The world of food from a child’s perspective, today, is filled with options. From the time they start interacting by way of gestures, baby talk and then begin full sentences, food plays a major role in the ‘conversations’.
With each generation of new parents, ‘food parenting’ is growing ; to become a blend of traditional foods with some modern culinary influences. When foods like ghee, cold pressed oils, moringa, turmeric (curcumin) etc are taking the international food community by storm, Indian parents are re-evaluating the Indian diet for the benefits it provides.
The Immunity Boosting Powder is a recipe which was put together by minds which understood the potency of when choice ingredients are blended together in a specific ratio. The most important criteria for a child’s health is to help strengthen the immune system. A child’s immunity begins developing as soon as the baby is born and builds on further with breastfeeding. Once the breastfeeding phase is over, it is the kids lifestyle (nutrition, exercise, sleep, emotional health, gut health), that plays a crucial role in boosting immunity. After the age of 1 when the body is exposed more and more to the surroundings, kitchen remedies are a better route to wellness rather than strong prescription medication, unless really needed.
In that regard the immunity powder is a well rounded blend of vital ingredients which target the enhancement of a growing immune system, still in the nascent stage. It gives a growing child adequate protection to combat the many viruses which bombard the environment today. In the old days a glass of aromatic, herb infused drink would be thrust into the hands of a child just before she/he dashed out to play or sometimes soon after waking up. It would be glugged down without question, almost absentmindedly. That’s how the elders took care of large families especially joint families which (maybe) even contained a dozen or more children in one household!
Whether they were splashing about in the well or playing in the hot son, the health elixir would provide enough protection to keep the common bugs at bay. There is so much evidence which points to the efficacy of this ancient adage which believes “prevention is better than cure”
Today not many children will agree to something forced down the gullet, no questions asked. It’s not their fault, it is just how they have been taught to perceive the world; by being inquisitive, to initiate curiosity etc
As adults we need to understand that evolution of sense and taste and find alternate ways to include the immunity boosting powder in their daily diet rather than initiating a forceful battle of chugging it down. Fortunately the ingredients which go into this powder have a well rounded taste profile and don’t have any unpleasant aroma or flavour. As a result it can be easily added to several dishes.
For the children who love their milk, half a teaspoon of the powder can be added to their glass just before bedtime. It’s great for adding in buttermilk too; sweet or savoury. A little jaggery for sweetness enhances the benefits further.
When it comes to adding the powder to other foods, it is a very easy task. Make a mix of their favorite tikki and add the powder in the end just before making the discs. Add it to vegetable cutlets ,samosa, vada and watch them munch away happily, to heart’s content.
A tandoori marinade or a green herb marinade with mint and coriander is also another great base to incorporate this immunity boosting powder into. Add cubes of paneer, potato, capsicum, tomatoes and onions for a lip smacking choice of grilled vegetarian fare.
A dosa or roti stuffing is made with a mix of spices, herbs and aromatics. It will absorb the immunity powder perfectly without altering the taste. Grate in some radish, mash the peas, saute’ the cauliflower florets and generously add the immunity powder mix to make your child’s favourite paratha.
A raita accompaniment with the strong flavours of roasted garlic or the sweeter flavours of pomegranate can make an equally good dish to enhance the taste and aroma of the immunity powder.
Use it also to spice up delicious biryani , pulao or any flavoured rice. Homemade sauces instead of the store bought ketchup can be used to give a further nutritional boost with the addition of the immunity powder.
Teach a child to appreciate the taste of an idli podi with a generous dollop of desi ghee, it will be one of the best contributions to long term health. The podi is a magical blend of ingredients which contain a mix of lentils, spices and herbs roasted together before being pounded with salt to do a complex dance on the palate. The ghee then flows over each miniscule grain and pulls all the flvours in to coat the tongue in unison while allowing the salivary glands to coax the piece of idli into the depths of podi deliciousness. To this (grandma’s) recipe of podi, a few spoonfuls of the immunity powder will add tremendous health benefits.
For the staunch dosa fans , smear the podi on the inside as it crisps up on the tava and it is a taste which the children will get hooked onto for life !
Another equally enticing option for the older ones (children) is to use it in a variety of their favourite street food, chaat. An explosion of sweet , spicy, sour, salty and an array of incredible textures ranging from crisp, soft, crunchy, smooth and spongy; a chaat dish can be as unique and cater to each individual’s likes and preferences. The final taste is so intense and full bodied that it can easily incorporate a sprinkling of the immunity powder within each single serving. A great blend of indulgence and wellness!
Adolescents who are on the rush tend to have a million things to get through in a day. Studies, projects, assignments, sports, music, art... so much to accomplish within 24 hours. Most often they resort to endless cups of tea and the only way to get in some immune system strengthening is to add a spoon of powder to that hot beverage. And they must be made to understand that in order to accomplish dreams, it is vital to nurture the immune system.
Adding a little bit of the immunity powder to home made butter and eating it with a hot roti is a heady combination...a must try ! A favourite home made snack for Indian kids is undoubtedly a ladoo. It’s also so convenient for parents to blend together nutritious ingredients in a bite sized snack which can be enjoyed while on-the-go.
Take your pick from til laddoo, boondi laddoo made with gram flour or one made with dates, jaggery and nuts. Each one is delicious in its own unique way. A quarter teaspoon of immunity powder mixed in while forming each of the laddoo balls turns them into superfood snacks for the ever hungry teen/young adult.
A hot upma or poha, bisibelabath , puliyodhare, chitranna, coconut rice etc are dishes which serve the purpose of perfectly nailing hunger pangs every time. Enriching comfort foods like these by adding a small quantity of the immunity powder is perhaps one of the easiest ways to give the family the much needed invisible cloak of armour for the wellness of their immune system.
And the added benefit is that it keeps the parent happy (especially mom?)
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In desi breeds of cows and buffaloes the colostrum is produced in excess of what the young calf needs. The excess if not collected just gets wasted and if not milked, leaves the animal feeling uncomfortable. Bovine colostrum is a part of not just the Indian traditional diet but an ancient one. When rearing cows was a part of the household chores and the animals were looked after like family, the excess first milk was seen as an offering and became a part of the family diet. The Indian cow was not harmed or put to any torture for this extraction process. It was just a natural circle of man & animal co-existence. Many farm today still practice this kind of beautiful bond. It must be seen to be understood.
It has since been considered to be the mother of all health elixirs comprising all sorts of roots, shoots, herbs, seeds and fresh ingredients. One of the most prominent ingredients in the Chyawanprash is the Amla or the Indian Goosberry. It has more Vitamin C than citrus fruits and is vital to combat respiratory illnesses, prevent muscular spasms and boost immunity.
Chyawanprash can be had either in the morning or evening or both times, if so prescribed. For children, it is best to have a small spoonful once a day. It can be mixed with desi cow milk or just eaten off the spoon. Some folks like to spread it on bread for breakfast but that does not conform to traditional practices so the efficacy of that might not be as potent. The Chyawanprash also helps dispel lethargy or listlessness of the brain and body.