With temperatures soaring and the summer holidays here, kids are constantly working up a sweat playing outdoors. While kids should be kids and it’s healthy for them to be active, the scorching heat of our Indian summers can pose a number of health risks. This makes it important to keep your children well hydrated and nourished to lower the risk of dehydration, keep their energy levels up, and to strengthen their immunity. The best way to do this is by picking the right ingredients for summer dishes for kids and by keeping some healthy summer snacks handy.
Here are some of our top picks of healthy summer food for kids, in accordance with Ayurvedic recommendations and traditional Indian wisdom.
No matter your age, watermelons are the best choice of food for summer. With 92 percent water and an abundance of vitamins like vitamins A and C, your watermelons will help your child maintain that balance of electrolytes that can be lost with sweating. You can cut melons into little cubes to use as easy healthy summer snacks.
Whether you’re looking for summer dinner ideas for kids or any meal for that matter, tomatoes are easy to add to any dish. They’re a healthy summer food for kids because of their high water content and because of their high nutritional value, including the antioxidant lycopene. Aside from the various health benefits lycopene offers, it also increases protection against UV rays when the kids are in the sun.
Grapes are among the best summer snacks for kids because they’re convenient and it doesn’t take much effort getting kids to eat them. These delicious citric fruits have a high content of water and are also a good source of vitamin C, manganese, and phytonutrients including carotenoids and phenolic acids.
When talking about healthy summer snacks for kids, corn may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it should be high up on your list. Popular as ‘Bhutta’ across much of India, it’s a snack that most kids love so you won’t have trouble getting them to eat it. Since corn is packed with thiamine it will help keep your kids’ energy levels up and it also supports healthy cognitive function.
Yes, carrots are good for your eyes because of their beta-carotene content, which helps with vitamin A synthesis. However, Bugs Bunny’s favourite food is also a healthy summer food for kids because it’s high in fibre and is easy to digest as a light snack on hot summer days.
This dark root vegetable or tuber is one of the healthiest foods you can find. Rich in iron and vitamin C, as well as fibre and beta carotene, beets offer a wide range of health benefits and will help prevent fatigue, especially in children who are anaemic because of poor iron intake.
Eggplant, baingan, or brinjal may seem like another odd choice, but you can use it to prepare a variety of summer dishes for kids, from Baingan Bharta to crispy Baingan Bhajiyas. For obvious reasons, Bhajiyas are not the healthiest choice, but they’re good as an occasional treat. Baingan is a good summer food because of its content of the essential amino acid – tryptophan, which helps regulate appetite, sleep, and mood.
Leafy greens shouldn’t be left out of any healthy diet. Spinach or palak may not give you Popeye’s strength, but it’s one of the best sources of iron and folate, both of which are needed for red blood cell production. This makes it perfect if your child suffers from anaemia. It’s also easy to use in a variety of dishes, including soups and traditional dishes like aloo palak.
With nature’s bounty, there’s actually no end to the number of foods that you can include in a healthy summer diet for kids, but these are some of the best options. In addition, to keeping healthy summer snacks for kids handy at all times, you can also include natural oral rehydration solutions like tender coconut juice. Additionally, traditional Ayurvedic formulations like Chyawanprash can help to boost energy levels and lower the risk of infections.