Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Soups and kids can be friends

There is nothing in the world like a bowl of hot delicious soup-so invigorating, warm, comforting and so practical with all the good things in one single bowl. Anytime is a perfect time to satisfy your soul with a piping hot bowl of broth based soup. Soup is well known for its ability to get people together like a young boy with his father sipping in hot vegetable broth in winter –the best comfort food you can name .Soup is a filling food that can be low in calories. In fact, a healthy and a balanced meal can be made out of a soup bowl. Calorie control is just one benefit of including more soups in the daily diet.
Soups are warming and satisfying, adding a nourishing comfort to your kid’s day. They are made of variety of vegetables thus including loads of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients act as a catalyst to the growth of a child. Soups are also low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. At the same time the volume of most soups fills you up without a lot of calories. Children always look out for variation in their diet than nutrition -Soup is a meal that helps to add variety and colour to the diet thus breaking the monotony of a regular chappati bhaji meal.
To add an extra festive element that is to increase the attractiveness and nutritive value of the soup for your kids, make use of various ingredients/soup garnishes like:

• Drop the beaten curds/chana flour paste on the red or white soup in a circle with a spoon, slowly to get a round swirl.
• Grating cheese, boiled egg on the soup or by adding boiled chicken pieces and soya granules will help you to add protein to his meal.
• Finely chopped greens like capsicum, coriander, mint, parsley, lettuce or bread crumbs can be used to make a design on the soup. ie his /her name initial or any other object like a bat or a smiley face. This will make him feel special and he will enjoy his soup.
• Shredded lemon rind, sliced mushroom, olives or grilled paneer pieces will make the soup more attractive and thus add an extra zing to it.
• Topping of tiny pieces of capsicum/ broccoli /corn/spring onion can be used to add colour and various micronutrients to the soup.
• Addition of Roasted rajma, almonds or Fried noodles will not only give a crunchy flavour but will also add a festive element to it.
• The starchy foods like rice, barley, oatmeal, noodles, tapioca, sago and macaroni makes the soup more eye appealing to kids.

Always serve soups with accompaniments as only soups alone may not be welcomed by kids. Accompaniments are foods that not only improve the flavor/taste but also at the same time make it more appetizing and nutritious, depending it a healthy food option. Some of the accompaniments enjoyed by kids are:
 Garlic brown bread fingers
 Herbed croutons(use brown bread and herbs like oregano or basil)
 Chinese bhel (fried noodles and veggies like capsicum, carrots, onions, tomatoes)
 Toasted vegetable sandwich
 Bean tacos
 Anything that is crispy and crunchy like cheese sticks, khakras, spicy roasted chick peas, flavored nachos or flavored soup sticks like jeera soup sticks and masala soup sticks.
 Bhel with roasted chanas/corn bhel
 Canapies filled with grated veggies and topped with tomato ketchup.
 Many unusual and fancy forms of whole wheat macaroni or the plain varieties of Italian pastes with loads of veggies like onion, tomato, capsicum, cabbage, carrots, corn etc.

Soups like tangy carrot soup, dudhi tomato soup can be served in tall glasses instead of a bowl. Remember a change is always welcomed by kids. Ingredients like garlic, ginger, clove and ginseng should be used in soups as it not only improves the flavour but also has various health giving properties like aids digestion and blood purification. Ginseng may also be served in a soup with red dates (jujubes), which are thought to improve blood circulation. Purees of beans, peas, lentils, potatoes and other vegetables should be used to increase the nutritive value of the soup thus making it a wholesome meal. Soups are ideal party foods as they can be prepared ahead of time and then only require few finishing touches before serving. So if we go to see soups can be health food, diet food, comfort food and lot more things therefore now it should be made mandatory at your place.