Parents usually start worrying about making their kids switch to a healthier diet when signs of obesity, poor vision and other health issues start knocking on the door. However, influenced by friends and popular trends, children start making independent choices about their food from the time they start school or even earlier. This is the time to talk about healthy yet tasty food so they are encouraged to make the switch without frowning upon the idea. Most kids nowadays are not enthusiastic about fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, whole wheat food and eggs. They would rather prefer to munch on fried chicken nuggets, french fries, white bread, and processed foods such as sausages and sweets. Kids would usually choose ice cream over a fruit yoghurt, chocolate instead of fruit and factory made cheese rings instead of cheese slices. Yet, the task of preparing healthy and tasty food for kids with all the essential nutrients is a responsibility that all parents must endure. Yes, we all know that growing children need a diet enriched in proteins and vitamins instead of high sugar and processed snacks although, getting kids to eat such food is often an uphill battle. Children love colourful and fun presentation. Therefore experimenting using creative techniques to entice your kids to enjoy vegetables, fish and fruit, among others are good options for parents to try. By including fruits, vegetables and nuts in an appealing platter, you are able to give them wholesome, tasty and visually creative snacks that will fight off hunger and give them all the energy they require.
Photos: Abu Nasser@ Station
Instead of Hot Dogs
4 slices of brown bread cut into shape
1 canned tuna, drained
½ an onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp mayo
Mozzarella cheese, black olives and finely sliced cucumber for garnish
Heat olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Mix in the tuna and season with celery, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from the stove. Set in a refrigerator to cool. Mix in the mayo, toast the bread and spread the filling on top. Use the cheese, olive slices and fine cucumber shavings to create the desired effect.
Instead of Ice Cream
125g each of strawberry, raspberry, mango and vanilla yoghurt
A few drops of food colouring
Mix food colouring into the flavoured yoghurt to enhance the colours if required. Take a teaspoon of yoghurt onto the baking tray, spreading the yoghurt slightly with the back of the spoon to make a neat round shape measuring about 4 cm in diameter. Place the tray in the freezer for 2 hours until the yoghurt buttons are firm. Remove the buttons off the tray with a spatula and serve immediately.
Frozen Banana Penguin
Instead of Candies
200g chocolate, melted
Cut the bananas in half and partially dip it in chocolate in order to make the top side of the penguin. Put in some M&M's to mimic the eyes and beak. Take a teaspoon and pour some chocolate on the bottom side of the penguin. Cut a couple of M&M's in half and place as feet. Place it on foil-lined tray and set it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Instead of fried Chicken Nuggets
1 cauliflower, florets
1 potato, peeled
1 carrot peeled
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup breadcrumbs
Olives for decoration
Season with salt
Place cauliflower florets, potato and carrot over a steamer and steam for 10 minutes. Once cooked, blend all the ingredients together. Spread it on an oil paper lined baking tray and place in a pre-heated oven at 180oC for 20 minutes. Once cooked and cooled, turn over and peel off the oil paper. Using a cookie cutter, cut desired shapes and decorate with sliced olives.
Instead of Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 large banana, mashed
1/2 cup chunky natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries and raisins
Stir together all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside for 20 minutes to rest. Pinch a tablespoon of dough and mould it into a heart shape. Place these heart shaped cookies and place them on a greased baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180oC for 15 minutes.