Summer Foods For Kids To Keep Them Healthy
With summer foods for kids, keeping your child cool and healthy amidst the rising temperature is not that difficult. Here is our list of summer foods for kids that your child must have during summer.
By Ashwin Dewan
The summer season brings with it multiple health issues such as heatstroke, dehydration, heat rashes and sleeplessness. This is the time when most of us prefer to stay indoors and use fans and air conditioners to keep cool. Wearing light-coloured and loose clothing made of cotton also helps, a lot!
But, how many of us know that certain summer foods can keep our bodies cool and our energy levels stable during summer?
As far as children are concerned, there is a list of summer foods for kids that should be a part of every child’s diet. Here are a few fruits, snacks and drinks that can keep your child's body cool and provide nutrition, thus promoting good health.
Looking for some fun ways to keep your kids engaged during this lockdown? Here is a unique kid’s activity book to help you out!
Summer foods for kids
Summer snacks for toddlers
1. Fermented rice gruel: Also called Kanji or Kanjika or Congee, used to be a popular staple breakfast in East and South India. However, not many have it nowadays. It is consumed with side dish such as pickles or curry, or just mixed with buttermilk and salt. Apart from cooling the body, this summer food is also considered to be rich in B6 and B12.
2. Salads: Having a bowl of salad every day in summer can work wonders for health. Not only do salads satiate hunger and are a good source of fibre but also low in calories and fats. Including leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, spinach and lettuce in salads are a perfect way to keep your children adequately hydrated during the hot months. These have high water content and are easy on the digestive system. You can browse the Internet for some exciting and healthy salad recipes or come up with your own.
3. Broccoli: This vegetable is not only full of nutrients but also comprises 91 per cent water. So, apart from being delicious and healthy, broccoli also keeps your children hydrated. It is also high in fibre, which aids digestion, prevents constipation and maintains low blood sugar. Broccoli also promotes weight loss and healthy vision. So, go ahead and prepare some healthy broccoli snacks for your children this summer.
**Onions: Although not a snack or a drink, adding onions to the daily diet helps keep the body cool. You can add them to curries, dips, salad and raitas. Onions are also rich in quercetin, which is an anti-allergen. Children should be given onions to protect them from sunstroke. Note: To derive maximum benefit, encourage your child to eat onions raw.
Summer drinks for kids
1. Yogurt/curd/buttermilk: Yogurt or curd is a great summer food due to its cooling properties. A staple in most Indian homes, this dairy wonder is also good for the digestive system of a toddler. It is a source of calcium and protein, and is loaded with various other nutrients. Buttermilk is easily digestible and is rich in vitamin B12, potassium, calcium, riboflavin and phosphorus.
2. Coconut water: Inexpensive, tasty and loaded with nutrients, coconut water is the ultimate thirst quencher for children. Known for its wonderful cooling properties, coconut water is full of simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals that aid in keeping the body hydrated in the midst of the scorching heat.
According to the article, 'The Benefits of Drinking Coconut Water', by Sylvie Tremblay MSC, published in Livestrong.com, coconut water contains a considerable amount of fibre. So, it would keep your little one feeling full for a longer period. The fibre present regulates the blood sugar, thereby making it a healthy choice of drink for toddlers.
3. Vegetable soup: You can make a variety of soups using leafy green vegetables, and your children will love them. Turning vegetarian in summer comes with a host of benefits.
4. Lemon water: Apart from being a great summer drink, both for its taste and cooling effect, lemon water can also help in treating indigestion, constipation and dental problems. Lemon water is rich in vitamin C and is good for children’s skin too. It can be had sweet, salted, or after adding a pinch of black salt and cumin powder to it.
5. Gulkand: Found usually at the supermarkets and health stores, gulkand is a great food item to have during summer. It not only prevents acidity but also contains cooling ingredients such as rose petals and other herbs that are beneficial for health. It facilitates digestion and reduces the burning sensation in the body caused by the heat. Gulkand can be mixed with milk and given to children.
Note: Gulkand is available in bottles at all leading stores.
** Mint: This is a cooling herb that can be added to summer drinks, and other foods as well. A simple, inexpensive and easily available herb, mint helps with digestion. You can try adding mint to curd or make mint juice for your children.
Note: You can grow mint in a small pot at home. It is commonly known as Pudina in India.
6 Fruits you should give your child this summer
Together with consuming summer snacks and drinks, we should also have fruits. Most fruits are low in fat and calories, but high in minerals and vitamins. Also, they are easily digestible, which makes them an ideal source of nutrients for children. With summer fast approaching, here are some fruits that your child would love to have to beat the heat.
1. Orange: One of the tastiest fruits enjoyed by individuals of all ages, oranges are a good source of fibre, vitamin C and several other vitamins, and minerals. They are also considered to be a good source of antioxidants.
2. Cucumber: During summer, when we lose water through perspiration, it is important to ensure that we keep replenishing the fluid lost. Due to their extremely high water content of almost 96 per cent, consuming cucumbers helps us stay hydrated. Also, cucumbers are rich in flavonoids, which, research shows, may help fight cancer.
3. Muskmelon: Not only is muskmelon a delicious fruit but also has a sweet fragrance. Along with having high water content, muskmelons are also rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene, folate and fibre.
4. Black plum or Jamun: These tasty berries are available only during summer, so make sure they aren't missing from your fruit bowl. In Ayurveda, the humble jamun has been described as a fruit having many medicinal benefits. It is considered good for the digestive system as well as for those having diabetes. It also helps in in improving oral health by controlling bleeding gums.
5. Watermelon: This is the ultimate cooling food for children. Not only does watermelon quench the thirst due to its high water content (watermelon contains 92 per cent water), but also keeps the stomach full for long. This fruit is packed with vitamins A, B6 and C, apart from antioxidants and amino acids. It also contains traces of potassium. Children can have watermelon in limited quantities throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Note: Instead of buying watermelon slices from roadside vendors, it’s always safe and hygienic to buy a whole fruit.
6. Tomatoes: The humble tomato provides many benefits, one of which is cooling the body temperature. In fact, tomatoes are 94 per cent water and can help in hydration and promotion of regular bowel movement. In case your child does not like eating tomatoes, offer tomato juice mixed with honey or tiny slices of tomatoes mixed in the food.
Also read: Summer camps are a good way to keep them engaged and happy. Check out some of the best camps in Chennai!
Summer is a wonderful time. It spells out holidays, vacation and FUN! But while having a good time together as a family, ensure to take the right measures to keep your child's body cool this summer. Keep her hydrated with adequate amounts of water and ensure a healthy diet that includes these super foods.
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