Young children are always on the move. If their water intake isn’t sufficient and their meals and snacks aren’t hydrating enough, your little ones could potentially suffer from dehydration. With the soaring mercury, it is important to supplement children’s diets with hydrating, interesting food along with plenty of water.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again. To make summers easier for our children, fans, ACs, and coolers are running at maximum capacity, water bottles are being refilled at regular intervals, and cold showers are mandated at the end of each play session.
Rightly so. Experts say that our little ones are more susceptible to dehydration than adults due to more body surface area per kilo of weight, less sweating, and lesser heat tolerance.
While water is the best way to keep your little one hydrated, most kids don’t take their body cues seriously enough to take regular water breaks during active play sessions. Therefore, it is equally important to supplement them with water-intrinsic food during the day.
We’ve made your job a little easier by compiling some summer-cool food ideas to keep your little ones thriving.
1. Muskmelon Popsicle
Apart from the fact that muskmelon has 90% water content, it is a great source of Vitamins C and A.
To make the popsicle, cut the flesh out of its rind and put it in a blender. You don’t need to add sugar as melon is naturally very sweet. However, if your child prefers a little more sweetness, add a teaspoon of honey. Blend everything together.
Pour the mixture into a popsicle mould. Freeze overnight or for six hours at least.
Note: Do not feed honey to children below 12 months of age as it may contain a bacterial spore that can cause infant botulism.
2. Mango Milkshake
Mango and low-fat milk have up to 83% and 91% water content respectively.
Making a mango milkshake is quite simple and there is room to make your own tweaks as well.
Blend together chunks of a mango and a cup of chilled milk (should have been boiled and cooled). Optionally, you can also add a few cashew nuts for extra protein, a dash of vanilla or a pinch of cardamom powder for aroma, and sugar or honey for sweetness.
Note: If your child is below 12 months of age, use formula or breast milk as a substitute for animal milk.
3. Make A Smoothie
Coconut water has 95% water content in it. Duh! But did you know that it is also rich in electrolytes? This is why it is the perfect drink for children.
If you have trouble getting your child to drink coconut water as is, make it interesting. Get them to make a refreshing coconut water-based smoothie with you.
First, mix a tablespoon of chia seeds in two tablespoons of water and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Into a blender, add a cup of coconut water, the flesh of a tender coconut, a cup of your favourite fruits or berries (frozen and fresh strawberries, watermelon, or pomegranate work well), and the chia seeds. Blend everything.
Add sugar or honey, if necessary. Pour into a glass with a straw for your child to enjoy.
4. Yoghurt Bark
Yoghurt, with its 88% water content and more than 8 grams of protein (per 245 g), is the OG hunger saviour for kids.
If you have a fridge with a working freezer and some seasonal fruits, yoghurt bark is the easiest thing you can make.
First, mix one tablespoon maple syrup in a cup of yoghurt. Pour this onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread the mixture evenly. In a bowl, chop up the fruits: we love strawberries, blueberries, and kiwis. Top the yoghurt with the chopped fruits and freeze overnight.
Once frozen, take the tray out of the fridge and gently break up the frozen yoghurt. Serve immediately.
5. Fruit Skewer
Seasonal fruits are the best snacks. Period.
They help maintain our little ones’ seasonal health; they have high nutritional value; and they are cheaper than off-season fruits.
Fruit skewers are best enjoyed fresh. So keep all your ingredients ready. Wash up all the fruits (what works: banana, green and black grapes, pineapple, mango, kiwi, orange slices, strawberries) and chop them into cubes. Thread the fruits on a wooden skewer.
You can make things interesting by piping some melted chocolate over the skewer.
6. Watermelon Sorbet
What summer fruit has water in its name and is 92% water? It’s a no-brainer, of course.
Here is how you can make a watermelon sorbet: Freeze two cups of seedless watermelon chunks. Blend the frozen melon cubes, a tablespoon of lime juice, some honey, and two-thirds of a cup of water until it’s smooth. Freeze for another 10 minutes in a snack box. Serve a scoop to your little one in a bowl.
7. Chilled Fruit Salad
If you have too many ripe fruits in your kitchen and don’t know what to do with them, this one’s for you.
Chop up the fruits (we love blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, apple, banana, orange, mango, and grapes) and add to a large snack box. If you wish, you could gently toss the fruits in some yoghurt that has been slightly flavoured with frozen strawberries or slightly sweetened with maple syrup or honey. Let the salad chill in the fridge for an hour. Enjoy.
General note: Avoid giving sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, and sugar to children below the age of 12 months.
We all love it when our kids have fun. But it is extra special when they eat and drink their food willingly. These fun and easy recipes are not just for nutrition, you could also get your kids to help you make their favourite snack. That’s another way to keep them busy and active this summer.