Ayurvedic nutrition for kids + Healthy food ideas for kids

Ayurvedic Nutrition + Healthy Food Ideas For Kids

Ayurvedic Nutrition For Kids

Here we take a look at some Ayurveda-inspired food ideas for kids’ nutrition. We also take a look at some healthy meal suggestions and ways to improve children’s digestive power (called agni in Ayurveda).

We all want our kids to be healthy and well-nourished.  As per contemporary medicine, nutrition for kids is based on the same principles as nutrition for adults.

They require necessary vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats with a caloric intake suitable for their ages.

It is important to note that dietary habits established in childhood often carry into adulthood.

Thus teaching children how to eat healthy at a young age will help them stay healthy throughout their lives.

In Ayurveda, we all talk about prakriti or body constitution in adults. Is this applicable to children as well? My answer would be Yes!

Dietary habits established in childhood often carry into adulthood.

While explaining the concept of prakriti, Ayurvedic scholar Vagbhata in his medical text Ashtanga Hridaya, has mentioned that the prakriti of a person is determined at the time of conception.

Vagbhata has even mentioned a wonderful simile to explain this.

prakriti Ayurvedic nutrition for kids + Healthy food ideas for kids

He says, just as a snake carries its poison from birth, the prakriti or bodily constitution of a person is also established from birth.

So it is believed that a  child has their own prakriti or constitution that is established at birth.

Therefore, when we talk about Ayurvedic nutrition and healthy food ideas for kids, we should keep in mind that each child is different and has their own bodily constitution according to which they should eat.

Despite the differences in each individual’s constitution, there are some common Ayurvedic steps which everybody can follow or incorporate into their life as required (this goes for children’s nutrition as well).

Agni or Digestive fire

Agni is the power of transformation and digestion. No fire, no health. Read on to learn how to remedy your fire. Ayurvedic nutrition for kids + Healthy food ideas for kids

Ayurveda mentions the word agni as an important factor of digestion and metabolism in our body. Thus, agni literally translates to ‘digestive fire’ in Ayurveda.

Ingested food is to be digested, absorbed, and assimilated. This task is essential for staying alive and is performed majorly by the agni.

Agni converts food in the form of energy, which is responsible for all the vital functions of the body.

Therefore, Ayurveda considers that dehagni (the body’s agni) is the cause of life, complexion, strength, health, nourishment, luster, ojas, teja (energy) and prana (life energy).1

Read More: Ayurveda Basics – Agni, The Digestive Fire

How To Improve Digestion In Kids?

Herbs and Ayurvedic medicines aren’t necessary to improve digestion in kids.

However, you can use the minimum amount of safe Ayurvedic spices and herbs like pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger while cooking. This improves digestion in children.

Other things to follow for improving the agni (digestive power) are the following.

  • Make sure they eat at regular hours during the day.
  • Maintain a healthy gap of 2 or more hours between meals and snacks.
  • Include healthy spices in meals and promote healthy and nutritious snacking.
  • Avoid heavy foods like cheese, yogurt, deep-fried foods (these are harder to digest).
  • Give water boiled with cumin seeds or coriander seeds for drinking.

Ayurvedic nutrition deals with the detailed nutritional aspects of food.

It also takes into account our food intake and manner of eating, the nature of the foodstuff, agnibala (enzymatic the activity of digestive metabolism), the process of cooking, blending, time of year, and surroundings and settings, etc.2

Read More: Ayurvedic Lunch For Kids+ Ayurveda Inspired Lunchbox Recipes

Healthy Food Ideas For Kids

Ayurvedic nutrition for kids + Healthy food ideas for kids

  • Remember to fill half the plate with vegetables. Rather than giving them raw veggies, steam cook the vegetables or roast them in a little ghee (clarified butter).
  • Serve whole-grain bread and cereals because they are high in fiber. Reduce refined grains.
  • Limit the use of junk food and artificial flavors.
  • Use healthy sources of proteins like lentils, nuts, and eggs. If allergic to nuts or eggs, use lentils as the main source of protein.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and sodas, freshly-squeezed fruit juices are a better alternative. Even warm water can be given at frequent times during the day.

Kids, especially younger ones, will eat mostly what’s available at home. That’s why it’s important for you to be mindful of the foods that you give to kids for meals and snacks.

Stock up on fruits and vegetables. Make sure you serve at least 4-5 serving of fruits or vegetables in a day.

Try to choose healthy snacks for your kids like Greek yogurt, whole-grain crackers, dried fruits, and others.

Read More: Healthy Snacks For Kids – 3 Easy To Prepare Ayurveda-Inspired Recipes

Children tend to imitate their parents. Be a role model for them. You can’t expect your child to eat healthy if you yourself don’t have a healthy diet.

Family meals can be a comforting ritual for both parents and kids. Try to have meals with the entire family at least once a day. Involve your kids in meal planning and cooking so they enjoy the entire process.

References

  1. Ayu. 2010 Jul-Sep; 31(3): 395–398. doi: 10.4103/0974-8520.77159PMCID: PMC3221079 PMID: 22131747 Akash Kumar Agrawal, C. R. Yadav, and M. S. Meena
  2. J Tradit Complement Med. 2015 Oct; 5(4): 228–233. Published online 2015 Mar 24. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2014.12.009PMCID: PMC4624353 PMID: 26587393

Arya Krishna is an Ayurvedic Practitioner, educator, and speaker. She completed her Bachelors in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Amrita School of Ayurveda, Kerala, India. She is registered as an Ayurveda doctor (Reg No: 14664) under the Indian Medical Council. She received a Fellowship in Orthopedic Rehabilitation from Apollo group of Institutions, Hyderabad. An editor with the International Ayurvedic Medical Journal, she previously served as the associate editor of the American Ayurvedic Journal of Health. Before moving to the US in 2015, she was Resident Medical Officer (Ayurveda) in AyurVAID hospital, Bangalore and has knowledge and experience in precision and evidence-based Ayurveda. She was an Ayurveda Domain expert with Health Connect 24 – a unique platform to bring together Ayurveda, Yoga and swadeshi. She is efficient in performing all Panchakarma procedures (purification therapies) and has knowledge of Marma Therapy. Other areas of expertise include Ayurveda diet and lifestyle, women’s health, and rasayana (rejuvenation). She works for the promotion and propagation of Ayurveda by offering lectures, webinars and contributing to various journals. She is a resource person for the Council of Ayurveda Research (CAR) and is an Ayurvedic blogger with Mother Earth Living. Currently, she is residing in Danville, Pennsylvania and is listed as a BAMS doctor with AAPNA (Association of Ayurveda Practitioners of North America). She is an Ayurveda Consultant and Educational coordinator with Be Mind Body Skin, New Jersey and Subject Matter Expert at At Home with Ayurveda, UK.

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