (to make sticky dough)
  • Leave dough to rest and rise for 2-3 hours covered with dry cloth and loose lid
  • Once done, take a small ball of dough and roll using dry flour
  • Add tomato puree (or pizza sauce) and alfalfa sprouts, veggies/ greens and cheddar cheese on top
  • Preheat for 5 min at 220 celsius. Bake for 15 min and serve!

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12 fun and healthy snacks that kids can make with you

Out of many ideas 💡 to make kids eat healthy food, one is to indulge them in cooking. It is always seen that when kids make something by themselves their interest for eating that food is always higher than usual. Kids are fussy eaters. They may like something one day but dislike it the next day. Involving them in making healthy food in a fun and interesting way, including their favourite or approved ingredients, has shown positive results.

So help your kids get out of their comfort zones and boost them to make and innovate some healthy snacks with these easy kids friendly recipes.

  • Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges/ Fries

Pre heat oven for 5 min at 200 celsius, peel the sweet potato 🍠 cut them into wedges or fries shape. Toss the wedges in drops of ghee or oil, salt (we recommend rock salt ). Place the wedges on a baking dish, bake for 25-30 minutes. Healthy snack is ready to serve.

High source of fibre makes it great for digestion and GUT

Rich in vitamins and minerals which boost brain development and Immunity

  • Dates Energy Bars

Clean the dates and remove seeds. Add walnuts, almonds and coconut to a food processor. Pulse till dry fruits are broken into pieces. Now add some seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, melon), add dates and further grind for twenty seconds. Repeat till dates are crushed and mixed with dry-fruits.
Now grease the butter paper in a pan and pour mixture and set it plain and refrigerate till harden. Now cut into pieces. Healthy snack is ready to serve.

Dates are natural substitute of sugar and fulfil kids sweet tooth without harming their health. They are loaded with iron, fibre calcium which are great for digestion, energy.

This nuts are packed with vitamins and minerals like copper, zinc, vitamin A, C and E which are necessary for immunity and eyesight.

  • Cucumber Sandwich
  • Cut the cucumber into thick slices. Layer the cheese slice and peanut butter or mashed avocado between the cucumber slices. Bind together with a toothpick or keep it open . Healthy snacks for your kids late afternoon craving is ready. Try this with red capsicum also.
  • Cucumber is nutrient and water rich veggie that prevents dehydration and ensures healthy eyesight and high energy in kids.
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate balls

Take 1 cup coconut or almond flour in a bowl, add some honey, pinch of salt and ¼ cup peanut butter. Mix it well and make small balls. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to harden. Dip the ball in melted dark chocolate and refrigerate further for 30 min till it hardens. Let your kids enjoy the goodness of peanuts.

  • Peanut is high in protein which is vital for growing kids. It has calcium, magnesium, phosphorus which is essential for bone strength. It boosts immunity, eye sight and brain development.
  • Peanut also contains high amount of vitamin Bs which maintains body’s energy supplies.
  • Apple Cookies
  • Slice an apple and spread a layer of peanut butter on each slice, topped with nuts, chocolate chips and some shredded coconut or nothing at all. Your apple cookies are ready to serve.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away” this not just a saying but actually apple is loaded with lots of health benefits as it is rich in fiber,vitamin c, antioxidants and potassium,it helps in reducing the risk of obesity.
  • Mint Lassi

Take a grinder and add few mint leaves, ½ cup yogurt, epsom salt and black salt as per taste and ½ cup water. Pour the mixture in a glass and garnish it with mint leaves and cumin powder. Ready to serve.

  • This salted mint lassi not only fullfils your thirst but also saves from adverse effects of dehydrating in summer heat. Mint is suitable for digestion and also instantly cools down the body temperature.
  • Yogurt promotes the growth of healthy bacteria and reduces the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut, keeping the digestion and immunity in check.
  • Epsom salt has magnesium which is great to keep the anxiety in kids under control.
  • Mixed Sprout Chaat

Take mixed sprouts (mung bean, moth beans, black chana etc). Add some finely chopped veggies of your choice (cucumber, onion, coriander, tomato, red capsicum etc), lemon juice, salt to taste and some chaat masala. This tangy and super healthy snack is ready to rock!

  • The sprouting process increases the level of nutrients- protein, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamin B, C, K compared to unsprouted plants.
  • Sprouts also contain lower level of antinutrients, making it easier for the body to absorb all the nutrients, so it is a super healthy food for your little ones.
  • Sprouting also creates enzymes, making is easy for digestion and gut health.
  • Yogurt Honey Fruit cups
  • Cut fresh fruits of your kids choice in a bowl (banana, apple, pear, grapes etc). Add some yogurt (naturally flavoured with orange, vanilla or lime). Add some honey on top. Garnish with choco chips or roasted nuts. Enjoy!
  • Your kids are definitely going to love this colour full combination of fresh fruits and flavoured yogurt. Fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals. They are high in fibre, boost your kids immunity and helps in brain development.

Strawberry Slush

In a grinder add some frozen strawberries (or any other fruit), lime juice, few spoons of honey. Pour this in a glass, garnish it with some choco chips. Serve.

Packed with vitamins, fiber and high level of antioxidants, strawberries are a sodium free, fat free, cholesterol free, low calorie food.

  • Roasted Makhana (Fox nuts)
  • Take an iron cookware. Add a few drops of ghee. Add Makhanas and continue to stir and roast till they become slightly brown. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. This crunchy healthy snack is ready to serve.
  • Makhana are a great food for brain development. They are also loaded with bone strengthening minerals.
  • Sweet Corn Salad
  • In a bowl mix sweet corn (steamed), spring onion or any other veggies of your choice, add crushed cashew and/ or almond, grated coconut and salt/ epsom salt to taste. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve this healthy snack.
  • Corn is rich in zinc, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese which makes is good for the energy, bones and immunity of kids. It also has a high fibre content which aids in digestion. Corn is a good source of antioxidants (carotenoids, lutein and Zeaxanthin) which promote healthy eyesight.
  • Chocolate Banana Bites
  • In a grinder take some dates, banana, walnuts, coco powder, cinnamon powder, peanut butter or other nut butter, pinch of salt. Grind them well in a paste and add some shredded coconut. Mix well. Apply oil on your kids palm and ask them to make small balls and coat them with some finely chopped nuts. Eat this healthy snack for sweet cravings.
  • Banana are one of the best fruit source of vitamins B6 and C. Loaded with Manganese, Potassium banana can aid digestion and help beat gastric issues.

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IS FAST FOOD OK FOR KIDS?

Over the last two decades, so many fast food restaurant chains have emerged and are on a constant rise. Whether we are travelling, have guests, short on time, hanging around with friends or simply want to relax, pizza, burger and fries are an instant choice, both affordable and comfortable for parents and children. In reality, food with high sugar/ saturated fat/ salt (what does sugar do to kids?) and low nutrient value in terms of protein, fibre, vitamin and mineral is termed as Fast Food. Food that can be served ready to eat fast. Many of our children are fond of such ready-made food. But these foods have negative impact on kid’s health in the long run and some of the concerning outcomes are obesity, stress, hormonal imbalance in kids. A single fast food meal could add 300-500 calories instantly without much added nutrition, terming it as empty calories (Why should kids eat a balanced diet?).

Kids love to enjoy meals with high sugar content. Sugar can be consumed in many forms like Bread which is extremely high in added sugar and one of the most staple food in every household for kids. Other common sources of sugar are white sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, cookies, candy, donut, cake, canned drinks, packed juices, bottled shakes and smoothies, granola bars, sauces, jams and many others. Such intake on a regular basis can deplete four of the best bone-friendly nutrients from your child’s body.

During the early years, the bones of kids develop and grow while also being depleted at the same time. If the consumption of calcium, Vitamin D and other required minerals are sufficient, the health of bones will be positive. If the consumption of required vitamins and minerals are less, the depletion of bones will soon take over resulting is much weaker bones and easy fractures. When sugar is consumed, there is acid that’s released in the body. In order to balance this acid, calcium is extracted from the bones resulting in Calcium deficient weaker bones. Vitamin D assists in absorption of Calcium by the bones. Consumption of sugar increases an enzyme that degrades vitamin D and thereby also results in reduced absorption of calcium by the bones. Double whammy!

Vitamin C helps to make collagen and also delays the decaying process of bones. Sugar intake restricts the absorption of this vitamin into our body cells resulting in weaker bones.

Magnesium works on keeping the bones strong. Sugar strips the body of magnesium too by releasing it out through urine.

BEST SNACKS FOR CHILDREN:

  • Many packaged snacks for kids are extremely unhealthy. They are often full of refined flour, added sugars, and artificial ingredients like colours and flavours. Snack can act as great opportunity to sneak some extra nutrients into your child’s diet. Instead of highly processed fast foods, fill your child’s tummy with healthy whole food snacks that will provide energy and complete nutrition.
  • You may consider popcorn as junk food, but it’s really a nutritious whole grain. As long as you don’t drown it in unhealthy fat like margarine, popcorn can be a snack for kids. It is also love by them. Popcorn actually has 4 grams of fibre per 3-cup serving, which makes it a filling snack and good for digestion.
  • Amongst many minerals and vitamins that contribute towards Brain Health– Developement and Function, a few are Manganese, Vitamin B6 and B9. Just a cup of Makhana is enough to meet 50% of Manganese requirement for the day.
  • It is those rare snacks which is loaded with a good balance of Vitamin Bs. Not just Brain, Makhana also supports strong bone development of a growing child.
  • You can make them healthy when you use the right ingredients. Healthy cookies contain whole grain flour, which provide protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibre. It can be a favourite treat for kids and adults as well. Adding ground seeds like flax, chia or sunflower seeds to the cookie mix makes them more nutritious. By swapping out the added sugar and using other alternate like puree of dates or raisins or dried berries can make the cookie a healthier choice. (Recipe of cookies)
  • Bread is a staple food in many households. Healthy spreads for bread can be a good way to feed essential nutrition to children. It can not only calm down kid’s hunger pangs but also give a dose of good fat, protein and vitamins. Peanut butter mixed with cocoa and dates or honey is a bread spread which is loved by adults and kids alike. It is enough to provide with essential nutrients as well as antioxidants. (Recipe of spreads)
  • Mixed nut balls or laddoo are a great snack for kids to settle their sweet cravings. Peanut butter (or any other nut butter) mixed with almond flour, dipped in melted dark chocolate is just the perfect snack for anytime during the day. Consuming Nuts and seeds is among the best food with protein to meet the daily requirement of the body and also among the best foods for children in their developing years. (Recipe of nut balls)
  • Smoothies are a great way to pack fibre and vitamin rich fruits and vegetables, calcium, protein and good fats into drinkable meal or snack. They are really easy and fast to make at home, and you can create lots of flavour combinations using what you have. An addition of kefir instead of yogurt adds the necessary bacterias to the drink. (Recipe of kefir shake)
  • Cake or cupcake is undoubtedly a kid’s favourite. Using a whole wheat flour and mixing with seeds of Sunflower, Pumpkin and Melon together offer a great source of nourishment to the body. 1 tablespoon of this seed mix provides 5g of protein. A spread of this can easily blend with any dish and wont even get noticed by kids.(Recipe of cupcakes)
  • Recipe of Chocolate chip Oat Cookie with seeds
  • 1/3 cup each semolina, wheat flour, oats and melon seeds
  • Handful Chocolate drops (or more)
  • Honey (as per sweetness)
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 2 heaped tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
  • Milk as little as to make firm dough
  • Take a big ball of dough
  • Roll in between two baking/parchment papers.
  • Preheat oven for 5 min.
  • Place rolled cookie with baking sheet on the middle rack. Bake as a single piece at 200 for 15 min. Once edges begin to brown, take it out.
  • Cool on rack. Once completely cool, break the cookie as you like or just eat rightaway.  

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WHAT IS CAUSING MY CHILD’S HAIR TO FALL OUT AND HOW DO I TREAT IT?

As you get older, you notice that your hair starts falling out. Losing hair can be upsetting for anyone, at any age. But seeing your child’s hair fall out could come as a real shock. Many of the causes aren’t serious. Still, losing hair can take a toll on a child’s emotional well-being at a certain age. There are many possible causes of hair fall in children, broadly categorized by infection, physical cause, autoimmune cause and reactive cause. Hair fall in children is commonly caused due to fungal or bacterial infections, the most common in kids being scalp ringworm, which is a treatable fungal infection.

Whether your child has thinning hair or distinct bald spots, the loss of hair can be frightening.

CAUSES OF HAIR FALL:

Tinea Capitis: It is the most common paediatric infection worldwide. It is a kind of contagious fungal infection and usually spread by coming in contact with infected hairs on comb, brushes, hats, or pillow cases. It is also possible to catch ringworm from infected animals such as dogs, cats, horses or farm animals.

Alopecia areata:- It is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss in children. About 1 out of every 1,000 children has the localized version called alopecia areata. It happens when the body’s immune system, which normally fights infections, attacks the hair follicles. This disrupts hair growth. The hair loss that comes with alopecia areata can be upsetting, but it is not contagious.

Telogen effluvium:- Hair is an epidermal appendage. It has a regular cycle of phases where hair grows (anagen), rest (telogen) and has a transition phase (catagen). Telogen effluvium is one of the most common causes of diffuse hair loss. During this phase, hairs shed with more than normal amount of hair loss over a short period of time. Diffuse hairs are lost over weeks to months and more hairs are shed if pulled.

Nutritional deficiency:- Iron deficiency is world’s most common deficiency and is a well known cause of hair loss. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body and for healthy hairs too. When kids don’t get enough vitamins, minerals, and protein, their hair can fall out. Nutritional deficiency may impact both hair structure and hair growth. Data from studies suggests that vitamin D plays a role in hair follicle cycling. A small trial from 2010 found that vitamin E improved hair growth in people with hair loss. It’s thought that the vitamin’s antioxidants properties help reduce oxidative stress in the scalp.

Blow and dry:- Blow and dry can also damage hair and cause it to hair fall out. Excess heat from blow-drying or straightening can harm hairs to a great extend. It’s not advisable to blow it and dry everyday to minimise heat exposure.

Hair ties:- Pulling your child’s hair back into a tight ponytail, braid or bun causes trauma to the hair follicles. Keep ponytails and braids loose to prevent hair loss. Hair can also fall out if child brushes or combs it too hard. Be gentle on hairs.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS TO CURE HAIR LOSS IN CHILDREN:

Mostly Vitamin Bs- Riboflavin (B2), biotin (b7), folate (B9) and B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss.

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) plays a crucial role in hair growth by activating vitamin B6 and B3; these two vitamins are key to hair development. Vitamin B6 also gives hair melanin and is known to prevent hair loss. You can get good amount of riboflavin by eating a variety of foods including: Dairy, yogurt, cheese, eggs, black/ wild rice, mushroom, brinjal.

Biotin (vitamin B7) plays an important role in the growth of healthier, thicker hair. It’s also one of the only natural hair loss treatments backed up by science, with study data showing that use of biotin can show a remarkable increase in hair growth in people with a deficiency. Foods that contain the most biotin includes almonds, walnuts, fruits like avocado, bananas and certain vegetables like sweet potatoes, tomato.

  • Folic acid (vitamin B9) deficiency may leads to thinning hairs and hair loss in kids and in adults as well. It is responsible for healthy cell growth. These cells are found inside skin tissues, hairs, and nails. Foods that contain high amount of folate include dark green leafy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, avocado, beetroot, sunflower seeds, peanuts, beans, legumes.
  • Vitamin B12 promotes healthy hair growth by producing oxygen rich red blood cells, which feed hair follicles. Hair is made up of protein called keratin which is a dead substance that is why it doesn’t hurt when you get your hair cut. Cheese, milk, fortified cereals, mushrooms, eggs are great sources of vitamin B12.

Recipe for Raisin Cookie

  • Equal part semolina, wheat flour, oats and half part melon seeds and half sunflower seeds
  • One Handful raisins or dried berries or mix of both (puréed with little milk)
  • Honey (as per more sweetness)
  • Pinch salt
  • Cinnamon powder (¼ tsp)
  • 2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter (heaped spoon)
  • Milk as little as to make firm dough (if needed)

Roll in between two baking/parchment papers. Preheat oven for 5 min. Place rolled cookie with baking sheet on the middle rack. Bake as a single piece at 200 for 15 min. Once edges begin to brown, take it out. Cool on rack. Once completely cool, spread melted dark chocolate on it. Break the cookie as you like or just eat rightaway.

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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!

How to revive the Medicinal property of GHEE?

Ghee has always received special attention. From being considered a medicine to now being under the lenses (for being a saturated fat). The previous generations still consider Ghee to hold healing and digestion/ gut fixing ability.

Over the course of decades, the process of making Ghee has evolved. The modern method requires cream from milk to be heated until all the milk solid has settled and fat has been separated.

  • Traditionally, ghee was made with yogurt. Yogurt was set in clay pots to preserve and enhance the nutrients (calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, sulphur etc). It is then hand-churned to extract butter from it, leaving the whey (lactose) behind. This butter is simmered over a gentle heat to release the fat which is Ghee. This Bilona method of making ghee requires more quantity of cow’s milk compared to that of modern methods.

As you age, your body naturally starts to product less lactase (enzyme required to tolerate lactose from dairy). As a result of this, bloating, indigestion etc can happen with the consumption of dairy products, even if you were always a dairy lover. Traditional Ghee is lactose free and also a carrier of gut friendly bacterias (probiotic) because of being fermented (made of yogurt). These bacterias produce an advanced nutrient called K2 which aids in stronger bones.

In addition, this Ghee is also high in Vitamin A (good for Eyes and Immunity) and Omega 3 and 6 (good for Brain). It also portrays an excellent ratio of Omega3: Omega6 (1:4) making it a safer/ nutritious choice. No other commonly used oils have this ratio resulting in health damages.

A ghee made from desi cow’s milk yogurt using Bilona method is ideal for consumption.

Recipe for Nutty balls

Great for Immunity, Brain Development, Muscle strength and Digestion

  • 50g shredded coconut (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 dates
  • 4-5 fig
  • 3 cardamom powdered
  • 100g Fresh cottage cheese (mashed)
  • Honey or jaggery powder (as per taste)
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • Fresh200ml milk or nut milk
  • Roasted nuts and granulated once cool
    • 10 cashew
    • 2 pecan
    • 10 almonds
    • 5 walnuts

No need to powder the nuts unless you or your child can’t eat otherwise. Mix all ingredients together with hand and then add milk as much as required to make round balls.

Serve! Store in refrigerator.

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