Getting kids to eat better doesn’t have to be a struggle — sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration. We’re here to help with fun, colorful and creative recipes for every meal. These yum and mouth watering recipes have especially been shared by Suneeta Thorat of Simple Pleasures for all us KidEngagers!
Suneeta Thorat is a baker, who has been demonstrating that the best baking happens when you keep the ingredients natural, the approach scientific and the presentation simple. For nearly three years now, she has been delivering customized bakes and teaching baking to beginners and advanced bakers. She works out of her home-based studio- Simple Pleasures Baking Studio.
Going by the kind of requests I receive at my baking studio, especially from mothers, I want to share a couple of recipes for baked snacks that use organic ingredients, and are very tasty and healthy to consume on a regular basis.
# Whole-wheat Thin-Crust Pizzas
Thin-crust pizza is probably the easiest bread you can make. Considering how much children generally love pizza, you may have a winner at hand. I teach this at my healthy bread baking workshop and these are usually a hit when paired with homemade-pizza sauce and some great toppings. You can choose to make these as 50% or 100% whole-wheat. They are also the smartest way of sneaking in all those veggies into your child’s diet.
(Makes two 6-8 inch pizzas)
- Organic Whole-wheat Flour – 200 gms
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Instant dry yeast – ½ teaspoon
- Water – 120 ml at room temperature (optionally you can replace 60 ml of the water with ¼ cup of pureed greens)
- Olive oil – 120 ml water
How to make:
- Combine the dry ingredient together including the yeast, Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can.
- Dump it onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball (not more than 3-5 min kneading).
- Brush a bowl lightly with oil. Place in the prepared bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for around 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.
- Preheat the oven to 260ºC or as high as possible. Preheat your baking sheet along with oven.
- Once heated, remove the tray and brush with oil
- Cut the dough into 2 equal halves and roll out into two 7-8 inch circles.
- Transfer to the tray and top the pizza with whatever toppings you wish.
- Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until the bottom is cooked and the top is golden brown.
How to make the pizza sauce:
- Blanch 6-8 tomatoes.
- Remove Skin and seeds and blend them into a puree.
- Add 2 teaspoons of Olive oil in a sauce pan.
- Add 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic and sauté on low heat till light brown.
- Add the pureed tomatoes, salt and pepper/chili flakes according to taste.
- Add ½ teaspoon sugar to cut the tartness.
- Add some torn fresh basil and turn off the heat.
- Optionally, you may add one boiled and pureed carrot to add some body to the sauce.
# Chocolate-Banana-Honey Muffins
These are wholesome organic snack-box treats. When baked at home with organic ingredients, you can be assured your child is eating right while keeping away all those negative additives!
- Bananas, mashed – 3 ripe
- Honey – 1/2 cup
- Milk – 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons with 1/2 teaspoon Vinegar(set aside for 10 minutes)
- Vanilla extract/essence – 1 teaspoon
- Butter melted – 58 gms
- All-purpose flour – 1 cups (You can opt to make this completely whole-wheat flour too)
- Whole-wheat flour – 1 cup
- Baking soda – 2 teaspoons
- Cocoa – 3 tablespoons
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Walnuts – 1/4 cup (you can also replace these chocolate chips)
How to make:
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 15 muffin liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, honey, vanilla, and melted butter until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir until thoroughly combined and no flour bits remain at the bottom of the bowl.
- Add walnuts (if adding) and mix with a spatula.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups in the prepared baking pan. Top each muffin with more chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until each muffin is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing from the pan and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Muffins will last up to four days well wrapped at room temperature.
If you are still thinking whether to go the ‘Organic’ way? Then Suneeta clears here a few doubts about why organic food is good for us and our kids.
KidEngage: Why should we substitute organic or whole food ingredients in our baking/ cooking? How are these healthier for all of us?
Suneeta: Trends in the food and health industry, including those about what is healthy and not, are amusing and fascinating. For me, growing up, ghee and saturated fats such as coconut oil were considered ‘killer’ foods, to keep off from if you wanted a long healthy life. Today, coconut oil is a healthy favorite among yoga-practicing Hollywood celebrities. Ghee is now considered a great source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, good for younger-looking skin and is loudly endorsed by internationally-recognized nutritionists. Processed sugar is the current ‘killer’. Some studies have found sugar to be more addictive than cocaine.This “villainizing” of sugar has given rise to several sugar-free diet plans.
I don’t believe in demonizing any food or food group. We need sugar, we need fat and we need salt in our diet.Banning these foods completely can never be good for you. Instead, I have seen people manage their health very well through diet and exercise. My mother-in-law has been diabetic for 15 years now and she has been managing her sugar-levels and health by following the discipline of one tablet a day and eating everything she wants to in moderation. She also indulges her sweet tooth on occasion just like everyone else. Yes, irrespective of what the trends say, the only sustainable way to maintain a healthy life (and weight) is to eat in moderation and exercise regularly.
KidEngage: Are organic and whole food ingredients better for he health of our kids?
Suneeta: An important index of social health is the health of children. An alarming trend in the last few years in India is the rise of the number and kinds of allergies among children. I get requests for egg-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, processed-sugar free, nut-free and even chocolate-free bakes. Sometimes, it is a combination of a few different allergies. These allergies may not be life-threatening always, but trigger hyperactivity amongst children.Most of these were almost unheard of among Indian children even a decade or two ago. (Some of us with cousins living in the US may have reported a peanut or lactose allergy.) Now, this is happening in India is a cause for concern. A good way to ensure we avoid these allergies would be to move to organic foods to whatever extent possible.Given the number of additives, harmful carcinogens and preservatives used in foods, usually for reasons of reducing costs of production and distribution, going organic (if you are confident of the source and the people behind the product) is a good idea.
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