Feed your children the right foods to protect them against the threat of monsoon diseases, suggests expert nutritionist Neelanjana Singh. 

Everyone loves the rainy season for all its merits, such as the lush greenery and clean air. But the flip side is the threat of diseases that spread during this season, such as malaria, dengue, typhoid, and stomach flu.

Children are especially prone to picking up bugs, since they spend so much time outdoors. The task of protecting them from contracting infections falls upon parents, who must take various preventive steps. Of all the possible measures, the most important is a child’s diet. Eating nutritious, immunity boosting foods helps children stay well.

Here are some of my favourite foods for kids:

#1 Proteins are number one on my list.

Unless your children get the right quality and amount of protein, their bodies’ defenses will not function at full capacity. So, make sure their daily meals have enough high quality protein. Though animal protein is nutritionally superior, you can get protein from vegetarian sources too. Just ensure meals have plenty of milk/yogurt, cheese, mushrooms, soy, legumes and nuts.

#2 Honey can keep you fighting fit.

While on the subject of health boosting foods, I must speak of honey. There’s lots to say, in praise of honey. First of all, this food contains over 200 beneficial compounds, and has been held in high regard since ancient times. Secondly, honey is endorsed by modern medicine for it’s anti-bacterial, antioxidant and healing properties.

Finally, the sugars in honey are a favourite food of the friendly bacteria in the gut, consequently increasing immunity.  Just make sure you choose the dark-colored variety of honey.

#3 Foods like dahi, lassi, chhach, raita or yoghurt ensure a good population of immunity-boosting organisms.

The probiotic or good bacteria in yoghurt and related foods have an immuno-protective role to play in your body. So do make sure your kids get enough dahi or lassi daily. Also, don’t forget to provide fodder for these helpful bugs to thrive. Choose fibrous feasts, since probiotic bacteria enjoy these the most. Foods that provide roughage are a favourite.

That’s why it’s healthier to eat fruit with edible peels than guzzle the juices. For the same reason, it’s best to choose wholewheat flour overmaida or refined flour, because the latter lacks fibre.

Neelanjana Singh is the President, Indian Dietetics Association, Delhi Chapter, and a Nutrition Therapist affiliated with PSRI Hospital & Heinz Nutri Life Clinic, and the author of  ‘Our Kid Eats Everything’.