Tip: To avoid excess sugar in your kid’s diet, buy plain yogurt and add fruits (pieces or pulp) at home just before serving.
During festivals, the challenge can be to feed kids seasonal delicacies but to also ensure their nutritional needs are met. An overdose of sugar-rich sweets for weeks on end can really upset kids’ digestion and deprive their body of essential nutrients. But kids need to and must enjoy festival foods. Therefore, it is important to balance their meals by including some healthy ingredients.
Here are some tips to ensure your kids eat healthy during the festivities.
Homemade vs. Commercial Preparations
Homemade sweets are a much healthier option to feed your kids during various festivals that come in succession. Try to make some delicacies at home so that you can control the quality of ingredients.
With these tasty snacks at hand, you don’t need to completely deprive your kids of commercially-prepared sweets. When your kids are full of your homemade preparations, they are less likely to consume other sweets.
Some ideas –
- Prepare dairy-based sweets at home. You can serve these chilled or hot and all kids love them. Use both low-fat and full-fat versions of milk in recipes to ensure the creaminess of the dishes.
- Make the usual kheer or payasam and serve it topped with lots of nuts. Use whole or broken rice, whole wheat vermicelli (semiya) or tapioca. One good idea is to make a big pot of this sweet delicacy and keep it stored in the refrigerator so that your kids can indulge in homemade preparations whenever they are hungry during the holidays.
- Other dairy-based sweet ideas for festivals can be rabadi, shrikhand and saffron ice cream. You can make fruit shrikhand to make it extra healthier for kids. Add fresh or dried cranberries or blueberries or any seasonal fruit to shrikhand right before serving.
- Use cottage cheese or paneer to make quick sweet delicacies. Coat cottage cheese triangles with fruit or rose-flavoured syrups, chill and serve it your kids when they crave something sweet. Or make thin cheese slices and alternate them with canned pineapple pieces or mango jelly, stack and serve. You can add desiccated coconut to crumbled paneer along with cardamom, saffron and sugar, roll them into round shapes and coat them with chocolate shavings.
- Make chocolates at home if you can. Or use chocolate-based syrups or chocolate bars to prepare interesting and healthy treats at home. Melt a bar of dark or milk chocolate; add honey to it along with some spices such as cinnamon or cardamom. Use this as a coating for simple homemade desserts like wheat flour and jaggery laddoos or store-bought peanut bars.
- Chop almonds, pistachios, walnuts and add date syrup and some roasted oats in a hot pan. Set in a flat tray and cut small cubes for a healthier dessert for your kids.
Use chocolate bars to prepare interesting and healthy treats at home.
Preparation is the Key
If healthy meals for your kids are important to you, start stocking your pantry with nutritious ingredients few days before a festival. Also, make a list of all the dishes you can make beforehand and store in the refrigerator.
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables and keep them handy for your kids to just grab one from the refrigerator or the dining table. If you are pressed for time, you can buy chopped or shelled fruits or vegetables available at many grocery stores. You can use fresh pomegranate seeds in salads, custards, and puddings.
- To avoid excess sugar in your kid’s diet, buy plain yogurt and add fruits (pieces or pulp) at home just before serving. Make sure to stock up on lots of low-fat yogurt and Greek yogurt. To make it more interesting for kids, encourage them to make their own toppings. Keep chocolate shavings and colorful cake toppings around so that your kids can use these along with fruits. Kids are more likely to eat something that they have prepared themselves.
- If your kids love cheese, buy different varieties of this tasty ingredient and cube them beforehand. Your kids can just grab a cube or two during the day or eat with whole wheat bread. When you are busy with festival preparations, you can make quick and easy sandwiches for your kids using healthy ingredients.
- Buy wholegrain breads and buns. Use fresh cheese (grated or sliced) or spreads generously on every slice. Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan. Add dried chives or basil and sweet corn and cook for a minute. Add onions if you want and just a bit of salt and black pepper powder. Use this as a filling for sandwiches.
- Grate cheese; add steamed and mashed peas to a splattering of mustard in a pan. Use other steamed vegetables if you want. Add salt, chopped curry leaves and fresh coriander. Use this mixture for sandwiches or roti.
With these ideas, you can ensure your kids eat healthy as well as indulge themselves during festivities.