Cold and cough, fever, constipation, diarrhoea, food poisoning, these names are familiar to you. Medicines in doctor’s prescription are readily available to you for these common childhood illnesses.

But did you know you are your own kitchen doctor for these ailments? You can use your daily food as medicine to cure them?

How?

I bet you never noticed the nutrients that can prevent such conditions, and are readily available at your home.

So, today, I have picked up the 5 common childhood illnesses and will focus on the nutrient that can be added in their meal to either prevent the disease or cure it.

Let’s dive in!

#1 Anaemia

It is the most common problem of adolescent kids, especially the girls.

lethargic-girl-fallen-asleep-on-study-table

Image: healthy.co.nz

When your child complains of constant weakness, lethargy, and lack of concentration in his studies, the doctor advises a blood test which reveals the haemoglobin to be lower than the normal limit.  And your child is diagnosed to have Iron deficiency Anaemia (IDA).

The iron tablets prescribed by the doctor are good, but are they enough?

Iron in the diet is the easiest of the nutrient since it is abundantly present in nature, both in the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian sources. Increasing the iron intake in the diet can help your kid combat this deficiency now and in future as well.

Iron-rich foods your kids won’t run away from

The easiest recipe that I thought of is tasty, innovative, and liked by all the kids.

Poha Cutlet

poha-cutlet

Image: archanaskitchen.com

Soak Time: 1 hour

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 15 mins

Serves: 10 Cutlets

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Poha ( Chidva/Rice flakes/Beaten Rice), washed and drained
  • ¼ cup yellow moong dal (Split gram yellow), washed and drained
  • ¼ cup finely chopped spinach
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tsp oil for greasing and cooking

Method

  1. Place poha in a sieve and keep it under running water. Keep aside for 2 minutes and let the water drain out.
  2. Soak the moong dal in water for about an hour.
  3. Drain the moong dal and add poha to it. Grind the mixture to a coarse paste. Do not use water.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a bowl. Add spinach, coriander, lemon juice, salt and mix well.
  5. Divide the mixture into equal sized balls and shape them into a round cutlet. You can use the cookie cutter to give them different shapes as well.
  6. Heat a non-stick girdle (tawa) and grease it using 1 tsp of oil. Cook the cutlets until they are golden brown and crisp from both the sides.
  7. Serve immediately with dips or ketchups.

Nutrition Facts (Per Cutlet)

Energy: 74 calories

Protein: 1.8 gm

Fat: 1.7 gm

Iron: 2.6 mg

Vitamin A: 131 mcg

 

#2 Brittle Bones

The young ones are at a greater risk of injuries and it is not uncommon for a kid to have a fractured bone. But, if your kid suffers from body aches after injury, regular bone fractures, weak nails, or lack of growth, then it is due to calcium deficiency.

child-with-fractured-arm

Image: healthline.com

Calcium is an important mineral that forms the basic structure of the bone and helps in bone mineralisation. This process is important for the bones to grow stronger, thicker and immune to breakage. Since young ones are developing and are prone to injuries, calcium forms the next important mineral in my food as medicine guide.

So, how can you include calcium other than the dairy sources in a kid’s life?

Let’s try this recipe

Rajma Cheese Parantha

rajma-cheese-parantha

Image: recipeshindimein.com

Soak Time: Overnight

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 25 mins

Serves: 6 Paranthe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

For Dough

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • Salt to taste

For Mixture

  • ¼ cup rajma (kidney beans), soaked overnight
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped capsicum
  • ½ cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup shredded spinach
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tsp oil for cooking and greasing
  • 6 tbsp grated processed cheese

Method

  1. Combine wheat flour and salt in a bowl and knead a dough using water. Keep aside.
  2. Cook rajma along with a pinch of salt in a pressure cooker until soft.
  3. Mash the rajma using a masher.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic and onion and sauté on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
  5. Add capsicum and cook on the medium flame for 1 minute.
  6. Add tomato and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes until the vegetables become soft.
  7. Add spinach and cook for another 1 minute while stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the mashed rajma, chilli powder, cumin powder and salt. Mix well and cook for another minute on the medium flame. Keep aside to cool.

How to proceed

  1. Divide the dough in 6 equal portions and with the help of wheat flour and rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle like a roti.
  2. Place a portion of the rajma spinach mixture on one side and sprinkle grated processed cheese on it.
  3. Fold the roti on the mixture into a thick triangle shape.
  4. Roll again with the rolling pin with less pressure so that the filling doesn’t come out.
  5. Put the thick paratha on a pre-heated girdle (tawa).
  6. Grease with oil and cook on both the sides till golden brown.
  7. Serve hot.

Nutrition Facts (Per parantha)

Energy: 155 calories

Protein: 6 gm

Fat: 6.9 gm

Calcium: 109.8 mg

Iron: 1.6 mg

Vitamin A: 412.9 mcg

 

#3 Acute Rhinitis

Acute rhinitis spells (inflammation of the inner lining of the nose leading to stuffy nose, cold, and cough) mostly occur in the change of season.

However, you must have noticed that every kid doesn’t react in the same way during the change. Ever wondered why only your kid falls ill during the change in season?

girl-rubbing-nose

Image: fda.gov

Yes, your imagination got the right direction. This is due to the weaker immunity. Having a strong immunity plays an important role in the health of the kid. Falling sick again and again not only hampers the health, but also the routine of the kids.

Vitamin C is an important ingredient for your child’s immunity. The most important role of Vitamin C is to fight diseases and protect the body from external bacteria and viruses.

I don’t need an excuse to include Vitamin C in the diet as this nutrient is easily accepted and liked by all the kids. Present in most of the fruits, it can be easily included in the diet and boosts immunity of the child.

However, if I have to select a particular dish for Vitamin C, I guess I will go with this one; my favourite.

Avocado, Pear, and Spinach Smoothie

avocado-pear-spinach-smoothie

Image: wholefoodrepublic.com

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 0 mins

Serves: 3 glasses

Ingredients

  • 1 cup roughly chopped ripe avocado
  • ½ cup roughly chopped spinach
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pears (unpeeled)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped apples (unpeeled)

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender along with 1 cup of water.
  2. Blend it smooth.
  3. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts (Per Glass)

Energy: 168 calories

Protein: 1.9 gm

Fiber: 4.5 gm

Fat: 11.9 gm

Vitamin C: 12 mg

Calcium: 47 mg

Vitamin A: 1913 mcg

#4 Weak Eyesight

Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of weak eyesight affecting the pre-schoolers. It is very disheartening to see young kids asking for spectacles whereas we, as parents do not need them.

Vitamin A deficiency is also one of the major causes of toddler death worldwide. Hence, this nutrient is very important for a kid as it can never be supplemented at a later age.

Avoid your kids from this suffering and include the recommended daily allowance for this particular vitamin. The only problem a mother faces is because this vitamin is present in green leafy vegetables which every kid avoids.

However, one of the innovative ways that I found to include this particular vitamin is to mix and match it with the food that every kid loves.

Broccoli, carrot and paneer veg

The unusual combination of vegetables mixed and matched with your spices and gravy will make your kids jump with joy at lunch.

broccoli-carrot-paneer-vegetable

Image: curryandbeyond.blogspot.com

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cooking Time: 8 mins

Serves: 3 servings

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blanched broccoli florets
  • ½ cup star-shaped and blanched carrots (you can cut diagonals)
  • ½ cup paneer cubes
  • 5 cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp cashews
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Combine tomatoes, onion, and cashews in a mixer and blend till smooth. Keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a wok (kadhai) and add ginger garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds on a medium flame.
  3. Add tomato, onion mixture and cook on a medium flame for 1 minute while stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the milk and salt. Cook well on a medium flame for 1 minute while stirring occasionally.
  5. Add broccoli, carrot, and paneer. Mix and fold the gravy gently. Cook on a medium flame for another 2 minutes.
  6. Serve hot.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Energy: 177 calories

Protein: 6.2 gm

Fiber: 2.7 gm

Fat: 11.5 gm

Vitamin A: 1262.9 mcg

Vitamin C: 40.6 mg

Calcium: 231.9 mg

 

#5 Gastroenteritis

One of the most worrisome and gruesome of the ailments, gastroenteritis is common amongst all the kids. This is one of the diseases which bring a mother and her kid into instant agony due to frequent diarrhoea. Diarrhoeal deaths are common in infants with constant loss of the major nutrients.

girl-lying-complaining-stomach-pain

Image: momjunction.com

For the normal functioning of our digestive system, we need healthy bacteria in the gut to grow. These healthy bacteria are responsible to digest and move the food properly in the alimentary canal.

A new superfood has been introduced in market known as probiotics which contain food for these bacteria in the gut. When a probiotic is consumed, the bacteria in the gut feed on it and multiply thus providing your kid with a healthy digestive system. (useful both in diarrhoea and constipation)

Although many options of probiotics are present in the market, I particularly chose probiotic yoghurt to prepare my next dish.

Cucumber and Yoghurt Dip

This dip is light and exotic with the goodness of yoghurt and the coolness of cucumber. It’s easy to consume both during diarrhoea and constipation where a kids needs light eating.

cucumber-yoghurt-dip

Image: cabotcelebritycruise.com

 

Prep Time: 8 mins

Cooking Time: 0 mins

Serves: 2 cups (28 tbsp)

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups yoghurt (plain or flavoured)
  • ½ cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 2 tsp mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp grounded black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a deep bowl and mix well.
  2. Refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Serve with bread or as sider.

Nutrition Facts (Per tbsp)

Energy: 34 calories

Protein: 1.2 gm

Calcium: 60.5 mg

Conclusion

Kids are prone to diseases which are inevitable. But, as mothers we can make sure that as soon as the kid suffers, sooner he recovers.

The idea of using food as medicine is age-old. Nutrients have always been there to help us. But, we failed to recognise its worth.

Food as medicine? Never heard of it? Here are the 5 common childhood illnesses and the nutrients you can add to your kid's meal to prevent or cure the same. #MomandMe #food #healthyeating #healthyfood #healthyrecipes

So, now, it’s time we realise the importance of food as medicine, identify the required nutrients, and include them in our diet: RIGHT NOW!

If you feel this article has helped you become your own kitchen doctor to manage the common childhood illnesses, share the goodness with your friends on social media!

Have any other health issue to discuss? Talk to our dietician today!

 

 

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Dr Vinita Vashist

Hi, I am Dr Vinita, a homoeopathic medical professional and a post-graduate in Dietetics and Nutrition. Intrigued by the role of diet in one’s health, I share my ideas and knowledge on this blog to help parents understand the important nutrients required for their child’s health, which they cannot substitute later in life. It will help you and I understand the basic problem of today’s generation regarding nutrition and how can you inculcate healthy eating habits in your child.

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