We always want our children to be in the pink of health. Ayurveda has the right wisdom that can be easily applied to children to support their health. Since Ayurveda fundamentally takes a preventative approach to health and wellbeing, it aims to correct the imbalances that crop up in kids.
Every child’s body is made up of three doshas—Vata, Pitta and Kapha. According to Ayurveda, understanding a child’s constitution provides insight into how to support his or her strength, health, and wellbeing, while protecting him/her against predictable vulnerabilities.
Vata type of children is usually lighter, leaner build with an irregular appetite. Pitta children have moderate physical build, and have sharp appetite. These children should eat regularly because they cannot tolerate skipping meals. Kapha, on the other hand, manifests in children as a solid and sturdy physique. These children have mild appetite and slower digestion.
Ayurvedic approach to a kid’s lunch
Ayurveda says that the digestive agni in children is maximum during lunch time. Their body gets influenced by the movement of the sun and the digestive agni is, therefore, high when the sun is the strongest. As the sun goes down, our food intake should be reduced. Hence, a kid’s lunch should be heavy and dinner light.
Let’s find out how Ayurveda can inspire us to pack nutritious and tasty lunch boxes for kids as they go to school. Children will only finish off their lunch boxes when they get tasty food of their choice. So it’s a challenge to prepare lunch boxes with tasty as well as nutritious food.
Studies have proved that fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products should comprise children’s school meals, which would effectively promote healthy eating behaviours in children as well as meet their growth and developmental requirements.
Always prepare lunch for your kids fresh without leftovers. As it should be the largest meal of the day, it should be filling. Preparing lunch for your kid according to his/her Prakriti (Ayurvedic constitution, dosha or body type) can help the child attain proper immunity and will also help him/her to prevent from diseases. Also, ensure that the food stays warm, so give your child a thermo-insulated lunch box. Warm food provides proper nourishment and balance to the body.
Ayurvedic lunch for kids doesn’t mean it has to be Indian food or ethnic food only. Ayurveda is all about balancing the doshas and bringing relief through the balance. So it can be any food as far as it balances the doshas in the kid. For example, if you have a hyperactive child, you may give him/her food that calms her down. Root vegetables that grow underneath the ground have earthiness in them. They will provide calming, or sattvic effect to the mind of the kid.
Healthy lunch ideas
Lemon rice: Rice is filling and healthy for kids. It contains carbohydrate, which gives energy to the kid. To make rice tasty to the liking of the kid, you can make lemon rice, which contains ghee (clarified butter), urad dal (black gram), chana dal (chickpea), cashews, ginger, turmeric, lemons and coriander leaves. All these ingredients are healthy and filling. With rice you can give a side dish of roasted mixed vegetables like carrots, capsicum, or any other green vegetables.
Sandwiches with green vegetables are another healthy and filling option. Try to use brown breads, if possible. You can use chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, feta and fresh lettuce for the sandwich.
Ayurvedic pizza: You can also include Ayurvedic pizza, baked french fries, veggie burgers in your weekly lunch box menu. For Ayurvedic pizza, you can be creative and make the pizza base with tortillas or chapatis. For toppings, use broccoli, zucchini, tofu, fresh organic mozzarella cheese, and olives.
An Ayurvedic recipe is never complete without spices, so use turmeric, which helps to stimulate digestion and boosts immunity. Ginger helps in digestion and maintains healthy respiratory system. It also balances Vata and Kapha doshas. Coriander spice balances all the three doshas.
Baked vegetables: Baked sweet potato with plenty of ghee or olive oil, a little fresh lemon juice, good mineral-rich salt tastes delicious. It also provides the warmth, energy, and nerve nutrition. It is not only tasty but also full of nutrients like vitamins A and C and magnesium.
Baked tofu balances Vata, decreases Pitta, and increases Kapha. Organic tofu baked with coconut oil is delicious and healthy. You can also wrap the tofu with a chapatti to make it more filling.