Hello hungry mamas! Are you part of the age-old struggle of getting your kiddos to eat their vegetables? Or are you a nursing mama who constantly feels drained and low on energy? Take heart! Holistic health company Complete Healthcare International (CHI) has teamed up with delectable natural gourmet restaurant and caterer Simply Eden to create a series of three special nutrition seminars throughout November for young children, nursing mothers and mothers in confinement.
We sat down with Simply Eden’s award-winning Chef Clement Ronald Ng for a preview of what you can expect, tips and tricks for getting littlies to eat healthy, and a sneak peek at some of his most winning recipes.
Ok Chef Clement, what do kids need most in their diets, and how do we give it to them?
First and foremost, aim for a balanced diet with dishes that incorporate what I call “The 5 Colors of Food”:
– Something blue or purple, like eggplant, which is rich in Vitamin K. Blue and purple foods are great for developing young brains, and also help the digestive tract.
Fresh, colourful fruits and veggies will give you so many vitamins and minerals. Of course, kids are hardwired to believe that they’ll hate spinach, or they might find the taste of eggplant too bitter for their palate. The key is to introduce these ingredients in small (and hideable!) ways so they develop a taste for these natural ingredients.
For example, I might create a green pesto and then bake it into bread. One of my most popular recipes is a “special pizza” (because all kids love pizza!) with the following:
– Finely mince spinach and carrots, and mix with eggs and breadcrumbs
– Fry this mixture to create a frittata-like “pizza crust”
– Top the base with cheese, homemade tomato sauce and your choice of meats
Kids are extremely visual eaters, and you should never underestimate the fun factor when creating meals for them:
- Try using chopped veggies to put a smiley face on bread. Or, to hide the dreaded eggplant, dice it and mix it up into a paste with a bit of cheese and lemon juice for dipping. Kids love eating with their hands (and hey, if they’re going to play with their food, it might as well be nutritious food!).
- Create “popsicles” by simply freezing fruit like fresh pineapple or watermelon, dipping it chocolate, and sticking it in the freezer.
- Make dairy-free ice cream by freezing a banana and then putting it into a blender to give it a smooth and creamy consistency.
Any other tips and tricks for “sneaking in” nutrients?
Never underestimate the power of a great salad dressing, which can go a long way toward improving bitter or unfamiliar flavours. And don’t buy store stuff, it’s loaded with junk and preservatives! It takes 30 seconds to make your own.
Two easy favourites:
- My “Signature Salad Dressing for Kids”: calamansi, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and honey. A little bit sweet and a very refreshing.
- Peanut butter, white wine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend this together and drizzle it on cabbage!
Do you have any tips for feeding babies to get them off on the right foot in their food journey?
In the first 3-6 months, it’s all about just giving them a little taste with a single ingredient at a time. One of my favourites is steamed and mashed butternut pumpkin; it has a nice sweetness to it, plus it’s a good source of carbohydrates and Vitamin A (great for eyesight).
From 6-9 months, you can try combining 2-3 ingredients at a time. For example, I’ll combine mashed potatoes with tomatoes, which are more liquidy and can aid digestion. This is also a good time to introduce meat since their chewing has improved, but make sure it’s fresh and try to avoid preservatives.
Any final words of wisdom for feeding kids?
It’s so important to teach kids to enjoy food. This will help develop their palate and get them used to natural flavours, so when they suddenly eat something sugary they won’t like it as much.
I also find it’s great to get kids involved in the cooking process. They will definitely want to eat something they made themselves, because they’ll be proud of it!
For a nursing mother, what are the key nutrients she needs to add to her regular diet? What are some superfoods to help with this?
With nursing mothers it’s so important to clear out the system by drinking lots of water, and avoiding caffeine. I’d also suggest keeping raw or undercooked meat to a minimum so as to avoid contamination.
Power berries like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are loaded with vitamins and minerals, they’re high in antioxidants, and can help a lot with milk production.
Ginger is another ingredient that’s great for milk production. In the Asian “confinement” tradition, we incorporate ginger, sesame oil and herbs into lots of soups as a way to “warm up” the body and increase energy flow. Ginger is also a great way to expel wind!
Nursing mothers are often short on time (and sleep!), what are some good snacks to grab on the go?
Simple cut fruits and vegetables, or all-natural nuts are both good. For an easy snack at home, try topping rice cakes or wheat crackers with veggies or a nice spread.
Any suggested recipes for nursing mums or mums in confinement?
This is super simple: Grab some lean pork (a great source of protein) and stir-fry it with sesame oil (a great source of Omega “healthy” fats), ginger, and dark soya sauce. Blanch some veggies in sesame oil and you’ve got a healthy, satisfying meal that will rev up your system.
Thanks Chef Clement! Bon appétit, mamas!
All seminars will be held in the upstairs function room of Simply Eden, 164 East Coast Road, Singapore 428870
“Nutritious Food for Young Children”: Tuesday, 4 November, 7-9pm
“Nutrition for Nursing Mothers”: Tuesday, 18 November, 7-9pm
“Nutrition for Mothers in Confiment”: Tuesday, 25 November, 7-9pm
Each workshop costs $60, or book all three for $150.
Click here to book, or call (+65) 6345 6411