Child friendly foods : mung cheela roll ups
Recently I worked with a Montessory school to help them curate a child friendly nutritious menu for2-4 yr old kids. The concept and curation of the menu was done keeping in mind the way children of that age need to develop their motor skills and the way they can be picky with foods.
At this age (between 2-5 years) kids are normally in the process to discover new flavours and textures along with learning to chew, move the food using the tongue, swallowing it and then taking another bite. The swallowing mechanism is a learned reflex that many kids pick up late if we keep feeding them only liquid foods.
Using the fingers, wrists and learning to pick food with fingers and hands, moving wrists to bring food to the mouth and then chewing, moving the food towards the base of the tongue and then swallowing is a complex set of movements for small kids and we must be patient with them while they start eating with practiced ease. These reflexes take a little time but certain foods can help in the process.
Introducing some finger foods, some rolls to be held in palms and some foods that need to be handles with spoons and forks is a great idea to make kids learn appropriate movements. All these movements help build up motor skills and appropriate brain development in turn.
In other words if you are feeding your child only liquid foods or soft foods, fed forcefully thrusting the spoon in their mouth, you are not allowing their motor skills to develop and some basic brain functions as well.
Variety in food for good for us adults and great for the children too.
For the Montessory school we kept all these factors in mind while curating the menu and I personally trained their cook to make all the foods I wanted to include in their menu. I will be sharing some of those foods here and the first in that series are these mung chela roll ups that are perfect finger foods for kids, they learn using their fingers with these roll ups and since the patterns on foods attract children, it is a good way to make them pick food by themselves.
Such roll ups can be made using our own adult foods like dosa, roti and cheelas, just applying some sauce or homemade jam or hung yogurt dip etc and rolling them up before cutting slices to show spiral pattern. Colors and patterns attract kids of all ages.
You can check the basic recipe of mung ka cheela here and make them easily. If the child eats even 4-5 of these bite sized roll ups they will get wholesome nourishment. Older kids will need more of these so make as per their requirement.
Prepared mung cheelas as per requirement
Homemade tomato ketchup or homemade green chutney or fruit preserve or dips of choice. Check the links in the last part of this post to find more ideas
Spread the mung cheela on a chopping board or plate. Smear the chutney, dip or fruit preserve liberally and roll up the cheela tightly. Make sure the cheela is thin so it doesn’t make the roll too thick.
Cut the roll into slices and arrange the slices in a plate attractively. Serve warm or cold to kids and adults alike.
Remember the kids do like to participate in everything you do and they would love to eat with you.
Some of the useful recipe links to make such cheela rolls ups will be good to share. Go through these recipes and see what is in season and what your kid seems to like more at the moment.
Basic mung cheela recipe
Mung cheela tofu spring rolls
Baba ghanoush dip recipe
Tomato sauce homemade
Pasta sauce (tomato concasse) recipe
Purslane pasta sauce
Dates tomato chutney
Sweet chilli ginger tamarind sauce
Tamatar ki khatti mithi chutney