Don’t Stop it, Just Swap it, this Monsoon- Says Public Health Nutritionist

It is middle of the year 2020, I look at past 4 months which have gone in the lockdown, protecting ourselves and fighting against COVID 19  virus. This year is almost over and we have gone past spring, summers and now it’s the monsoon. Every monsoon brings us breezy fresh air which often make us reach our very favorite cup of masala chai paired with mouth licking pakoras and samosas. The sight of muddy puddle in this season brings out the child within us and drizzle of the rain would want many of us to play!

But Monsoon 2020, is different from the rest of the monsoon experienced by our generation and our upcoming generations. It has coupled with COVID 19  virus this year. This year, we are trying to keep ourselves protected by building our immunity and staying indoors. It is alarming indeed for many of us and as mothers thinking about our child’s immunity is concern for most of us. While, I hear birds chirping and I watch peacocks spread their feathers and smell the petrichor- fragments of drizzle of the first monsoon rain, I decide to pen this article for you. It is time to boost our child’s immunity.

immunity

 

We hear vitamin C like coriander, lemon, amla, mint, drumsticks leaves, green chillies are protective and it enhances our immune system.

I cannot agree more! vitamin C does boost our immunity and have plethero of researchers to prove this. Ideally, I recommend everyone to use seasonal produce because it aids digestion and is well suited for the season and they are fresh because they are seasonal. We don’t want to eat “hass avocados” which have travelled 10000 miles to reach India. Avocados which have been stored in the food storage for months before making it way to our kitchen shelves has lost most of its vitamins. If I take an example of watermelon, it 95% water, which enhances hydration are fruits for summers hence, eating watermelon in summer is more appropriate than consuming it in winters. Our nature plans our meals! Storage reduces many vitamins specially vitamin C. Seasonal fruits and vegetables available in monsoon are jamun, karonda, gourds- all varieties like teasel gourd, pointed gourd, bottle gourd, ridge gourd and so on, tubers like sweet potato, potato, corn, cluster beans, papaya, pomegranate, custard apple, apples and so on.

It isn’t about stopping anything this monsoon; it is about swapping them. Replace all spinach leaves with colocassia leaves as they are seasonal, swap uncooked eggs like egg nogs or half boiled eggs with well done eggs ( making sure they are fresh), swap cabbage and cauliflower with gourds, unpasteurised milk and milk products with pasteurized milk products, eat only fresh cut fruits, well cooked meat and its varieties or swap them to lentils and pulses for the month, swap salads with vegetable soups and AMLA can be replaced with karonda chutneys.

Some desi dishes to try this season in your kitchen for children are beetroot patties or burgers (mash grated beetroots with oats flour or sweet potato and make some delicious patties, make a mash of sweet potato and make some paranthas or roll, thepla’s with fenugreek leaves tops the list and a corn on the cob with lemon juice ( monsoons are incomplete without corn). If your child is a fussy eater knead some bottle gourd in the paranthas. Kneading and mashing vegetables work really well with fussy eaters.

immunity

 

I would say- Don not stop giving milk, I would suggest provide well pasteurised milk to children.

You can add 1 teaspoon chyawanprash to it or add ¼ teaspoon turmeric with a pinch of black pepper to boost the immunity. If your child develops phlegm add a pinch of cinnamon or cardamom powder to milk to prevent its formation. It goes without saying the benefit of gut health in building immunity; hence curd or buttermilk plays a key role here. A cup of curd or a glass of buttermilk or even mixing curd and rice and creating a balanced rice dish works well. Add some chopped curry leaves powder to curd to increase calcium intake.

If you are wondering about the right combination of dairy products- always remember milk should be combined with grains like oats or dalia, it shouldn’t be combined with any fruit except banana. This isn’t because of taste preference this is because of the right nutrient combination. Always combine curd with vegetables and add cumin powder to prevent any formation of cough or phelgm. And if you are still worried, give your child some fresh homemade paneer.

Some recipes are my personal favourites and it is a pleasure to share some ideas with you. I always consider a quick and handy food for children and yet create meals which are playful and palatable for them. Try lemon ginger popsicle for a burst of vitamin C and if you are worried about the temperature of popsicle, I suggest place the blend in the ice cube trays and use 1 cube a day for a glass of freshly made lemonade. A usual lemonade removes the fiber content of lemon; thus, this lemon ginger popsicle has fiber and vitamin C intact.

Swati’s Lemon Ginger Popsicles

– they are simple, nutritious and yum!  Makes 1 popsicle and 4 ice cubes

Ingredients 

  • 6-inch piece fresh ginger 1 tablespoon blended peeled lemon (remove the peel and then blend it)
  • 1 tablespoon date syrup (soak 1 date in water and blend it)
  • Mint sprigs

Method

  • Combine water with ginger in a large saucepan and bring it to boil.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Add the lemon to the above mix and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Sweeten it with date syrup.
  • Refrigerate until chilled in an ice cube tray
  • Serve in a tall glass over ice and add sprig of mint if desired or place the lemon puree in a popsicle and store in the refrigerator for a delicious popsicle.

immunity

No Bake Brownies

Try this lip-smacking nutritious brownie which can be added to your child’s snack. You can give them in between meals or right before their play or in between their online classes. This brownie is nutritious with omega 3 which are anti-inflammatories from walnuts and have healthy fats from almonds, peanuts and walnuts. Brown sugar is replaced by dates and this is no bake, it is simple and yet delicious.

Makes 16 Brownies (5cm square each brownie)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 220gm pitted dates
  • 110gm almond butter or peanut butter
  • 50gm cocoa powder
  • 38 gm crushed cashews or almonds

Method

  • Grind all walnuts and dates in a food processor until finely grounded.
  • Add the almond butter or peanut butter and process until well mixed.
  • Add coco powder and pulse to mix well.
  • Transfer brownie mixture to an 8 inch / 20 cm square baking tin.
  • Try to use a parchment paper as a lining it makes it easy to remove the brownies.
  • Use fingers to press the mixture evenly into the tin.
  • Once the brownies are pressed into the tin, sprinkle the top evenly with the crushed almonds or pecans or cashews, pressing them into the top of the brownies.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.

immunity

We underestimate the power of sun and run low on super vitamin – vitamin D.

Vitamin D gives protection from COVID-19 virus and also helps in building our immunity strong.

Researchers since January 2020, have been working on finding ways to reduce mortality rates of COVID-19 patients, and over 100 studies on COVID-19 suggests, high levels of vitamin D is protective of COVID-19virus. Also, a calcium rich diet for your child which lacks vitamin D is of no health significance. Lack of sunlight and staying indoors put us at a high risk of low levels of vitamin D, please make sure your child’s vitamin d levels are supplemented temporarily during the monsoon. And not to forget exercise, smile for boosting our immunity. Now, don’t rush out in the rain to find some vitamin D. Stay indoors to protect from monsoon and COVID-19.

I wish you all healthy and safe month, we shall come out of COVID stronger.

Authored by 

Swati Bathwal– Dietitian, Diabetes Educator Public Health Nutritionist

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