The physical and mental growth of a child is every parent’s priority. The current lifestyle makes it very difficult to ensure a healthy diet for children. Continuous advertisements of unhealthy food, mega offers and enticing display and smells in public places like malls, mobile ads and hoardings make it even more difficult to keep the family on a healthy diet.
Indian kitchen have ample nutritious ingredients for boosting immunity and staying healthy. Traditional recipes were designed based on seasons and local produce and they automatically took care of healthy eating. But with lifestyle changes, it is not possible to follow the meal plans of our parents.
However, making a few tweaks in the routine meal plans can make daily food super healthy and perfect for a growing child.
Hidden in plain sight – Millets
Apart from spices and herbs and the most commonly found food group in almost all Indian kitchens since ages are the humble, local, economical and nutritious millets. Millets were once a staple of the Indian diet before the marketing of rice and wheat started. But with 2023 declared as the International Year of Millets, awareness of this nutrient-dense food group is increasing and people have started becoming health conscious and making the right choice, especially when it comes to kid’s meals. Studies show that if a mal/undernourished child is fed with millet, there is an increase in their growth and development.
Why include millet in your kid’s diet :
Growing kids are super active and need more energy giving food and millets are the best for them. Millet has a mildly nutty flavor and is high in protein and fiber so it helps satisfy a child’s appetite. Millets are gluten-free and alkaline. Millets are rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, fiber, manganese, iron, tryptophan, phosphorus, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Millets are complex carbohydrates that have a low glycaemic index, i.e. carbs that are slowly digested, absorbed, and metabolized and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose.
Millets in diet = healthy growing kids
- Millets are rich in fiber and help fight constipation and indigestion.
- Millets provide more macro and micronutrients than rice and wheat.
- Millets help to fight anemia which is very common in kids.
- If your kid is suffering from season change illness then millet is your go-to grain.
- Millets help in brain and bone health development.
- Kids active in sports activities should be fed with millet every day it helps in recovering the muscle injury
Here are the common millets found in Indian kitchen and their local names – https://skyroots.in/what-are-millets-called-in-hindi-and-their-names-in-other-indian-languages/
How to include millet in your child’s meals :
The pro tip here is to gradually include millets, one by one. Milles if cooked well and served with the right combination can help in healthy weight gain and fight obesity, which is an issue these days.
You can make a variety of dishes using millet like :
- Millets Noodle
- Millet pasta
- Millet roti
- Replace corn flakes with bajra flakes or jowar fakes
- Millet Dosa
- Millet Idli
- Snacks made using millet like chaklis and chivdas
- Sweets using millets like nachni gudpapdi, millet kheer
- Millet mix vegetable paratha
- Millet Burger
- Make fusion recipes like millet-based pizza, sev puri made using ragi or mixed millets than maida/ wheat puri.
Let’s make a nice 4 pm snack for kids:
Jowar flakes : 1 Cups
Bajra flakes: 1 cup
Peanuts ½ Cup
Channa dal ½ cup
Curry leaves 8-10
Salt 1 Tsp
Black Pepper Powder
Red Chilli Powder
Oil 2 Tbsp
In a pan heat some oil, prepare takda using jeera, sesame seeds, and curry leaves. Then add peanuts and channa dal and sautee for some time, and add raisins sautee. Add millets flakes, and masala Kaju and masala. Mix well and let it cool a bit and store in an air-tight container.
The more creative you get, the better it will be accepted by your kids. Growing children need nutritious meals but that does not mean they need to give up on their favorite trending food. All we need to do as parents is switch key ingredients with healthy options like millets to ensure maximum health.
There are millet-based premixes like cake, cookies and pancake mixes that are easily available We have a simple millet-based diet for kids that you can try as well!
Let’s take a pledge to include millets in our kid’s meals. They are the future of India, let’s make them strong inside out!