by Lionel Ong
TO MANY children, asking them to eat their greens might just be the most unpleasant request one could pose to them. To parents, attempting to feed their children vegetables can be a constant thorn in their sides.
Well, make the weekend a more relaxing one as we show you five ways you can sneak vegetables into your kids’ meals:
1. Cauliflower fried rice
A recent innovative way with cauliflower that has been making its rounds on the Internet involves the use of a food processor to obtain fine cauliflower granules. They are light, fluffy and easy to make. While they are more similar to couscous, they can certainly pass off as “rice” if done right. You can get the instructions on how to get them here.
For local kids, one way to make meal time a delicious one is to make cauliflower fried rice – an alternative to the tze char favourite. The addition of things like like bacon, soy sauce, garlic and herbs elevates this dish into something you wouldn’t expect from the the cream-coloured floret. Get the full recipe here.
2. Mushroom soup (with broccoli)
Mushroom soup is both easy to make and easy for little children to consume. The luscious, earthy flavours are tasty and it packs a nutritional punch for your growing children. Surreptitiously adding broccoli into the blend is one way you can make sure your children – and perhaps veggie-loathing spouse – get their vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibre.
First, blanch chopped florets of broccoli and a mixture of mushrooms (white button, portobello, creminis, shitake). While waiting for the vegetables to cook, sautee garlic on a heated pan with butter. When the garlic turns golden brown, add the broccoli and mushrooms into the pan and sauteed them well. Add salt to taste. Alternatively, you may just use salted butter to stir-fry the vegetables. Once this is done, blend the garlic, mushrooms and broccoli with the water you used to blanch the vegetables. You should get a smooth serving of blended vegetables.
Next, transfer the puree into a pot and proceed to boil. You can choose to add cream to give the soup a thicker consistency and a creamy flavour. Or you can simply go without, if you prefer a more earthy taste.
3. Banana and mango smoothie (with spinach)
Children might think of spinach as the diabolical green leaf that lunchtime nightmares are made of, no matter how much you try to convince them that it promises Popeye-like brawns. Short of force-feeding it to them, it might seem almost impossible to get your child to consume this great source of iron.
Fret not! All you need is one serving of banana and half a mango to mask the taste of spinach. Simply blend the banana, mango and one cup of spinach together to get a sweet, tasty smoothie.
Tip: Add the fruits into the blender first. This way, it is easier for the blender to chop up the soft fruits and the resultant liquid-like consistency will help make it easier to blend the spinach that has been layered at the top.
4. Pumpkin pancakes
Pumpkin is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin A. Vitamin A is important in building up our immune system as well as to help the heart, lungs and kidneys function properly. Make consuming it more fun by sneaking the fruit into your children’s breakfast pancakes. This is an easy-to-make recipe that can be done in 20 minutes, making it suitable for busy parents rushing to get their children to school.
You can get the recipe here.
5. Baked kale
For a light snack, try staying away from the usual culprits such as potato chips. Try baked kale chips. While they may not be a direct replacement for potato chips, they are still delicious to eat especially when baked to crisp perfection. Here, Martha Stewart – yes, the veteran US personality known for the “handmade, the homemade, the artful, the innovative, the practical and the beautiful” – provides an easy-to-follow recipe.
Featured image of Kids ‘n Fiber by Flickr user The US Food and Drug Administration CC BY 2.0
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