Healthy Fun Food for Happy Kids

Author:
Abha Sharma
December 8, 2021

Children are picky customers and most honest critics. Add this to their food preferences and you get the quintessential “fussy child”. Childhood is an important stage of growth and the body needs essential nutrients for growth and development. Poor eating habits of children and sometimes lack of information and interest on part of parents may lead to various nutritional deficiencies in children. Growing years are very challenging both physically and emotionally for children as well as parents. Nutritional deficiency can alter the kids’ behaviors; it can make them crankier and more prone to mood swings. Furthermore, the dislike for the texture and flavor of certain foods that we parent feel is the panacea for all diseases leads to more altercations and heartaches.

To look for a solution to this problem we don’t have to venture far. We can find it in our kitchens, kitchen gardens, friendly neighborhood grocer, or local vegetable market.

Here are a few superfoods that can be easily incorporated into the diets of our children.

Jaggery: Stock up your cookie jars with peanut-jaggery chikki, jaggery-til laddus, ariselu, or simple plain jaggery and keep them within a hand’s reach. These make for an instant healthy snack, curb sugar cravings, and are a good alternative to store-bought biscuits and cookies which are made up of harmful sugar and trans-fats. Jaggery is low in calories but rich in iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. It helps in preventing anemia. It is also a great remedy for breathing disorders as it helps to clear breathing passages. Always look for organic dark jaggery to maximize the benefits.

Fruits:  Always keep bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, and other favorites of kids handy, preferably within eyesight on the dining table. Fruits are the healthiest fast-food option. They are rich in fiber, iron, potassium, vitamin A, B, and C, and antioxidants. They are low in fats, sodium, and calories. Local and seasonal fruits deliver the best nutrition. The fruit should be eaten whole and not juiced up as it loses fiber and also a lot of fresh vitamins like vit B and vit C. Don’t mix up the fruits and only give one fruit at a time to children; sorry, mixed fruit chaat is not a good idea. Acidic fruits combined with mildly-acidic fruits hamper digestion. High protein fruits and starchy fruits should not be eaten together as they require different acids to digest. Fruits should be eaten between meals like a snack for maximum benefit.

Vegetables: Children are picky about eating vegetables, but we have to be smarter than them. Churn up a mean green chutney and use it on sandwiches or as a side with paranthas made with methi, palak, beetroot, cauliflower, radish, or any other seasonal vegetables.  A roti pizza or a taco loaded with veggies makes them want for more. Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.

Dairy: Milkshakes, lassi, buttermilk, and paneer bhurji are probably a mother’s best friends in the mental food fistfight with their kids. Milk is an easy source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Haldi-doodh taken at night has anti-inflammatory properties, improves digestion, and helps in a good night’s sleep. Curd acts as a great probiotic to improve immunity and keep skin healthy and radiant. Paneer keeps both parties happy. It is a good source of proteins. Paneer can be easily substituted for processed cheese in sandwiches and wraps. Milk should be given naturally and whole. Toned or processed milk loses out on lots of nutrients and they are artificially added later.

Desi Ghee and butter: These are the elixirs of life. Fats are required in the food for proper absorption of vitamin A, D, E, and K. Ghee is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin A. Pure desi cow ghee also helps in the metabolism of fat and aids in weight loss. Add a tsp of ghee to dal and spread it over chapatis for maximum benefits.

Fermented foods: Dosa, idlis, urad daal fritters can bring a smile to any grumpy little face. Fermented food is easier to digest, improves the availability of nutrients especially vitamin B, and is a great source of probiotics. They are light on the stomach and can be had as a staple.

Nuts and dry fruits: Going “nuts over nuts” is a good idea as they are a power-packed source of vitamins, omega 3 acids, protein, and dietary fiber. If children are fussy about eating whole nuts, you can grind them in a mixer and add them to laddoos, halwa, panjeeri, or even dal. If there are no allergies, dry fruits and nuts must be included in everyone’s diet.

Eggs: What can we say about eggs. They are the easiest things to put on a breakfast table and are rich in almost all nutrients. They are a rich source of protein, vitamin B complex, vitamin D, E, K, and also zinc. Zinc is one of the most essential nutrients required for the growth and development of adolescents. So go on, scramble those eggs, make that French toast, or serve anda bhurji with beetroot parantha for a plate loaded with protein vitamins, and minerals.

Happy foods: How can we not mention happiness when we are talking about food for our munchkins. Yes, some foods have been scientifically proven to boost your mood and make you happier by releasing dopamine. Our beloved Chholay(chickpea) tops the list. Other foods are bananas, apples, berries, oranges, mushrooms, eggs, turmeric, and last but not the least spinach, the secret of Popeye’s sunny demeanor and strength.

Good nutrition during growing years is a requirement and not an option. Always try to give homecooked meals to the children. Both children and adolescents spend most of the day outside the house, so breakfast becomes the most important meal of the day for them. A good breakfast improves behavior, academic performance and decreases tardiness. Always aim to provide nutrition through wholesome food and not depend on supplements that are mostly malt-based and loaded with sugar. Avoid salty snacks and food from the supermarkets. Homemade mathri, chakli are better alternatives. Keep healthy snacks like Makhanas, Laiyya chana, til laddoos handy and within easy reach. Leave the option of eating out or ordering in for special occasions. Try to inculcate good eating habits in children by leading by example. Good nutrition and healthy eating habits are very important for children and adolescents, for it is rightly said, make the food your medicine and you shall never see a doctor again.

About Organo Et School(OES)

We recognize that for any positive impact to be sustainable, it must be long-term and inter-generational. Organo Et School strives to create an apt learning environment that will support and empower families as well as individuals to embrace sustainable living mindsets and habits.

Organo Et School is a learning initiative set up by Organo in 2017 and has been facilitating field visits and workshops for Schools and Interest Groups. Organo Et School has had over 25+ schools, 6000+ students and 2500+ adults participate over the last 4years.

We believe in connecting children & adults with nature.

Please send your queries to us at oes@organo.co.inand by phone 9154100775 today!

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