Snack on Yoghurt

Snacking has become a way of life for kids these days given their rigid schedules. Kids rarely have time to savour and gain from the basic meals of the day, their 3 full meals are essentially broken down into 5 to 6 quick snacky meals out of which 2 are usually grab and go kind of meals.

For most kids’ breakfast is just a glass of milk before heading to school followed by a light Tiffin snack during a short timed break, mostly packaged and lacking good nutrition.
For the after school, after play, before activity class, TV time munching, etc kind of snack breaks kids usually enjoy quick fixes in form of semi-prepared convenience foods or chips and other packaged stuff which tastes delicious but satisfy for a short period.
Lunch and Dinner might be nutritious home cooked meals but they are consumed in small portions because of the many breaks that precede and follow them.

To sum it up, kids eat a lot during the day but does it help them in anyway? Was the consumed food nutritious along with being yummy and convenient? You may prepare the best of and the healthiest stuff for lunch and dinner but are you ensuring their other meals are nourishing, too?While a child may not ask such questions with regards to food, we as mothers need to.

Snacks can be healthy too and nothing like freshly prepared homemade snacks to munch on. However, preparing something fresh every time is not very practical and one does have to rely on food stuffs outside of the kitchen. Nuts, fruits, yoghurt, dried nuts and fruits, etc are great snack options which are very healthy and convenient, one of my past article lists all such healthy snack options that one could consider.

It is important to concentrate on the snacks kids consume during those little hunger breaks as it makes a lot of impact on their overall daily consumption.

Yoghurt as a Healthy Snack

danone yoghurt

The Indian consumer has quite a few variety of packaged yoghurt to choose from. Danone India has fruit flavoured yoghurts on offer and it recently launched a healthier version called “Greek style Yoghurt”. Danone’s Greek Style Yoghurt is one of its kinds for the Indian consumer. It has higher protein content, low fat and is much creamier. The protein is almost double and is ideal accompaniment for the carbohydrate rich Indian diet.

We were at the product launch of the same and there were some unknown insights shared by Nutritionist Naaznin Husein on yoghurt and how it can be a great snack option.

  • Yoghurt has been a traditional food item and every Indian household consumes in it some form of the other for its wonderful benefits
  • Yoghurt is great for your gut and helps aid digestion, something very much needed for our kids who eat so much during the day.
  • Young and adults alike need to consider snacking on pre-portioned yoghurt packs as a replacement to unhealthy options like chips or fried food with empty calories.
  • Yoghurt is high in proteins and helps curb hunger while keeping the calories at minimum.
  • Yoghurt works wonderful as a low fat dessert, late night snack or T.V time snack.
  • Yoghurt adapts well to recipes and there are many ways you can use it to create mouth-watering dishes.
  • Yoghurt packs are ideal as on the go snacks and can be carried in lunch boxes.
  • Yoghurt based smoothies are the ideal breakfast item for kids.

 

chef demo - food bloggers

Chef Varun Inamdar demonstrating few recipes using Danone Yoghurt

I found one of the breakfast recipes interesting for kids, below is an image of the recipe card as shared by Danone.

banana brulee

breakfast recipe card

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Easy & Creative ways to serve milk to kids

I am one blessed mom, why? Because milk time for me is not as harrowing as for most moms…Nabeel looks forward to his milk cuppa daily and drinks up the same without creating any fuss.  How? All because of a few simple and practical tips that I follow to make his cup of milk interesting and inviting.

Won’t you be bored if someone gave you the same glass of milk mixed with sugar every day that too more than once? As we know Variety is Spice of Life, serving a variety of flavours and textures to kids is a way of exploring and developing their taste. Get creative and see how that doodh ka glass is khalaas in no time. Read on…

child drinking milk

Milk Slush: Freeze milk and then crush/shave iced milk to get milk slush. Put the snow white slush in a tall glass, pour a spoon or two of rose syrup and top with colourful sprinkles or chocolate chips. Serve with a spoon and straw. Kids can eat and drink milk at the same time which is quite a thrilling experience for them.

Cookie Dunking Sessions: Evening milk time can be converted into fun cookie dunking competition with friends. Gather a few of your child’s friends serve them a glass of milk each and handful of cookies, ask the children to compete to finish the cookies (read milk 😉 ) see how the milk and cookies vanish in no time…I bet the excited kids will ask for more milk never realising how they have been tricked.

cookie dunked in milk

Healthy & Fun competitions like Cookie Dunking OR Who has the thickest milk Mustache? between kids will make the milk vanish in no-time 

 

Flavoured Straws: Yes, you heard it right, straws that are flavoured and are an amazing way to serve milk to your child. Recently, at a food expo I came across a milk bar set up by Unistraw Ltd. that have come up with this witty concept of flavoured straws called Sipahh. As the milk is sipped through the straw tiny tapioca bubbles release flavours giving you a flavoursome kick with every sip. Available in an array of flavours and attractive packaging Sipahh straws are definitely a unique way to serve milk to fussy kids.

Sipahh_straws

Sipahh_flavored straws

Sipahh straws come in a variety of flavours and are an instant hit with kids!

 

Homemade Chocolate Milk Mix: Introduce your kids to hot chocolate for those cosy winter morning milk sessions. And even better is to make the mix at home with them. Involving kids to make anything is the first step to making them like it, they will never say yuck to anything they prepare since it’s a matter of pride, which means a win-win situation for moms. Mix 1.5 cups sifted cocoa powder with 2 cups icing sugar and 1/4th teaspoon of salt. Store the mixture in an airtight jar and when required mix 2 tablespoons of the mix with 1 cup of hot milk and serve topped with marshmallows.

Milk Shakes & Smoothies: Desired quantity of milk can be blended with a favourite ingredient of the child to create shakes that they will never say no to. Pick their favourite bar of chocolate or dry fruit or fresh fruit and just whip with milk and ice cubes. Serve in a glass with dollop of the child’s beloved ice-cream.

 

milk

Kids relish milkshakes made with their favorite Fruit or Chocolate

 

Replace milk with Lassi: I often interchange Nabeel’s evening glass of milk with a glass of lassi. In the morning, I set curds with the same amount of milk he drinks and by evening the milk is transformed into luscious homemade curds that can be blended into a lassi with some sugar. The nutrients and goodness remains the same while the taste and experience is different and yummy for a change. You can also serve the homemade curds during meal times and skip the milk routine altogether for a few days.

lassi-in-glass-

In summers, one of the milk glasses should be replaced by Lassi, for kids. 

 

Cereals & Milk: Kids love cereals and I believe the main reason cereals were invented is to make milk a lot more fun and healthier. Pour hot/cold milk over child’s favourite ready to eat cereal mix and serve with a spoon and straw so that kids can use the straw to drink up the remaining milk after the cereal has been eaten. Cereals & Milk as an after school or evening snack is a good idea instead of a plain glass of milk.

cereals n milk

Kids enjoy sipping the flavoured milk after all the cereal has been eaten

 

Lunchbox Treat:  Once in a while, milk packs or bottles can be packed for lunchbox. Kids love packaged stuff and there is no harm in giving them what they like, for a change.

Milk in Lunchbox

Packaged milk as a Lunchbox Treat is a good way of giving milk to kids

 

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

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A Smart Mom’s Pantry

Here’s my first non recipe post where I aim to share few tips on how a smart mom should stock her pantry and fridge and be prepared for those lazy no-mood to cook days (and yeah, tired and no energy left to cook days of the working mother).

I am often bored to cook and just want to open fridge or dig into the kitchen cabinets to find something which can be transformed into a quick meal or a snack without the guilt of feeding inappropriate and unnatural products (read, ready to cook products) to my child. There are a few things I stock on a weekly to fortnightly basis which help me in such a situation. Read on to find out what they are:

1. Boiled Potatoes – Every Sunday I pressure cook about 250 grams of potatoes and store them unpeeled in the chiller compartment of the refrigerator. The potatoes come handy to create parathas for Nabeel, which he relishes the most. I also grate them and use along with the mixed frozen vegetables to make a patty as a evening snack. If the potatoes are boiled just right (meaning, not too mashy) then you may cut them into squares or French fries shape and lightly sauté in oil with some seasonings for a quick snack.

boiled_potatoes

2. Makhana or Puffed Lotus Seeds – Also known as Fox nuts, makhana are the white edible seeds produced by the lotus plant, easily available at grocery or dry fruit stores. I was introduced to makhana by a fellow mother who says it’s a custom to feed toddlers makhana at her inlaws place. Since then its become a custom at my place too J. Lightly sautéed in ghee (clarified butter) and seasoned with salt and pepper this makes a bowl full of goodness and taste. Its mouth feel is very much like popcorn but nutrition wise it ranks higher than popcorn. Rich in fibre, a good anti oxidant, ideal weight loss food, helps in regulating blood pressure and relieves constipation etc are its qualities which don’t really matter for a child but yes it will make your child forget all chips and junk puffed products. Honeslty, in my house makhana has given pop-corn a run for its money..hahaha.

makhana

3. Chicken Nuggets – Nabeel loves nuggets from McDonalds and then one fine day I made them at home for him. Read the whole story and the perfect recipe for homemade chicken nuggets here. Convenient for you and ideal to satisfy your hungry child who has just returned from school or a good session of swimming. Your child will never want to get back to the readymade ones.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

4. Frozen Vegetable Mix – Once a fortnight I cube/dice vegetables like French beans, carrots, cauliflower, baby corn, etc and freeze them along with peas and corn. When required I just remove and steam them. They can be used to make a quick vegetable pulao, soup, vegetable patties along with the boiled potatoes or even a nice vegetable paratha. You may choose to store them mixed or individually. However, ensure you freeze enough to last a maximum of 2 weeks.

Image Credit - http://www.tablespoon.com

Image Credit – http://www.tablespoon.com

5. Chicken Stock – I had a ritual of preparing and storing chicken stock on a monthly basis much before Nabeel was born. A nice hearty stock perks up gravies, sauces and pulaos besides being the main ingredient for soups. I now frequently make soups for Nabeel so the quantity of stock has increased. Make the stock by using the right chicken pieces and boiling it in water along with onion, carrots and whole peppercorns and cloves. You need to choose more bony pieces with less flesh on them as the bones impart the best flavour and nutrition to make an ideal stock. If your family consumes mutton then there is no better stock made from the bones of a goat or lamb. As a rule never add salt to the stock since it is being used as an ingredient. Stock freezes well for upto a month.

6. Khakharas – In comparison to other ready foods, khakhras make good off the shelf snacks. They are made of whole wheat and don’t use a lot of additives (at times, none at all) . Avoid khakhras made by the industrial units instead choose the ones made by a local homepreneur. They also make a good light tiffin snack.

khakhra

7. Cheese – Cheese in one ingredient that adapts to any dish and transforms it beautifully. The other good thing is kids LOVE cheese. I regularly make cheese parathas (when the potato stock gets over) for Nabeel. He also nibbles on cheese, quit often. You may stock cheese in the form of slices, blocks, spread etc but don’t over stock and limit its consumption after all its high in sodium.

8. Dry Fruits – Since the time Nabeel learnt to chew I introduced him to soft dried fruits like anjeer (dried figs), apricots and raisins. Gradually, the hard nuts were introduced and he now relishes all kinds of nuts. I have devised something know as a “dry fruit break” for him where he is daily given a predetermined quantity of nuts. Dry fruits are also my ideal snack on the go for the entire family. Once in a while, I try and create something around them just to break the monotony, one such recipe is Toffee Pistachios.

Toffee_ Pistachios

Toffee Pistachios

9. Fresh Fruits – I know most of you must be stocking on fruits on a daily basis but what is important is to make eating fruits a daily habit for the child. Choose a fruit like apple or banana which is available round the year and make the child eat it daily. On one such day you may withdraw the usual fruit and introduce a seasonal fruit like mango, melon, strawberry, etc. The best way to make a child eat all kinds of fruits is to eat along with them. Nabeel is hooked to apples but does not readily accept other fruits so I give him an apple and take the seasonal fruit for myself this way he is attracted towards the new fruit and at least makes an attempt to taste it. A fresh fruit break like the dry fruit break should be a daily routine for the child.

10. Curds / Youghurt – Stock up on homemade or store bought curds and use it to make lassi for the child. If the child is given more than one glass of milk in a day then, replacing one glass of milk with lassi is a good idea. A sweetened bowl of curds or a simple raita should ideally accompany a child’s meal. At times, you may also blend curds with fruits like mango, strawberry, melon to create a smoothie which kids love. Smoothies are excellent for breakfasts and as an evening treat.

Image Credit - thehealthsite.com

Image Credit – thehealthsite.com

11. Wholeheat Dough – Whether or not you consume chappatis on a daily basis, it is advised to knead dough of around 200gms whole wheat flour and store it cling wrapped in the refrigerator for your child. The dough comes handy to make stuffed parathas or just a thick chappati which can be eaten with curds, cheese spread or butter. You can also make stuffed karanjis using the mixed vegetables and cheese and bake or fry them. Dough wrapped in cling wrap stays well for 3 days.

12. Paneer / Cottage Cheese – Fresh Paneer has limited shelf-life and sourcing it on a daily basis is quite a task, so I usually sauté big slabs of paneer and refrigerate or freeze them for use during the week. Similar to cheese, paneer can also be used as a paratha stuffing or can be stir fried along with mix vegetables and sauces as a light meal. Paneer is quite heavy on the stomach so it can easily be used to create a light meal. Fresh frozen paneer has a completely different texture, taste and nutrition content in comparison to the ready made frozen paneer so always go for the former.

paneer-cubes

Hope this article was of help to you. Write in your thoughts.

Till then, love being a Mommy!