Best Way of Cooking Spinach for Kids
When I was a little kid, I was a very fussy eater. My mother had a real hard time to make me eat greens. Those days she mostly used to cook parathas to increase my affinity towards the greens. I still remember my first yummy experience with Spinach when I ate it in Shanghai. It was a simple stir fry but super delicious. My Japanese friend, who was accompanying me, told me some secrets that helped me make the very same taste stir fry at home. Before getting on the main secret part, I would like to tell you some other information which I learned from pediatric nutritionist Dr Shama Kulkarni, which made me realize why parathas, puris and soups are not the best ways to feed spinach to kids.
Eating Greens leafy vegetables: What you must know?
1. One must chew the food in order to avail oneself of the 100% nutrition present in the food, especially the vegetable. Because, as we chew the saliva makes it easy to digest and also we get the 100% dietary fibers from the food. When we are talking about feeding greens to children, moms know it’s no less than a battle. If we are already taking so much of efforts we aim that they get as much as possible in the end.
2. Frying and over cooking kills the nutrients so, don’t celebrate your triumph when your child eats the pooris which contain 10% dead greens and 90% fried aata. Yes, that is the truth. Even the Parathas aren’t the best way unless they are stuffed parathas.
Why Parathas Aren’t The Best Way to Feed Greens To Your Child?
A]. The stuffed paratha is an exception to this as the vegetables are chewed and eaten in good quantity when it’s a stuffed paratha. But, this is hard when u talk about greens. The green vegetables must be mashed with potatoes and paneer if you want to make your child chew the veggies. So, apparently, you are cutting down the proportion of greens here. Same is the case with Sandviches
B]. The parathas, which are made from mixing the cut or ground greens in atta provide very little greens and they are overcooked as well.
If we talk about the Soups, the greens are little that is mainly ground and hence no fibers are there. And, over cooking cuts down the quantity and also nutrients.
So What’s The Conclusion?.
1. Greens must be cooked perfectly i.e. NO OVER COOKING
2. Should not be ground
3. Should be in sufficient quantity
That is why I loved the Chinese green stir fry as the best way to feed greens especially the spinach to my children.
Now, coming back to the secret tips part
1. The Chinese cooking is all about high heat and quick a stir. So, when they cook the greens, they make the pan hot and just stir it for hardly 3-4 mins and it’s done
2. The garlic! It must be finely chopped, not crushed nor as the paste.
3. They usually add chicken soup but we will not add it to keep it 100% vegan. Anyways, if you have the fresh chicken soup, it’s a good option for you. But, in 100% veg option we will add the simple cheese! It’s the main tastemaker ingredient. I heard somewhere that the calcium-rich foods like dairy should not be eaten with iron rich foods. It’s true but we will put it as still the nutrients our kids get will be much higher than rest of the methods. Still, if you don’t want to go for it then add vinegar-based salad dressing.
Recipe: The Spinach Stir Fry for Kids
Ingredients: Salted Butter, Spinach, Finely Chopped Garlic and Grated Cheese.
Note: take an open frying pan like this with handle as we need it for easy stirring.
I use the pan shown above (It’s a wonderchef frying pan)
So let’s see the steps.
1. Wash the spinach leaves. It’s very important that you use the fresh spinach to keep it tasty.
When you take the leaves, you may keep the hard stems if you want else remove them if you think your kids won’t like them. Now, cut the spinach leaves like you cut the lettuce with hands, one big spinach leaf must be cut in to 3-4 pcs. Don’t use the knife as it will take out the juice and make it bitter. It’s very important that you follow this.
2. Keep all the ingredients ready just like you see in any cookery show.
3. Put the pan on the gas stove and let it heat on high flame. Don’t make it super-hot else it will burn our veggie.
4. Take butter in the pan, next second add the garlic, fry it for a while, don’t make then brown but just a little bit crispy.
5. Add the spinach leaves and this is the most important moment. Stir it from the 2nd minute and do it fast on the high flame. You have to stir it fast so that spinach doesn’t leave too much of juice. As soon as the spinach turns dark green, take it in a bowl. Do not cover the spinach while cooking or after taking it in a bowl as it will overcook it and make it taste bitter also.
1. If you want something instead of cheese, add sour salad dressing.
2. Non-vegetarians can add 1 spoon of chicken stock while spinach is still on heat.
3. You can use the very same recipe for the Chinese vegetables like Pak Choy. In Pak Choy, there is a difference that you put the stems first and cover, then with the leaves, let it cook for about 30 seconds then go for high flame stirring.
Methi/Fenugreek Leaves tastes good with the same recipe but a little bit bitter.
This method of cooking green leafy vegetables is not only healthy but very tasty as well hence it’s the best way to make kids love it.
If you have any tips on feeding greens to kids please do share them by commenting below. Please share it so mothers know the fact of how greens must be fed to children.
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