‘What would you like to eat today?’
We ask our little ones every day and in spite of cooking according to their whims and fancies, leftover food is ‘Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki.’. Budding fast food retail outlets and increase in consumption of snacks, instant and ready to cook food packets, it becomes difficult and challenging to please their appetite. Moreover, it’s our responsibility to see to it that they are served nutritious food which is often perceived to be ‘yuck’ by children. Green vegetables seem to be their nightmare and a packet of chips their savior.
So how do we ensure that they eat nutritious food?
Thank me later and try the following to witness a miracle; not only will your children love the home cooked food but following tips might just make a ‘Wonder Mom.’
1 Use Maggie Masala-e-Magic
This Masala developed by Maggie works wonders! I have tried it first hand, and the kids love it. It brings back that unique taste of Maggie which is adored by most of us. Moreover, it works with almost every Sabji you make and do not hesitate to try it with other Indian dishes as well. It was developed looking at the extensive use of Garam Masalain Indian kitchen, and the best part is that it’s super affordable.
2 Let It Be Sweet!
Most of our little ones these days have a sweet tooth. Though your child may also prefer salt and spice over sweet, a little experiment with fruits and cream is going to do no harm. Try making their favorite sweets at home and amaze them with your cooking skills, bake a cake and chocolate chip cookies at home now and then so their urge to munch on these from retail outlets reduces and moreover, its HOME COOKED. You won’t worry about quality or hygiene of bakeries and sweet shops. You can also use artificial sweeteners to avoid excess intake of sugar, but my point is, pamper them once in a while.
3 Make A Schedule
I know this sounds too vague and impractical but one of the best ways to ensure that they eat at home or finish their Tiffin is to form a schedule. Ask them what they would like to have for lunch daily and then discuss what you think they should have. It’s almost similar to an incentive scheme where their favorites are included, and so are your dishes. This will ensure that they eat home cooked food, enjoy what they eat and moreover, nutritious food is eaten as well.
4 Make It Their Way!
I remember hating Cauliflower as a kid and would not eat anything that had Cauliflower in it. One day, my mom cooked Cauliflower and potato sabzi Punjabi style, and I could not help but gulp it all down. Simple trick, I love Punjabi cuisine and she cooked it in a way that every bit of sabzi had Punjabi taste. I am sure you know what kind of cuisine, your child loves, so next time you make that sabzi they hate so much, add a twist of their favorite cuisine and see how their mouth waters!
5 Try And Experiment With Various Cuisines
Just as you know, India is a land of diverse people which leads to it being a nation of many cuisines. So, let’s experiment with them! Don’t make having food at home boring for your kids. They should be excited to know what their lunch or dinner will be and for that to happen, introduce various cuisines in the diet of your family. Punjabi, South Indian, Bengali, Gujarati, etc. dishes should be regularly served so that they not only enjoy food but also develop a taste for various dishes served in our country.
6 Serve It Right
We are not the kind of people who focus on the presentation of food as much as its taste, but it plays an equal part in making the food enjoyable. Better your presentation of food, more excited are the taste buds which makes your little ones crave to taste your food. So next time you make that sabzi, roti and chawal, present them in an irresistible way.
7 Juice It Up
Kids are extremely picky about fruits and vegetables. No matter whatever you try at times, they simply don’t budge. It’s irritating when they choose not to eat an apple or a banana simply because of its color or shape. Yes, kids can be that stubborn! So make them have a mixed fruit juice or any other you prefer, and it might be easier for them to gulp it down since they cannot see that weird shape of fruit anymore. Also, various mixed fruit juices are more nutritious rather than having single pieces of them.
8 Add Cheese
This is a quick fix and works all the time. Cheese is loved by children and anything with cheese is just eaten right away. So yes, add cheese whenever you think that things went wrong somewhere and it’s going to be okay because there is Cheese!
9 Remember Popeye?
The best way to make them understand the importance of having vegetables is to tell them that their favorite superhero, is super because he eats everything. He will be equally strong if he follows such diet. Though this will work for kids of age 5-11, it is worth a try!
10 Super Salads
One of the amazing ways to make our little ones eat those fresh leafy vegetables and much more is to make a salad that has their favorite ingredient as the superstar. It maybe pasta, noodles or any other food that these kids prefer since anything with vegetables will always be healthy and beneficial. Also, try to mix their favorites like paneer, cheese, etc. so as they are more than excited to have it.
11 Stir Fried Vegetables
How do your kids feel about vegetables served with Sizzler? The Majority don’t find them ‘yuck’ or ‘icky’ at all, and in no time, those veggies are in their tummies. So what magic do these chefs in pretty fancy restaurants do? They do nothing special but boil the veggies and then stir fry them in butter. There are lots of other ways to make those veggies more delicious, and it is recommended to try not so traditional vegetables such as French beans, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.
12 Breads And Sauces
This idea is on parallel lines with Subway and has been worked out for maximum kids and some fishy adults as well. Only thing to do is get amazing crispy bread, maybe French or parmesan and then try to make a sub at home by using all those fresh veggies and cheesy as well as spicy sauces. Some of the most loved sauces are southwest, mayonnaise, chili, etc. Not only can they be used for making a home Sub but also as dressing in burgers, salads, parathas and so much more!
Nu13ts And Toppings!
Many children love nuts and many don’t! But most love cashews and toppings of nuts over any dish seems to be the trend these days. Isn’t topping of nuts with Pav-Bhaaji common these days? Not only nuts, but you can also use jellies, chocolate sauce and a lot of your child’s other favorites to make them have a go at that sandwich or any other dish. Try using just a drop of vanilla extract next time you make them a coffee, which will make them go crazy because sometimes, beauty lies in simple things.
14 Barbecue And Grill
Well, barbecues are famous and loved everywhere. The crunch and coatingof vegetables when on a barbecue is simply different and amazing. All of us love those grilled mushrooms with some cheesy dip or veggies with patties and cottage cheese on a barbecue. So, try at that home. Not only are they one of the healthiest and most tasty way to have vegetables but also, the platter grow wide and extensive. Also, grilling is one of the other options to make the food more appealing to your kid’s savor that dinner for hours!
15 YouTube It
I do not mean to hurt anybody out there, but let’s face it, none of us know everything. Moreover, there is always some scope for improvement, and with a gift of the internet, everything is literally, just a click away. So I suggest that before you try to make that smoked cottage cheese biryani or paneer platter that is simply mouth-watering, look at their videos on YouTube. They can be inspiring as well as give you some pretty easy hacks, to begin with and make that dish god-like!
16 Check Your Spices!
With a humongous variety of brands available for spices and fresh vegetables along with all those bread and sauces, your head might just spin for which ones to buy. All I recommend is choose the best keeping your kids’ taste in mind. It’s frequently observed that a minor change of brand of spices or sauces used makes a huge impact on their taste. So, though you go for the best, always buy what they like!
17 Stuff It!
This is one quick fix that is healthy and yummy. Stuff those veggies with grated paneer or cheese and some butter or any other sauce of your preference in a roti, making a homemade instant Frankie. This makes sure that your child has all those fresh vegetables you want him to have apart from making it delicious and appealing because you gave him a healthy Frankie. Similarly, you can make stuffed parathas and make sure that a nutritious, full diet is served.
18 Smoothies And Shakes
Banana Smoothie, Mango Shake, Cherry berry smoothie and lots more add up to huge fun and taste. In spite of dislike for certain fruits, these smoothies and shakes tingle with taste buds like nothing else. Also, they are highly nutritious, and the milk in shakes provides protein. Mango shake in summer has a cooling effect on our body and is tastier. So go on and explore the wide range of these shakes and smoothies which will make your kid lick his fingers.
19 Shapes And Colors
Food shaped in the form of a cartoon, a flower or any animal, seems to excite kids a lot! The idea of birthday cakes in various shapes and their colors being in sync with that of idea depicted is not only visually appealing, but for a moment, kids forget that they are fruits or veggies and go crazy looking at it! They are going to have that apple shaped like a bird or bananas cut as smileys!
20 Give It With A Smile!
Yes, kids feel your anger and the way you give them food, to some extent, affects their appetite. They might eat less or not at all if they feel you are angry or depressed about something, but their mood will drastically cheer up if you give them their plate of food with a smile. So make sure that next time you serve your child lunch or dinner or anything, you are happy which will make the whole experience better on both the parts. Just as happy employees make you feel better about a restaurant, happy mothers are a key to happy children.