When it comes to choosing age appropriate as well as nutritious foods for their toddlers, parents often struggle with finding the right fit. The littles ones resist food experiments and many of them are not fond of veggies, which leaves parents concerned about their vitamin and mineral intake. Experts suggest that the best approach to nourishing ‘fussy eaters’ with nutrient-filled foods is to design recipes tailored to their preferences while strategically incorporating essential food groups. Rolls, pastas, salads, parathas and snacks in different shapes and sizes, are some of the great ways to feed your toddler important nutrients. It is also important to feed them hydrating foods as that helps flush out toxins from their bodies and help to maintain body temperature. Hot jeera water, soups, fruit juices, and herbal drinks are some of the essential drinks you may like to include in your toddler’s diet. (Also read | Ancient Wisdom Part 28: Why jaggery is the perfect winter superfood; best ways to consume it)
Haripriya N, Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, T Nagar shares a list of season winter foods that must feature in your little one’s plate.
This amazing vitamin A-enriched vegetable is a known immune booster for all. But as Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin to get the complete benefit it is better to take it in a cooked form or with any fatty food for better absorption of vitamin A (carotenoids) that boosts the WBC to improve the immune system. Sauteed carrots, grated carrots with seeds, Carrot raita etc are some tasty options.
2. Ginger, turmeric and pepper
These spice warriors which are readily found in our kitchen must be given a special attention during seasonal changes as these are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-bacterial and high in antioxidants like curcumin and gingerol. Including these with any of the recipes will have better absorption of these antioxidants.
Melons and pumpkins are full of flavonoids that are one of the major phytonutrients that boost the immunity. Including it as pumpkin soup, pancakes, pumpkin pie or adding it to any dips and wraps is the easiest way to include them in toddler’s diet.
4. Leafy vegetables
Spinach, amaranth, drumstick leaves are rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorous, fibre and Vitamin K which act as an antioxidant to fight against free radicals.
5. Fermented foods
Curd, yoghurt and other fermented foods have beneficial good bacteria like lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacteria that act as a probiotic which improves the gut health, aids in better absorption of nutrients, prevents digestion issues and fights against bad bacterial infections in the gut to enter the lymphatic system. Yogurt shakes, pudding, raita, buttermilk and curd dip with their favourite dishes can be included in toddler’s diet.
6. Citrus fruits
Do not believe the myth that tells you to avoid citrus fruits during winters. In reality, Vitamin C present in citrus fruits can do wonders to build up the innate and adaptive immunity which in turns prevents the risk of infections. Dry fruits, nuts and seeds like berries, raisins, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, good source of vitamin E, zinc and fibre. These play an important role in maintaining the GALT (Gut associated lymphoid tissue) and contributes to first line defence mechanism in the body against pathogens and diseases.