Toddlers and young children are usually finicky about eating. They want to stick to only certain kinds of food and making sure that they eat healthy and get all nutrition from what they are eating can become a challenge. The answer lies in a little innovation and variety. in this section, we explore some healthy meal options for kids.
Sabji Parantha (Paratha stuffed with veggies)
Kids usually run away from vegetables, but they like stuffed paranthas like aloo parantha. This is a variation to feed your kid, veggies and parantha in one go. Serve it with some lentils or dal and you have a complete meal.
1 cup – Any cooked vegetable – pumpkin,potato, mixed vegetable, cauliflower,peas etc. will do. Ensure that the veggie that you use is dry. There should not be any liquid in the stuffing.
1 cup Wholewheat flour (atta)
Water to knead
Oil / Ghee / Butter to fry
Dry flour to help in rolling
Knead the flour into soft dough by adding little water at a time.
Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes.
Take the prepared vegetable and mash it well with a potato masher or fork.
Make balls of required size from the dough.
Dive the stuffing into same number as balls of dough.
Use a rolling pin to roll a ball to a small chapatti using some dry flour.
Put one portion of stuffing in the centre of chapatti and cover it from all sides.
Make a ball again with your hands and some dry flour. Keep aside for 2 minutes. This step helps in rolling. You can prepare all portions and then start rolling again.
Roll parantha with the help of a rolling pin and dry flour, making sure that stiffing spreads evenly to all sides and parantha does not get torn.
Cook on a hot tawa or griddle. Let it cook on one side till some spots appear.
Turn and apply oil , ghee or butter.
Turn again and apply ghee.
Repeat for all paranthas.
Vermicalli Upma is a one pot meal for kids, as it has lots of vegetables, vermicelli and some dals. You may also add some paneer or cheese if your kid likes them to make it even more nutritious. It is easy to make and great for breakfast, but can be given to kids at lunch, snack or dinner too.
Vermicelli / Seviyan – 1 cup
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 8-10
1 small onion – chopped fine
1 small tomato – chopped fine
Finely Chopped vegetables – carrots, capsicum, peas
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Water – 2 cups
Dry roast the vermicelli in a kadai or pan, till they get golden brown and a nice aroma is released.
Keep aside in a plate.
Heat oil in the kadai/ pan.
Add mustard seeds.
Once mustard seeds start crackling, add chana dal and urad dal.
Finally add curry leaves. Saute for half a minute.
Add onions and saute for a while.
Add tomatoes and let it cook for couple of minutes.
Add turmeric and salt to taste.
Now add chopped vegetables. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes covered.
Once vegetables are a little soft, add roasted vermicelli and mix well.
Finally add 1 cup water, mix well and bring to a boil.
Cover and let it cook for 5-6 minutes.
If needed, you can add some water. Vermicelli should get cooked but not lumpy.
P.S. If your kid likes chillies, you may also add some chillies.
Red Rice Pulao
Red rice is high in fibre and is healthier than regular rice. This pulao can be served to kids as a snack or breakfast or even as a meal, since it contains all food groups.
1 cup red rice – soaked for 3-4 hours
1 cup Chopped vegetables – carrots, capsicum, peas, beans etc.
Chopped onions – ½ cup
Chopped tomato – ½ cup
Raw Peanuts – ¼ cup
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Oil – 1tbsp and to fry
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Chopped coriander leaves – as per preference
Cook soaked red rice in water till it is 90% done.
Heat oil in a pan to shallow fry peanuts.
Fry raw peanuts till they turn red. Take out and keep aside.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.
Put mustard seeds. When it crackles, ass curry leaves.
Add onions and fry for few minutes.
Add tomatoes and sauté for few minutes.
Add chopped veggies and sauté.
Add turmeric powder and salt.
Add cooked red rice.
Mix well and add 1 cup water.
Cook till all water dries and vegetable and rice till fully cooked.
Serve garnished with coriander leaves and fried peanuts.
Maggi Masala Rice
Most kids love instant noodles, and this is a delicious rice recipe using the tastemaker. Easy and quick to make, this may become your kid’s favorite.
Cooked rice – 1 cup
Oil – 1 tsp
cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
1 small onion – chopped
1 small tomato – chopped
1 cup chopped mixed vegetables – carrots, capsicum, peas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, corn etc
Maggi Masala tastemaker – 1 tbsp
Salt and Pepper – to taste
Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin.
When cumin sputters, add onions.
Saute onions till soft and add tomatoes.
Saute for few minutes and add chopped vegetables.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add less salt as tastemaker will also have some salt.
Add a little water to cook the vegetable a bit.
Add rice and tastemaker and mix everything well.
Taste to adjust seasoning and mix well.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Here is another enticing recipe to encourage your kids to eat lots of vegetables with pasta. This is also a complete dish as it has pasta providing carbohydrates, vegetables providing minerals and vitamins and cheese is full of protein.
1 cup Pasta – any shape
1 cup – Chopped fresh vegetables (green beans, capsicum( red, green, yellow), peas, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, corn, cabbage, mushrooms). You can add as many or few veggies as your kid likes.
1 sliced onion
½ tsp chopped garlic
1 chopped tomato
1 tbsp – oil or butter
¼ cup Tomato ketchup
Salt and pepper
1 tsp Pasta seasoning ( dried herbs)
¼ cup grated cheese
1 tsp oil
Water as per need
Heat water in a large pan with some salt and one teaspoon of oil . Bring it to boil.
Add pasta to it and cook it as per instructions on the pack.
Strain pasta and keep aside.
In a large pan or kadhai, heat oil or butter.
Add garlic to it. Sauté for a few seconds. Do not let it brown.
Add onions and sauté till transparent.
Add tomatoes and cook till soft.
Add vegetables adding harder ones like carrots a little before softer ones. If using mushrooms, add them in the end.
Sauté for some time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add tomato ketchup and mix well. You can add a little water if needed.
Once veggies are slightly cooked, add pasta and mix well. Keep the veggies little crunchy.
Add pasta seasoning to your taste and mix well.
Finally sprinkle grated cheese over ready pasta.
This pizza is a wholesome but enticing meal for toddlers which will ensure more than one helpings.
1 Wholewheat Pizza base
3 large tomatoes – chopped
1 large tomato – sliced in roundels
1 large onion – sliced
1 cup Capsicums (red, green, yellow) – sliced
8-10 Mushrooms – sliced
½ cup Cheese grated
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp sugar
Oregano and mixed herbs (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
For Pizza Sauce
Heat olive oil in a frying pan.
Add sliced onions and sauté for a bit.
Add chopped tomatoes and sauté till soft.
Add salt and pepper to taste. You may also add mixed herbs if you child likes it.
Mix well and add sugar.
Add ½ cup water to adjust consistency and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Assembling the pizza
Take the pizza base and spread the prepared sauce over it.
Now add sliced capsicum and mushrooms over it.
Finally sprinkle grated cheese over it.
Sprinkle mixed herbs if your child likes it.
Bake it in hot oven for 4-5 minutes or till the cheese melts.
Idlis are very healthy and are perfect food for kids, but they might easily get bored of the same white ones each time. Here we make them more enticing and yet they remain equally healthy and tasty.
Idli batter – 2 cups
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Coriander and spinach – 1 bunch – ground into a fine paste
Oil to grease
Divide the batter into 2 halves. Add turmeric powder to one and coriander and spinach paste to another.
Take a idli mould and grease it with oil.
Pour idli batter into moulds and steam them for 10-12 minutes.
You can also microwave idlis for 20-3 mins.
Serve idlis with smabhar.
P.S. You could also add beetroot juice to get pink color or any other natural agent to make enticing and nutritious idlis for your child.
Fenugreek leaves(Methi) Parantha
Fenugreek leaves are very good for health as they are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. They are also known to be beneficial for diabetics. But they are not very popular among kids due to their slightly bitter taste. These paranthas combine the goodness of fenugreek with yummy taste
Wheat flour – 2 cups + for dusting
Fenugreek leaves – 1 cup – cleaned and washed thoroughly under running water)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp(optional )
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Curd – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil -1 tbsp
Water to knead dough
Oil for making parathas
Chop fenugreek leaves roughly.
Mix flour, fenugreek leaves, turmeric powder, cumin powder, curd, 1tbsp oil and salt in a large bowl. Add chilli powder if your child likes it else omit it.
Mix a soft dough by adding water little at a time. Cover and keep aside for half to one hour.
Divide the dough into small Ping-Pong shaped balls.
Roll parantha using a rolling pin using dry flour for dusting. Don’t make parantha too thick or too thin.
Heat a griddle or tawa. Put the rolled parantha onto griddle.
When small bubble start appearing, flip the parantha and apply oil using a spoon.
Let cook for a few seconds and turn again. Apply oil on the other side too and cook while pressing with a spatula.
Take off the griddle and make more in a similar way.
Serve hot with curd or raita.
Broccoli is a very healthy vegetable but not always a kid’s favourite because of its strong taste. This soup recipe is delicious, easy to drink for kids and hides any pungent taste that they may dislike.
2 cups Broccoli cut into small florets
½ cup carrots cut into dices
1 medium onion sliced
4 cups Chicken or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp fresh cream
1 tsp Butter (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large pan.
Add onions and sauté till they become soft.
Add carrots and sauté for some more time.
Add broccoli and sauté well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté well for 3-4 minutes till you get nice smell and vegetables look shimmery.
Add stock and bring to a boil.
Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes and remove from fire. Let it cool for few minutes.
Use a hand blender or put in a blender to make a fine puree.
Heat a little butter in pan and add blended soup and mix well.
You may now adjust consistency by adding more stock and also check salt and pepper.
Simmer for 2 minutes, add fresh cream and serve hot with croutons or bread sticks.
Tip: Make your own vegetable stock by boiling stalks of broccoli, carrots, onions and other vegetables that you are not going to use with some salt, cloves and black pepper corns. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, strain and you stock is ready.
Grilled Vegetable Cheese Sandwich
This sandwich is a complete meal covering all food groups. You may make vegetable slices as thin or thick as your child likes.
Bread (brown or white) 2 slices
Cheese slice – 1
Salt and pepper
Butter as per requirement
Butter the two slices well. You may also remove the crust if you like.
Arrange 4-6 cucumber slices as needed on one of the slices.
Arrange onion and tomato slices over cucumber as required.
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper to taste. It is good to put less as butter and cheese also has some salt.
Finally put a slice of cheese over vegetables.
Cover with other slice and grill in a hot grill till lightly brown.
Take out and cut into desired shapes.
Serve with green chutney or tomato sauce.
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