Every parent wants their kid to be energetic and alert throughout the day. However, it’s not always possible and can get challenging if children feel drained and exhausted. Kids need a healthy and balanced diet for physical development, which requires energy and nutrients. A nutritious diet must contain vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, complex carbs, and proteins to generate instant energy. A high-energy diet need not be monotonous. Numerous nourishing foods are mouth-watering and improve your kid’s general health and, by extension, their quality of life.
Before we shed light on energy-giving foods, let’s understand nutrients a bit better
• Complex carbohydrates: These include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes and give you sustained energy.
• Protein: Protein helps maintain energy levels throughout the day and is necessary for the development of tissues. Protein-rich foods include beans, almonds, seeds and fish.
• Healthy fats: Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which are present in fish, nuts, and seeds, can improve brain function and provide you energy.
• Water: Kids should drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated and maintain their energy levels.
• Iron-rich foods: Since iron is necessary to generate energy, children should consume fish, beans, green leafy vegetables, roots and tubers, and fortified cereals, to keep their levels in check.
• Vitamin C-rich foods: Vitamin C aids the body in absorbing iron and is present in items like citrus fruits, strawberries, and kiwis.
Here are 7 superfoods to incorporate into your kid’s diet for instant energy
Sweet fruits like bananas are the ideal source of energy. Bananas are packed with plenty of potassium and fibre and loaded with natural sugars – glucose, fructose, and sucrose – that immediately provide your kid with an energy boost once they reach the body. Fibre helps in digestion and speeds up metabolism. The faster the metabolism, the more energetic your child feels. Bananas can be a part of your child’s diet in a fruit bowl, smoothie, or even as an after-school snack.
It leaves a cooling effect on the body. With calcium and vitamin D, yoghurt strengthens your kid’s bones and keeps them strong. It is the ultimate energy-giving food, loaded with magnesium, releasing energy almost instantly. Not to forget, yoghurt is a fantastic immune system and digestion stimulant that combats bloating and indigestion.
Lentils are delicious legumes used in a wide range of cuisines. They are a great source of protein for your kids’ muscles. Apart from the added benefit of vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, calcium, zinc, and potassium, they also offer carbohydrates for energy. Additionally, they are an excellent source of iron, which is particularly beneficial for infants susceptible to iron-deficiency anaemia. They are common ingredients in many soups, salads, and curries.
4. Dry Fruits
Dry fruits such as dates, figs, raisins, cherries, apricots etc. ensure the body functions at its best throughout the day. They are calorie-dense, and stocked with potassium and a variety of vitamins. They are excellent energy-giving snacks for kids and can be eaten guilt-free as they infuse energy and curb hunger pangs.
Nuts are calorie-dense and ensure a steady release of energy throughout the day. They are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, healthy fats, protein, and other nutrients that promote children’s learning and growth. Since they are a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids, nuts are heart-healthy. A small number of walnuts and almonds are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Apart from that, nuts are beneficial for children’s brain development and immune system maintenance.
Eggs are a fantastic source of energy. Leucine, an amino acid found in eggs, boosts the body’s ability to produce energy. Eggs, which are rich in vitamin B, aid in the processes involved in converting food into energy. They are incredibly adaptable, and you can prepare them in multiple ways. Being a good source of protein, they help kids build muscle and concentrate more effectively. The vitamin B complex present in eggs protects the brain and enhances mood.
7. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates and fibre, and the body digests them slowly. Sweet potatoes include manganese, which aids the body to metabolise foods and produce energy. Children, who eat sweet potatoes, benefit from iron, folate, zinc, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. The body’s metabolic processes are facilitated by these minerals, creating favourable conditions for the growth and development of your kid.
In addition to consuming a nutritious diet, kids must also know why they are doing so. Learning about food is a great method to pique children’s interest in a healthy diet and, ultimately, support them in making long-term healthier decisions.
Here are a few tips on how parents can bond with their kids over healthy foods:
- Plan a meal: Several working parents complain their kids do not enjoy eating nutritious, home-cooked food and instead prefer fast food from restaurants. Planning a meal may help parents, especially if their kids are picky.
- Developing decision-making abilities: Giving your child a role in meal planning will help them develop decision-making abilities. They’ll feel important, which will boost their self-worth and confidence. They will feel more engaged because they get to decide what they eat.
- Instilling a love for food: Making dinner plans with your child can help them understand the value of food and respect for it. As they grow old, they will naturally start incorporating thoughtful meal planning and preparation into their daily lives.
- Strengthening Bond with your Kid: Relationship-building activities include talking to your child about their likes and dislikes, eating habits, and personal preferences. Sharing time allows you to get to know one another even better. Your child will learn that you value and listen to them.
- Use your calendar: Include foods linked with festivals in your plans as and when they approach. For Ganesh Chaturthi, prepare modaks; for Sankranti, you can prepare delicious pongal. If your kid is old enough, they can help prepare these special delicacies.
And before we wrap, here are a couple of quick recipes for energy-giving foods.
- Power Packed Sweet Potato Chaat
- 1/2 Cup Boiled Sweet Potato
- 1/2 Cup Diced Apple
- 1/2 Cup Diced Cucumber
- 1/8 Cup Curd
- 1 Tbsp Chopped Mint Leaves (Pudina)
- 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
- 1/8 Tsp Red Chilly Powder
- 1/8 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Oil
- Take a bowl and add sweet potato, apple, cucumber, salt, red chilly powder, lemon juice, oil and mix well.
- Add curd and pudina and mix again.
- Your healthy Power Packed Sweet Potato Chaat is ready to serve.
- Energy Bites
- 1 Tbsp Chopped Cashew Nut
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Dates
- 1 Tbsp Chopped Pista
- 1 Tbsp Chopped Walnut
- 1 Tbsp Chopped Almond
- 1 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
- 1 Tbsp Ghee
- Grind dates into a paste.
- Take a pan and heat the ghee. Add poppy seeds, and allow them to crackle.
- Then add ghee, chopped walnut, chopped almond, chopped pista, and chopped cashew nut.
- Roast until it turns golden brown.
- Take it out in a bowl, add ground dates, roasted poppy seeds, and roasted nuts and mix well.
- Make it into a round shape and serve.
The views expressed are that of the expert alone.
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