Stuffed Jacket Potatoes – By Ganesh Teli, Culinary Director, MonkeyBox

Stuffed Jacket Potatoes (Serves 4)

Ingredients

4 Medium Potatoes

50 g – Grated cheddar

100g – Sweetcorn

100g – Finely chopped bell peppers

A small bunch of Fresh basil

Directions

  • Heat the oven to 180°C and bake the potatoes for about 1 hour until cooked and the skins are crispy. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • To stuff the jacket potatoes, heat the oven to 180° Cut the potatoes in half. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out the middle of the potato, leaving the skin unbroken (like a boat). Place the scooped potato into a mixing bowl.
  • Using a fork, mash the potato until there are no lumps. Add the cheese, sweetcorn, peppers and mix well.
  • Gently pick the leaves from the Basil. Chop/tear into smaller pieces and stir into the cheesy potato mixture.
  • Using a spoon, carefully scoop the mixture back into the potato boats. Make sure that you use all the mixture up.
  • Sprinkle little extra grated cheese and place on a baking tray. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10-15 mins until golden, and serve hot.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

Serving size: 2 potato halves

Calories: 162.8 kcal

Carbohydrate: 25.7 g

Fiber: 1.3 g

Sugar: 0.06 g

Protein: 5.6 g

Fat: 4.5 g

Iron: 0.6 mg

Calcium: 13.5 mg

Sodium: 87.25 mg

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!

Quick & Easy Oats Peanut Butter Squares – By Ganesh Teli, Culinary Director, MonkeyBox

Oats-Peanut Butter Squares (Serves 12)

Ingredients

220 g – Oats, dry

180 g – Crispy Wheat cereal

80 g – Peanut butter

1/2 cup – Natural honey

1 tsp – Vanilla extract

Directions

  • Grind oats into flour and pour into a bowl. Add crispy wheat cereal to the flour.
  • Prepare a pan by greasing it or lining it with parchment paper.
  • In a small sauce pan add peanut butter and honey. Melt together over medium heat and stir to form a uniform blend.
  • Pour the peanut butter and honey mix onto the dry ingredients and stir. Dump into prepared pan and firmly press into pan.
  • Cool in fridge for at least 25 minutes and evenly cut into 12 squares, and serve.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

Serving size: 1 square

Calories: 200 kcal

Carbohydrate: 34.3g

Fiber: 2.9 g

Sugar: 14.8 g

Protein: 4.4 g

Fat: 4.7 g

Iron: 0.7 mg

Calcium: 0.4 mg

Sodium: 0.67 mg

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.

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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.

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HOW THESE KIDS SURPRISED THEIR DADS ON FATHER’S DAY WILL MAKE YOU SMILE

On Father’s Day, kids do their best to show their dads that extra bit of love and appreciation. And since we directly interact with kids on a daily basis, we decided to help them out.

MonkeyBox delivers fresh, nutritious, and delicious meals to school kids during their mealtimes, every day, and is a refreshing alternative to the average tiffin box. So, a few days before Father’s Day, we slipped the following note into the kids’ MonkeyBoxes, inviting them to do something special for their dads.

 

Father's Day

We asked them to do something simple: write a special message to their dads on the note, and send it back to us in their empty MonkeyBoxes. Out of over 500 notes sent, we received an overwhelming number of responses from the kids. Take a look at some of the cutest ones below – believe us, we had a hard time picking!

 

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What happened next was a surprise for both the unsuspecting dads and their excited kids. We delivered the notes to the dads on Father’s Day! The end result was a large number of euphoric dads, and tons of brownie points scored for their kids at home. To us, that sounds like a mission well accomplished.

Out of the many hundreds, here are responses from some very surprised Dads.

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responssAt MonkeyBox, we know the things that make kids happy. And nothing makes them happy like seeing a smile on their parents’ faces. We hope this little surprise did just that and a little more.

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!!

 

 

 

7 Sunny tips for your sonny child!

It’s summer! Time for children to be excited and the earth to be scorched. Worried for your child’s safety? These 7 tips are sure to put the fun under the sun!

 sonny child

 

  1. Screen out the sun: Whoever said sunscreen is a purely cosmetic product needs to give such a thought a re-look. Children who engage in outdoor activities need sunscreen too. Opt for a product with a minimum sun protection factor of 15 and keep applying every 2-3 hours. More often if the activity is around water. Remember to apply them 20 minutes before you go out in the sun.
  1. Hydration, super important: Replace colas, canned fruit juice or even fruit flavoured beverages for coconut water, freshly squeezed fruit juice and buttermilk. Does your child find plain water, a bit too plain Jane? Then add wedges of lime, orange, pieces of watermelon, mint leaves etc to make the water flavour some and much more appealing to the little athlete playing away under the sun.
  1. Watch on the summer time diet: Summers for children would mean major relaxing in their diet patterns. For many, it could herald the time for fried foods and ice-cream. Although a little indulgence is okay, keeping a watch on the diet is supremely important. Know more about it in our related blog 8 Summer time diet tips for children.
  1. If rest is assured then rest assured: The sun may do more than just make your child sweat. It can zap your child off energy too. So ensure they get plenty of rest, at least for 8-10 hours a day.
  1. Cool clothing for cool summers: Ensure you opt for only cotton clothes. Also remember to pick out light coloured clothing to keep your child cool.
  1. Avoid the mid-day sun: The sun rays are the most damaging between 12 noon to 3pm. It is best to avoid venturing out at this time. In case you have something planned, then do arm your children with large brimmed hats and umbrellas.
  1. R.I.C.E to the occasion: In case your child experiences outdoor play related injury during summers, ensure they get enough Rest; Ice and Compression to the injured area; and keep the areas Elevated.

 

 

 

Lifestyle hacks to ace that test!

Exam period! The phrase is synonymous with stress among both parents and children alike. With all this going on, it is important for us to not forget about certain key lifestyle based hacks that can help your children ace those exams.

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Eat breakfast daily

Breakfast, the first meal of the day is meant to provide fuel to the brain. Studies have shown that children did better on performance tests when they ate breakfast compared to those who didn’t eat or skipped it regularly.

Also, ensure that your kids eat breakfast made up of complex carbohydrates such as

idlys, stuffed vegetable paranthas and oats porridge, this helps in keeping focus and prevents decline in cognitive performance throughout the morning.

Don’t forget the Zzzzzz’s

Research suggests that adequate sleep on a daily basis is important for learning and memory. Lack of which is associated with negatively affecting the brain’s ability to assimilate information. Sleep is also important for maintaining mood, motivation, judgement and perception of events.

Keep the kids active

Being physically active has been linked with several positive health benefits. Besides reducing stress and anxiety, aerobic exercise particularly has been linked to be beneficial for brain building.

Also, when children are physically active they can help get past mental fatigue. Thus, by spending some time on play will definitely benefit their brain.

Inhale and exhale (relax and meditate)

Meditation provides soothing effects to the mind and body. A recent study has also found that regular practise of meditation increased the mental ability, focus and memory in school going children.

You can also have a routine to mediate along with your kids and let the positive energy flow.

Eat right to ace that test

Eating the right kind of food along with regular timely intervals has been linked with brain development and maintenance. You can read ‘Eat your way to a super functioning brain‘ to know more.

 

 


 

References:

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

http://njlm.net/articles/PDF/2015/4-%208281_CE(Ra)_F(Sh)_PF1(AGAK)_PFA(P).pdf

 


 

 

Eat your way to a super functioning brain!

 

As we brace ourselves for the exams and cram in that last bit of information, it is important not to ignore good nutrition. Food intake plays an important role in brain development and maintenance. Here are few tips for eating right during exam season for a super functioning brain:

 

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Make sure not to skip any meals

The brain uses nearly a whopping 20% of the energy that we require per day. In order to be able to pay attention without distraction, a steady supply of glucose (energy) in the form of complex carbohydrates is a must.

Therefore include a variety of dishes such as vegetable kichidi- raita, ragi roti- peanut chutney, rajma curry-roti in your diet and ensure to eat on time.

Eat right

Foods rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, iron, zinc, vitamin B6 and B12 have particularly shown to help in improving cognitive performance. Hence, dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, amaranth), pulses (kidney beans, chickpeas), nuts (almonds, walnuts), milk products (curd); root vegetables (sweet potatoes) and so on should be included in day to day diet.

Snack smartly

Candies, biscuits, colas, chips and sweets, are great for the tongue but are high in refined sugar which gives an instant sugar rush after eating but with time you mood slumps and get cranky.

Choose healthy snacks such as bhel puri with veggies & sprouts, khakra with pineapple salsa, trail mix (consisting of almonds, raisins, and pumpkin seeds), as they release energy slowly and help in sustained attention and memory.

Guzzle in H2O

Dehydration can make one feel lethargic and tired. Thus, ensure to keep yourself hydrated with water during studying; as research has shown that drinking adequate water helps boost memory, attention and improves cognitive performance.

You can also make it fun by sipping  in flavoured water (just add lime and/or fresh mint to water), tender coconut water or lemonade and tell “goodbye” to dehydration.


 

References:

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega6-fatty-acids

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00097/full