Childcare and You

Childcare and You

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Importance and Benefits of Dietary Fiber - How it Helps your Child

My son was a very picky eater as a child and I had to coax, cajole, even threaten sometimes, to get him to put even a morsel into his mouth. He didn't like veggies much, so I made sure he got his nutrition by grating the veggies and adding them in pancakes, bread, dosas, cutlets, pakodas etc. He was prone to constipation at 2 years of age, which happens to kids who are choosy about food, especially foods rich in fiber. Toilet time was torture time because my son hated to force his stools out as they were hard, hence painful. Once, his stools were so hard that I had to resort to pushing up a small bit of soap up his anus, in order to force the stools out. I decided I had to think of some way to make sure he had his quota of fiber through tasty snacks made out of oats, that he loved a lot.

Without fiber in your daily food,  your bowel movements would be extremely painful because fiber aka roughage, that is obtained primarily from fruit skins, plants and husks of grains, helps in the smooth and easy passage of your body waste through the intestine and out of the anus.

Fiber is of two types, namely soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber, found in whole grains like oats and barley, fruits like pears, apples, plums, peaches and blackberries, legumes, seeds like dried beans and nuts, helps to slow down digestion of food which in turn regulates sugar levels and keep you feeling full and energized.

Insoluble fiber, found in whole wheat, corn bran, wheat bran, broccoli, cabbage, onions, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, dark leafy veggies, grapes and vegetable skins, act as a laxative and prevents constipation. It is a gut-healthy fiber and helps in quick passage of waste from the body.
Inclusion of dietary fiber in your child’s diet will prevent constipation, which is a very common ailment among children.

You can make nutritious snacks out of oats, if your child is fed up of having the boring oats porridge.

Oats Hearts Cutlet

½ cup oats, 1 cup mashed potatoes, ¼ cup each of grated carrot, cauliflower, chopped French beans, grated zucchini, 1 tsp of cilantro/coriander leaves, ½ oregano, 1 tsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp regular yogurt, ¼ tsp red chilly powder & salt.
Mix all the ingredients well. Make equal sized balls from the mixture and press a heart shaped stencil cutter (optional). Heat a pan, grease it with oil and fry the cutlets on both sides till done. Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.

Oats Peas Pancake/Dosa

For the pancake – 1 cup rolled oaks, ¼ cup split black lentils, salt
For the topping – ½ cup each of chopped onions & grated carrot, ¼ cup of green peas(parboiled), ¼ tsp mustard seeds, ½ tbsp of split black lentils and ¼ tbsp of lemon juice, salt.

To make the pancake batter – Grind the oats and split black lentils into a fine powder. Add around 2 cups of water and salt and mix well into a pancake batter. Keep aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
To make the topping РHeat a little oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add onions and saut̩ it for a while. Then add the veggies and saut̩ again. Add lemon juice, salt and cook till done on low heat.
On medium heat, place a non-stick flat pan, pour a little batter and tilt the pan around to spread the batter. When the bottom layer is done, put 1 or 2 tbsp of the filling over one side of the pancake and fold it into half. Do the same with the rest of the pancake batter. Serve hot with chutney.  

Oats Oothappam

For the topping - ¼ cup each of cottage cheese/paneer, cabbage, green peas, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp chopped curry leaves, ¼ tsp pepper and salt
For the oothappam batter – 1 cups oats, 1 cup semolina/sooji, a pinch of asafetida, salt and 1 ½ cups of water.

Mix all the ingredients for making the oothappam batter and keep aside for at least ½ hour. After ½ hour is up, add ¼ tsp of bicarb of soda or baking soda and make sure it is of thick pouring consistency. Meanwhile in a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the topping, very well.
Heat a flat pan on medium heat, pour some batter and spread it around using a flat ladle. Add the topping mixture all over the oothappam and cover it for a few minutes. When the base is done, take it off the heat and serve hot.

Oats and Apple Cinnamon crumble

¼ cup each of oats and chopped apples (with skin), 1 cup milk, 1 tsp brown sugar, 2 tsp chopped walnuts, a pinch of cinnamon.
In a pan, mix together oats, milk, 1 tsp brown sugar and cook until done. Take off heat and add walnuts, cinnamon and apples and mix again. Serve hot.

Oats and Chocolate chips cookies

1 cup oats, ½ cup whole wheat flour, ¾ cup soft butter, ½ cup grated apples, ¼ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, 4 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla essence.

Mix together all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a bowl and knead the mixture into a dough. When the dough is done, add the chocolate chips and knead again lightly. Refrigerate the dough for about 20 minutes and divide the mixture into 12 equal portions. Roll each mixture and flatten it to a cookie size. Place all the cookies in a greased tray and put it in a pre-heated oven at 160 C (320 F) for 25 minutes or till they are golden brown. Cool and serve.

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