You’re a busy, on-the-go parent, doing your best to keep everyone happy and fed in your family. However, your kids’ picky taste buds and food tantrums don’t always agree with your schedule, which is when you give into the temptation…
The temptation of reaching for the same carb-loaded or fatty foods like burgers or fries. On some days, you may even choose to pull into the fast food lane and give your kids some quick and ‘happy meals’ to get the job done. How do we know? Because we’ve all been there.
According to the research conducted by TIME, on any given day, 34% of kids and teens consume meals that are bracketed as fast food or fried food!
But what if you could find a middle ground? What if you could whip up quick meals that are as delicious as they are nutritious? Better yet, what if you could get them to start eating some of the same foods you enjoy, so you don’t have to cook two separate meals? The result—happy kids and a happier parent!
Here are some tried and tested ways to introduce your kids to Indian food. Why Indian food? Indian food is rich in taste, has balanced nutrition and offers a variety of dishes that can easily be molded to suit any dietary preference—vegan, vegetarian or gluten free.
Tactic #1: Introduce Indian flavors alongside your kids’ favorite items
According to Parents magazine, your kids’ eating habits are many times driven by their need to have control. To keep them happy, introduce new flavors by teaming them with their go-to favorites. Believe it or not, this tweaked version of their favorite is far more likely to succeed than you forcing them to eat something they really don’t want to.
If your kids love pasta or rice, Chicken Coconut Curry is a fun flavor to play with. It is also the perfect way to give them their share of protein. Additionally, you can always throw in different veggies to make it more nutritious.
Embodying the thick and sweet creaminess of coconut, this might just become a favorite of your fussy eater. If you don’t have time to make the curry yourself, opt for pre-made versions of the coconut curry. However, if you’re all in to prep it from scratch here are some great recipes to try:
You can also use Sukhi’s Madras Curry Sauce to cut down on your kitchen time while still using proteins and vegetables of your choice.
Pro Tip: Try to include different colored vegetables to and make the plate look as interesting as possible.
Tactic #2: Get them involved when prepping meals
If kids can help cook it, they are much more likely to eat it. Choose a few easy recipes and get your kids to help you make them. A great recipe to try with your kids is Rice and Stir-fry. It can be made using varied vegetables and meat. Try tossing in snow peas, peppers, carrots, onions and broccoli in a pan, frying them on high heat until they start to break down. Add in your favorite proteins, like eggs, chicken, or beef once you lower the heat. Let the concoction cook for 30 minutes. Lastly, add in a sauce (soy sauce being an easy addition if you’re pressed for time).
The trick is to serve this stir fry on a bed of tangy rice. Lemon rice is quite a hit with kids. Lay this gorgeous dish on the table, sit back, and enjoy.
Why do children love the food they make? It gives them a sense of ownership, a feeling of taking charge. We understand though that you could be concerned about their safety. This nylon kid-safe knife set is a great way to get curious kids to help in the kitchen without having to worry about them hurting themselves.
Pro Tip: Food like rice can be made in abundance. Save yourself the time by making one big batch. You can then add different proteins to it and create different meals each day!
Tactic #3: Make dinner time fun
We know this may seem obvious, but often the stress of making dinner on a tight schedule takes all the joy out of cooking. Stress in the kitchen seamlessly translates into stress on the dining table, further aggravating your picky eater.
Which is why ‘make your own pizza’ night is a great way to keep things fun! And since you choose your own ingredients, you can opt for fresh and organic options to make it a healthy pizza.
Tandoori Chicken Naan pizza with a prepared naan bread is a great way to keep it quick while adding some exciting flavors to their food. Tandoori Chicken has been vouched for as the all-time, go-to favorite for kids and this recipe incorporates Tactics #1 and #2 while also making dinner a fun activity instead of a chore.
To make the process simple and easily executable, keep the tandoori chicken prepared. You can opt for pre-made marinades and cooking will seem like a dream. Here are some recipes to try:
A few things to remember
- Don’t be afraid to introduce different cuisines and flavors to your children. Kids are much likelier to adapt to new tastes than adults. For all you know, the fear was pretty much just your own!
- Presentation is a deal maker/breaker. Just put in an extra minute or two to make the food look appealing. A simple addition of sliced tomatoes/avocados can bring in the brightness you need!
- Habits don’t change overnight. It’s okay if they don’t finish their first few meals. As long as they’ve had enough to comfort their stomachs, you can sleep in peace. Continue to serve them different flavors and gradually, you’ll notice the leftovers diminishing in their plates.
Don’t try too hard!
Getting your kids to enjoy healthier and more flavorful foods doesn’t mean zero indulgence. There are treat days and cheat days for a reason! For more inspiration, check out this video of the chicken tikka masala nachos or our version of mac ‘n’ cheese!
Well-stocked Fridge = Happy Tummy
We all have tough days, days when cooking becomes the last priority on the list. Luckily today we have access to lots of pre-made healthy foods. Consider shelving some pre-packaged meals in your kitchen cabinets, especially for your kids!
Try out our suggested recipes above and send us pictures! We’d love to post them to our social media. Happy (cooking and) eating!