With winters approaching, nutrition plays an integral part in maintaining good health. Out of all the seasons, winters are supposed to be the most nutritionally apt one with wide range of food option available around.
Winter is an actual and most favourable season to introduce good quality fresh vegetables and fruits in the diet, also due to drop in temperature the risk of illness are quite low and hence a good season to improve overall immunity.
Winter foods are usually immunity boosters and clean enough for the children to get optimal nutrition. The varieties of dried fruits, green vegetables and fresh fruits available during chilly weather have a very progressive impact on overall growth and development.
Food options available during winter are at par with respect to quality and nutrients load.
The below food list if introduced during winters, can actually accelerate child’s growth and immunity.
1. Jaggery: – Jaggery or Gur is widely used in Indian Cuisine. It is an excellent substitute to regular table and refined sugar. Though the calorie contributed by sugar and Jaggery are more or less equivalent, but jaggery being more complex and loaded with important micronutrients, can be conveniently swapped with refined sugar in almost any preparation. Jaggery is an excellent detoxifier and a blood purifier and it also helps in keeping children warm during dropping temperature. It is also a great source of iron, calcium, potassium etc.
2. Carrots: – Winters are known to offer the best versions of carrots and it should be an irreplaceable part of child’s diet.
Carrots are excellent source of B carotene (precursor of vitamin A); potassium and fair levels of Vitamin B6. Carrots can extensively be used in any cuisine. Encourage children to eat them as salads, halwa or drinks its juices or as soups. Carrots are great for digestion.
3. Indian Gooseberry (Amla):- Amla is an excellent immunity booster as it is loaded with powerful antioxidant, Vitamin. Most children can be picky with directly consumption of amla,as it is too sour. The best way to introduce is to use its powder in gravies to give a dish a tangier twist or use its juice in dals, soups or gravies. It also helps to keep cold, flu symptoms at bay. It is an excellent remedy to keep constipation away (which is common during winters as there is a decline in water intake and also tapering down in physical activity).
4. Dark green Leafy vegetables: – The quality of green vegetables ranging from spinach, fenugreek, amaranth or dill is of superior version during winters. Green leafy vegetables are high on water content and loaded with some non-negotiable nutrients (Like iron, Vitamin B6, B9 etc.). Winters provide green leafy vegetables which are most likely clean from pesticides and worms manifestation. However, regardless of the season it is advisable of washing every fruits and vegetables thoroughly before usage. Green leafy vegetables should be widely used in broths, soups, parathas etc.
5. Dates: – Dates have natural thermo genetic effect and are ideally used in winter to keep internal body temperature warmer. Dates are excellent to keep hair follicles strong and are loaded with fiber, iron and potassium. Dates are also natural sweeteners. Dates can be made part of milkshakes, sweets, laddoos or can be simply taken early morning with almonds and organic desi ghee.
During winters, due to drop in temperature, chances of cross infection or contracting illness are seldom. If complimented with well balanced nutrition, it can have a positive impact on child’s growth and development. Encouraging children to drink and eat warm foods and doing mild physical workouts will ensure bursting immunity.