The BRAT Diet for kids(for Diarrhea and various Stomach issues)

The BRAT Diet for kids(for Diarrhea and various Stomach issues)

The BRAT Diet is basically a short term diet which is bland and easy to digest food used for those who have nausea, vomiting, loose stools (diarrhea) or gastrointestinal infection/stomach upsets.  The BRAT is an acronym which stands for:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

The BRAT diet is recommended especially for children when they are recovering from a bout of illness and ready to start on solid foods. Once they tolerate these foods you can slowly introduce regular food as and when tolerated.  The BRAT diet is not something that is recommended to be eaten for a long time as it is nutritionally not balanced.

A few more foods that can be added to the BRAT diet (which makes it BRATTY)

  • light Tea is also known to help and
  • natural Yogurt, to heal the gut bacteria

Note: This diet is to be introduced after the patient is tolerating liquids well and is ready to start eating and should not be used for more than a day .

 


Benefits of Fermented foods (Fluffy Idli Recipe)

Naturally fermented foods may help strengthen your gut microbiome which are basically the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. Gut microbes are now believed to be key to many aspects of human health including obesity, immune, metabolic and neuro-behavioural traits. Reseraches believe that fermented and probiotic foods are seen to improve immunity, aid in better digestion, prevention of allergies and also treating diarrhea.

One such naturally fermented food that is commonly made in most South Indian homes regularly are idlis and dosas. Who knew eating the humble idli (in moderation) could actually benefit your health?

Besides idli/dosa batter here are some of the other Indian foods that are fermented:

  • Curds/dahi/yogurt– a part of of a traditional meal in most Indian families, this contains live cultures.
  • Pickles
  • Gajar/Beetroot Kanji (North India): a drink made with fermented carrots/beetroot
  • Traditional Dhoklas (Gujrat) that are fermented and not instant
  • Traditional Handvo (Gujrat)-where the batter is let to ferment overnight
  • Fermented rice– called panta or poita bath(Assam, West Bengal,Tripura),  pazhaiya choru(Kerala), pazhaya saadam (Tamil Nadu) is basically the extra cooked rice soaked in water overnight during which it ferments, and is eaten in the morning with buttermilk and garnish of onions, green chilies etc.
  • Gundruk (Himalyan areas, Darjeeling, Sikkim): Fermented greens
  • Sinki (Himalyan areas, Uttarkhand, Sikkim): Fermented radish
  • Iromba( Manipur):  A dish made with fermented fish

Besides these there are many drinks/dishes that incorporate curds/buttermilk like kadhi, Rajasthani rabdi, Ragi ambli (Karnataka) and yeast fermented products like traditional naan and parottas.

Coming back to the humble idli,  what exactly happens when you ferment the idli batter?How does it become more nutritious?

During the fermentation process the carbohydrates get converted into simpler sugars that are easier to digest. This is one of main reasons that it is given to babies and those who are sick. It also increases the bioavailablity of many vitamins and minerals  such as iron, potassium and calcium and also increases the vitamin B content. It was seen that after 12 hours of fermentation of 100 grams of rice, the availability of iron changed from 3.4 mg to 73.91mg .

Unlike other fermented foods which still have the live cultures, the steaming process will kill the live cultures but it still makes the idli more nutritious than plain rice and dal.

Try making your own batter instead of buying store made ones. It’s easy, just follow this recipe:

Ingredients for Idli:

  • Idli (Par boiled) rice: 2 cups
  • Urad dal (skinless) : 1/2 cup 
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp 
  • Beaten rice (poha) – 1/3 cup
  • Salt : to taste

Method:

  1. Wash and soak  the urad dal (without skin), idli rice and fenugreek seeds in water for 6-7 hours. Soak poha for 1/2 hour before grinding.
  2. Grind the urad dal with enough cold water to make a smooth, fluffy paste. Keep aside.
  3. Grind the idli rice along with the poha with enough water till you get a smooth paste.
  4. Now mix the rice batter with the urad dal batter. Add salt (if the weather is cold, avoid adding salt if the weather is hot) and mix it well to aerate the batter with enough air to aid in fermentation.
  5. Let it ferment overnight (if it’s cold, you can keep it inside the oven with the light of the oven switched on).
  6. In the morning, mix the fermented batter well and grease the idli moulds.
  7. Boil water in a steamer, once water starts boiling,  pour the batter into the greased moulds.
  8. Steam for 10-12 minutes or until it is cooked.
  9. Serve with sambar and chutney.

Crispy Chicken Cutlets-Indian Style (Low Carb, High Protein Recipe, Gluten free)

Here’s a High Protein, Low-carb recipe of Chicken cutlets with no potatoes. To make it crispy and still keep it low-carb, I have used Psyllium husk to coat the cutlets before frying.

Now psyllium husk is a commonly known as Isabgol in India. It has been used for ages to treat constipation. It is now becoming popular as a low carb addition to foods.

Ingredients for Crispy Chicken Cutlets:

  • Chicken mince: 400gms
  • Onions: 1 medium (finely diced)
  • Green chilies: 2 (finely chopped)
  • Coriander leaves: 5 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Mint leaves: 8-10(finely chopped)
  • Ginger+Garlic Paste: 1.5 tsp
  • Mashed cauliflower: 1/2 cup
  • Roasted gram flour(Besan): 2-3  tbsp
  • Melted butter/ghee: 1 tbsp
  • Psyllium husk(Isabgol): 1/2-1  cup for coating
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: for pan frying

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together well and keep it in the fridge for 1/2-1hr.
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan, make a ball of the mixture, then flatten it into a patti shape.
  3. Roll it in the psyllium husk and place in the pan one by one.
  4. Turn them over and let them cook till the outside becomes golden brown in colour.
  5. Take them out and serve hot with coriander chutney.

Note: 

These can also be frozen after frying and can be used later as such or as a filling inside wraps/ sandwiches/burgers.

 

 

 

 

 


Appe with Mixed vegetables(Paddu/ Guliyappa/ Paniyaram/Gundponglu)

Appe is a common breakfast dish in Mangalore. It’s also popular in the other Southern states and is called Paadu/Guliyappa in Karnataka, Paniyaram in Tamil Nadu, Gundponglu in AP and Telengana. And called ‘dosa in a ball’ by my daughter!

It’s made with the dosa batter in a special ‘appe pan’ which has 5-7 or more round holes. The batter is poured into these holes and the resulting appe is almost round like a ball.

Appe, Paddu, Paniyaram pan

Here’s a healthier version of the recipe in which I have added sauteed mixed veggies into the batter to make it more nutritious and can be packed and taken for lunch :

Ingredients for the Batter:
  • Idly Rice: 3/4 cup
  •  Raw Rice: 1/4 cup
  • Urad Dal: 1/2 cup
  • Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp

Other Ingredients: 

  • Carrots: 1 medium (finely diced)
  • Green Beans: 1/2 cup
  • Peas: 1/2 cup
  • Green Chilli: 1 finely chopped (optional)
  • Curry leaves: 10-15 nos., finely chopped
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely chopped
  •  Salt: to taste
  • Coriander leaves: 3 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Oil/ghee/butter
Method:
  1. Wash the idly rice, raw rice, fenugreek seeds and whole urad dal then soak for 6-8 hours.
  2. Grind the soaked mixture with enough water to get a smooth batter.
  3. Transfer the ground batter to a clean vessel and cover it and let it ferment in a warm place overnight.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and add the curry leaves, onions green chili(optional) .
  5. Saute till the onions are soft. Add the chopped veggies and the coriander leaves and sautee till the veggies are cooked. Add the salt. Remove from heat and set aside to cool
  6. Add this mixture when cool to the batter and mix well.
  7. Heat the appe pan till its really hot(test by sprinkling water-it should sizzle). Add a little oil/ butter/ ghee into each mold. Drop the batter to fill the mold. Cover and cook for a minute. Then turn and cook on the other side till its golden in colour.
  8. The appe should be crispy and golden on both sides.
  9. Serve hot with chutney.

 

 

 

 


Egg Fried Rice

Egg Fried Rice is a quick and easy rice dish which is best made with leftover cold rice.  It is a basic yet simple dish for those who want to try their hand at Chinese cooking. You can add some diced vegetables like carrots, peas and bell peppers if you want.

Ingredients for Egg Fried Rice:

  • Eggs (preferably Free-range): 4
  • Cooked rice : 4 (cups cooled)
  • Carrots, peas: 1/2 cup diced (optional)
  • Red onion: 1 medium (finely diced)
  • Ginger: 1 tsp diced
  • Garlic: 1 tsp diced
  • Coriander (stem): 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Light Soy sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Spring onions: ⅔ cup (finely sliced)
  • Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp for garnish
  • Salt: to taste
  • Sesame oil: ¼ tsp
  • Oil: 4 tbsp

Method:

1. Break eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Heat half the oil in a kadai/wok . Pour the beaten eggs into the kadai and leave to cook for 10 seconds before lightly scrambling until almost cooked through. Keep aside.

2. Heat remaining oil in the same kadai and stir fry onion, ginger, garlic, and coriander  stems along with the diced  vegetables(optional) for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are almost cooked.

3. Add rice to the kadai with spring onions, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil and the cooked egg and stir fry for 3 minutes or until well combined and rice is heated through. Break up the egg  into smaller pieces if needed while cooking. Transfer rice to a bowl and serve garnished with coriander.

If you like it spicy, then you can serve it with a side of red chili in soy sauce ( finely slice fresh/dried red chilies with three tablespoons light soy).


Broccoli Paratha

Broccoli belongs to the same cruciferous family like cabbage,kale, cauliflower,collards and Brussels sprouts. It is a low calorie vegetable and is loaded with fibre, vitamins A, C folic acid and is also known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. It must be noted that eating raw broccoli has actually more benefits than eating these in the cooked form as some of the antioxidants and vitamin C are destroyed by heat.

Ingredients for Broccoli Paratha:

For the stuffing:

  • Broccoli, grated: 2 cups
  • Ginger: 1″ piece grated
  • Garlic(optional): 4 cloves grated
  • Green chilies(optional): 1-2 finely chopped (adjust to individual heat tolerance)
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (adjust according to individual heat tolerance)
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Amchur powder: 1-2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds/Jeera : 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 3 tsp

Ingredients for the dough:

  • Whole Wheat flour: 2 cups
  • Salt: 1/4 tsp
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Water: as needed to make a soft dough

Method:

  1. In a deep bowl put the ingredients for the dough and knead adding the water a little at a time. Once you have a soft dough, keep aside for at least 30mins. Knead once again and keep it aside.
  2. For the stuffing, heat a kadai, add the oil, when it is hot enough add the cumin seeds then the turmeric.
  3. Add the grated broccoli, ginger+garlic and the rest of the spices,salt and saute till the broccoli starts to wilt.
  4. Let it cool. Portion it out into equal sized balls.
  5. Roll out a small ball of the dough, place an equal quantity of the stuffing in the center.
  6. Fold the sides of the dough so as to cover the stuffing completely.
  7. Flatten it from the middle, roll in some flour and roll out.
  8. Heat a tawa, place the rolled paratha and let it partially cook on one side.
  9. Flip it, spread a couple of drops of oil on the cooked side and flip and do the same on the other side.
  10. Serve hot with pickle or yogurt.

 

 


Healthy snack ideas for kids

Kids are picky eaters and not eating enough at meal times is a common complaint. That’s why snacks play an important role in providing the extra nutrition that they tend to miss out. Most parents tend to focus more on providing a nutritious meal and overlook the importance of giving healthy snacks. Chips, cookies, cheese puffs, cupcakes are convenient snacks but not the healthiest choices. Here are some healthy snack ideas for kids:

  • Sandwiches (with 100% whole wheat breads)-you can use cheese, tofu, nut/peanut butter, guacamole, paneer, egg, vegetables or even fruit and cream cheese as the filling.
  • Seasonal fresh fruits-cut them up in fun shapes/ sizes(use a melon scooper/cookie cutter), mix them in low-fat yogurt, make smoothies or plain fruit salads.Fruit and cheese kebabs are also a fancy way of serving fruits that kids will love.
  • Fresh vegetables: cut them into strips and serve with dips like guacamole, hummus, peanut/almond butter.
  • Boiled/Grilled corn: makes a tasty snack when served hot.
  • Smoothie popsicles: You can pour their favourite smoothie into popsicle moulds and give that as a treat on a hot day.
  • Baked fries: cut up some carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beetroot into sticks or wedges. Toss them in a little oil, salt and seasoning and bake them to make a tasty snack. Here’s the recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  • Steamed snacks: like idli’s/vegetable stuffed idlis, dhoklas, khandvi’s can be cut/decorated into fun shapes.
  • Mini- rolls/burritos: whole wheat chapathis/rotis can be used to make rolls with egg/paneer/tofu burji(scrambled), rajma/ channa, mung(pulses/lentils) curry/usal or cheese spread.
  • Tikkis/cutlets can be made with paneer/chicken/egg/lentils, mixed vegetables, and shallow fried or baked . These can also be served inside a pita bread or sandwich.
  • Mini/triangle/cone dosas/uttapams: these fun size/baby dosas can be more interesting for kids than the regular adult size ones. Serve them with chutney/ketchup/peanut butter (you can even draw a smiley face on the dosa with it)!
  •  Nuts and dry-fruits: older children can be given a handful of mixed nuts and dry fruits.

These snacks can be served with either a glass of milk/almond milk or some lassi/buttermilk.
Make sure to serve these snacks at least two hours before meal times, otherwise they may not be hungry enough for it.


Baked Sweet Potato Snack

There are different varieties of sweet potatoes available: purple and orange coloured. The purple colour is due to a pigment called anthocyanins and the  orange-colored sweet potatoes owe their colour to beta-carotenes which gets converted to Vitamin A in the body. The best way to get the health benefits of these are by either steaming or baking them.

If you like fries and sweet potatoes-here’s a healthy snack that look like fries but are actually baked. Kids will love the sweet taste of the sweet potatoes while adults can sprinkle it with a little chili powder for that extra kick!

Ingredients for Baked Sweet Potato Snack:

Sweet Potatoes-2 big* (washed,scraped and cut into strips/wedges)

Salt: 1 tsp (or to taste)

Oil: 3tsp

Red chili powder: 1/2-1 tsp (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
  2. Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss till the sweet potatoes are coated.
  3. Spread out onto a baking tray in a single layer.
  4. Bake till they turn golden (about 30-40 minutes).
  5. Serve as a snack or as a side with your meals.

*Note: 

  • You don’t have to scrape the sweet potatoes if you scrub them well with a brush.
  • Sweet Potatoes can be substituted with other root vegetables like beetroot, carrots, parsnip or turnips.
  • You can experiment with spices & herbs like garlic powder, cumin powder,rosemary, Italian seasoning, etc.

Here are other Healthy Snack Ideas:

  1. Crispy Kale Chips
  2. Baked Carrot Fries/snack
  3. Fruit Chaat/ Fruit Salsa 
  4. Khaman Dhokla
  5. Handvo
  6. Fish Cutlets/Patties

 

 


Ragi Manni/ pudding (Nachni/finger millet porridge) Mangalorean Style

Ragi (English-Finger millet,Chinese-䅟子,Arabic- Tailabon, German-Fingerhirse, French-coracan) is a popular millet in Southern India and is made into different dishes like porridges, puddings, pancakes,cookies, etc. Nutritionally,it is rich in the amino acid methionine and is among the few grains which contains a considerable amount of calcium.
Ragi is also given to babies as one of first cereals after rice.My grandmother used to make ragi manni during summer, as it is believed in Ayurveda to cool the body.Traditionally it is made by soaking the ragi millet overnight in water,then grinding it to a fine paste and straining it in a cheesecloth.This is then cooked with jaggery and coconut milk,till it reaches a thick pasty consistency.It is then poured into huge plates and set aside to cool. The end product used to be simply amazing-a dark chocolate brown pudding(my gran used to tell me that it was Indian chocolate pudding,so that she could get me to eat it)that simply melted in the mouth.
Sadly,I could not find ragi millet here(not that I would have gone through the whole cumbersome process even if I had),but managed to get the ragi flour at the Indian store to make this instant version. I substituted milk for the coconut milk and the final product still was very tasty though it didn’t have the same rich dark brown colour.Also,since it’s not strained you can see brown specks of the ragi coat. The ragi manni/pudding can be eaten hot or cold(I love it cold)and had as a porridge for breakfast or served as a dessert or a healthy snack(if you can mange to control the portion size) for kids.
Ingredients for Ragi Manni :Serves 2

  • Ragi flour: 1 cup
  • Milk/Coconut milk: 2 cups
  • Jaggery: 1 cup (scraped): to taste
  • Cardamom powder: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt: a pinch

Method:

  1. Mix the ragi flour with the cold milk and make sure there are no lumps.
  2. Pour this into a saucepan and add the jaggery/sugar,salt and cardamom powder.
  3. Cook on medium heat stirring continuously(take care to see that it doesn’t form lumps).
  4. When the mixture starts to thicken, reduce the heat and keep stirring till you get a porridge like consistency.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve the ragi manni (finger millet pudding) warm or chilled.

Note:

  • You can substitute sugar for the jaggery, though it is more nutritious to use jaggery.
  • Adding a pinch of salt is supposed to make the dish sweeter (not sure if that’s really true).

Question: Do you feel that adding a pinch of salt to a sweet dish makes it sweeter or is it just an old wives tale?