love food, but the kind of food they love is sometimes dreadful. As a mother, and a father too, we are entrusted with the responsibility of feeding our children the right food items. So how do we do it? Do we force it down on them? Do we beg them to eat what we want them to eat? Or simply let it be, let them eat all the junk that they want and just give in when they make a face at all those healthy green vegetables and colourful fruits that are absolutely imperative to their growth?
The answer is 'none of the above'. What we actually need to do, and what is honestly not that tough, is just use a little creativity to make healthy food interesting for them. With a little love and 'mummy ka magic' you can achieve the impossible.
The first and the foremost thing to do is to try and involve your children in the actual cooking process. This doesn't apply when you are making bhindi and dal, but popular options like mango milkshake, hot chocolate or a pizza (the base of which can be a mix of some healthy flour like nachni, wheat flour or a mix of all). Try and ask them to choose the toppings for the pizza, but make a deal that for every two toppings of their choice you will give one of yours.
It is important to make them feel involved. You can even get them to wear a cute chef's hat and an apron with a fun phrase on it like "I'm the new Star Chef". You will see that in no time they will be loving every minute for their kitchen time.
The benefit of involving children in the kitchen is manifold. They will develop a genuine interest in food and its components, and understand that one can create permutations and combinations best suited to them through the power of creativity. They will be more open to food varieties, and take pride in their creations.
An exercise that I carried out with my son and it worked like magic was taking him to the market. It helped him learn about the different types of vegetables and fruits, and he would get thrilled with their myriad shapes, colours and smells. He would ask the vendors questions like where is a particular fruit or vegetable from, how many types are there, and so on. Then he would ask me what all I planned to make with those and I would counter question him by asking how he would like to have them. Again empowering him to make his own decision.
I also love involving younger children in the kitchen by making simple, exciting dishes that will appeal to them visually. I buy a lot of different shapes of moulds, baking trays, cookie cutters etc to do the trick. For example, if I am teaching them how to make pancakes, make them in interesting shapes such as a heart or a bear.
Also cute garnishes work well in attracting kids in the kitchen and/ or get them to eat healthy foods. Here's something you can try: slice grapes to make eyes, cherry tomatoes for the nose, cut cheese in the shape of a smile, celery stalks to make antenna and legs of a caterpillar-shaped sandwich which has all the healthy fillings that you would like to feed your child with.
Amidst all the fun, an important point to note is that whatever you do just make sure the children are safe in the kitchen. Keep an eye out for knives lying around carelessly and be careful of any fire hazards. That said and done, trust me, feeding children and involving them in the kitchen is not as tough as you think it is. Try the above pointers and you will know it's easy.The multi-talented Amrita Raichand is not only a successful model but also a homemaker and has now progressed to be known as one of the most sought after female celebrity chefs. Amrita's body of work boasts of over 100 brand endorsements, anchoring numerous live events besides some challenging roles on TV and films and now she has forayed into the world of culinary arts. Her cookery show "Mummy ka Magic" is not only one of the longest running show on the channel FoodFood but also won her The Best Celebrity Host Award. She was also awarded The Women's Achievers Award for her achievements.
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