“I’m hungry!” your child states. It’s not time for a main meal but you would like to give your child something healthy to sate their hunger until the main meal without reaching for the chips or sweets.
Here are some healthy choices:
- Fresh Fruit. This was the only option I had as a child and a very good one. It kept me from the dentists drill for many years. This includes a punnet of cherry tomatoes. If you serve fruit salad, you could sprinkle in some chopped nuts (if they are not sensitive) or seeds. This will slow the breakdown of the fruit sugars and make the snack longer lasting. Try and avoid dairy desserts as they are full of sugar and are cold in temperature and nature. Not good for young stomachs. But if your child is a savory tooth then read on.
- Dips. Hommus, mashed avocado (put a tiny bit of chilli in it as it will negate the cold nature of this food and stop them from overeating it) and vegetable sticks to dip with such as carrots and celery. If you choose to serve with crackers then these should be plain i.e.plain water cracker or rice crackers, not overly salty. The dip is the feature not the crackers.
- Soups. If it’s been a cold day nothing hits the spot like a warm soup. Soups are a great way to have vegetables if you have a fussy eater. You can introduce foods like miso (fermented soy bean paste) which is instant and highly nutritious.
- Leftovers. Got some leftover pasta? Cooked vegetables? Beat up some eggs and throw in leftovers, cook in pan for 2 mins, flip (use a large plate over the pan, turn 180 degrees, the slid it back into the pan cooked side up), cook for another 2 minutes and presto you have a frittata. Yummy!
- Baked beans. If you can make your own it would be better as I find the commercial varieties are too sweet, but when you have a “starving” child staring you down the canned variety will do. If you’ve some time some stale bread you can try this for variety: Cut the crusts off the bread and push them into muffin trays. Beat an egg and add to the can of baked beans in a bowl. You could also add in some chopped spinach at this point but this is optional. Pour your egg and bean mix into the bread lined muffin forms and bake in a moderate oven for 15mins or until set. Crunchy toasted bread cup with a soft centre.
- Rice. Boiled rice with soy sauce is a good filler. If you want to complete the protein set throw in some beans or peas. It’s filling and easily digested.
- Vegie Rolls. These you can make in advance and freeze. I have made these for birthday parties and all the children came back for seconds and thirds.
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
½ cup baby spinach leaves
2 – 3 spring onions (eshallots), chopped
¾ cup fresh (not dried) breadcrumbs
¼ cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of tamari or soy sauce
Freshly ground pepper
1 sheet read rolled puff pastry
Set oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Put all the vegetables including the spring onions in a food processor and process to a mealy
Spoon mixture into a larger bowl and combine the egg, bread, pine nuts, parsley, olive oil,
soy sauce and a twist of pepper.
Cut pastry sheet in half. Spoon mixture along the centre of each sheet. Roll up and dampen
edges to secure. Cut each length in quarters and prick centre with a fork.
Place on a baking tray with baking paper and bake in for 10 minutes at 200°C. Reduce heat
to 180°C and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until pastry is golden. Makes 8.
Note that I have tried to stay away from dairy products as they are considered “damp” in Chinese medicine.