The under-age smart eating guide
How do you get the kids to eat happily when all they can eat is home food. Top city chefs come to your rescue
Chef Rachel Goenka, CEO and founder of The Chocolate Spoon Company, who has a two-year-old son, says that his appetite has been fluctuating due to lack of play time. "I have been trying to follow his regular schedule and so far, it's been working. But keep in mind there will be days when your kids may not have a big appetite and days when they will. Being cooped up at home can be frustrating for kids as well as adults. Offer smaller snack portions and focus on breakfast, lunch, and dinner," she says. You can portion fruit in fun ways such as fruit skewers or make caterpillars out of them. Pierce a few grapes for the body of the caterpillar and use strawberries for the head. Tell your kids they are only allowed only two to three caterpillars a day or they will get a tummy ache. "The same can be done with pinwheel sandwiches. Flatten some bread, add your spread — it could be chutney, peanut butter, chicken and mayo or egg salad and then roll it like you would a Swiss roll. Cut the roll up into smaller pieces. Mac and cheese can also be pre-baked in mini muffin cases for a snack," she recommends.
Recipe: Pizza toast
Take a slice of bread, smear it with tomato sauce and then add some grated cheese. You can use toppings like mini pepperoni, sweet corn, or chop broccoli into small pieces. Bake in the oven at 1800 Celsius till the bread is crisp and the cheese has melted.
Little chefs rule
Involve kids in setting up the table; make them pick small bowls and plates, so that you are automatically serving smaller portions. Chef Jasjit Keer of Alfredo's Malad swears by this mantra. "When kids help with simple cooking, it makes them want to experiment with ingredients. And this is how they begin to taste, because they have cooked the same. Start with simple salads, a sandwich with vegetables, whipping up an omelette, or making fruit shakes that add enough fibre and requisite vitamins to their diet. This also keeps a check on any unnecessary intake of unhealthy carbohydrates. It's important to make their meals sufficient enough to give them stronger immunity. Introduce dry fruits, in powdered form or coarsely ground, to top their fruits with or to add to their milkshakes. This ensures they get enough calcium and iron in their diet, too," he says.
Fish fingers with mint mayo
Recipe: Fish Fingers with Mint Mayo
Heat oven to 2000C/1800C. Put the potato wedges on the baking sheet. Drizzle over 1 tbsp oil and toss the potatoes in it. Season lightly or leave it out altogether for young children. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Put beaten egg into a shallow bowl. Tip the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Mix the sweet paprika into the bread crumbs along with a little seasoning if you like. Brush a non-stick baking sheet with the remaining oil. Marinate the fish with spices and dip the strips into the egg, and coat them with the bread crumbs. Transfer them to the baking sheet. Bake for 25 mins until golden. The fish fingers are delicate, so lift them carefully off the tray with a spatula. Serve it to them with their favourite vegetables.
Small is big
Cucumber and hummus
Monaz Irani, founder and chef at Plate & Pints recommends using a colourful bowl for snacks as compared to a white one as a means of serving smaller portion sizes to make it look fuller. "Try keeping children occupied in playing different board games, and bond with them and allow only short spans of screen time. Keeping them occupied will reduce their need to munch every few minutes and help them follow their regular meal patterns," she says.
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