Native to India, mangoes were first cultivated in the Northeast India, Bangladesh and Myanmar about 25-30 million years ago. Also called the king of fruits, mangoes have enjoyed their own prized place in the history of India and its relationship with the world. It is one of the very few fruits that has found a coveted place in Hindu religious scriptures. Food Historian KT Achaya in his book, 'A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food' writes, "From it's very first mention as 'amra' in the Brahadarnayaka Upanishad (c.1000 BC) and in the slightly later Shatapatha Brahmana, the virtues of mango fruit have been extolled for three thousand years." It is said that mangoes were also very dear to Lord Buddha. He used to meditate in the tranquillity of lush mango groves. Of the most popular legends and yore, the Mughal fixation with mangoes wins hands down. Mangoes were used as tenderisers in the making of the delectable Mughlaikebabs. Mango grafting too was issued only by royal patronage until Emperor Shah Jahan lifted limitations, KT Achaya writes in his book 'A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food'. During the 16th century, the sea-faring Portuguese were so lured with the mangoes in Kerala, that they also took the fruit and its seeds and introduced it to Africa.
With a history as delicious, mangoes make for one of the most popular fruits across the world. In addition to being sumptuous, pulpy and amazing, mangoes pack a host of health benefits too! (As if we needed any more reason to gorge on to this amazing fruit)
"That's too much chocolate," said no child ever. So much so that eating too much chocolate is a bone of contention between parents and children that often causes meltdowns at home. Chocolate has been made a villain in the battle against the bulge for a very long time now. I am no dietitian, but I do know that if this was the case, the Mayans and the Aztecs would have been really obese.
As a patisserie chef, my experience tells me it is not chocolate or cocoa that is fattening, but how it is prepared and more importantly, how much of it you eat. It is usually the sugars that make you put on weight, and not the cocoa. The health benefits of chocolate are found in cocoa, which is bitter, and most children refuse to eat it. To make it more palatable, fat and sugar are added which increases the calories and decreases the health benefits.
Childhood obesity is a serious concern in the recent years. Dark chocolate can be part of a healthy diet for your child if you allow them to consume it in small portions. Pick dark chocolate with at least 65 percent cocoa for a healthier choice but the key point to remember is to consume it in moderation. In any case, the excess of anything is bad.
Given a chance, chocolate can be incorporated into some really nutritious dishes that can be made for kids who seem to have an aversion to food the moment their mothers say 'healthy'.
Kids are known to be picky eaters, making them eat what is healthy and will help them stay active is a difficult task altogether. Children often develop a natural preference for food they enjoy eating the most. So, the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing. No matter how good your intentions are, it is always going to be difficult for you to convince your child that fruits are as sweet as blueberry cheesecake.
We have a solution to this. How about covering up healthy meals under the wrap of their favourite food? Without making healthy food dull, give junk food a makeover with staples like multi-grain, wheat and ragi accompanied by goodness of vegetables and fruits.
According to Ritika Samaddar, Delhi based nutritionist, “The body requirements of children vary according to different age groups. Young children are attracted to various shapes, sizes and bright colours. Green roti for instance can be roti with goodness of spinach or fried rice with a pinch of turmeric and green vegetables. Another way is batter fried vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes. Also, provide your kids with a lot of probiotics like curd with freshly chopped mangoes or cucumber or sweet lassi.”
Rewrite the menu for your kids. They would still have pizzas but made with a multi-grain base and healthy veggies as toppings. They would still munch on cookies but swap store bought ones to calcium rich ragi cookies. That's a great way to curb their fast food cravings and keep an eye on their salt and sugar intake.
Another way to get them to eat healthy meals is to work on the presentation. A bowl of soup with a dash of crème poured artistically or chopped fruits like bananas, strawberries, oranges, kiwis presented creatively on a plate with loud and bright colours will pull kids towards fun foods.
(Kids Who Skip Breakfast Risk Diabetes)
Nutritionist Ritika Samaddar suggests, “You should play with colours and make efforts for presentation of the food. Cold and colourful fruits like watermelons are always a hit.
Watermelon cut into triangles with the rind still attached works well in my home.”
“Alternatively, a melon baller can be used to make balls from watermelon and musk melon. This is a great 11 am snack along with some nuts,” says Bangalore based Shalini Manglani.
(Is your child a fussy eater? Here's what NOT to say)
Here's a treasure trove of ten healthy recipes that your kids will absolutely fall in love with.
1. Multigrain Pizza
Recipe by Chef Seema Chandra and Chetan Seth
Replace the regular pizza base with a healthy multigrain base. Use a fresh pesto sauce instead of ketchup and use some healthy toppings.
Diabetes is a condition where the levels of blood sugar in the body are persistently high for either of two reasons - the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body is not able to process the insulin effectively. These are known as Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, respectively. Some common symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue etc. Diabetics need to be very careful about what they eat to as to avoid any sudden spikes in levels of blood sugar. This is why diabetics are advised to shun processed and junk foods and instead include more foods and drinks that may regulate release of glucose or sugar in the blood and whole grains are one such category of foods that are considered healthy for diabetics.
Whole grains are rich in fibre and beneficial micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals and hence are ideal for a diabetes diet. A number of whole grains are already used abundantly in Indian kitchens and a popular whole grain that Indians have always used is bajra, which belongs to the family of millets. Technically speaking, millets are grass, but they have been consumed as food grains in certain parts of the world and have come to be known as such in culinary cultures. In India, bajra has been a prized part of regional cuisines since pre-historic times, on account of being energising nutritional powerhouse.