Baked spring rolls filled with paneer, courgette and sweetcorn for children

8 Dec

Baked spring rolls with paneer, courgette and sweetcorn

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We live in a culture where bigger is better and somehow, that has become a popular way of thinking when it comes to babies too. As I sat in a circle with other mums at a baby group with my little one on my lap I listened, ‘mine is only 6 months old but wears 9-12 month clothing’. Her friend quipped, ‘mine is 9 months old and where’s clothes for 18 month olds as she eats loads and she even ate some our pizza and garlic bread last night.’

I felt like I was doing my boy an injustice and I worried for his health. No matter which concoction of vegetables or fruits I offered him, he just would not open his mouth. I sang to him, sat him in the garden and even did messy play with food for him to befriend it. I cut his milk back to trigger off more hunger, but nothing. When he was about 8-9 months old I sought medical advice and you know what they told me? They told me he would probably never be an eater, he would always be smaller than average and that he would just not be interested.

I took a deep breath and hushed the expletives roaring around in my head. How can they doom him to a life of food indifference with such conviction? I calmly and firmly told them that I was a very fussy eater as a child and now I am healthy, food loving food writer.

I have learned a lot along the way to getting my boy interested in food. He now loves yoghurty dhal, dosa and spicy vegetable pasta dishes and of course spinach pizza. Here’s some of the things that helped me;

1. I had an ‘aha’ moment when one of my friends pointed out that my boy was getting lots of lovely flavours of Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Italian food through his milk from what I was eating. So then why would he want a boiled carrot. Introducing flavour and spice in food helps to keep it exciting. kids like flavour too.

2. Eating together as a family means that meal times are a fun and a sociable activity and my boy loves to join in.

3. Variety. In the earl days of weaning I would just give my boy his one bowl of food and if he stopped eating, I thought he was no longer hungry. What I found however is that smaller portions of a variety of items keeps the taste buds and mind stimulated and the tummy ends up fuller. It need not be laborious; I make home-made spiced and unsalted butter and spread it on seeded bread, for example.

4. Eating with other children is fun. I sometimes invite his friends over for pasta and veg with garlic bread. My boy loves to join in with his friends and especially with crunchy, spice and veg filled spring rolls.

5. Taking a picnic or a packed lunch for a day out makes for fun eating. Unravelling goodies whilst sharing special moments as a family is a delight that little ones will share too.

6. Sometimes, he is just not hungry and that’s fine. We don’t always eat three full meals. It’s ok to take the pressure off and leave it until the next meal.

My recipe works really well with my boy and his friends because these spring rolls are crunchy, packed with flavour and they are great hand-held treats for independent eating or eating on the go. Parents love them because they are baked and can be frozen, which is really handy for busy weekdays when you can just whip a few out and put them in the oven

For the full recipes head over to Great British Chef

12 Responses to “Baked spring rolls filled with paneer, courgette and sweetcorn for children”

  1. Joanne December 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I think you are going about this just the right way! I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t prefer real food to mushed carrots so why would a baby!

    • Deena Kakaya December 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      Hi Joanne,it’s great to hear from you! You know what, for me it’s been an very positive to just relax all the ‘rules’ around what kids should eat, e.g . Chilli or crunchy breads and just let him join in with us and just enjoy eating what we do. I wouldn’t want mushed up sweet spud and apple either ;) xx

  2. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche December 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    These look gorgeous! I loooove paneer :)

    • Deena Kakaya December 9, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

      Hi Becca, thanks so much. The kids love them too, have to try and make sure they get their share because it turns out that the grown ups like them too! Xx

  3. thespicyrd December 9, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Craving some spring rolls now!!! These look so yummy, but I especially love your tips in this post! I work with a lot of parents of “picky’ eaters, and I think it’s so important for parents to relax and take the pressure off like you say :-) I was a pretty good eater, even as a kid, but there were definitely foods I wouldn’t eat that I absolutely love today. Cheers!

    • Deena Kakaya December 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      Hello lovely! Oh you work with parents of picky eaters? What sort of approaches have worked with them and their kids?

      Your parents were lucky! I only ate ham and cheese as a kid, oh and potato curry. (I wasn’t vegetarian till 11years old). My poor folks. My turn now! But yes, my tastes have evolved. Until I was pregnant I didn’t have a sweet tooth and didn’t much like Thai food, now I crave cake and love Thai food! Xxx

  4. kellie@foodtoglow December 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    I remember you mentioning these on Twitter, I believe. Your friend gave you good advice about your boy’s exposure to spice and flavour through your milk. Those bigger wee ones – or not so wee – are not going to be as bonnie when they are obese primary aged children. Sounds like you have the better approach and advice x

    • Deena Kakaya December 9, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

      Hello Kellie, so good to see your lovely and practical words.
      You know what Kellie, this is a subject that is very close to my heart. It really dismays me when I see educated and bright people chuckle whilst poking at their babies ‘cute’ enormous bellies etc and handing them cookies or cake on a very regular basis. I don’t understand this fixation with producing enormous little people, it really isn’t an advantage.

      The way I see it, as long as my boy is healthy and happy, eating quantities of decent stuff that he’s happy eating, then we are fine. He will be what he will be. Xxx

  5. mjskit December 12, 2013 at 4:01 am #

    I want one! I think like a kid, does that count? :) I think you’ve made a delicious recipe for all ages! YUM!

    • Deena Kakaya December 12, 2013 at 8:32 am #

      Ha ha, funnily enough although I made this with my boy and his friends in mind, the grown-ups loved them! I was going for a nutrition and flavour packed food for independent eating, with a crunch and something that doesn’t display the vegetables and paneer a obviously. Had these Ingredients been on a plate, I doubt the kids would have eaten them! X

  6. Shruti December 18, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    Just came across your page while surfing through food blogs!!! Very lovely space… Happy to connect!!! See ya sometimes @ http://www.cookingwithsj.com :)

    • Deena Kakaya December 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

      Hi Shruti, it’s great to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment and I’m so glad you like my recipes. I will wonder over later to check out your site. X

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