Healthy Recipes for Kids: Here’s the recipe for one of Pear Tree’s healthy hot lunches for kids
Making healthy recipes for kids isn’t rocket science!
Despite immature taste buds and limited exposure to a range of food ingredients, kids aren’t all that different from adults.
We eat with our eyes first.
We look for pleasing colours, colour combinations, shapes, sizes and textures.
As such, the preparation and presentation of kids’ meals is as important as the cooking quality.
However, familiarity with ingredients will mean that you’ll have to use education and positive reinforcement to make new ingredients seem normal.
We use wholewheat spaghetti as the ‘lo mein’, because it provides a complex form of carbohydrate, and it actually tastes better. However, you can use gluten free noodles for kids with allergies. (Also, you can leave out the cornstarch for the sauce if your child has a corn allergy)
Combine this spaghetti with all the vegetables (full of dietary fibre!), and you have a very filling, healthy and tasty meal indeed!
For the sauce
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 x red pepper (washed, cut into thin slices)
- 1 x carrot (peeling, cut into thin slices)
- Snap peas, trimmed (a large handful is fine)
- Pork loin or tenderloin, trimmed + cut into thin strips
- Estimate about 1-2 pork loins or ½ tenderloin
- Garlic, minced
- Ginger (cut finely)
- 2 x green onions, sliced
- Wholewheat spaghetti @40g / person
- Prepare sauce by mixing together the ingredients in a suitable bowl
- Prepare pork and add to sauce. Marinate the pork in the sauce for about 30 minutes (in the fridge)
- Meanwhile, prepare the carrot, red pepper, green onion, and snap peas.
- When the meat is marinated, prepare 3 x stoves:
- 1 on maximum temperature with a very large pan of water (with salt and olive oil) for the spaghetti,
- 1 on maximum temperature with a large pan of water (with salt) for the edamame,
- and 1 on a medium-high temperature for a wok or frying pan (with a 2 tablespoons of canola oil) for the stir fry.
- When the oil is hot add the ginger and garlic. Stir fry until the garlic begins to brown.
- Now add the carrots and red peppers. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- Return the pan and add fresh oil. When the oil is hot, add the pork and stir fry until it’s cooked.
- The 2 x pans of water should be boiling by this point, so add the spaghetti to the very large pan and the edamame to the large pan. Cook both until done (see instructions on packets).
- Meanwhile, add the vegetables to the meat, and now add the snap peas. Cover with a lid to steam the snap peas.
- When edamame is done (probably will be done first), drain thoroughly and add cold water to cool it down.
- When the pasta is done, drain thoroughly before putting back into the pot and adding a pinch of salt and a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil (to stop it sticking together). Now, using a large knife, cut the spaghetti into small pieces while in the pan. This will make it easier to serve/portion and for the kids to eat.
- Peel edamame.
- When that’s done, plate the pasta, and then add other ingredients as shown in the picture.
Note: Snap peas are eaten whole.
While we’d all love to use 100% organic ingredients, for the average household, it would be too expensive. Nevertheless, of all the ingredients, I would recommend getting an organic red pepper, because those contain more water. More water = more potential chemicals.
Knowing your food
In order to be a well-rounded parent that does more than just cook food, you should take pride in knowing what you’re cooking and be able to educate your child about what they’re eating.
Red Pepper – Red peppers are really good for you! They are a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a good source of Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Potassium and Manganese.
Carrot – Carrots are also very healthy. They are a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Potassium. They also contain Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate and Manganese.
Snap peas – Another fantastic ingredient! Snap peas are a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin and Iron. They are also a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese.
Edamame – Edamame (AKA soy beans) are a very good source of Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese. They are also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper.
Green onions – Green onions (AKA spring onions) are a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese. They are also a good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc and Copper.
Pork – Pork is a very good source of Protein, Thiamin and Selenium, as well as a good source of Niacin and Phosphorus. However, it contains cholesterol and fat (even when trimmed), so should be eaten in moderation.
Garlic – Garlic is a very good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese, and a good source of Calcium, Phosphorus and Selenium.
Ginger – Ginger is a good source of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Wholewheat spaghetti – Wholewheat spaghetti is a a very good source of Manganese and Selenium, and a good source of Dietary Fiber.