Teach your child early on how to make the right food choices and try out the recipe of No Carb Spaghetti given here together!
By Chef Paul Kinny
Eating disorders in young children, childhood obesity and overweight kids are becoming alarmingly common in India. There are several factors that contribute to this, such as dependency on processed foods, junk food, lack of play areas wherein kids can enjoy physical activities and even unnaturally produced, out-of-season ingredients.
Kids have always been fussy when it comes to eating, regardless of the generation they belong to. Think about it, didn’t we all give our parents a hard time about eating our meals? Helping our children eat right warrants a lifestyle change and I believe that the earlier they start, the better.
All chefs are taught to connect with the ingredients we use, whether it is visiting the source, interacting with farms directly or even visiting the local vegetable and fish markets in person. In fact, this is a practice I still encourage my team to follow and recommend that parents do it too.
Take your child vegetable shopping and help them understand the importance of eating fresh, local produce that is in season. Teach them the different seasons and ask them to observe that certain vegetables and fruits are not available through the year. Perhaps then, they will not ask for a mango smoothie in December!
If possible, grow a few herbs or a couple of pots of tomatoes at home and get your kids to help look after them. Once they are ready, ask them to help harvest them and make a celebratory meal of the occasion.
If they are involved in the cooking process, it is unlikely that they will not eat it because of the feeling of ownership, the fact that they helped create it.
Their school tiffin is another important aspect which can be controlled to ensure healthy eating. Kids hate the monotony of the same food over and over again. Involve them in creating their tiffin menu for the week and introduce them to newer healthier options. Take them grocery shopping or even get them to help cut the edges of their sandwiches and you can easily motivate them to reduce eating junk food at the school canteen.
Use healthier substitutes for your kids; “zoodles” (made from zucchini) instead of refined flour noodles and jaggery, honey and dates instead of processed sugar. Even if you are making a vegetable burger for them at home, ensure that you use chunky vegetables instead of deep fried patties. For pre-dinner snacks, serve them a healthy portion of soup or some fruit before they reach for that bag of chips or instant noodles.
In short, be involved in their eating habits and mealtime routines. Don’t rush them through breakfast and try and keep them engaged in the kitchen as much as possible.
I am sharing a recipe from 212 All Day at Phoenix MarketCity, Kurla and I hope you and your children savour it together!
No Carb Spaghetti
Zucchini Green 100 grams | Zucchini Yellow 100 grams | Carrot 80 grams | Onion 10 grams | Garlic 5 grams | Celery 10 grams | Olive Oil 10 ml | Chili Flakes 2 grams | Oregano 2 grams | Pepper 2 grams | Salt 1 gram | Olive Dust 5 grams | Pine Nut 10 grams | Olives 10 grams
Take both zucchinis and the carrot and use the peeler to make curls out of them and place it in ice water, to ensure they remain fresh and have crunch.
Take a sauce pan; add some onions, garlic, celery and sauté it until translucent. Add some chili flakes, vegetables and sauté it until they’re tender.
Add some pepper & salt as per taste and drizzle it with basil pesto.
(The writer is a chef and Culinary Director, Phoenix Mills Limited.)