Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

The Road to Good Heart Health Starts in Childhood

“Oh, high blood pressure? That’s only in old people”

“Heart problems only occur in adults or old people”

Aren’t these your thoughts too? Most of us think that problems related to high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart problems only occur in adults or older people.  In reality, it can affect people of all ages, including children.

Studies show a significant rise in the number of children affected by non-communicable diseases like hypertension and heart diseases. Commemorating World Heart Health Day, we would like to highlight that taking care of the heart needs to start in childhood.

Obesity; the main culprit

Although there are a number of factors that can adversely affect heart health in children, obesity remains the main culprit. Obesity also hastens the occurrence of other heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and so on. High BP is an important risk factor for heart diseases.

A study that looked at the relationship of childhood obesity with blood pressure in Indian school children (5–16 years) reported that high blood pressure was more prevalent in obese children. So what? Here’s the catch – the problem of high blood pressure that begins in childhood persists through adolescence well into adulthood. In a nutshell, a hypertensive child is a hypertensive adult.

Experts also believe that childhood and adolescent obesity has a compelling impact on the structure and functioning of the heart; so it is very important to ensure that children fall in the healthy weight range.

What can you do to ensure good heart health in your child?

Prevention is always better than cure. Although factors such as family history or genetic predisposition cannot be changed or avoided, we can take control of other risk factors to deter or delay the disease.

  1. Children are what they eat: Healthy eating habits not only includes healthy, nutritious food but also regular meal times. Excess of anything is bad. A diet high in fat, carbs and/or sugar contribute to obesity and excess of sodium (in the form of salt, sauces, MSG) make way for high BP.
  1. Hustle the muscle: with the advent of technology in every phase of life, screen time (like TV, mobile-use, video games) has substantially increased. Activity and exercise have undoubtedly taken a back seat. Physical activity strengthens heart muscles, helps blood vessels branch out more, regulates blood pressure and also increases HDL (good) cholesterol.

      Children and adolescents must get at least 60 minutes of moderate to        vigorous aerobic activity every day. Examples include bike                                  riding, swimming, jogging, football, aerobics or dancing.

  1. Let the children kick butt: be it electronic cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, they are all harmful. Most children may get on this track due to peer pressure or stress. On the other hand, passive smoking can also be the reason.

It’s best to form good habits early in life so we don’t have to break bad habits later.

So it is time to change our way of thinking and understand that good heart health starts from childhood.

The Untold Tales of Millets

Ever come across the story of the murder of millets? Yes indeed, millets were a part of our country’s staple food. However, with the advent of polished rice, wheat, and their processed descendants, millets are no longer a part of the picture.

Sadly, this acclimatization has lead to a plethora of health disorders and diseases like diabetes, obesity, and blood pressure which seem to prevail in a widespread manner. It’s time to bid adieu and break the unhealthy trend, and who better than our children to start and set the right trend.

“Did you know that millets are much superior to rice and wheat when it comes to protein, fiber, and mineral content?”

Millets could be the best bet to keep children on high-energy mode since they are said to be high-energy nutritious food and an excellent source of B-vitamins. While the protein of baragu (Proso Millet) ensures optimal growth in children, the calcium content of ragi (Finger Millet) strengthens the children’s bones and teeth.

“Each one of the millets has more fibre than rice and wheat. Ragi (finger millet has thirty times more calcium than rice while every other millet has at least twice the amount of calcium compared to rice.”

Research shows that a jowar (Sorghum Millet) rich diet improves growth and positively affects the hemoglobin, folic acid, vitamin A, iron and calcium content in school going children. Those hunger pangs can be saved for later since the high fiber content of millets gives children a feeling of fullness and as a plus point prevents over-eating.

Millets are not only easy to digest but also offer healing action in cases of gastrointestinal inflammation and ulceration. This gluten-free grain is the mantra for children struggling with gluten related health issues like celiac disease. Additionally, consumption of millets notably cuts down the incidence of wheezing and asthma in children.

Loaded with phytochemicals, millets provide the antioxidants that keep the body’s immune system at its peak. Not only do fermented millet products act as natural probiotics but millets’ whole grain also shows pre-biotic activity, boosting the population of friendly bacteria that play a key role to promote digestion.

Although it would be nice to say that millets are synonymous to perfection, they do contain anti-nutrients. The proportions of these anti-nutrients can be cut down by simple food processing techniques like decortication, germination, malting, and fermentation.

Last but not the least, here’s another bonus – with the monsoon setting in, get set to include millets in your children’s diet because it is a warming grain that will help to heat the body in cold or rainy seasons and climates!

Resurgence of the Humble Coconut

Case # 101: Coconut Chaos

A couple of decades earlier, under Section 111 of the health & nutrition penal code, coconut was defamed and found to be guilty of contributing to ill health because of its high saturated fat content. The accused was thus sentenced to a lifetime banishment from plates across India.

Now, wait let’s crack open this case.

Is coconut really guilty of all the heinous crimes that it was convicted of? Definitely not! Let’s look at why the coconut is back with a bang.

Every part of the humble coconut; be it the coconut meat called copra, water (tender coconut water), milk or oil, has nourished Indians long long before the West became interested in it. However, all of a sudden the coconut was condemned as its oil was touted as an artery clogger due to its saturated fat content. Consequently, the coconut pretty much became extinct from Indian food plates.

It is not hard to see that the accused was framed for the crime of his evil twin – the hydrogenated coconut oil. This fellow creates health havocs with trans fat. The refined coconut oil too, which is extracted from chemically bleached and deodorized coconut meat, is equally bad.

On the other hand, unrefined, virgin coconut oil does contain saturated fat, but of the good kind. It mainly contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that boost metabolism and increases satiety. One of the main MCTs in coconut oil, Lauric acid, offers antimicrobial action and surprise, surprise coconut oil actually improves heart-related risk factors like cholesterol and triglycerides. Coconut oil also nourishes the hair and skin and is found beneficial for brain disorders and diabetes.

shutterstock_545202142

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But why just look at the oil. The tender coconut water is a natural thirst quencher that effectively replenishes fluids and electrolytes. In fact, it is comparable to sports beverages. Coconut water is also said to help with the battle against diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney stones. But again not the one from bottled or branded water with added sugar, sweeteners or flavors but the natural and fresh form. And last but not the least, coconut milk whose benefits parallel that of the oil.

Why leave the fresh coconut meat? Did you know that that the fresh coconut meat contains a huge amount of fiber? 100g of fresh coconut kernel contains nearly 11 g of fiber which is about half your daily requirement of fiber!

If coconut was as bad as it was portrayed then certain populations who survived purely on coconut should have been sick because of it. But that’s not the case, if you don’t believe our ancestors, especially the South Indians then turn the globe and have a look at the Tokelauans and the Kitavans. It’s just that we forgot the other elements that contributed to ill health.

So in a nutshell, the coconut was just a victim of scattered anecdotal evidence and hearsay and now thanks to sound scientific evidence, it has made an envious-worthy come back rising above all the damning accusations.

Case closed! 

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and/or diet.

Make Sure Your Budding Athlete Eats Like A Champion

Being on top of the game doesn’t just require the best gear and right training but it’s also about being prepared inside out. It is incorrect to think that nutrition aimed at enhancing performance on the athletic field is only the prerogative of professional athletes.  Whether your kids are competitive athletes or weekend warriors, athletic performance is at its best only with the right nutrition.

Successful sports training and stellar performance come with adequate calorie intake to support energy expenditure and maintain strength, endurance, muscle mass and overall health. Briefly, nutrients that are important for your little athlete are iron, calcium, potassium, high glycemic carbs, and protein.

Why is nutrition important?

The muscle needs food to exercise. So it first uses its own store of glucose (called glycogen) followed by the liver’s store. However, when the sport requires repeated bursts of energy or energy over an extended period of time, the glycogen stores run out. This results in muscle fatigue (commonly called “hitting the wall”) and the athletes either have to stop or drastically reduce the pace.

Therefore, a pre-exercise meal is of utmost importance as it helps prevent the young sportsman from going hungry during the exercise bout and also maintains the blood glucose levels for the muscle to keep recharging itself through the activity.

So, the key to stamina and endurance is to include carbohydrates which release glucose slowly and therefore last over the entire exercise period. So is a glass of milk, a banana or a fistful of dry fruits enough? Not really!

Food choices should be high in complex carbohydrate (high-glycemic), low in fat and moderate in protein. Make sure to fuel your child with a fiber rich mixed millet milk porridge sweetened with jaggery or date syrup or a couple of oat idlis with a glass of milk.

Even a boiled potato whole wheat sandwich with a glass of milk can do wonders for your child’s game. Make sure to avoid high-fat foods as they may cause stomach discomfort.

During exercise, hydration is the mantra. In the absence of thirst, experts recommend that kids drink water or other fluids before beginning their activity and every 15 to 20 minutes during physical activity.

Coconut water, diluted juices, lemon juice, watermelon juice are superb choices. Sugary drinks and carbonated drinks are a strict no-no.

Last but not the least – nutrition post-exercise. Experts recommend that you feed your child carbs within 30 minutes after intense activity and again 2 hours later. Refueling with ample carbohydrates and moderate protein means you’re on the right track. But most of us take the wrong step here. Carbohydrates don’t equate to glucose alone, so loading up on glucose tablets or reaching out for off the shelf juices post exercise can harm the pancreas in the long run. This is because it is overworked in producing loads of insulin to deal with the glucose glut.

Ideal food would be high-glycemic foods like millets, brown rice and lean meat, boiled chicken or whole pulses along with some fat like butter, ghee. It’s important that the post-activity meal be a balance of protein, carbs, and fat.

Understanding young athlete’s nutrition requirement is quite tricky. So keep these tit-bits in mind and do reach out for professional help in managing their nutrition as it is very important in determining the course of their health and the game!

Festival Special – Deciphering Modaks

Come festival time, we always celebrate and rejoice with a wide spread of traditional dishes dedicated to that occasion. Ganesh Chaturthi is one such occasion celebrated with Modaks among other foods.

Modaks are dumplings made across India in various sweet and savory variations, although the sweet variant is more popular. The modak can either be steamed or deep fried.

Webp.net-resizeimage

Known by various names, these dumplings are called modak in Marathi, Konkani and in Gujarati languages. Kozhakkatta in Malayalam. Modhaka or Kadubu in Kannada. Modhakam or Kozhakkattai in Tamil and Kudumu in Telugu.

Although there are many modern innovations, the classic modak includes a rice flour or maida (refined flour) dough with a jaggery/sugar and coconut filling. Most of the times the steamed modaks are placed in vessels but they may also be steamed in turmeric or jackfruit leaves. The stuffing can include:

  • Toor dal, jaggery, and fresh coconut
  • Jaggery, til/sesame seeds, fresh coconut
  • Channa dal, coriander leaves, dill/shepu leaves, mint leaves and green chilies (savory)

The deep fried modaks are mostly made with maida flour and can have a variety of fillings like:

  • Toor dal, jaggery, and dry coconut
  • Jaggery, til/sesame seeds, and dry coconut
  • Roasted channa dal, sugar, dry coconut and dry fruits

Another regional variation is the besan modaks or steamed rice flour balls steeped in flavored coconut milk. The steamed modaks are served with ghee or coconut milk.

Apart from the classic modaks, the modern twists include the use of millet flour instead of rice flour. Fancy innovations include chocolate modaks, shrikhand modak, green peas modak, and the list is endless.

It’s not hard to see that what goes into making the traditional modaks is rich in energy, protein, and good fats. While the different dals prove to be good sources of protein, jaggery, coconut, til/sesame seeds and ghee are power packed and provide good fats as well.

The medium chain triglycerides or MCTs in coconut is said to boost metabolism and also help boost the body’s power to ward off infections, both beneficial for the winter/rainy season.

Ghee, on the other hand, is a concentrated source of energy and a rich source of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), a crucial element for brain development. It is also said that during the rainy season, the oils and fat help nourish the skin.

So go ahead and enjoy the modaks guilt free but remember moderation is key!

CELEBRATING FRIENDSHIP DAY, IN THE MOST MONKEYBOX WAY EVER!

Sure, Friendship Day falls on a Sunday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate it at school. A few days before Friendship Day, we asked our little co-conspirators, i.e. the children who eat our meals every day to nominate 5 of their friends each for a Friendship Day Surprise. The nominations poured in, with heartening & sweet reasons why they nominated the friends they did. You can see a few responses below. This plot was open to all children in schools across Bengaluru.
And on Monday, 7th August 2017, our troops marched on and served free MonkeyBox meals to all the excited friends at school – made fresh, served warm. We, at MonkeyBox, are really grateful for this opportunity of not just making sure children get the healthiest, most nutritious food in school, but also that they get to show their friends how special they really are. That’s all for now! Watch this space for more.

FD_respnse_16 FD_respnse_15 FD_respnse_14 FD_respnse_13 FD_respnse_12 FD_respnse_11 FD_respnse_10 FD_respnse_9 FD_respnse_8 FD_respnse_7 FD_respnse_6 FD_respnse_5 FD_respnse_4 FD_respnse_3 FD_respnse_2 FD_respnse_1

 

Some fun facts on milk

What’s the one liquid super food that you, give your child especially when you are pressed for time? 

 

Milk

 

We are absolutely sure that it is the humble milk. Be it flavoured or unflavoured, it is often the go to beverage during that morning school rush or before the dash to after school classes or even to calm a midnight nightmare.

Milk and milk products such as curd, cheese, ghee or paneer, milk and its products are so important that they form a part of each and every healthy meal that we eat. In fact, it is such an important food not only in India but worldwide that it has its own day!! Yes, World Milk Day is celebrated every year on the 1st of June and this day is dedicated to highlight the importance of dairy in the areas of sustainability, economic development, livelihoods and nutrition among the public.

Therefore, to do our bit, MonkeyBox will take you deep into that humble glass of milk and unravel some pretty awesome milk facts.

  • Did you know that milk provides almost one fourth of a child’s daily requirement of calcium? It is a treasure trove of nutrients especially calcium and protein and is required for growth and development of budding children. Milk also contains magnesium, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin B5.
  • Want to skip milk? Think twice because then you’d have to eat seven oranges or six slices of wheat bread to get the same amount of calcium that you’d get in a glass of milk (250 ml),
  • We all know that the calcium in milk helps build strong teeth and bone but did you also know that milk can literally save teeth? Well, next time if a permanent tooth inadverently gets knocked out, don’t panic. Just drop the tooth in a glass of cold milk and rush with it to you dentist. Milk helps preserve the tooth until a dentist can put it back in its socket.
  • Milk has been shown to be the best post-exercise beverage as it helps repair and build worn out muscle tissue. So make sure to hand out that tall glass of cold milk to your child after a period of intense and vigorous playtime. It will be absolutely refreshing and will curb the pangs to reach out for that soft drink.
  • Did you know that about 5 kg of milk is required to make just 500 g of cheese.
  • Is your child allergic to milk? Then try baking with it. A study has shown that over time, kids who were fed the baked products ultimately did better with uncooked milk than kids who were completely kept off milk.

After reading these, we are sure that you would make milk a part of your and your family’s healthy eating plan. Do go ahead share these with your children and help them savour every sip of that glass of milk or every bite of that absolutely delicious piece of cheese.

Happy World Milk Day! Mooo!!

 

 

 

Acknowledgement for your feedback

thank-you-944086_960_720

“Thank you all the Moms and Dads for dedicating your life to the kids”

Was having a discussion with one of parents whose kid has subscribed for #monkeybox . He said we are working on a very noble cause and we will succeed if we align our thinking to the thinking of a parent. “think like a mom and you will win”

that got me thinking.. we have been doing this now for just about 6 months (6 month old Kid- need lot of hand holding) and always feel that even though we get once in a while pat on the back and always get to hear suggestions of how to run this… which we are very openly accepting. got this feeling now how difficult it is for a mom or a dad to keep serving the kid without any appreciation. I mean how do we expect our parents to keep doing so much for us and we get on with our life without stopping for a minute to acknowledge their efforts .. its not that they ask for … but we at MB felt the need to appreciate their effort.

So just felt like wishing every MOM and DAD out there.. as a kid… Thank you so much for Everything and for Being There when we need you.

World Milk Day; A day dedicated to one of the most nutritious foods on Earth!

glass_of_milk

Importance of cow milk in children

While children younger to a year are not advised cow’s milk, whole cow milk can be given to children aged 1 to 2 years. This is because the fat in whole milk has shown to help in the brain development. However, depending on the child’s weight, skim milk can be preferred after the child is over 2 years. Additionally, imagine getting some important nutrients just from a glass of milk? Indeed, milk is a treasure trove of nutrients in the diet.

Nutrients contained in milk

It is known that milk is a good source of protein and calcium. Milk is the medium of vitamin D fortification too. Apart from this, milk is also a good source of vitamin B2, and vitamin B12. Among the minerals, milk provides iodine and phosphorus, important in bone-building. These are the nutrients for conventional milk.

Did you know, grass-fed cow milk (organic milk) is a rich source of conjugated Linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are shown to have a positive effect on immunity, reduces inflammation, body fat, blood sugar levels, and helps build lean muscle. We are not done highlighting milk nutrition. Milk is also a rich source of phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, isoflavones which act as antioxidants.

What about lactose intolerance?

Terms such as lactose intolerance have been thrown around quite often! Well, for the uninitiated, lactose is a kind of sugar naturally present in milk. Some people can’t digest this sugar resulting in a host of discomforting symptoms. So what about children with lactose intolerance?

Yogurt or fermented milk is one of the dairy option that can be fed to children. Apart from that, the market is flooded with low-lactose or modified lactose milk. Children could be fed other milk such as soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk among others.

Takeaway points

Although we may not realise but most of us rely heavily on milk for nutrition. Choose for organic milk varieties to derive maximum nutrition. Additionally, low fat or skimmed variants of milk can help keep the danger of weight gain away. All in all, celebrate this year’s world milk day with a glass of cold milk.