Granola, Peanut Butter, Apple Sandwich by Chef Ganesh Teli, Culinary Director, MonkeyBox

(SERVES 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-sized Apples
  • 85 g Rolled Oats
  • 40 ml Orange Juice
  • 40 ml Honey
  • 30 g Peanut Butter
  • 20 g Brown Sugar
  • 20 g Raisins
  • 20 g Ground Flaxseeds
  • 5 g Sea Salt
  • 1 g Cinnamon Powder

Method:

  • Combine oats, flaxseeds, and cinnamon. Roast in a pan until crisp.
  • Combine orange juice, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook it over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat once the sugar dissolves.
  • Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and mix well.
  • Spread a thin layer of the mixture on a non-stick pan and bake until golden brown at 150°C for about 20 minutes. Halfway through the baking, stir the mixture well.
  • Finally, stir in raisins and let the mixture cool completely. This is granola.
  • To assemble the sandwiches, core each apple and cut into ¼-inch slices (8 slices per apple).
  • Spread peanut butter on each slice and sprinkle with granola and top with another apple slice.
  • Press down gently and the sandwiches are ready to be served.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

Serving Size: 1 Portion (approx. 100 g)

  •  Calories: 245 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 41.6 g
  • Fiber: 4.0 g
  • Sugar: 12.5 g
  • Protein: 5.02 g
  • Fat: 7.1 g
  • Iron: 1.7 mg
  • Calcium: 22.2 mg
  • Sodium: 513.4 mg

Food Hacks to Beat Post-Diwali Blues

Frowning faces, tantrums, and kids whining to go back to school – isn’t this the common scene when festivals come to an end. Most of our little sweethearts always have a big taste for sweets, especially during the festive season. But can you really blame them, we all need to treat ourselves once in a while right? However, this often causes stomach-upsets and/or illness after a good festive celebration.

Clues to the blues

Over-indulgence of the sweet tooth generally results in excess consumption of refined carbs (especially sugar) and deep-fried foods. Get this:

  • Excess sugar intake adversely affects the friendly bacteria present in the gut. This, in turn, weakens the child’s immunity. That means children suddenly end up with that cold that you kept away by saying no to ice-creams.
  • Of late low-calorie sweets are in trend. But beware that these contain artificial sweeteners (like sorbitol) which end up fueling the bacteria that produce gases.
  • We also know that foods high in sugar affect the behavior of children. So at the end of the Diwali party, you wonder if the kids are fussy because they have to go home or it’s because of the irritability that kicks in after a sugar high.
  • You may end up spending the festive bonus at the dentist, dealing with cavities thanks to all the sweets the li’l ones binged on.
  • High-fat foods (sweets/savories) take longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates. So kids may complain that they feel ‘stuffed’ and bloated.
  • Also, fried savories like farsan are loaded with sodium that may lead to dehydration.
  • Last but not the least children end up skipping proper meals either because of stomach-ache or because they have binged on sweets.

Food Hacks

So how do you deal with the tummy-aches, diarrhea or constipation and so on? Here are some quick tips to avoid or overcome the problems.

  • Make sure you include probiotic-rich foods that help the friendly gut bacteria. This can be as simple as curd rice, buttermilk or lassi, and fermented foods like idli or dosa.
  • Before heading out to the party feed your children a vegetable sandwich, fruit bowl or a salad. This has multiple benefits
    • Their stomach is partially full so they don’t binge on those tempting sweets.
    • This way they don’t lose out on the nutrition if they skip the meals after the binge.
    • They get the fiber that sweets and fried foods lack. This helps relieve constipation.
  • Ensure they drink plenty of fluids (like water, tender coconut water, buttermilk) throughout the day. This can help ease the digestive issues, avoid over-eating and it can help prevent the cavities.
  • Teach your children about portion control. This goes a long way in developing healthy food habits.

Scrub ’em Clean: Clean Hands Are Safe Hands

Come winter and rainy season, we all tend to pack our children warm with sweaters and scarves and prepare for sniffles. So there’s no better time for Global Hand Washing Day to come around.

It’s but common for children to pout and say sorry or give you that do-away-with-it giggle when you’ve asked them if they’ve washed their hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or when they’ve come back from playing.

But remember it’s a message worth repeating, considering that most of the common infections – including the flu – spread through dirty hands. Hand washing is the dogma to prevent the spread of germs and dodge illness.

Did you know that handwashing is also important for a child’s nutritional status? As surprising as it may sound, it’s very simple to understand why. Good nutrition is not just about eating good food but also depends on the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in the food. Germs (bacteria, viruses, or parasites) damage the lining of the gut thereby affecting effective nutrient absorption.

Negligence of proper handwashing and hygiene makes children prone to infections like the flu and pneumonia. They suffer from diarrhea, nutrient deficiencies and so on. This has an adverse impact on optimal growth and development and can at times be fatal.

Teach your children how to scrub those germs away. The illustration below gives you an idea of the steps involved in handwashing.

8-steps-of-Handwashing

Set a handwashing rule especially:

  • Before and after eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • After touching pets
  • Before and after visiting any sick friends or relatives
  • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)

So raise your hand for hygiene and make your kid a handwashing champ!

PS: If handwashing isn’t possible, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. But remember the use of a sanitizer does not substitute for handwashing.

Wild Rice Salad with Tofu, Peas and Carrot Recipe by Chef Ganesh Teli, Culinary Director, MonkeyBox

Ingredients:

  • 50 g Wild Rice (raw)
  • 50 g Tofu (cubed, seasoned)
  • 20 g Peas (boiled)
  • 20 g Carrots (diced)
  • 20 g Shallots (chopped)
  • 5 ml Sesame Oil
  • 5 ml Rice Vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 g Ground Pepper
  • 3 g Salt

Method:

  • To cook the wild rice, bring 50 g raw wild rice and 4 cups water to boil in a medium-size saucepan. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until tender (approx. 45 – 55 minutes). Drain out the water if required.
  • In a large bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  • Add wild rice, tofu, shallots, peas, and carrots. Mix well and serve in a bowl.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

Serving Size: 100 g (approx.)

  • Calories: 150 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 25 g
  • Fiber: 1.02 g
  • Sugar: Nil
  • Protein: 4.6 g
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Iron: 0.62 mg
  • Calcium: 15.75 mg
  • Sodium: 607 mg

Quinoa with Mushroom, Kale and Sweet Potato – By Chef Ganesh Teli, Culinary Director, MonkeyBox

Ingredients:

  • 100 g Button Mushrooms (quartered)
  • 70 g Kale Leaves (chopped into 2” pieces)
  • 60 g Quinoa
  • 50 g Sweet Potato (peeled and cut into ¾” pieces)
  • 10 g Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  • 5 ml Olive Oil
  • 2 g Salt
  • 1 clove Garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 1 g Black pepper (crushed)
  • 1 cup Water

Method:

  • In a saucepan, bring the quinoa to a boil with a cup of water.
  • Reduce the heat, cover the saucepan and allow to simmer until the water is completely absorbed (approx. 12 – 15 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a small pot, over medium heat.
  • Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms and sauté occasionally. Cook until the pieces begin to soften and turn golden brown (approx. 5 – 6 minutes).
  • Add garlic and cook for a minute. Finally add the kale, salt, and pepper and sauté frequently until the vegetables become tender (approx. 10 – 12 minutes).
  • Serve the vegetables over the quinoa and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

Serving Size: 150 g (approx.)

  •  Calories: 217 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 30.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.4 g
  • Sugar: Nil
  • Protein: 8.8 g
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Iron: 2.5 mg
  • Calcium: 127.1 mg
  • Sodium: 501.7 mg

Breakfast Cereals Are Healthy & A Good Way to Start the Day

Let’s look at this nutrition myth and set the record straight once and for all so that you can cross it off your list.

A hearty nutritious breakfast is the much-needed fuel to restart the engine of the car after a night’s halt-over hence the name ‘break-fast’. It kick-starts the body metabolism and refuels the body’s glucose stores. Studies have shown that breakfast improves kids’ attention span, concentration, and memory. It prevents irritability, fatigue, and restlessness.

Our fast-paced lifestyles constantly change in tandem with increasing spending power, time crunch, dependency on convenience, and so-called health and fitness consciousness. So most reach out for breakfast cereals. Besides, let’s not forget the influence of western lifestyle and eating trends!

What goes into the cereal box?

Commercial breakfast cereals simply translate to refined carbs with added sugar. Why? Because breakfast cereal is made from processed grain. The grain-flour is mixed with water, sugar and/or chocolate and this mixture is extruded. The cereals maybe puffed, flaked or shredded. To top it off, they are coated with chocolate or frosted with sugar before drying and packaging.

Do they deliver what they promise?

The main marketing strategy is undoubtedly the nutritional plank. There is a wide range of commercial cereals to suit the needs of different people be it kids, all-family segment, aging adults or weight watchers. Consumers need to cautious that these breakfast cereals are often marketed with dubious claims and labels which can be misinterpreted.

As a matter of fact, a research conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) on children’s breakfast cereal highlights that “promotional labeling on cereal boxes is designed to distract consumers from focusing on the unhealthy sugar content by making claims that the product provides important nutrients, such as ‘Excellent Source of Vitamin D’ or ‘Good Source of Fiber’ and so on.”

While children are enticed with cartoons or superheroes, parents are convinced with claims. EWG research also found that children’s cereals with cartoon characters on the box are among the most highly sweetened of all.

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Another aspect is that the nutritional benefits claimed on the pack are often not due to the cereal alone but with the suggested ingredients to be added or eaten with. If pairing with milk meets a percentage of protein and calcium requirement or adding fruits gives the required fiber then why do we need the cereal in the first place?

Whip-up your own cereal

So now you know that breakfast cereals aren’t healthy as claimed. But if your child cannot do without breakfast cereals, make your own healthy cereal mix with unprocessed plain cereals. How about ragi flakes with yogurt or milk, a handful of fresh fruits and a sprinkle of dry fruits/nuts!