“Mom, what have you prepared for snacks today?” shouted 5-year-old Aarush from the living room to his mom who was fervently making hot dosas for breakfast. Aarush’s mom was on fire literally choked from all sides with different activities-preparing breakfast for her husband, packing snacks for her son and getting meals ready for the entire day before leaving to work! A mom is a mom and pat comes the reply despite the bustling activities around her- “It’s your favorite cream biscuit” says mom and Aarush’s face lit up like a 1000-watts bulb on hearing the word ‘jam’. Jam, potato wafers, cream biscuits or other junk foods are the only ones preferred by kids nowadays and parents too find it helpful to pack them amongst their busy morning chores.
Schools have reopened, children are settling down to their daily routine and moms are already running out of healthy snacking ideas to impress their tiny tots or growing adolescents. Kids these days have exploding taste buds and it’s never easy to please them or make them enjoy something that’s originally not their cup of tea. At the same time, it makes no sense to compromise on health and nutrition to satisfy our children’s requirements. What we need is a balance between taste and nutrition which helps parents pack the perfect meal box staying away from repeating the same stuff daily.
One, Two, Three, Get Ready to Eat
Of the five food groups, isn’t it fair that we pack meals that contain at least any three of them to make our little stormers fit and ready for the ever-growing workload and smart skills? We need to respect and consider our child’s preferences and choices too! On the whole, you must be a smart parent who is tactic and equipped with creative skills to make boring healthy food look delicious and inviting to your kid. If you are able to bring a smile on your kid’s face when he/she opens the lunchbox, you have done well! You can even involve children in planning their meals/snacks, buying the required ingredients and assign small chores which make them look forward to the dining experience.
Maroon the typical idli, poha and sandwiches and try the following ideas to bring that one million-dollar smile on your child’s face:
Chole Vermicelli Pulao Recipe: Giving your child the feel of consuming noodles but replete with nutrition, this pulao will surely delight children during lunch. Boil some water in a pan, add little salt and add your required quantity of vermicelli leaving it for some 5-7 minutes. Once cooked, drain the vermicelli and keep it aside. Cook chickpeas and keep them. Add your choice of veggies, season it as per your choice, add the cooked vermicelli and chickpeas and garnish it with chopped coriander leaves.
Mexican Bhel: Bhel puri is an authentic Indian snack loved by people worldwide. People present numerous variations to the simple bhel making it tastier, inspiring and exciting. The idea to bring a Mexican twist to the authentic Indian snack is because of the simple fact that kids relish eating the different Mexican components such as the crispy tortillas, salsa and red kidney beans. You can make your own homemade salsa and tortillas before adding other ingredients such as boiled rajma (red kidney beans), boiled sweet corn kernels, color bell peppers, cheese and sev. After getting the ingredients ready, mix them all in a bowl (excluding the tortillas) adding a pinch of salt. Once done, add the tortillas and toss gently just before serving. Mexican bhel is ready to fill your child with nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and energy in the right quantities.
Avocado Cheese Parantha: Avocados have dominated the fruit markets recently and every city across India has a dedicated rack allocated to these good-fat fruits. Take 2 of the ripest avocados, deseed and mash them in a bowl. Mix them along with 2 cups of whole wheat flour, ¼ teaspoon of Ajwain seeds, some red chilli powder, coriander leaves, salt and warm water to knead it into a dough (just like your normal roti dough). Roll out the dough, add some cheese as a filling and fold into your preferred shape. Roll out the dough again and make the paratha using butter or oil to cook it completely. Don’t hesitate to serve them with a dollop of butter as kids are in their growing age and engaged in ample physical activities, both of which need enough nutrition and good fats.
Puffed Rice Upma: This is just like your Bhel puri, but with a little twist. You can either add the puffed rice directly to make the upma or wash it under running water for 30 seconds, strain it and keep it in a bowl. Add oil, seasonings, your choice of veggies, chillies, ginger, turmeric powder and salt, sauté them and then add the puffed rice. Stir everything together, add some coriander leaves and lemon juice to create a yummy snack recipe.
Crazy Dosa: Dosas are a usual meal menu in most South-Indian homes and children grow up eating these fluffy rice pancakes. Make dosas and cut them into your child’s favorite shape (Even simple ones such as triangles or rectangles or different ones such as clouds or half-moons impress kids) using a suitable food scissor.
Rice & Cucumber Pancakes: Though the ingredient combination sounds different, the taste will surely lure your kid to ask for more. Made of simple ingredients such as rice flour, grated cucumber, grated potatoes and gram flour, this snack is an energy-filled one with ample proteins, carbs and fiber. Add all the above ingredients along with some chopped green chilies and salt. Add some water and mix well bringing it to the consistency of a dosa batter. Spread a ladleful of batter on a tawa and use minimum oil to cook it till they turn brown on both sides.
Along with these foods, it is mandatory that you give one or two portions of fruits and vegetables to provide a complete meal for your growing kid. Cooking might be just a chore that needs to be done, but when you do it with interest, love, affection and good intention it becomes an activity that benefits both, you and your child. Try these easy recipes that taste great and make your child feel good. They delight your child’s taste buds, kindles his/her intelligence sensors and makes him/her active with energy to excel well in studies and physical health. For more such cooking and packing ideas, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.