6 Food essentials to keep your little one healthy during the rainy season
The monsoon season is a wonderful time for kids as they end up getting wet in the rain with friends, splashing around, playing with paper boats and digging into hot and tasty snacks in the evenings. And if the school declares a holiday, it simply adds to their joy! However, the rainy season comes with its share of health concerns too.
Dirty puddle water, unhygienic street foods, and the proliferation of mosquitoes and bugs can increase the risk of fever, stomach infections, malaria, dengue and the common cold. Children can become more vulnerable to viral, bacterial and fungal diseases during this time. This is the reason why it is important to boost their immunity by offering the right kinds of foods and beverages.
Here are some pointers that can help:
- The power of soups: A hot bowl of vegetable soup is ideal for providing essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre to your child. It can help fight colds, coughs, and flu, and can be soothing as well. Make sure to include as many colourful and seasonal veggies as possible. An alternative can be a bowl of chicken soup for children who are non-vegetarian. It can ensure adequate protein intake and help enhance your child’s growth pattern and immune response. Other hot beverages such as badaam milk or warm lemonade or even stews and shorbas are ideal for the rainy season.
- Protein is key: Similarly, other protein sources such as lentils, legumes, and pulses, can help protect your little one against infections and fevers. Soups and daals made with these can be nutritious and filling, when served with rice or roti.
- Don’t forget the herbs: Herbal beverages are not only relaxing during the monsoons, but can act as home remedies for many common illnesses. All you have to do is include spices and herbs such as ginger, turmeric, basil leaves, cloves, or cinnamons, to keep your child warm, toasty and energetic. Such ingredients are known to treat sore throats and blocked noses too. These are also immune boosters.
- Give fruits: Seasonal foods are always the right choice to make during the rainy season. Fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, pomegranates, and papayas are great options to go for. The fibre and vitamin C content in these can ensure smooth digestion and better immunity.
- Add nutritious nuts: Nuts like almonds and walnuts as well as seeds such as chia and flax are excellent storehouses of nutrients. Dry fruits like figs and dates can also be added to this list. Most of these are easy to store in a rainy season and can be included in your child’s tiffin too.
- Use more garlic: Like most of the above foods, garlic is also rich in antioxidants and can help regulate metabolism. You can easily add chopped or minced garlic to stews, curries, daals, soups and stir-fries, to make dishes tasty, aromatic and healthy.
Apart from remembering the above tips, make sure you buy raw foods and ingredients from clean and reliable places to ensure safe storage conditions. Since humidity is a common problem during the rainy season, you must take measures to protect food items against microbial growth. So, foods must be bought in their freshest state and utilised soon. While preparing dishes, ensure that the ingredients don’t get contaminated by fungus or mould. Try and serve hot food always to prevent microbial infestations that occur at lower temperatures. Spices are good preservatives and less vulnerable to spoilage.
Both adults and kids should be wary of personal hygiene too. Washing hands before and after eating food or washing hands after playing is a must. Also, mosquitoes love the rains as much as your kids. So, keep repellents handy to prevent vector-borne diseases. Make sure your child gets enough physical activity as well. It will increase his or her metabolic rate and reduce natural lethargy that sets in at colder temperatures. Several studies also suggest that physical activity keeps the nervous system active.