There can be nothing more boring than a plain bowl of bland lentils; for adults and children alike. This surely does not imply it can be skipped especially when it is packed with a lot of nutrition. Lentils are a good source of fiber which is crucial for the digestive health of children. They also contain a good dose of iron, zinc, and potassium. Sneak in lentils into your healthy cooking regime for kids and get the little ones to eat them unwittingly at first. Let us now look into the how of it.
Familiarise your children with lentils, through fun games. Pick a choose a lentil for the day and make it into the “star” of the day. Let’s say you pick chickpea- think of all that can be churned out using this ingredient for the day. Say a colorful veggie-loaded hummus or a patty that can go into a burger etc. Let us a look at more kid-friendly lentil recipes.
1. Puree lentils and add them to the regular food your child enjoys.
Stir in lentil puree into pasta, or serve thick lentil pasta as a side with boiled vegetables or a homemade crispy.
2. Add lentils to a rich and creamy soup.
Lentils like yellow dal or moong-dal (green gram dal) can be soaked; cooked until soft and dished out as a thick warm soup, especially during winter. Since lentils have a mild flavor, children will hardly notice the difference.
3. Use them in meatballs or meatloaf.
Soak and grind a suitable lentil coarsely, spice it up adequately, add some cheese and pan-fry them on a skillet. You may serve these with noodles/gravy or as a dry snack. Alternately you can include a simple starch such as oats and flour, sauteed vegetables with the lentil paste, add spices and bake into a nice meatloaf.
4. Add them to veggie burgers and tacos.
Chickpea patties are a popular choice as a burger filling. You may mix and match other not so delicate lentils as patties and serve them up in burgers. Make sure a lot of colorful vegetables are included for a nice crunch. You could also soak, grind and cook red beads as a filling for tacos/ tortillas.
5. Spice up your salads with red lentils.
Brown, black or yellow lentils can be included in vegetable salads. Wash and cook any of these lentils and cook them for about 20 25 minutes, till they are done just right. Toss them into a vegetable salad of your choice with the right toppings- say a little honey might do the trick for the kids.
Healthy cooking for kids is not really rocket science and making them eat lentils is not that much of an uphill task. One has to just focus and put a little effort into making kids consume lentils. Lentils are nutritional powerhouses and are very versatile and easy to cook. Before you know it, on an odd day, your little one will ask for that bowl of dal soup taking you back by surprise!