Sometimes, all we need is just good food to brighten the day. Good nutrition plays a vital role in our lives. It promotes optimal growth and development, reduces the risk of chronic diseases and overall helps in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Both macro and micronutrients are equally needed in the right amounts to support health and well-being.
Many campaigns are conducted to support healthy eating and eradicate malnutrition in India. As a part of one such movement, every year September 1st-7th is celebrated as “National Nutrition Week” with an objective to spread awareness among people regarding good nutrition and healthy eating.
The theme for this year by Cloudnine is “Flavors of India” focusing on various healthy foods across all regions, cultures and cuisines. India is a land of “Unity in Diversity”. Significantly, the variety lies in the crops, climate and cuisines of each part.
Geographically occupying the mid position of culturally diversified India - States like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh are considered the “Heart of India”. With the richness of values and traditions from all the neighboring states, Central India is known for integrating all of them but standing unique.
Major crops grown include wheat, rice, ragi, kodo, dal, seeds, maize, singhada [chestnut] and sugarcane, and fruits like mango, guava, jamun, etc. While few parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh eat wheat as their staple food, the population of Chhattisgarh & Jharkhand considers Rice and Fish as the main cuisine.
Authentic recipes like Poha, Madwa ki Roti [Ragi Roti], Dhuska [deep fried rice and dal preparation], Gond ka Ladoo, Dal Baati, Dal Pitha [steamed dal momos], Chilka Roti, Khapra Roti, etc. are packed with all the essential nutrients. It is good and healthy for all age groups, especially for kids, pregnant women and lactating mothers. Bamboo shoot preserves and other pickled vegetables are very famous among recipes for lactating mothers.
Focusing on these significant phases of life - Pregnancy, Lactation and Childhood Central India like other parts of the country to have dedicated recipes to help in meeting their special nutritional needs. Especially during pregnancy and lactation, eating healthy and in the right amounts will have positive effects on the growing fetus.
Increased nutrition intake is required to support the growth of her placenta, uterus and breast tissue. Women additionally need 300-500 kcal/day of energy, 15-25 g protein, omega-3 fatty acid, calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin and mineral during pregnancy and lactation respectively. During lactation, special emphasis should be paid to the intake of natural galactagogues.
Below we provide some recipes for pregnant and lactating mothers using some of the beloved ingredients from central India.
Benefits - Singhara dumplings with flax seed chutney can be a great evening snack as it has paneer which is rich in protein and calcium for bone strengthening during pregnancy and lactation. Singhara flour is rich in antioxidants, improves the growth of the fetus and helps in regulating blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It helps to stop bleeding during lactation and helps in milk production.
Dill leaves, flaxseed and sesame seeds are again good galactagogues and help in digestion and protect from bacterial infection.
Benefits - Chikki has high calories which are needed in pregnancy and lactation. It has ginger which helps in relieving nausea and vomiting, intestinal cramping and prevents flatulence during pregnancy.
Ginger, jaggery and coconut are also natural galactagogues that are good for lactation. Edible gum (gond) boosts immunity and is rich in iron and calcium. It helps in improving lactation as well.
Dry Dates are good sources of iron and it prevents anaemia. It is also a rich source of fibre and hence good to relieve constipation.
Healthy dietary habits help in building and strengthening immunity in kids and they provide nourishment for the growing brain. Under or over-nourishment during childhood leads to many lifestyle disorders. Nutrients like proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals play an important role during this stage.
Below is a tasty recipe that can be tried for your little one.
Benefits- Niger seeds are power packed with amino acids that help cure asthma, wheezing and any kind of respiratory inflammation. Dates and jaggery will also add iron to the body.
Shivani Bavalekar, Vashi
Divya R, Kanakapura Road
Pooja Kedia, Whitefield