The child’s health has always been the prime concern with the parents. They are always worried as to what to give and when to give if fruits should be given more etc. Fiber is very important along with other nutrients. Whole grains are a powerhouse of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein for a healthy and balanced diet. These are available in varied, shapes, colors, sizes and taste as well. There are several ways to prepare them for consumption and it can be prepared in many ways depending on the region it is made. It is enriched with Vitamins as well as minerals. Consumption of whole grains offers energy for the baby or the child. One should replace the processed items with whole grains and add to the child’s diet.
What are Whole Grains?
Whole grain as the name indicates is the grain that has the bran, endosperm as well as the germ. Generally, the processed cereals only have endosperm whereas the whole grain is a nutritious choice for the babies and the elder kids. The whole grain has many layers, the outermost being the bran that comprises of nutrients like iron, thiamine zinc, etc. This layer is enriched with fiber, the second layer is that of the germ which has vitamins as well as proteins and the third one is of endosperm that is enriched with carbohydrates as well as protein.
Why Should Whole Grains be Given to Children?
Whole grains are a powerhouse of antioxidants, vitamins, fibers as well as phytochemicals that are vital for the growth and development of the child. The presence of these nutrients lowers down the possibility of emerging chronic disorders like heart ailments, diabetes, different types of cancer, etc. The consumption of whole grains and its fiber content makes one feel full thus avoiding snacking. The presence of so many nutrients is also beneficial for the health of the baby, gives proper growth, weight, strong and healthy bones, etc.
When To Introduce Whole Grains to Your Child?
Whole grains are important for the growth and development of the child. Though it is also crucial to know when the whole grains should be introduced. The chart given below will offer better insight into the time when whole grains should be started.
How to Introduce Whole Grains Into Your Child’s Diet?
It is always a healthy option to introduce the whole grain to your child diet as it is a sumptuous, nutritious, and an ideal choice for the development of the baby. Undermentioned are a few ways to introduce whole grains to the diet of the baby or the child. Consumption of whole grains is also a wise way to make healthier and better choices.
1. Use a Good Mix of Grains
It is always a good idea to mix different kinds of whole grains to regular food and dishes. This not only offers a heavy texture and taste but also introduce new variation to the regular diet. Adopting a mix is a brilliant idea as nutrition from all can be attained through one dish only.
2. Healthy Baking
Baked food are loved by most of the children. Most often we use refined flour for those “perfect” baking. The whole grains should be used as a replacement for refined flours.
3. Opt For Convenient Food Which Is Not Processed
Always make good and healthy choices with Quinoa, cereal bars, crackers, whole wheat bread, etc. Due to the busy lifestyle and running about, people generally find it easy and convenient to pick processed foods for the kids, but this does not have any nutritional value.
4. Give Your Day a Healthy Start
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it should be full and sumptuous. It is thus said “Have a King-size Breakfast” so that you keep going with the rest of the day”.Breakfast is thus the right time to start eating healthy like oats, millets, whole grain slices of bread, etc. which are significant for the child to carry the daily activities.
5. Use Your Creativity to Add A Side Dish
Children need to be introduced to food in creative ways so that they feel like eating it. They are fussy eaters and parents need to keep trying to see what works best for the kids in food. Offering whole grain bread with stew, soups, etc can be an ideal option for a sumptuous meal with healthy choices.
Easy and Healthy Whole Grain Recipes
It is very easy to find junk food with the many available options present in the market these days. It is an unnerving experience to make healthy and mindful choices and encourage kids to eat healthy and nutritious food. Parents are always struggling to develop healthy options for food. Habits should be developed from an early age so that they continue and become a part of the child’s lifestyle as they grow.
Given below are some healthy recipes that can be prepared with whole grains
1. Oats Porridge- An ideal and healthy option for toddlers
- In a pan or a vessel, mix ½ cup oats with a glass of water or 1 cup of milk.
- Let the stove become hot on medium or low flame
- Add sugar as per taste
- Keep stirring in between.
- With time, its consistency becomes thick
- This can now be served hot after removing from the stove.
2. Plain Khichdi
This is a yummy meal for the baby
- Wash 2 tbsp rice and dal in a good amount of water with 1 pinch of turmeric and salt as per taste.
- Put all of these in the cooker
- Let the cooker be on medium or low flame and cook till about 4-5 whistles.
- Let it cool a bit and add 1 tsp of ghee.
3. Moong Dal Khichdi with Vegetables
This combination works in a great way to offer the required energy for the baby.
- Wash ½ cup rice and ½ cup dal properly.
- Add 1 tsp ghee and add 1 tsp cumin seeds once the ghee is hot, let it splutter.
- Now add a ½ cup of carrots, beans, and cauliflower to the ghee and sauté it.
- Finally, add the soaked rice and dal with 1 pinch turmeric and salt as per the taste.
- Cook till 4-5 whistles.
- Remove from the cooker and let it cool, add more ghee if required.
4. Idli- Soft and Light Pancakes Which Could Be Plain or Stuffed
- Grease a bit of oil or ghee in the idli moulds
- Take a huge pot with half water and let it become warm
- Whisk the Dosa batter and add salt to it.
- One idli mould should be filled with 1 ladle of batter.
- Let it steam for 10-15 minutes.
- Check by inserting a knife if the idlis are done, in case they come out clean, it is done, if sticky, they still need to be cooked.
- Now remove the mould from the pot and let it cool.
- Scrap the idlis and serve with coconut chutney.
Thus, it can be said that healthy and nutritious food is the option for the complete and inclusive option for the growth and development of the child. More preference should be given to the intake of whole grains in the diet slowly and steadily and that too from a young age. An important aspect to be remembered is that a doctor’s consultation is significant before starting any new food or making any changes to the diet of the child.