As summer reaches its peak, the temperatures are soaring! And even though summer brings vacations, mangoes and summery dresses; I still dread it’s heat as it also means dealing with sweat, fatigue and a host of problems such as prickly heat, summer diarrhea and dehydration.
Handling kids during summer becomes even more challenging. Children lose their appetite, become easily tired and irritable, and their sensitive skin is more likely to suffer from infections due to excessive sweating. Managing a toddler during summer is another ball game altogether, hats and caps are thrown away, sunscreen is refused and plain water becomes too boring beyond a point.
Over the years, I've realised that a lot of summer problems can be handled by eating right. Fortunately, nature makes it easy by providing us an array of foods tailor made for each season. So tweak your diets to beat the heat and feed these summer super foods to your toddler...
Here’s what you need to remember about your toddler’s diet this summer:
Keep meals light: Greasy, heavy foods could make your toddler feel sick and nauseous. Stick to light, easy-to-digest foods.
Increase fluid intake: Your little one needs extra fluids to prevent dehydration and replenish electrolyte loss.
Don't force feed: Heat is an appetite killer and your fussy eater will probably be more fussy in summer. So don't force food down your kid’s throat. Try to feed small meals along with lots of fluids.
Maintain hygiene: Food spoils faster during summers. So prepare fresh food and steer away from outside food and juices to prevent tummy bugs.
Here are some dietary tips for your toddler this summer:
Opt for summer fruits and veggies: Toddlers love colour in their food and seasonal fruits like mangos, muskmelons, watermelons, oranges and veggies like bell peppers, bottle gourd, cucumbers and beans promise a rainbow and a nutritious one. In addition, they're packed with vitamins and are excellent coolers. Conjure up a fruit salad for snack time and add a dash of colourful bell peppers to your toddler’s usual rice or pasta. As for lauki, you could sneak some into soups or halwas. The quick, three-C sandwich (cucumber, chutney and cheese) is also a hit with kids and gets cucumber into them.
No milk mommy: It's hard not to include milk in your toddlers daily diet but summers don't really call for too much milk. Ice creams are ok only once in awhile, as they have too much sugar. So try buttermilk, curds, lassi or paneer instead, as these are easier to digest yet are rich in proteins and calcium. Try whipping up a yummy mango lassi or fruity yogurt.
Sabja and mint: Sabja or sweet basil seeds and mint have been used as coolants traditionally. They also help get rid of toxins from the body. Sabja seeds soaked overnight can be used as a topping over any fresh fruit juices or even coconut water. Mint raita or a mint/ yogurt dip works as a perfect accompaniment to pulao or finger food.
Barley soup for the soul: Little pearls of barley are extremely nutritious and act as a coolant. Boil some roasted barley in some water till the water reduces. Use this stock as a base for any soup or simply squeeze a bit of lemon and honey in a glass of cooled barley stock.
Jowar for the heat: Jowar or sorghum flour is a summer crop and a good source of carbohydrates, iron and antioxidants. You could go beyond the usual paratha or bhakri and use the flour to make Jowar porridge, halwa, upma, dosa or paniyaram (appe).
Cool it with kokam and coconut water: Kokam is loaded with antioxidants and can prevent a heatstroke and even drive away nausea and acidity. Coconut water as we all know is rich in electrolytes and is an excellent thirst quencher. Kokam syrup mixed with water is a refreshing drink but for a change try making kokam rasam. Boil 4-5 pieces of kokam in some salted water (do not overboil). Temper the rasam with some cumin seeds, mustard seeds and hing in ghee. Add some cooked dal to increase the nutritive value.
Eat cool, stay cool and enjoy the summer!
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