Most kids stay away from leafy green vegetables and it becomes a bone of contention in the family. Gourd family vegetables are another big no for almost all kids. The dining table becomes a warzone where the more stubborn would win. If as a parent you are strict enough to push green vegetables down into your young kids’ throat you feel relieved but for how long? You have to tackle the same problem as soon as the next meal time is there. The drama of getting your child eat that salad or subzi will unfold one more time and meal times will always remain stressful.
One key to let your child eat healthy food is to let her enjoy her meals and work towards making meal time a pleasant experience every single day. Secondly, make the food look great and the colour green fashionable on the dining table. If you serve a sweet corn and cheese muffin that looks green incidentally, no one would enquire if there is spinach in it and you would be saved from initiating a battle on the dining table. There are many ways you can bake muffins, frittatas and bread rolls where you can easily incorporate green vegetables along with your child’s favourite ingredients like cheese, paneer, shredded chicken or even green peas. Even cakes can incorporate some vegetables and no one would suspect.
Here is a yummy corn and cheese muffin baked using whole wheat, good quality cheddar cheese and loads of steamed spinach and kids love it with a frosting of sour cream or hung curd seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley. Whirlpool microwave oven with 6th sense technology is ideal for baking such muffins and more such goodies as you can adjust the temperatures better.
Mix together a cup of whole wheat flour, 1 tsp of baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper powder and keep aside. Now whip 2 eggs with 1/4 cup of butter and add ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese to it. Steam, cool and mince about 250 g spinach leaves and add to the butter and eggs mix. Add ½ cup of sweet corn to the mix and then fold in the flour mixture into the eggs and butter mixture and incorporate everything in.
Arrange muffin liners into a muffin tray, preheat the oven at 180C. Take a large spoon to fill up muffin liners half way with this cheesy green mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes or till a thin skewer inserted into the muffins comes out clean.
Cool and serve these muffins with whipped sour cream or hung curd mixed with salt and pepper and some chopped garlic and parsley. Kids would love this treat for breakfast, for meals or even for their lunch boxes.
Another baked snack that a child would love to sink her teeth in would be a citrus zucchini cake with almond meal. This cake would have all the goodness of a green vegetable, flavours from lime and the presence of almond meal in this cake would ensure the child gets more protein and minerals.
To bake this cake, powder a cup of almonds in a blender and once again pulse them along with a cup of whole wheat flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda and ¼ tsp salt. Now whisk together 4 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/3 cup of melted butter together till it makes a light fluffy mix. Add 2 tsp lime zest, 1 tbsp lime juice and 2 cups lightly packed grated zucchini to it and whisk again. Now lightly fold the flour mixture in it and pour in a 8” diameter cake tin, lined with a parchment. Bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 40 minutes or till a thin skewer comes out clean when poked in the center of the cake. Cool the cake and slice. Serve as required.
This kind of baked meals and snacks will ensure your child feels happy at meal time. And once the positive vibes come to the dining table, you would see that the child would pick up the palak paneer and tori ki subzi too occasionally. A good start for a lifelong habit of healthy eating can be brought easily by baking some goodies in your microwave.