By Dr Seema Khanna
Mangoes are the most widely consumed fruits in the world. Also called the king of fruits, it is the richest source of beta carotene and carbohydrate, an instant source of energy. Yellow fruits like mango contain beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. About 100 gm of mangoes contain 16.9 gm of carbohydrates, 74 kcal of calories or energy (2743 mg of carotene which is 10 per cent of RDA). This fruit is also a rich source of Vitamin C that aids your immune system and helps to absorb iron, promoting growth and repair.
Children in the growth spurt period need nutrients more than the recommended allowances. Mangoes are easily digestible for kids because of their soft pulp and can be introduced at the age of eight months. The high fibre content reduces constipation and other gastro intestinal disorders. The antioxidant zeaxanthin found in mangoes filters out harmful blue right rays and plays a protective role in eye health and possibly wards off damage from muscular degeneration, asthma prevention, cancer, bone health and heart diseases. As this fruit is rich in Vitamin A & C, it is really beneficial for the skin of children.
Almost all children like mangoes due to their sweet and sour taste. Mango mixed with curd is a very healthy probiotic drink. For children below the age of one year, crush mango pulp, add sugar and a small quantity of milk to be given or prepare a thin or light mango shake. Raw green mangoes, after peeling and deseeding can be steamed, topped with a good amount of sugar, black salt, asafetida (hing) and roasted cumin seeds for Aam Panna. After steaming properly, blend the mixture finely, add water and prepare a thin liquid and refrigerate it. This drink helps in preventing loose motion and heat strokes.
Apart from this, kids also love freshly made frooti. This can be made by using mango pulp and mixing it with water. You can also add pudhina and jeera to taste. This drink is good for kids with lactose intolerance.
Mango Basil Iced Tea Shake
Take ripe mango pulp, 3/4 cup tea steeped in hot water and cooled, 2 large basil leaves or 4 medium sized, a sweetener and a good amount of ice. Blend all of it in a mixture. Serve immediately.
There are many ways to eat a fruit. We generally consume it as a salad or with milkshakes. But with mangoes, the story is different. It can be enjoyed on its own. Take a ripe mango and peel it. Take off the seed with a skewer. From the bottom start slicing it into petals. This makes it more appealing to kids, but if it seems too time-consuming and difficult, just cut it into pieces and squeeze half a lemon on it allowing it to enter every petal. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, chili powder or our very own chaat masala over it and enjoy.
Make a puree of a ripe mango. Add 1/4th of the quantity of cold milk and custard powder. Blend it well to avoid lumps. In another bowl, beat fresh cream and powdered sugar in a bowl and keep aside. Heat milk in a pan and add sugar. Heat for two minutes and add the custard powder and milk mixture to it. Follow it by adding the mango purée mixture to it. Heat the complete mixture till the custard becomes thick. Take it out in a bowl and add fresh cream to it. You can top it with cherries, almonds or raisins. Refrigerate it ahead of serving.
(The writer is a consultant nutritionist.)