Sunday, 18 August 2019

Eating the Rainbow

Many times it is difficult for the parents to encourage their children to eat food that is healthy and nutritious but still it is not always appealing to them. Adding a little colour to the plate and the food that you prepare for them will make lot of positive changes in your kids’ appetite and eating habits.  The phrase “Eating the Rainbow” refers to adding most of the colours, found in the rainbow to your kid’s meals in such a way that it the meals become healthy and nutritious. While doing so, you are also taking care eliminating certain sins such as GLUTTONY and teaching them concepts like SATEITY, COMPASSION and PATIENCE.
You must be thinking I am exaggerating. But no, it’s true. Studies have even proved that even the colours of the plate, leave apart the food affect the levels of satiety that a child or adult can feel. So, the bottom line is colours do play an important role in determining the food habits and how children perceive their meals. This means, the modern lifestyle diseases such as Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension and Stress Anxieties can be controlled or limited to certain extent with the help of adding some colours to your plate. That is what I mean by “Eating the Rainbow”.           
                                Advantages of “Eating the Rainbow”

There are lots of advantages of “Eating the Rainbow”, the first and most important being the nutrition that the colours add to your plate.   
  In addition to it, the most important thing when it comes to picky eaters or fussy kids is that the colours break the monotony and make even the boring sandwiches interesting if you make them to look like and call them the Tricolour Sandwiches. For instance if you layer your sandwich with something green such as the cucumber, something saffron/orange like the carrots and something white as the radish or may be the cheese, the sandwich becomes Tricolour!

So it doesn’t mean you have to look for exotic or expensive veggies and fruits to start “Eating the Rainbow”. It means you need to look for colours in your cellar and plan your meals in such a way that every meal is multi colour. For example, in your child’s breakfast you go for some sandwiches or milk or fruits such as pineapple/mango or banana. Now this means roughly two-three colours in every meal.     

Do not always keep it monotonous such as only the chapattis/rice/Pooris and a vegetable like the mashed potato.       Here’s a quick list of certain colors of food that indicate an abundance of specific nutrients. You can include any of these to various meals in order to ensure your kid is “Eating the Rainbow”:
       Yellow, red and orange fruits and vegetables (citrus fruits, gourds,) are abundant in vitamins C and A
       White and Cream coloured Foods (milk products such as paneer, cheese, butter, buttermilk and curd)

·            Green fruits and veggies (green peas, spinach, fenugreek, asparagus, avocado) are high in vitamins K, B, and E
        Brown Foods (almonds, kiwi, chickpeas, whole wheat, beans) are rich in Vitamin E, B complex, zinc, magnesium, chromium
           Blue, Deep Red, Purple produce (blueberries, eggplant, red cabbage, grapes) are high in vitamins C and K

Dangers of Eating the Rainbow

An over-focus on "nutrients" and "vitamins" leads to nutritionism, or the over-focus on food being a collection of vitamins and nutrients, rather than a whole package that your body treats differently depending on how its eaten, prepared, or what you eat alongside it. It's easy to focus too closely on colors and nutrients and avoid the real goal—a balanced diet full of fresh, varied produce. When it comes to health and nutrition, it's important to remember that focusing on one thing—especially when it comes to vitamins and minerals—is generally a bad idea. For most people, as long as you eat a well-rounded, balanced diet, you'll get the nutrients you need, in a form that your body can use.

Methods to ensure "Eating the Rainbow"
Offering a wide range of colours in children’s food not only looks great but also ensures that children are receiving a great variety of nutrients. Here are some healthy ways you can interest children into the marvellous, colourful world of fruit and vegetables.
       A great way to keep track of the colours children eat each day is to create a fruit and vegetable rainbow poster. Every time the children eat a colourful fruit and vegetable they can place a corresponding coloured sticker on the rainbow or get them to colour in a small section on the rainbow. This is also a great activity that parents can do with their children at home.
·      Make a tropical rainbow fruit salad with fruits of each colour: oranges, strawberries, mango, kiwifruit, bananas, and blueberries. Stir fry your own mix of vegetables using each colour: red onions, carrots, baby corn, broccoli and mushrooms.
So, parents take advantage of the visual appeal of a rainbow of colours and help your kids to enjoy the healthy, nutritious meals throughout their lives.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Best Foods for Weight Gain in Kids: Part II

 Recipes using Best Foods for Weight Gain in Kids

As a mother working in a job with frequent transfers all across the country, I learnt about different best foods for weight gain in babies. I also learnt about interesting recipes and ways in which the natives of one region of the country made best foods for weight gain in Kids. For the benefit of some of the first time parents who are not so confident in cooking, I would be sharing some of these easy, quick to make but high protein/calorie recipes of best foods for weight gain in kids.
Here are some of my favourite recipes of dishes to be made with best foods for weight gain in  kids

Recipe no 1: Grandma’s Classic Chicken Soup

Recipe type: soup Cuisine: American Prep time:  15 mins Cook time: 1 hour, Serves: 05 kids
1 /2 kg chicken, cut into 8 pieces, 1/2 kg  chopped carrots, ½ kg onions, 2 cloves garlic, crushed; salt, pepper, parsley/coriander to taste, a teaspoon of pepper, 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger
Place the chicken pieces in a large pan, cover with water, and bring it to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and skim off any foam that rises. Add the chopped carrots and onions, and simmer for 1 hour, topping up with water as necessary. Crush the garlic and add then season to taste with salt, pepper, parsley and coriander. For a thicker soup, scoop out a ladle or two of the veggies, puree them in a food processor and stir back into the soup.

Recipe no 2: Ragi Kheer/Porridge

Recipe type: Dessert       Cuisine: Indian    PREP TIME: 15 mins COOK TIME: 15 mins

Ragi Flour - ¼ cup, Figs – 2, Dates -4, Almonds – 5, Cashews -5, Pistachios -5, Powdered cardamom - ¼ tsp, Saffron - a pinch (optional), Milk -1.5 cups, Hot Water - 1.5 cups, Ghee/Clarified Butter - 3 tbsp + 1tsp, Powdered Jaggery or brown sugar - 2-3 tbs

Measure brown sugar or jaggery (if using) and keep aside. Melt jaggery and strain water if using jaggery with impurities. Take a pan and add a tsp of ghee, roast the cashews, almond and pistachios for a minute. Remove from the pan once done and set aside. Soak dates and fig in warm water for 15 minutes, and then grind them in a blender to a smooth paste with the water used for soaking the figs and dates. In a pan, add the remaining ghee and the ragi flour. Sauté the ragi flour in ghee for 5 minutes or until nice aroma comes. Then add hot water little by little. Mix well without any lumps. Now cook everything in a low flame for 5 minutes or until the ragi gets cooked well and the kheer becomes thick and shiny. Stir it continuously otherwise it gets stick to the bottom. Once the ragi is cooked, add milk (for babies above one year) and cook it further for 5 minutes. For babies below one year, skip this step. Then add powdered cardamom, ground dates fig paste and powdered jaggery or brown sugar (if using) .Mix well and cook it further for 2-3 minutes. Finally add ghee roasted nuts and saffron (if adding). Once this is done, switch off the flame.  For babies below one year, add 2 tsp of nuts powder instead of whole nuts.  Add formula milk once the kheer is warm. Your kheer is ready for serving/feeding the babies.
This is one of the best foods for weight gain in kids. It is easy to feed, high on protein and calorie for all ages of kids.

Recipe no 3: Tortilla de Patata (Spanish Omelette)
Recipe type: breakfast meal Cuisine: Spanish Prep Time: 10 min Cooking Time: 01-05 min Serves: 4-6 kids

01 tablespoon oil, 06 eggs, 200 grams new potatoes, 01 onion thinly sliced, 01 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced, 02 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped, 01 tablespoon milk, 02 tablespoon finely grated cheese, 01 teaspoon salt and pepper powder

Let the potatoes cook in a saucepan of boiling water for 08-12 minutes until tender. Drain and leave to cool and then slice. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the sliced onion and red pepper until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute. Add the potatoes to the pan and spread out evenly. Beat the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper powder together in a bowl. Pour it over the potato mixture. Cook for 04-05 minutes until the eggs set underneath the potatoes. Leave it to cool in a plate after that and then cut them into smaller triangular pieces and garnish it with pepper flakes/ powder as your kids like and serve.

Recipe no 4: Sugar Plums

Recipe type: Finger food Cuisine: European Prep time:  10 mins  Cooking  time:  10 min  Serves: 2-3 kids

3/4 cup nuts or seeds, toasted   1/2 teaspoon orange zest 1/2 cup dried plums (prunes)   1/4 cup maple syrup 1/2 cup dried apricots    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 cup dried cranberries   1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 cup dried cherries 

 Put all ingredients in a food processor. Mix until smooth. Wearing gloves roll into 1-inch balls. Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Plums are ready for serving to the kids in lunch boxes/eating at evening snack time.

Recipe no 5: Dalia Upma
Recipe type: Snacks Cuisine: Indian Prep time:  10 mins  Cooking  time:  15-20  mins   Serves: 2-3 kids
1 1/2 cup broken wheat (dalia), 1 medium green chilli, 1/4 cup peas, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 2 1/2 cup water, 1/2 medium chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger, 1/4 cup diced carrot, 1 1/2 teaspoon refined oil
For Garnishing: 1 handful chopped coriander leaves
Clean and wash the broken wheat thoroughly under running water. Drain the excess water and keep the broken wheat aside till further use. Now add refined oil in a pressure cooker and heat it over moderate flame for a minute. Add the mustard seeds and once they start to splutter, add onions, green chilli and ginger. Sauté the ingredients till the onions turn slightly pinkish in hue.
After few seconds, add green peas, carrots, broken wheat and salt. Mix well and sauté all these ingredients for 3- 4 minutes on medium-low flame. Add 2 1/2 cups of water in the mixture and pressure cook for 1 whistle. Once the vegetables and broken wheat is properly cooked, turn off the flame and transfer the Daliya Upma in a serving bowl. Garnish the healthy dish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
Again this is one of the most economical yet high on protein best food for weight gain in kids.

Recipe no 6: Peanut/Groundnut Butter Balls/Laddoos 
Recipe type: Dessert /finger food Cuisine: American/Indian Prep time: 10 min setting time: 1 hour making time: 10 min serves: 2-3 kids
This is no baking required high on calorie finger food for your little ones. Kids just love it.
1/2 cup creamy peanut/groundnut butter   2/3 cup shredded coconut 1/3 cup maple syrup    1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal 1 tsp vanilla extract    1/3 cup mini chocolate chips 1 cup old-fashioned oats (raw) 
In a mixing bowl, stir together peanut /groundnut butter, syrup and vanilla extract.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until coated.   Transfer mixture to refrigerator or freezer and chill until set.  Remove from refrigerator and shape into 1-inch balls. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.  

Recipe no 7: Mango Mastani
Recipe type: drink/ a kind of mango milkshake                Cuisine: Indian
Prep time:  10 mins Cook time:  10 mins  Serves: 4 -5 kids

Ripe Mangoes – 2 ( 400 grams ), Grapes – 15 to 16, Cashew nuts – 2 tbsp. ( finely chopped ), Almond – 2 tbsp., Milk – 400 ml, Pistachios – 1 tbsp. finely chopped, Chocolate syrup – 2 tbsp., Ice cream( of any flavour) – 2 scoops
Wash, peel and cut 2 ripe mangoes into small pieces. Keep a little mango aside for making the shake. Take 15 to 16 grapes. Cut its tip and dice into 2 or 4 small pieces.
Put the thick pieces of mangoes in a jar. Add 3 tbsp. sugar, 400 ml milk to it to prepare a thick shake. Blend it well. To prepare Mango Mastani, put the chopped pieces of mango in a glass; pour the mango shake into it. Leave a little space in your glass. Put 1 or 2 scoops of ice-cream in it, Put chopped dry fruits (cashew, pistachios almonds in it. Put a few pieces of mango and little grape pieces on the top. Pour a little chocolate syrup over it. Luscious Mango Mastani is ready. You can serve it to your little ones and relish it. This is another summer time best food for weight gain in kids without much ado.

Recipe no 8: Banana Toffee
Recipe type: Dessert Cuisine: Chinese Prep time: 10-12 min Cooking time: 20 min Serves: 02-04 people
This is again a typical traditional Chinese dessert. You can also try it with different seasonal fruits such as Apple.
 3 not so ripe bananas, ½ teacup plain flour (maida), 2 tablespoons corn flour, ¾ teaspoon baking powder, Oil for deep frying, water, Ice-cubes, For the caramel coating dip: 1/2 teacup sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, 3 teaspoons sesame seeds.

Caramel Coating:  Put the sugar, oil and 2/3 teacup of water in a pan and cook on a high flame for some time. When the mixture begins to bubble, shake the pan continuously to prevent burning. Continue cooking and shaking the pan until the syrup is light brown in colour. Remove from the heat and add the sesame seeds and mix well. Your Caramel syrup for coating the toffees is ready.
 Banana Toffees: Mix the plain flour, corn flour and baking powder in a bowl.
Add water and stir into a smooth, thick batter. Once your batter is ready, peel and cut the bananas into small, round, thick bite-size pieces. Coat the bananas evenly with the batter. Heat the oil for frying the Banana Toffees. Deep fry the toffees in hot oil until golden. Fill a bowl with ice-cubes and cover it with water. Place the fried bananas in the caramel syrup and coat evenly. Drain well and put them into the bowl full of ice-cubes. Keep it for a few minutes till the caramel coating hardens. Drain thoroughly and your toffees are ready to be served.
When infants and toddlers get the right nutrition for their needs it helps them to grow, be healthy and heal more quickly after any illness.  Extra nutrition and extra energy (calories) diet are important to help children gain weight. I have tried all of these recipes and found them to be some of the best foods for weight gain in my daughter. Try these recipes  for weight gain in kids.

Happy Shopping! Happy cooking! 

Happy Parenting!

Monday, 12 August 2019

Best Foods for Weight Gain in Babies, Toddlers and Kids

Ideas for Meals using Best Foods for weight Gain in Kids

Nutritious food is one of the pivotal building blocks of a child’s health. But many times it is seen that once the child is introduced to solid food, in addition to mother’s milk; s/he loses interest in food. At times, children are more interested in making friends, exploring the outside world and playing in the park. That’s why they are less interested in eating food. As a result, their weight and growth gets affected. There are many things that you as a parent can do to improve this situation. One of them is to know about the best foods for weight gain in kids. It will also help if you know how to cook and present these best foods for weight gain in  kids.

As a mother working in a job with frequent transfers all across the country, I learnt about many best foods for weight gain in kids. I also learnt about interesting recipes and ways in which the natives of one region of the country made best foods for weight gain in kids. In this article I am going to share the list of most commonly available and used best foods for weight gain in  kids 

Let’s begin with the lists of best foods for weight gain in  kids

       1. High Calorie Foods for Infants:

All kinds of Beans (cooked and                            mashed)
Lentils (cooked and mashed)
 Fresh ground meats (chicken, beef,                     lamb, pork)
Whole milk yogurt
 Full fat cottage cheese/Paneer
Mashed sweet potatoes 
Mashed potatoes

      2.        High Calorie Finger Foods for Toddlers
Peeled/Diced Banana
Sweet potato fries
Lassi (Sweet/Namkeen)
Homemade cheese crackers/puffs, 
Fresh/Dried fruits such as apple,                          oranges, pears, peaches
Hard boiled eggs
Frosted wheat biscuits
Diced grilled cheese sandwich
Homemade pancakes, waffles
 French toasts
 Peanut/Groundnut Butter balls
Sugar plums

      3.      High Calorie Additives for kids

The items listed below can be added to pureed and mashed baby food, soups, dalia/khichadi, veggies, rotis/paranthas/other forms of bread, yogurt, cereals, and eggs. Start with 1/2 teaspoon for every ¼ cup and work up from there based on your child’s preference and after talking with your doctor. 
            Oils (canola, safflower, flaxseed, walnut, and sunflower oil)
             Butter/Pure Ghee/Makhan                                                                                      
 Ground flaxseed
Full cream
Dry milk powder 
Sour cream
Maple syrup

    4.      Some meal and snack ideas using best foods for weight gain in  kids:   
a.     Breakfast ideas
Scrambled eggs with                   grated cheese,

 Cheese sandwich, 


Stuffed Parantha,

Kathi Roll

Porridge/ kheer/


  b.     Lunch ideas


Roast chicken with Steamed Rice
Vegetable Pulao
Aloo ki sabzi-Poori,

Pav Bhaji,

Home-made mini pizza with                                  meat, cheese and vegetables 

c.      Dinner ideas
Fried/Boiled Chicken/Veggies with mashed potato and grated cheese,
Omelet with potato, tomato, cheese,

Macaroni cheese or pasta with any kind of meat/veggies and cheese,  

Chicken legs/drumsticks with soft potato/cucumber salad,  

Fish fingers and vegetables with cheese on top,

         Soft baked potato with baked beans and cheese,  

        Rotis-sabji/Stuffed Paranthas such as aloo, gobi, muli or pudina/palak,

d.     Snack ideas

Yoghurt, frozen yoghurt,
Fruit cream/custard,
               Flavoured milk/milk (for babies under 2 years) 
Fruits milkshake/smoothie (for babies under 2 years)  
Crackers and cheese,
Fruit muffin, homemade slice/biscuits,
Soft vegetable sticks with dip or cream cheese,
Hard boiled eggs,
Fresh cut/diced fruit and custard/ice cream,  
Dried fruits/nuts with cut/diced fresh paneer,
Toasts with spreads (jams/ marmalades, butter or Makhan and jaggery) 

Hope you try some of these ideas related to Best Foods for Weight gain in Kids 
Share your experiments with me.

Happy Parenting!