5 healthy recipes for kids you can create in 15 minutes or less
Cheat sheet for the working mom
Want to know if your kid’s a star? Try feeding her something healthy. Nothing like the sight of lauki ki sabzi to bring out her inner Meena Kumari. It’s a story Sheeba De Souza could have written herself. Though the family business revolves around helping clients reset their tired, poorly nourished bodies at the Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat And Spa, Maharashtra, the mother of two and clean eating evangelist admits it’s tough coming up with healthy recipes for kids.
“My son is a very fussy eater so I often have to trick him to eat healthy,” she says, adding that she’s had to come up with her own PC Sorcar-level ingenuity to hoodwink their tastebuds. “I add grated carrots and beans in idlis so they look colourful and interesting. Or I add boiled quinoa or barley to his porridge for that extra protein.” In her manual of healthy recipes for kids, De Souza has tweaked a kiddie breakfast favourite to reduce the amount of processed sugar in their daily diets. “I take almond milk and add organic cocoa powder, dates and honey to make it look like a nice and thick chocolate milkshake.”
Despite her attention to detail, De Souza knows she can’t control what her kids eat once they leave her sight. “It’s difficult to control their eating habits but I’m normally very strict during the week and only allow them to eat junk food on the weekends.” Sweet treats need to be earned in the De Souza household: “If they do something good, they earn a brownie point and I offer them a chocolate or an ice cream.”
For moms struggling to get their pizza-loving progeny to eat their dal and multi-grain roti, De Souza shares her own healthy recipes for kids, and her tried-and-tested tweaks: “I take my children to the market with me to choose fruits and vegetables, so this makes things easier and they usually eat what they choose. I usually make a menu for the week every Sunday and put it up on my fridge. Knowing what I’m giving them in advance makes it easier to plan and organise things. And if you have the time, try cooking with them and eating with them as a family—kids usually like to emulate their parents.”
5 healthy recipes for kids that will have them begging for seconds
Chicken and corn sandwiches in multigrain bread
- Small chicken breast
- Handful of sweet corn kernels
- One whole peeled onion
- Black peppercorns- 4-5
- Cloves- 4-5
- Bay leaf-1
- Celery-1 tablespoon (finely chopped)
- Homemade healthy soya/almond cream (recipe below) or store-bought mayonnaise- 1.5 tbsp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
- Multigrain bread
Recipe of Soya cream/Almond cream
- Soya milk /Homemade almond milk- 45 ml
- Extra virgin olive oil- 25 ml
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Basil leaves- 2-3 (optional)
1. Mix all the above ingredients together in a blender and add finely chopped basil leaves for added flavour.
Directions for the sandwich
- In a saucepan, add 2 cups water and let it boil. Then add the chicken breast, whole onion, black peppercorns, cloves, celery and bay leaf and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and all the flavours are well infused.
- Strain the above and discard the water using a strainer. Remove the chicken from the strainer and slice it into thin strips or bite-sized pieces. The remaining ingredients left inside the strainer can be discarded.
- Transfer the chicken strips into a bowl, add the corn kernels, shredded lettuce, salt, pepper and mayonnaise and mix it well.
- Take four slices of multigrain bread, spread a tiny bit of mayonnaise on it (not too much). Add the chicken and corn mixture in between both the slices, and grill it. Or you could also serve it plain.
Health tip: This sandwich is usually a big hit with kids. We use multigrain bread instead of white bread which is high in protein and a cheat’s recipe for homemade creamy mayonnaise.
- Muesli – 100 gm
- Raw organic quinoa (after measuring, boil and cook it in water for 10-15 min or as per packet instructions)
- Mixed nuts (almonds and cashews) – 8-10, roughly chopped
- Mixed fruits (red apple, green apple, pear- roughly chopped
- Raw honey-1 tablespoon or as per taste
- Fresh orange juice – 4 tbsp
- Fresh curd- 4 tbsp
- Milk – 2-3 tbsp
- Raisins- 6-8
- In a bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, muesli, nuts, honey, curd and raisins and mix well. Allow this to marinate for 4-5 hours in the fridge. Just before serving, add fresh orange juice, mixed fruits and milk. Mix well and serve cold.
Ragi idli with grated carrots
- Idli rawa- 250 gm
- Urad dal- 125 gm
- Ragi flour- 35 gm
- Water- ½ cup (approximately for churning in a mixer)
- Salt-1/2 teaspoon
- Carrots- 1/4 cup finely grated
- Curry leaves- a few
- Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
- Green chilli-1 finely chopped (optional)
- Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
- Oil- 1 tbsp (I recommend using cold pressed coconut oil)
- Wash and soak the urad dal for 5-6 hours and keep aside
- Soak the idli rawa for one hour in water. Once done strain it and keep aside.
- In a mixer/grinder, add the soaked urad dal , the soaked idli rawa and the ragi flour and grind it well along with approximately ½ cup water until turns into a smooth paste. Keep this aside in a covered bowl at room temperature and let it ferment nicely for 7-8 hours.
- Once done, add the grated carrots to this mixture and transfer slowly into the idli moulds. Steam it for approximately 7-8 minutes on low temperature or until done.
- In a pan, add little oil, mustard seeds, sesame seeds, curry leaves and green chillies until it starts crackling. Add the steamed idlis in this pan and stir it very gently for 30 seconds until the idlis are well coated. Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar.
Health tip: These idli are very high in protein, iron and vitamins, especially with grated carrots which are very high in vitamins and also add a natural sweetness. The tempering adds more flavour to this dish and can be a great snack for the kids to take to school.
Paneer kathi roll
Ingredients for the paneer mixture
- Onion- 1 finely sliced
- Peppers (red, yellow and green)- a few strips of each
- Tomato (deseeded)- 1 small finely sliced / julienne
- Paneer cubes- 80 gm
- Tumeric powder-1/2 tsp
- Coriander powder- 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder- 1 tsp(optional)
- Garam masala powder- 1 tsp
- Cumin powder- ½ teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Tomato ketchup- 1 tablespoon.
Directions for the paneer mixture
- In a pan, add 1 tbps oil, add the onions and stir fry it for a few minutes until slightly brown. Add the peppers/capsicum and tomatoes and keep stirring for a few minutes. Then add the paneer and all the dry spices and gently stir. Lastly, add the tomato ketchup and cook for two more minutes or until done.
Ingredients for the kathi egg roll (egg is optional)
- Whole wheat flour -4 tbsp
- Chickpea flour/ Sattu atta -2 tbsp
- Salt- a pinch
- Water to knead the dough- just a couple of tbsp
- Ghee- 1.5 tbsp
- Egg- 1
- Onions-1/4 finely chopped
- Coriander- 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
- Green chilli – ½ finely chopped (optional)
Directions for kathi egg roll
- Mix the above ingredients and knead it into a nice firm dough. Then make a roti/paratha by add a little ghee to it on a hot tawa.
- In bowl, add the egg, chopped onion, coriander, green chilli and salt and beat it well. In a pan, add ½ tbsp oil and cook this egg on both the sides like an omelette. Once the eggs are almost cooked, put the paratha on top of the egg in the pan. The egg will now stick to the paratha. Let it cook for one minute and the flip the paratha. Once that is done, switch the gas off.
- Place the egg paratha on a plate and add the paneer filling inside it and roll it up like a frankie. Cut this roll into 3 equal-size pieces and serve hot.
Health tip: Use whole wheat flour and chickpea flour which is an amazing source of protein instead of refined flour to make the parathas. Delicious, it’s also high in vitamins, calcium and protein and a great option for kids’ tiffin boxes.
Gajar ka halwa
- Carrots- 1 cup (grated)
- Ghee- 1 tbsp
- Milk- 3-4 tbsp
- Organic jaggery powder- 2 tbsp (as per taste)
- Mawa/khoya – 1.5 tbsp (optional)
- Raisins- a few
- Almonds and pistachios – 1 tbsp, roughly chopped/ground
- Cardamom powder, 1/2 tsp
- In a pan, add ghee. Once hot, add the carrots and sauté it on low flame for 10-12 minutes while stirring it continuously.
- Slowly and gently add the milk, jaggery powder, khoya, raisins and cook for a few more minutes until done. Garnish with nuts and serve hot.
Health tip: Desserts are a weakness for most kids. In our recipe, we have substituted refined sugar for organic jaggery powder which has a high iron content. This dish also contains nuts and raisins which are very essential for our health and can be prepared in less than 15 minutes.