The first thing after she got off the bus that day was beg me to pack lunch and not make her eat cafeteria food. To this day she'd rather eat anything even stuff she hates packed from home rather than eat at school.
I was reminded of this when we were watching the first episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution's new season. He struggles unsuccessfully to get the LASD to open up their kitchen and show him how food is prepared. For someone not familiar with the school food here it might have looked like he was grossly exaggerating. If only he was and some school districts I bet are even worse. Why the reluctance and secrecy otherwise? It is really sad what is fed to kids as food at schools and there is of course a powerful lobby here that prompts and supports junk all in the name of nutrition. Even if chocolate milk is 80% sugar it is supposed to be good for the kids! Why does food always have to taste good (read as sweet)?
As parents we have to step up and take responsibility for the kinds of foods our kids are eating and demand school systems to not feed junk. Sadly eating is a habit when not well formed in the early years is going to stick around for a long long time causing more trouble than it is worth.
Most everybody agrees that there is far too much sugar in foods that are served to kids and they are sure not healthy. Tasty sweet foods does not have to be unhealthy if cooked the right way.
Take this pudding for example a typical traditional Indian desert. It is healthy enough to be eaten for breakfast. Addition of dates make it is naturally sweet. Add fresh cut fruits and it has every food group covered.
It is also New year in my parts, to those celebrating தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள். We celebrated the new year with this delicious sweet and it is also happened to be the birthday of someone in the household .
Vermicelli Date Pudding
1. 3 Cups of 2% milk (fat free would work)
2. 1/4 cup roasted vermicelli
3. 2 tbsp of tapioca pearls (optional)
4. 2 tbsp of broken cashews
5. 1 tbsp of golden raisins
6. Fresh fruits (mango, pineapple)
7. 8 medjool dates or about 1/2 cup of dates seeds removed
8. 2 tbsp of sugar (if required)
10. 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
11. 2 tsp of ghee
1. In a saucepan take about 2 tbsp of water and dates and let them cook for 10
2. Soak the tapioca pearls in water (just enough to cover it) and let sit for 1/2-1 hour
3. Puree the dates, add 1/4 cup of milk if required to blend
4.In a heavy bottomed pan heat the milk and when it comes to a boil add the vermicelli and let it cook for 8-10 minutes
5. Rinse out the vermicelli and add to the milk (this is to avoid getting the starch into the milk)
6. Add the pureed dates, cardamom powder and mix, taste and add sugar if required, boil for another 5 minutes and turn off the heat
7. Heat the ghee in a pan and roast the cashews and raisins
8. Add the nuts and fresh mangoes on top and serve