One of the biggest side effects of parenthood for our family, if there can be such a thing, has been healthy eating. And at that, eating home cooked food. We didn’t resolve the moment we had a baby to do this but it has happened by way of us following many principles of new age parenting.
It all started when I was pregnant. The moment I broke the happy news to my mother she shipped me off to her house and home cooked 4 meals daily for me. All wholesome, with freshly bought vegetables & meats and hot off the gas to my plate. My father played his role by going to the market twice a day to buy the day’s special. My mother ensured that the crucial first trimester of my pregnancy was spent under her directive i.e. to eat right and healthy.
Then along came baby. Breastfeeding exclusively meant that I was eating foods known to enhance the quality (debatable, perhaps) of my milk. I was also off junk food and foods which was known to carry preservatives or other additives. Wholesome, home cooked meals it was. Once babyT began solid foods, it was a given that he ate only home cooked food. This was also the case with many other mom friends I knew, all of whom had babies around the same age as my son.
Want to know more about Baby Led Weaning? Read my post here – Introducing Solids for babies
The big shift – home cooked wins
But here I saw something new and quite surprising. While the older generation kept insisting on how popular, processed baby foods were crucial for a baby, new age mothers were frowning. Why pick something from a shelf when it was perfectly convenient and healthy to feed the baby with fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains? It seemed like the younger and ‘smarter’ generation of mothers was telling their own mothers and grandmothers that it was time to go back to basics. To a time when this very (now older) generation were babies and was fed fresh and home cooked meals.
New age parenting principles like baby led weaning have at their core, fundamentals like the baby eats what the family eats. Standards like these force the whole family to set a good example. Meals are therefore wholesome, balanced and include lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains & superfoods. And most importantly they are home cooked.
Healthy eating diets like cold-pressed juices, switching to nut milk, vegetable juices and going vegan also see the babies joining in with full enthusiasm. International foods like quinoa, chia seeds & blueberries are now commonplace on the baby’s plate. But all of it is homemade – fresh daily.
Also, the fact that cooking is no longer the mainstay of the women of the household has meant that home cooked food is easier to enjoy. Many men enjoy and join in to share the responsibility of putting wholesome goodness on the dinner table night after night. In homes with young babies, this is a plus and helps the whole family gain valuable nutrition.
Is this a global trend?
I see this trend not just in the homes of people around me, but also on Instagram in the feeds of other mom bloggers, in Facebook Mom support groups and on parenting forums. New mothers seek ideas on holding back advice from their family over starting processed baby foods and experienced mothers give recipes to make alternatives for cerelac at home. Saathu Maavu (a mix of grains, millets & nuts) is replacing cerelac, baby led weaning is replacing slimy, sugar-laden porridges as baby’s first food. Nachni or ragi is the hero of all baby food. I remember how it was a daily thing in our hometown to have ragi malt every evening while the elders sipped their filter kaapi. The good news is, Ragi is cool again!
When #Godrej released their Food Trends 2018, I was not very surprised to see elements like Back to Roots & the rise of Regional Flavours or the growing popularity of millets. In the last one year I have seen food bloggers and friends who dabble in food, go down these paths. Go check out what this lovely lass, once known for her Bacon Jam, but now a pure vegetarian and adopter of Ayurvedic cooking is dishing out – Amrita of Life.
Or Sandeep, once a techie, jet-setting across the globe, who has now set up his dream project – Curry Tales which dishes up delectable foods reminiscent of his hometown in Kerala.
It’s Vishu , it’s new year and a good day to create a new dish that can go directly on to the new menu ! Pulimulagu poached soft shell crab, 2 days fermented batter dosa with podi and butter , chèvre with honey and tellecherry pepper , onion flowers .. happy Vishu!! #escabrahma #gourmet #plating #moderncoastal #keepitsimple #kerala #memories #childhoodmemories #healthyfood #newlearning #newrecipes #thefeedfeed #instagourmet #instafood #gastronomy #chefsofinstagram #food #foodies #learntocreate #seafood #moderncoastal #gourmetartistry #chefsteps
Our home cooked story
The shift is real and it had me reflecting on how much our own family norms have undergone a change in the recent years. I saw the evidence of the belief in home cooked, even more, when we recently shifted homes within the city. In our earlier place of residence, we had employed the services of a cook. She was a bright lady and among her many talents were delectable recipes from her native in the Konkan. This combined with her desire to learn new methods of cooking and repeat them with precision was her forte. She soon picked up the best of Pasta dishes, North Indian staples, foods from my GSB Konkani cuisine and the husband’s CKP kitchen. Whatever she cooked, she made a non-spicy version of it for our baby.
Revelling in the goodness of foods she prepared, we almost gave up eating out. If there was ever a day when Lalita would be away from work, we would sulk and whine at the thought of ordering take-out and eventually one of us – I or my husband would dust the apron and begin cooking. When we decided to move homes, the first thought that came to my mind was how much I would miss Lalita and her times in my kitchen.
Here in the new home, I don’t even have a gas connection. I rely on a borrowed induction cooker on which I focus my culinary energies twice a day – roti, sabji, dal & rice are cooked almost every day. Sometimes it is basic, sometimes I feel the zest for something exotic. We live in the suburb which is the heart of eating out – from Indian to international, everything is a 5-minute walk from home. But we still savour home cooked meals. I was surprised at my own resilience, but the drive to cook every single day doesn’t run dry.
I love Rajma Chawal, but everyone else in the household won’t eat it even if they are paid to do so. 😣 . So when I bought a pack of Rajma from @popularessentials for the month’s grocery, I improvised and made a vibrant and uber healthy, and the universally loved – Hummus out of it. Yes, R-A-J-M-A Hummus. And to up its visual appeal & make it more healthy I added a beetroot to it. 😍😎 . Have this as a dip for raw vegetable fingers, on toast, lavache or even bread sticks, roll them in a chapati or even with pita bread. . Rajma or kidney beans are a great source of folate, fibre and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, vitamin V1, potassium and copper. Beetroot as we all know is so good for kids – it is high in immune-boosting vitamin C and folate making this a power packed meal for pregnant mommies-to-be. . Detailed recipe is up on my blog. Perma link is: MommyingbabyT.com/recipe/rajma-beetroot-hummus . 🍽 Do let me know if you’ve tried this recipe before. If you do make this let me know how you and your’s liked it. 😊😋🤗 . . . . . . . #mommyingbabyT #momsofig #mommade #momentsofmine #momlife #momlifeisthebestlife #mbt_reviews #mbt_food #rajma #rajmachawal #kidneybeans #roasted #roastedbeets #beetroot #hummuslover #hummusaddict #hummuslove #hummus #pinkhummus #beetroothummus #rajmahummus #recipeideas #recipesforkids #makeathome #familytime #livetoeat #homemade #instamom19jan
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Backed by the availability of fresh local, indigenous and international fruits, vegetables and ingredients; mealtimes are varied and fun. Watching episode after episode of MasterChef Australia, Nigella’s Kitchen & Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution inspired us to take risks and try never heard of dishes.
Nature’s Basket is our favourite place to pick a range of international ingredients and our kitchen sees the likes of Tagines, Pasta, Roasts, Salads with Quinoa or CousCous, Ramen Bowls, Khao Suey, Bakes, Chips & Dips, Quesadillas. And our toddler son joins in happily to eat all these meals.
When such foods are simple and easy for us to make in the comfort of our homes while we spend quality time with our child, we don’t feel the urge to dine outside. Dressing up, waiting for a table (if anyone has attempted to eat out on a weekend in Mumbai they would know) and then driving back home, all seem like a painful chore now.
In practice, home cooked food has also been beneficial in many other respects.
We eat at a dining table and together. Baby led weaning has meant that my son knows how to eat his food on his own. This means I can eat along with him and don’t need to finish feeding him and then fill my plate. We spend time together talking, sharing a joke or plain simply marvelling about the food on our plates. He loves praising his food already. A food critic in the making?
We have stopped buying a ton of junk food like chips, biscuits, colas and processed foods. Snacking is now healthy and includes nuts, seeds, fruits. Drinks are always water, homemade lemonade, infusions or herbal brews (tulsi-ajwain kadhas)
Reduced levels of salt, sugar and white flours. The practice today is offering baby food with no salt or sugar in the first year. The high incidence of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and blood pressure has urged nutritionists to say that salts and sugars from natural sources and ingredients are sufficient for a baby’s tiny body. This prompted us to also reduce our intake of these ingredients. We also discovered healthier alternatives like rock salt, jaggery powder and date syrup. Multigrain & millet flours are commonplace in my kitchen. I can’t remember when I last bought a pack of maida.
Up the health quotient. A dash of flax seed powder in the roti aata, a splash of cold pressed coconut oil on rice and daal, frying fish dipped in a mix of rice & ragi flour to more serious dishes like dairy free, white sauce pasta made with cauliflower puree. All these tricks are possible when I cook by myself. I am a happy mom knowing that my child is eating healthy food which he doesn’t turn up his nose at.
Managing allergies is easier. My son is dairy allergic and that means he cannot have most Indian and continental foods. Explaining allergies and the extent of foods to avoid is a pain in restaurants. Most of the times despite a million requests and receiving assurances that an item is dairy free, he has still broken out into rashes. We then hear something ridiculous like “Oh, but the chicken crumb contained cheese.” In such cases cooking food at home is a saviour for our son.
Saves a ton of money. And I am only talking about the exorbitant taxes Mumbai has. Taxes on food and alcohol are through the roof.
Do you cook often at home? Do you see the shift in a preference to eat home cooked meals?
This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest hosted by FashionableFoodz and Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. This content is owned wholly by me. #GFTR2018, FashionableFoodz and Vikhroli Cucina are not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.