Are you a working parent? Does your life revolve around deadlines by day and food-fuss by night? Join the club!
For a mom, her child’s eating habits are a point of constant concern. When you are a working mom, you meet your child at the end of the day and the concern multiplies.
It’s because children are constantly fussing over food. They don’t want to eat the regular food served to them.
But what if you could concoct some healthy, yet exciting ways so that your child can eat without you? These will keep your child healthy even while you’re away.
Think it’s worth a shot?
Here are four working parent’s easy recipe ideas to keep their children healthy:
1) Homemade snacks
Children enjoy snacking. When you’re not at home, how can you ensure that they’re snacking right? Move on from making the regular homemade snacks which they’re bored of and try something new.
Children love cookies. Try the Indian version of homemade flour cookies. They’re super healthy. Mix aata (whole wheat flour) with milk, nuts, and some baking powder, and semolina to make a loose dough. When shaped and fried, they look just like cookies from a bakery.
Apart from cookies try making and storing homemade cutlets instead of buying the ready-to-fry version from the supermarket. Try out various concoctions every week and freeze them.
The internet is brimming with recipes that are easy to make and store. Try your luck with at least a few.
Surely your child will enjoy a fried snack when you’re at work and you can be rest assured that it’s a healthy one.
2) Plan your menu ahead of time
It’s dinner time and you’re too tired to manage tantrums so you give up and let your child eat whatever he/she wants, just to get the meal done and over with. Although you feel guilty, your guilt gets redirected as frustration towards your child’s fuss over food.
Sometimes, you try and fix a quick meal so that your kid can at least eat something but a quick fix is but a quick fix. If this becomes a regular pattern, then your child is eating unwholesome food every night. How do you check this but also maintain your sanity with so much to do?
Plan the menu for the week: Think about all the fun and healthy options that can be made for lunch and for dinner. Keep the menu in writing so that you don’t forget.
What comprises the menu: Something that is healthy yet attracts the child to eat.
The meal doesn’t have to be over the top, but it should be balanced with a different flavour at least thrice a week. Whole-grain rotis, rice, or pasta; a fruit or a vegetable; and proteins like pulses, lean meat, cheese, or beans are a few suggestions.
Also, plan for desserts that you or your cook will be able to make without too much fuss. Indian desserts like kheer and payasam work well. Having a ready menu will be quite helpful. Remember, food cooked with positive energy gets accepted with the same energy by the children.
Hope you’ve brought out a pen and paper for next week’s plan? If not, do it already!
3) Make the most of breakfast
Fibre! Fibre! Fibre! Make the breakfasts full of fibre. But how?
Most children don’t eat enough fibre for breakfast and that sets the pace for an unhealthy eating pattern for the day.
Homemade waffles, pancakes, stuffed parathas, poha, upma and stuffed bread toasts are any day better than cereal. On a daily basis, cereal cannot fulfil the fibre count for the body.
Most working mothers and fathers rely on this quick fix for themselves and children ape that. Also, children get bored of cereal and oatmeal quite quickly. Savoury items that take turns in the menu are difficult to get bored of.
Families need to make breakfasts count, especially when everyone leaves for work after that.
If you’re a working parent and have been relying on cereal or oatmeal for breakfast all along, it’s time you make the switch and see the change.
4) Make an eating box!
Wondering what I’m talking about? I’m just talking about the regular snack box but with a twist.
Since you’re the mom and know your child best, making his/her eating timetable is your job. But if you’re working and are not physically present to oversee meal times, making this timetable is paramount.
Chalk out a plan which mentions your child’s meals on an hourly basis. Yes, children get hungry every hour or two and it is essential to plan many healthy meal options for the day.
Make a decorative chart every fortnight and hang it near the fridge. Explain it to the person who takes charge of the kid when you’re not around. Explain it to your child as well. Let the plan have fun snack breaks, water breaks, meal breaks, and even a chocolate break.
Before the week begins, sort the snacks, as per your plan, in boxes and show them to your child. Then explain that these need to be consumed only during snack time–after the meals that you will leave them every day. Caretakers should be made conscious of following the plan strictly.
Since the child knows that you have packed fun stuff along with the other basic things that he/she necessarily needs to eat, the cribbing will reduce. You will notice that your child looks forward to having surprises from these boxes packed by you.
Children are looking for their parent’s attention even when they’re away at work. A box packed especially for them gives them all the attention they desire.
It’s a tender and wonderful way of getting them to eat healthy, even when you’re not around. Don’t you agree?
Are you a working parent and have a few healthy recipes of your own? Share one such in the ‘Comments’ section below.
Image Credits: Aliva Pam, USDAGov