Life stages. Usually, unless you're at a certain stage yourself, or have been past that stage, it is difficult to understand what it is all about. It is nearly impossible to empathize. At least for me, it has been. For the longest time, I couldn't understand why parents fussed over what their children could eat. I saw one set of parents agonizing over their children's lunch and dinner and I saw another set that relied almost totally on prepackaged food.
Now that I have one of my own to worry about, I realize that I am not the agonizing type. I don't fuss over A's food. He usually eats what we eat. Yes, at times, he may go hungry because he is throwing a tantrum and refuses to eat. Since he is just a year and half, I do offer him one other comfort food option at most meals. If he refuses that as well, I let him be. I know that in these food battles, I am never going to win. My aunt said to me, "My children's paediatrician said that no child with access to food will ever starve." So, when A is hungry, he will eat. My obligation is, then, to ensure that the right kind of food is accessible. And I know that this is me. Every parent is different as is every child.
A has been very fiercely independent for a long time. I see a lot of me in him. I am pretty much the "I-can-manage-all-by-myself-thank-you-very-much" kind of person. When it comes to food, he prefers being able to feed himself. But he is also picky at the moment about textures. He will not touch wet or sticky things. (Or if he does, he will quickly wipe his hands on my clothes!) He is not very comfortable with a spoon and more food falls on his stomach than in. At times, we give him a roasted papad (protein) to eat by himself while he is being fed his meal of rice, dal and vegetable. At times, I make baby sized cutlets for him. He likes to eat oven baked fries (potato, sweet potato, carrot) and I give him a plate as a snack or before his main meal.
And parathas work very well. I make 'all in one' parathas for him which I cut into bits. He then eats them all by himself. I make the dough, roll out the parathas and freeze them with baking paper in between them. On days when I am feeling particularly lazy, I just pull out two of these, toast them on a tava with a little ghee/oil and cut them up. And then I feel good that he got his carbohydrate, protein, fat and vegetable fix from that one meal.
1/2 cup Chickpeas (soaked and cooked)
1 cup Atta (Whole Wheat Flour)
1/2 cup Green and Yellow Zucchini (diced)
1 tbsp Tahini
1 tbsp Sesame Oil/Gingelly Oil
1 tsp Paprika
1/s tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
1 clove Garlic
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar
Grind the chickpeas with the garlic, tahini and zucchini. Place this mixture in a bowl. Add the other ingredients. Mix well. Keep adding a little water as necessary and knead into a soft, pliable dough. Cover and allow to rest for a few minutes.
Divide the dough into small balls and roll them out with the help of a little flour. Toast on a hot tava until brown spots appear and the paratha is cooked.
Serve as they are or with some yogurt on the side.
Of late, many friends have been requesting child friendly food on the blog. So, I hope you like this.
If you are making these for adults, increase the amount of spices or serve with a side dish. I have started adding sesame paste to many of our meals as sesame is a good natural source of zinc. You could substitute the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, paprika and oil with 2/3 cup of ready made hummus.