Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tentative Parenting : What's Eating your Child?

Between tricky restaurant choices, finicky eaters, and the desire to provide healthy, nourishing food, taking the kids out to eat can drive any parent crazy!  Every restaurant that I go to gives me the choice of mac & cheese, some form of grilled cheese sandwich, cheese burger or chicken tenders for K2...YES! I am getting on a soap box son hangs on to the kid's menu for dear life and refuses to order from the grown-up menu and I refuse to let him order from the kid's menu...we were at impasse for a long time --- now it's a matter of negotiation and which one of us is more persistent than the whole premise is - A parent taking their child out to eat should not be put in such a predicament where they feel like the Kid's Meal is deficient in nutrients, unhealthy and quite plainly a rip-off. Here's a spotlight example of my son's kid's meal at Outback Steakhouse last week (white bread with fake yellow cheese)....even my son realized it was unhealthy -- he hid as I was taking this picture of the food :-)

I  always go back to Jamie Oliver's Ted Talk - Teach Every Kid about Food - he says we have blessed our children with shorter lives because we are not making them mindfully aware of real food. Over the weekend as an ode to the real food warriors I made my son a dinner chockful of vegetables and real food and was desi (indian) to the boot. It was Kid's Pav Bhaji.

If you want to try my recipe at home here's how -

You will need - I used up most of the veggies in my fridge ( 1 head of Cauliflower, 8 multi-colored Carrots, 2 Green Bell Peppers, 1 Large White Potato, 2 Red Onions,  3 Tomatoes, Cilantro, Ginger and Garlic ), Olive Oil, Everest Pav Bhaji Masala (found in the Indian Grocery Store), Amul Cheese (sent by my MIL all the way from India), Beckmann's California Black Bread ( my son's favorite bread which is whole-grained made with wheatberries and honey)

What I did - 

  • Clean and cut the vegetables - Cauliflower, Carrots, Bell Pepper and Potato. Pressure cook with a little bit of vegetable stock for 1 whistle (traditional pressure cooker). If you are cooking on open flame cook till you can mash all the vegetables together. Mash the vegetable and keep aside
  • Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, 5 cloves of garlic and a little ginger stick. Add 2 tsp Olive Oil to the pan and add (according to your taste) - cumin seeds and a little bit of hing. Now add in the chopped Onions, Ginger and Garlic. When the Onion starts browning  add in the tomatoes. Add the Everest Pav Bhaji Masala and cook till you see a little bit of the oil separating and it seems like a good cohesive mix (5-10 minutes)
  • Now add in the mashed vegetables and cook for a while (5-10 minutes). Add Salt & Chili Powder to taste (for my son's portion I added no chili powder). I then added some fresh lemon juice and cilantro.
  • Cut the Beckmann's Bread -- grated Amul Cheese on top and baked in my toaster over.
My son (the pizza and pasta loving kiddo) actually adored this meal. 

Notes to myself - My son will be mindful and aware about food only as much as I will encourage him to be mindful and aware of it - I take him to the Farmer's Market, I drag him grocery shopping, I teach him about Vegetables, Fruits, Spices....I also tell him about foods that are good for him and foods that are bad for him. Sometimes I let him make the wrong choices aware that he is making the wrong choice but with the hope that he will self-correct --- Do you have any thoughts on Kid's Meals and the meals you make for your Kids?

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