Food for tot

Jan 06, 2013, 10:02 IST | Sonal Ved

So, you've sworn to eat healthy this year? Cheers to that. Now, it is time to spare some thought to your child's food habits, too. Sonal Ved speaks to chefs, a blogger and an enthusiastic homemaker who draw up a delicious, healthy dietary regime for children's many moods and hunger pangs throughout the day

So, you follow a strict diet of no fat, no sugar and no carbs. You’ve been taking brisk walks three times a week, swimming for the other two and doing weight training for the rest of the week. But are you just as conscious about your child’s dietas you are about your own weight? If you aren’t, it is time you did.

Chances are that you’re one of the millions of parents who smear their children’s chapattis with that extra dollop of butter, add a fat slice of cheese to their sandwich, give in to their cravings for indulgent desserts and are sometimes guilty of opening packet of junk foods to satisfy odd hunger pangs. But if you are thinking of putting a stop to this, there is no better time than the New Year. We speak to mothers and chefs for four fresh resolutions that you could incorporate in your child’s culinary schedule.

Alka Keshwani prepares energy-boosting granola bars for her son, Yash. Pic/Rohan Vanne 

Breakfast resolution: Insist on breakfast, even if it is on the go  

Recipe by food blogger Alka Deepak Keswani from and mother of 10 year-old Yash

Energy-boosting Granola Bars

>>1 cup oats
>>¼ cup almonds (finely sliced)
>>¼ cup assorted dried fruits (prunes/ figs/ apricots)
>>¾ cup assorted nuts (walnuts/ cashew nuts/ pine nuts/ hazelnuts), ¼cup assorted seeds (sunflower/ melon/ pumpkin seeds)
>>¼ cup raisins
>>¼ cup flax seeds
>>5 tbsp honey
>>3 tbps crushed jaggery
>>25 g butter
>>A few drops of vanilla essence

Varsha Mishra with son Mohak, who sips on a healthy post-school drink, Beet and Berry Smoothie. Pic/Sayed SameerAbedi 

>>Chop dry fruits and nuts and keep them aside
>>In a heavy bottom pan, roast oats and nuts on a low flame. Keep stirring them with the help of a spatula so they don’t char. Once the nuts begin to emit a nutty aroma, remove from fire and allow it to cool
>>In a bowl, mix the roasted nuts and oats with all the seeds
>>In a pan, melt butter and add honey and jaggery. Once the ingredients melt (this should take about 1-2 minutes), remove from fire and add vanilla essence to it
>>Pour this liquid into the oat mixture and add all the dry fruits and raisins to it. Mix well
>>Grease a baking tray with butter or ghee and spread the mixture on it. Press it with the back of a spoon to ensure it is spread evenly
>>Bake the bars at 180 degree Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes or until they appear golden brown from top
>>Cool for at least 2 hours before cutting them into bars
>>The energy boosters can be stocked in airtight containers for 15 days
Chew on this: Keswani says, “I introduce interesting breakfast dishes to cheer up my child on lethargic mornings. Energy-boosting bars are a nutritional powerhouse because they pack in the goodness of oats, dry fruits and flax seeds. I’ve skipped sugar and used jaggery as it is a healthier alternative. Oats and flax seeds are rich in fibre, vitamins and supply ample energy through the day.”

Serve your child the Quinoa Salad with Prunes and Almonds as a healthy snack.  Pic/Rohan Vanne

POST SCHOOL RESOLUTION: Provide healthy alternatives to beat post-school hunger pangs Varsha Mishra, primary school teacher and mother of 10 year-old Mohak

Beet and Berry Smoothie

>>1 medium-sized beetroot
>>1 cup fresh strawberries (halved)
>>½ banana (roughly chopped)
>>½ cup fresh orange juice
>>¾ cup yogurt
>>Sugar or honey to taste
>>Cut beetroot into half and steam it in a pressure cooker until soft. Peel the skin and chop it roughly
>>Whisk yogurt and add sugar or honey to it. Mix well until the sugar dissolves evenly
>>In a blender, place beetroot pieces along with fresh strawberries, banana and orange juice
>>Add the yogurt mixture to this and blitz it until smooth. Add milk or water in case the consistency of the smoothie is too thick. Serve semi-cold in tall glasses
Chew on this: “Children often have to wait after school for project or sports practices. In order to ensure that my child doesn’t eat junk food to satisfy mid-day hunger pangs, I have introduced healthy smoothies into his diet regimen. The berry and beetroot smoothie is fruit and vegetable based. While strawberries and orange juice provides vitamins, beetroot provides roughage and iron. Other combinations such as spinach and amla, papaya and carrot can also be experimented with,” says Mishra.

SHORT BREAK RESOLUTION: Explore new ingredients to generate your child’s interest in food Recipe by Chef Thomas Zacharias from Olive Bar and Kitchen, Bandra Quinoa Salad with Prunes and Almonds

Winter Vegetable in Whole Wheat Tacos by Chef Vikas Seth at Sanchos, Bandra. Pic/Neha Parekh

>>1 cup quinoa
>>2 cups water
>>½ cup prunes (diced)
>>½ cup almonds (toasted and halved)
>>2 tbsp mint (finely chopped)
>>3 tbsp olive oil
>>1 tbsp lemon juice
>>1 tbsp honey
>>Salt and black pepper to taste

>>In a pan, boil water and add a pinch of salt and quinoa to it. Boil the mixture on medium flame for 15-20 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed and the seeds have fluffed up. Strain the water out and transfer it into a bowl
>>Once the mixture cools down, add prunes, almonds and mint to it and mix well. In another bowl, make a dressing by mixing lemon juice with honey, salt and pepper
>>Gradually add olive oil and mix the dressing well to form a thick emulsion. Pour the dressing on quinoa and mix gently with a salad spoon. Serve warm
Chew on this: Chef Zacharias says, “This new year, introduce your child to unexplored ingredients such as quinoa. Many claim it is tasteless, but if cooked properly, this grain makes for an interesting addition in salads, burger patties and as a stuffing for various dishes. Quinoa is a powerhouse of proteins, dietary fibre and potassium and combining it with other nutritious ingredients such as prunes, almonds and olive oil only adds to its health quotient. The salad I’ve suggested is ideal as a quick mid-day snack. You can also experiment with optional toppings such a grilled chicken, sautéed prawns, cucumber, olives, cherry tomatoes and carrots.”

LONG BREAK RESOLUTION: Banish refined flour
Recipe by Chef Vikas Seth from Sanchos, Bandra
Winter Vegetables in Whole Wheat Tacos

Ingredients for the filling:
>>60 g snow peas
>>60 g zucchini (sliced)
>>60 g broccoli (blanched)
>>100 g sweet corn kernels (blanched)
>>100 g red, green and yellow bell peppers (julienned)
>>60 g tomatoes (julienned)
>>60 g onions (sliced)
>>10 g garlic (chopped)
>>25 ml olive oil
>>Salt to taste

Ingredients for the salad topping:
>>20 g red cabbage (sliced)
>>1 avocado
>>10 g cilantro (chopped)
>>20 ml lemon juice
>>10 ml olive oil
>>Salt to taste
>>A pinch of black pepper

Ingredients for the tortilla:

>>150 g whole wheat flour
>>20 g butter
>>Salt to taste
>>75 ml warm water

>>In a pan, heat olive oil and sauté all the vegetables until warm and slightly softened. Mix well and turn off the gas. Transfer this filling into a bowl and keep it aside.
Cut the avocado into half and scoop the insides. Mash it with a fork and add red cabbage, cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix the topping well and keep aside
>>Make the tortillas by mixing whole-wheat flour with butter and salt. Add water and knead it into semi-soft dough
>>Pull out small portions of the dough and make thick chapattis with it
>>Heat it on a hot griddle for 2-3 minutes on both the sides and remove from fire
>>Fill all the three components of this dish in three separate boxes to prevent the tortillas from getting soggy and instruct your child to fill the rotis with the filling and top it with the salad before eating

Chew on this: Chef Seth says, “Refined flour is unhealthy. This year, avoid it in dishes such as wraps, rolls and tacos by using whole wheat flour instead. In dishes where the fillings and toppings are interesting, children won’t miss out on flavour and will eat the dish with equal gusto. The dish that I have recommended fits aptly into the long break snack category. It is wholesome, nutritious and filling. You can swap the vegetables used to make the filling by using whatever is seasonal and fresh.”  

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