Chia seeds, spirulina, goji berries and quinoa. You hear them from health buffs, but as ingredients in meals for kids? Amanda Griffin-Jacob, who is known to pack food for her kids when they're on the go, proves it can be done. Here, she shares her own recipes of yummy and nutritious dishes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Baby’s First Veggies Makes 6 servings for a four-month-old or 3 servings for a six-month-old
Photo by Willy Saw
Amanda shared this smart tip when preparing baby food: "Make big batches and then freeze them in portioned containers. This way, when you're busy, you can just heat up a portion for your baby."
What you'll need 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 large carrot, peeled 1 sweet potato, peeled 3 tablespoon peas, frozen 2 tablespoon corn kernels 8 tablespoon distilled water
1. Steam the carrot and the sweet potato until tender. 2. Heat the oil in a pan and then sauté the steamed carrot and sweet potato. Add the peas, corn, and water. Stir to mix. 3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan. 4. Purée it in a blender or push it through a sieve. If you want a thinner consistency, just add more water.
Chia Seed Porridge with Almond Milk
Photo by Willy Saw
"[Chia] helps balance blood sugar, so my kids and I have steady energy all day rather than the spikes and slumps associated with starchy food and sweets. Goji berries are chock-full of antioxidants and are a pleasant alternative to raisins," says Amanda. She adds spirulina contains nutirents like iron and vitamins A, K, and B complex. It's also rich in chlorophyll, fatty and nucleic acids, and lipids. "It is purported to be the most nutritionally complete of all food supplements."
What you'll need For the Chia Porridge ¼ cup chia seeds* ½ cup distilled water Strawberries Avocado 1 teaspoon spirulina* Handful of goji berries*
1. Add water to the chia seeds in a bowl and leave for 5 minutes. 2. Stir the mixture. Wait until gelatinous. Add the spirulina and stir again. 3. Next, add the sliced strawberries, avocado, and the homemade almond milk (quantity is up to you). Sprinkle the goji berries on top and serve.
What you'll need For the homemade almond milk 1 cup raw almonds (pre-soaked for 8 hours), drained 3 cups distilled water ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Blend water and almonds together until smooth. Strain the blended almond mixture using a cheesecloth or nut-milk bag. Homemade raw almond milk stays fresh in the refrigerator for three to four days.
Photo by Willy Saw
"[Pesto] is a relatively mild flavor that most kids like. I serve pesto with gluten-free pasta but nutritionally speaking, quinoa is a better option. Quinoa is an amazing super-food!" Quinoa, Amanda points out, has double the fiber content of other grains, has iron, lysine, riboflavin (vitamin B2), magnesium and the antioxidant manganese. "It is a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids.
What you'll need 1½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained 3 cups water Parmesan shavings for garnish A few drops of olive oil
For the pesto sauce 1 large bunch of basil leaves 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 3 oz. pine nuts ½ to ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place quinoa in a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. 2. Simmer for 1 minute then reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the water has evaporated. Remove from heat. 3. Make the pesto by placing the basil (including some of the stalks), garlic, pine nuts, and cheese in a processor or blender. With the motor on low speed, slowly pulse all the ingredients and pour in the lemon juice and enough olive oil until you get a creamy and soft consistency with a little texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more cheese and/or oil according to how you want your pesto to taste. 4. Add the pesto to the quinoa while still hot and toss to ensure fluffiness. Garnish with a few shavings of Parmesan cheese and a dash of olive oil.
*Available at health stores
Food Styling by Ryan Madamba. Amanda's makeup by Ces Guerrero and Amanda's hairstyling by Pipo Santos. This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Smart Parenting magazine.
*Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.