Jackfruit, known as vegan meat, has many health benefits for the family

Jackfruit packs in a lot of nutrition. (Source: Getty Images)

By Dr Seema Khanna

Jackfruit is a unique tropical fruit with a distinctive sweet flavour and is used to prepare a wide variety of dishes in different regions of India, especially south India. Raw jackfruit is used to prepare curry with a blend of spices while the ripe one is used to prepare snacks like chips, while the nut is fried or roasted. It is packed with antioxidants, potassium and phosphorus. These are crucial in fighting free radicals that damage the cells. About 100 gm of jackfruit gives 19.8 gm of carbohydrate, 80 gm energy, 20 mg calcium and 41 mg phosphorus.

Jackfruit, also commonly known as vegan meat due to its texture, is comparable to shredded meat. Jackfruit has properties that help control blood sugar management. It has a low glycaemic index. This has been attributed to the fibre it provides, which slows down the process of absorption of sugar or carbohydrate improving the blood sugar levels.

In kids, jackfruit can be introduced (especially the pulp) after the age of four years once the kids have all their teeth, as it is important for them to chew the jackfruit properly. Because the fruit contains a lot of fiber, it may choke the throat. The seed of jackfruit can be fried and given to kids as snack as this is a safer form than the pulp. The pulp can be prepared as a dry vegetable mixed with spices, gravies and curd. A watery curry can also be prepared. Try these jackfruit dishes:

Vegan Jackfruit Pot Pie

Everybody needs some comfort food now and then, and nothing comes to the rescue more than a pot pie. You don't have to miss out on this American favourite just because you avoid meat. Potatoes, carrots, peas and jackfruit all come together in a creamy sauce, which is surrounded by flaky and delicious pastry dough. Bake, enjoy and you'll hardly miss the chicken (if you even notice it at all!).

Jackfruit Tortilla Soup

Soup is good for chilly nights and when you're feeling under the weather. When you want to feel warm from the inside out, try out this jackfruit tortilla soup. It's made with onion, green chilli, tomatoes, jackfruit and topped with crispy tortilla strips and savoury cilantro.

Jackfruit Curry

If you love Eastern inspired food, you probably enjoy a good curry dish now and then. This Thai curry recipe packs tons of flavour and will make your house smell even better. Coconut milk, red curry paste, garlic, ginger, kumquats, purple potatoes- the list goes on for all that goes into this dish.

Jackfruit is a healthy fruit which is extremely nutritious for the kids. But, we should be very careful about serving them to little kids.

(The writer is a consultant nutritionist.)