When it comes to kids and food, it’s oh so easy to get caught up in the relentless daily feeding battles, followed by pangs of guilt: am I feeding them too much? Should I make them finish their meals? Will they be hungry at school? Are they getting enough calcium, iron or the latest vital nutrient? Is this food healthy? Have we indulged too much over Christmas?
Stephanie Karl, a nutritionist at the Dubai London Clinic says mums and dads should step back from the daily grind and look at the bigger picture.
‘Most of us try to give our children a variety of foods so they grow up strong, fit and healthy. But the greater aim of parenting is to prepare kids for the big wide world by teaching them how to make good choices,’ she says. ‘Once they escape the vigilant eyes of the parent police, will they really choose carrots over cake, will their kitchen be stocked with bananas and broccoli or just Coke and stale milk?’
By getting the kids involved in cooking, they’re more likely to appreciate the ingredients and effort that goes in, and at least make an attempt to eat what they’ve created. Stephanie suggests trying out the following:
Salmon and pea patties with mint raita
This recipe is extremely quick to make and salmon can be exchanged for tuna or corn as a vegetarian option. They are delicious and could also be a finger food.
1 x 415g can drained pink salmon in springwater or light oil
3 medium potatoes boiled and mashed or one packet mashed potato
¾ cup frozen peas
1 finely chopped red onion
2 tsp mild curry powder
2 cloves crushed garlic
½ cup grated edam cheese
¾ cup breadcrumbs
Olive oil spray.
200g natural low-fat yoghurt
½ Lebanese cucumber finely chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
Mint leaves finely chopped
1 ½ cups baby spinach leaves to serve
Sauté onion in a pan and add curry and garlic. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
Add to mashed potatoes, peas, cheese and salmon.
Add half of the breadcrumbs and egg, and mix until combined.
Form into patties and coat in breadcrumbs.
Lightly spray a non-stick frying pan with olive oil and toast patties until golden brown and crisp. Serve with yoghurt, lemon and cucumber mixed to create the dipping sauce.
Parmesan coated chicken nuggets
You may feel that nuggets are easier to buy, but try making them first. They could even be served as a finger food at a party. Dip in sweet thai chilli sauce or satay.
1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tsp grated lemon zest
¼ cup plain flour
12 chicken tenderloins
1 egg lightly beaten
Olive oil spray
Pre heat oven to 210°C. Cover an oven tray with a sheet of baking paper.
Combine beadcrumbs, parmesan, chives and lemon zest and spread over a plate. Place the flour on a separate plate.
Coat a piece of chicken with flour, brush with egg and dip in breadcrumb mixture, pressing firmly to coat. Place on prepared tray and spray lightly with olive oil.
Bake for five minutes, turn and bake a further 10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked right through.
Spaghetti is always a favourite, and not only served with bolognaise sauce. Learning to twist noodles onto a fork and into the mouth is a great exercise in coordination. Spaghetti is also a moderate glycaemic index food – meaning it drip-feeds energy from carbohydrates into the blood – and the addition of dairy in this recipe adds calcium to the meal. Serve with broccoli or salad veggies cut into sticks.
2 rashers beef or turkey bacon
1 skinless chicken breast
Handful frozen peas
1 clove garlic, crushed
75ml light single cream
75g spaghetti noodles
Olive oil for cooking
Grated parmesan cheese for serving
In a medium saucepan, cook spaghetti noodles, adding a splash of olive oil to avoid noodles sticking together. Add peas to water for the last five minutes.
Cook until the pasta is tender to bite or al dente. Strain.
Finely chop bacon and chicken and cook in separate pan with olive oil and garlic until done; about five-seven minutes.
Add cream and simmer for a further three minutes. Stir sauce into noodles and serve with parmesan cheese.
If you’re concerned about your diet or that of your kids, make an appointment with Stephanie at the Dubai London Clinic on 04 344 6663 (Jumeirah) or 04 232 5751 (Festival City)