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Parents around the world all know that we need to provide healthy foods for our children. This knowledge has become increasingly challenging to do as more parents are pressed in time and convenient foods constantly package their foodstuff more alluringly.
Just across the road from my son’s school is a convenience store that displays the most colorful and trendy fast food snacks. It’s really hard competition for me because not only do I have to create healthy food, I have to create food that has a “cool” status since cool is a must have for my pre-teen son.
So how am I supposed to create healthy food in the trinity health colors – orange, green and red – and make it cool?
The answer had to be in foods that I can prepare during the weekends that can store in the refrigerator for at least for four days and re-heat when it’s needed without diluting its nutritional value.
For the color orange I’ve managed to make “homemade burger sandwiches”. I pack the burger mix with cheddar, carrots, tomato flesh (skinless and seedless chopped tomatoes) and Italian seasoning. The burger patties can be made in bulk and placed in the freezer. I just use the normal white square bread and wrap it with brown wrapping paper. Yes, the same one I use wrap my son’s books. The idea of wrapping food with paper that’s supposed to be for your school books seem to amuse the boys at school. For mom, it’s inexpensive and I don’t have to wash it after my son’s done with his food.
Green is set aside for chicken nuggets. I mix the chopped chicken with wilted baby spinach, process it like any nugget recipe, then bake it on a tray that’s been brushed with olive oil. These also hold well in the freezer.
Red is from beet and I make luscious chocolate fudgy cake with them. This is the all-time winner item for my son and his friends.
• 250 gr light brown sugar, pack firmly
• 125 gr margarine, heated to become liquid
• 4 eggs
• 300 gr chocolate, heated to become liquid
• 125 gr beet, cooked, skinned and mashed
• 125 ml milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 500 gr all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
• 1 pack cream cheese
• 200 gr confectioners’ sugar
• 125 gr unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven minimal 10 minutes. Brush cake mould with melted margarine.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat brown sugar with the melted margarine until creamy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each egg is added.
4. Beat in melted chocolate, beet, milk and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until smooth
5. Pour the batter into the cake mould and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre (about 35 – 40 minutes). Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.
6. Frosting: beat all the frosting ingredients together until smooth.
I usually cut the cake into rectangular slices and spread the frosting between the slices so it’s easier to pack and not messy.
I don’t proclaim myself to be the most diligent cooking mom, nor do I want to be. I’m happy and content to just be able to occasionally pack a healthy and cool lunch box for my son.
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