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Every time is a fun time for a child. Food can be fun for children in more than one way. They may like it for how it looks or tastes, if it’s easy to eat, or they may enjoy the process of helping cook it up.
“Fun food” does not necessarily equate to “junk food”. It can be healthy too. As parents, we'd want to incorporate the nutritious element.
I believe there are two categories of children: those who don't want to sleep and those who don't want to eat. My little girl belongs to the former. Every night, very categorically, she says to me "I don't like sleeping" and she dozes off. And she is a foodie! She takes a first look when food is served and gets very excited if any of her favorite dishes is on the menu.
A few of “our” favorite fun foods:
1. Oats and Semolina Idli - It can be an anytime food, from a breakfast snack to a dinner meal. Plus it's not messy and good “to go”!
2. Soupy Soup - Tomato Lentil soup or Vegetable Quinoa soup is ideal in the cold winter. It can be served with garlic bread, dinner rolls, or bread sticks. It is particularly a good option if you have a sick child at home when they lose their appetite and taste buds. It is light on their tummies and quinoa has great nutritive value too. Slurp!
3. "Hasta la Pasta" - Sometimes, the hardest part of cooking is figuring out what to cook. In these troubled times, the best answer is pasta. The tri-color rotini is a colorful spiral pasta that appeals to children and goes well with all sauces whether it is a white cream sauce, red pasta sauce, or green pesto sauce. Cooking with whole wheat pasta or adding loads of veggies (like broccoli) are healthier (but still fun) options.
4. Simple sugar cookies - The ingredients are child friendly. My little one loves to bake (from rolling the dough to cutting with her varied shapes of cookie cutters) and decorate them. Without the icing, they are a perfect choice of cookie to dunk in that cup of milk. Also, peanut/hazelnut butter oat bites are a good example of no bake energy bites for kids.
5. Puris and Jelly - Just like "mummy ki roti gol gol" song from Ghotu Motu ki Toli, puris can be made “gol-gol” and more colorful and exciting (not to forget,healthy). You can make “hot pink” puris by adding beets or “'go green” puris by adding spinach. Serving them with a dollop of jam or jelly has my little girl drooling!
6. Homemade Pizza - One common factor across all kids’ birthday parties is the pizza on the menu. Naturally, it’s a fun food. The process of making a “funny face” pizza at home with your child using tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, or other veggies is fun and healthy. Or you can mix anything in a cheese quesadilla (using whole wheat tortilla) which is enriched with calcium and easy for the kids to hold.
7. Fruit cream - For one of those days when your child refuses to have his or her fruit for the day.
Whip up some cream (or better, simply use whipped cream) with a fruit of their choice, add a little sugar, and let it marinade for a while in the refrigerator. Serve chilled or otherwise.
8. Cheese and Biscuit sandwich - You can make this with Sweet & Salt biscuits topped with cheese slices and tomatoes as an extra topping (for the tomato lovers). Cheese keeps their energy level high untill mealtime.
9. Corn on the cob - This is quickly boiled and spread with butter, served on a corn dish, and easily held by corn holders. It is a good source of fiber and a cute snack for our cute little ones!
10. Homemade low fat yoghurt pops - These dressed up with fruits is another favorite with children. So are ice cream cones (wafer or waffle) topped up with whipped cream and studded with sprinkles! It beats the sugary frozen treats bought in stores.
11. Eggs - An egg a day provides 1/3 of the daily protein requirement of a 4 year old. For my egg loving baby, egg in any form is yum! For others, here is a recipe. Scoop out the yolk from a full boiled egg, mix it with mayonnaise (preferably light) and salt, and put it back. Beautifully garnished!
So, let's have some "fun and food" !!!
Written by Gauri Jain - a doctor and an Indian mother of a curious 3 year old daughter living in the USA...writing this on behalf of the wonderful team of Ghotu Motu Ki Toli.