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Looking for a protein alternative lunch

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

The daycare I work at has a couple children who don't eat meat for religious reasons. I'm looking for ideas on what to make them for lunch that contains protein. It would have to have simple (and inexpensive) ingredients.

post #2 of 31

Hi Cori,

 

There are various things, for example: cheese, lentils, legumes, mushrooms.  All have protein and , except for the cheese unless you can get it well within your budget, pretty inexpensive.  They can be made into soups, mixed with pasta and the like.  There is also Tofu but I'm not sure how that would go with the kids.  Egg is another you may consider.  Either boiled, halved and served as finger food, or mashed and served in a salad sandwich.  Even simply as sandwiches spread with a mix of butter and margarine, basically an egg spread Perhaps add some finely diced celery for some added crunch and interest. Easy peesey

 

Baked beans with toast dippers.

Lentil meatballs.

Mushroom and cauliflower bake sprinkled with cheese.  Just chop the shrooms fine so they don't notice them

 

Depends a bit on what age they are.  What age group/s do you have?

Are they full  vegetarians or will they eat fish?

I'm guessing this is the lunch meal you are trying to solve?

 

Hope this helps and Welcome to the forum - you'll find all the info you need here from a broad range of people from home cooks, caterers, cooks, private chefs, retired chefs with a great width of knowledge.

 

DC

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #3 of 31

DC Sunshine touched on some good points with ingredients. 

 

As for me, there's a lot of questions I would ask the kids and their parents if I had the opportunity.

 

Are the kids used to a particular ethnic food culture?  Are they adventurous eaters?  Would they prefer to eat things closer to what "other kids" are eating?

 

Part of the trick to eating healthy as a vegetarian is limiting your carb and fat intake while getting quality protein from various sources.  With all the vitamins and fiber that veggies provide, as well as the absorptive nature of the base nutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins) found in veggies, it generally takes less of each respective base nutrient to fulfill a dietary need.  However, beware that those are generalizations, and necessary quantities can vary greatly depending on food quality and preparation/holding methods.  The main point I wanted to convey with all that is that cooking for herbies requires a bit of a different mindset from cooking for omnies.  Instead of the protein being the base of any dish, as it generally is for omnies, herbi dishes tend to be more appealing when the proteins are found in various elements. 

 

Think of layering or spreading out protein sources in each dish.   If you make a pasta dish for an herbi, try finding a higher protein pasta, use some beans and broccoli in the dish, make a nut-rich pesto sauce, things of that sort.  Whole grains are a vegetarian's must-have.  If you use bread for sandwiches, get high-quality, whole-grain (maybe even oat bread) instead of 'wonder'style white bread.  Use brown rice instead of white.  Use fresh spinach leaves instead of iceberg lettuce in a veggie sandwich.  Look into some other possibilities like bulgar wheat side dishes, quinoa, or meat substitution products (like gluten satay, or making your own black bean patties for burgers), depending on the preferences of the children and their parents.  Since vegetable protein sources are generally cheaper than meat, spending more on items than you would in a typical omnivore dish that will increase protein quantities simply via quality is very feasible.  Supplements can be a nice touch too.  Tossing in a dash of B-12 solution as you would any other seasoning is a common practice for many vegetarians.  Keeping some old standbys on hand is always a good thing, too.  Most kids will happily eat peanut butter and cheesy stuff with some fruit.

 

 

post #4 of 31

It's important to remember that apart from non-flesh animal protein (milk, eggs, cheese and other milk products) no vegetable source of protein gives the body enough useable protein ON ITS OWN.  However, mix proteins, like lentils and bread, pasta and chickpeas, chickpeas and sesame seeds (hummus, a great sandwich ingredient for kids), pasta and cheese, rice and beans, rice and peas, etc etc, all will have more useable protein than its components if eaten separatelyand as much as or more than a serving of meat - the body puts the partial protein molecules together is what i read as the explanation. 

 

Seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, etc)

grains (wheat, rye, oats, barley, etc)

legumes (including peas and peanuts)

nuts (like walnuts, almonds, etc)

 

mix any two together and you ahve a complete protein.

 

Certain vegetables have decent protein too, like i believe broccoli, but i'd have to look it up, same for potato

 

Also any of the above with a very small amount of milk product or egg, has way more protein than can be accounted for in either ingredient separately,. 

 

For sandwiches, you can make them look the same as the other kids, hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes.

You can make a bean salad, with semi crushed chick peas or beans, and celery, carrot, tomato and mayonnaise, like a tuna salad sandwich. 

If they eat cheese, there are plenty of things you can make. 

And it wouldn't harm the meat eaters to have whole wheat bread too!

 

Research some traditional foods from around the world - poor people rarely had meat, if ever, and they got their protein through traditional dishes - pasta and chickpeas, rice and peas, dahl (lentil stew) over rice, hummus, chick pea stews, lentil soup over toasted bread.  And on and on. 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #5 of 31

no vegetable source of protein gives the body enough useable protein ON ITS OWN.

 

Just to clarify this a bit, because it is the crux of vegetarian nutrition.

 

Animal flesh (and associated products, such as eggs) contain what is called a complete protein. This means that the single product contains the range of amino acids necessary for human health and wel being.

 

With one exception, vegetables have incomplete proteins. That is, they contain only some of the necessary amino acids.

 

But here's the key: If you combine any grain with any legume, you create the same complete protein found in meat. Primative cultures intuited this, which is why there are some many global variations of things like rice & beans.

 

So, it's not a question of whether vegies provide enough protein, but whether they provide the right kind. Mixing and matching grains and legumes assures that they do.

 

The exception, btw, is soy. Soy is a complete protein, which is why it plays such a strong role in modern vegetarian diets. I mean, let's face it. Nobody actually likes tofu.

 

Cori: I can't believe that the owners would have accepted children with special dietary needs and not had you consult with the parents. What sort of folk are you working for?

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

no vegetable source of protein gives the body enough useable protein ON ITS OWN.

 

Just to clarify this a bit, because it is the crux of vegetarian nutrition.

 

Animal flesh (and associated products, such as eggs) contain what is called a complete protein. This means that the single product contains the range of amino acids necessary for human health and wel being.

 

With one exception, vegetables have incomplete proteins. That is, they contain only some of the necessary amino acids.

 

But here's the key: If you combine any grain with any legume, you create the same complete protein found in meat. Primative cultures intuited this, which is why there are some many global variations of things like rice & beans.

 

So, it's not a question of whether vegies provide enough protein, but whether they provide the right kind. Mixing and matching grains and legumes assures that they do.

 

The exception, btw, is soy. Soy is a complete protein, which is why it plays such a strong role in modern vegetarian diets. I mean, let's face it. Nobody actually likes tofu.

 

Cori: I can't believe that the owners would have accepted children with special dietary needs and not had you consult with the parents. What sort of folk are you working for?



Informative and well written post.  Thanks.

post #7 of 31

Cori.....there are more kids these days growing up vegan then we would suspect.

 

Some Chefs cannot wrap their brain around that fact. We have to conform to this reality.  Vegan lifestyle is becoming larger than we know. We are ever changing beings...and we have to accept all into our culinary expertise...as people look to us for answers....I have a few friends who are raising their children vegan and they have come to me for recipes. Mainly, they

are well educated vegans themselves and are looking for kids fun kids recipes. They know the nutritional value of food so that is not an issue. As a mom myself , I would definatly want to meet with chef myself to make sure my kids were getting the proper amount of calcium , protein and B12 everyday...

 

Orange Juice ...fortified with vitamin C ...( helps in absorption of Iron )

Snacks

 Veggies and hummous dip ( kids love dipping) ...

Trail Mix with dried fruit

Honey Sesame snaps   ( rich in B12 ,,,use local honey)

Muffins: Cranberry Orange, Carrot Raisin, Bluberry, Lemon Poppyseed, Banana Walnut. ( I like chocolate chips in my banana muffins...parents may not allow though )

Lunch

Tofu Hotdogs  or Hamburgers ( St. Iyves is the best) with Sweet Potato or Yukon Gold Fries

Quinoa Pasta with Prima Vera Sauce and grated soy cheese

B12 Fortified Macaroni with calcium fortified Soy Cheese

Ground Tofu Shepherd's Pie

Vegggie Casadia with melted Soy cheese 

Soy Cheese & Veggie Pizza

P,B & J on whole wheat

 

Dessert

Fruit Kabobs

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Squares....(.I like coconut in them too....... but that may be over the top)

 

I am not vegan myself ....I am as carnivore as they come. I do although, understand this movement of change in the culinary world.

 

Just some thoughts....

 

Gypsy

 

 

 

 

My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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post #8 of 31

I recommend crisp frying tofu cubes and then simmering in some sort of savory sauce.  Serve them as finger food or with more sauce over rice or noodles.  Prepared well, tofu is a dish that makes kids smile.

post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by TallyCast View Post

I recommend crisp frying tofu cubes and then simmering in some sort of savory sauce.  Serve them as finger food or with more sauce over rice or noodles.  Prepared well, tofu is a dish that makes kids smile.


In Italian, there is the expression "fried air" which they use for bull, or what we often call "a lot of hot air", in other words, when people talk and it all sounds so good, but really there's nothing behind it, on the principle that if you fry ANYTHING it tastes good.  No doubt, breaded and fried, even tofu is palatable, and sort of tastes like... fried air.  (It;s not that tofu tastes bad, it's just that it's like biting into a hole in the flavor of your dish!

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 31

Cori.....there are more kids these days growing up vegan then we would suspect.

 

Gypsy, I don't think anyone questions that. But it isn't the issue. If your kids were vegan (or kosher, or diabetic, or gluten-intolerant, or had any other special dietary needs) would you just send them off to school without consulting with the cook or nutritionist or whoever was in charge of feeding the children?

 

To me it is unconscionable that 1. the parents would do so, and 2. that Cori's bosses would allow it to happen.

 

One thing we have to keep in mind is that these kids, like kids in any household, have certain distinct preferences; that there are things they eat joyously, and things they won't touch. And that most kids are suspicious of unfamiliar food.

 

So, let's look at those fried tofu cubes (yeah, yeah, Siduri, I know. But they pretend that tofu is not only palatable but delicious). If we posit that, for some reason, the adults do not serve tofu at home, or that they do, but never fry it, I guarantee that if served it at daycare the kids will stick up their noses at it.

 

I'm sorry, but, to me, this is not a nutritional issue. It's a parental responsibility issue.

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 31

I'm pretty much an omnivore but for a long time turned up my nose at tofu. I associated it with the granola crowd; a sort of bland bland jello with some supposed health benefits.  A trip to Japan and some interesting culinary adventures changed my perspective.  Prepared well, tofu can be amazing.

post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post




In Italian, there is the expression "fried air" which they use for bull, or what we often call "a lot of hot air", in other words, when people talk and it all sounds so good, but really there's nothing behind it, on the principle that if you fry ANYTHING it tastes good.  No doubt, breaded and fried, even tofu is palatable, and sort of tastes like... fried air.  (It;s not that tofu tastes bad, it's just that it's like biting into a hole in the flavor of your dish!

I eat tofu regularly and I'm a meat-lover. Tofu IS delicious and perhaps you've been introduced to it in a negative way (perhaps by over-enthusiastic vegetarians/vegans) sthat make you think of tofu as an alternative food. Another thing is the type of tofu you've been eating might not appeal to you. Try to stay away from the firm tofu and try some of the softer kind (it should be as soft/softer than flan).
1. Take the tofu out of the fridge.
2. Drain.
3. Cut into cubes.
4. Plate, drizzle with soy sauce and a splash of sesame oil.
5. Serve.

post #13 of 31

Somebody else who's convinced themselves that tofu is edible.

 

Be that as it may, welcome to ChefTalk, Frostheim.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Cori.....there are more kids these days growing up vegan then we would suspect.

 

Gypsy, I don't think anyone questions that. But it isn't the issue. If your kids were vegan (or kosher, or diabetic, or gluten-intolerant, or had any other special dietary needs) would you just send them off to school without consulting with the cook or nutritionist or whoever was in charge of feeding the children?

 

To me it is unconscionable that 1. the parents would do so, and 2. that Cori's bosses would allow it to happen.

 

One thing we have to keep in mind is that these kids, like kids in any household, have certain distinct preferences; that there are things they eat joyously, and things they won't touch. And that most kids are suspicious of unfamiliar food.

 

So, let's look at those fried tofu cubes (yeah, yeah, Siduri, I know. But they pretend that tofu is not only palatable but delicious). If we posit that, for some reason, the adults do not serve tofu at home, or that they do, but never fry it, I guarantee that if served it at daycare the kids will stick up their noses at it.

 

I'm sorry, but, to me, this is not a nutritional issue. It's a parental responsibility issue.

 



The original post by Cori never implied a question of any problem with her employers or the parents of the vegan children.

I do understand from your posts that you do. I did state in my post I would as a parent want to meet with the chef to discuss my childrens nutritional needs. Maybe Cori has met with the parents and  is just here at Chef Talk to get some creative vegan kids recipes......I am pretty sure that was the intent of the original post.

 

peace

 

Gypsy

My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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post #15 of 31
I have to disagree with the "stay away from firm" tofu advice. I use a lot of extra firm. The secret is to freeze the tofu solid, thaw and press out as much liquid as possible without breaking the block.

Cut into small cubes and fry in a mix of pommace oil and toasted sesame oil until it's crisp on the outside. Getting the right level of crisp is the trick.

The fried cubes can be served salted or with a dipping sauce. The can be added to curries, soups, stews etc.where they suck up some of the liquid and become little nuggets of chewiness.
post #16 of 31

I've eaten home-made tofu made by my korean neighbor - still don;t like it.  Not that i particularly dislike it, but i can;t taste it! It goes against all i believe in to have food that has no taste.   I wasn't introduced to it by any flakey alternative cook, and anyway, since i am also a flakey alternative cook it would not be a problem.  I even used Laurel's kitchen cookbook quite a lot, so i'm not put off by the whole-food and sprouts people.  I do like subtle, mild tastes, like mild cheese, breads, etc, but i can;t taste tofu.

 

While i find tofu to be a non-offensive tasteless cube on my plate,  a square inch where there is no flavor though it may be surrounded by flavor, I find fake soy meat products to be repulsive.  Like if you found a piece of meat but it was colored like a black and white photo.  I cooked many years for a vegetarian, and never resorted to that stuff.  Gives me the creeps. 

 

(And while we're at it, about soy "milk" - don't even go there!  Bean juice.  Yuck.) 

 

But there's no dictating taste, and i know people who love all three.  What counts is what the kids like.

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #17 of 31

Too bad the rest of the world never figured out how to eat well without meat.  If they had they'd be eating things like beans and tortillas; lentils and rice; moros y cristianos, hummus, babaganouj, and tabbouleh, and adding a few other vegetable along side.  But no.  They haven't.  Or those sorts of meals would staples all over the globe.

 

Can't have the protein without tofu, apparently. 

 

BDL

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
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post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Too bad the rest of the world never figured out how to eat well without meat.  If they had they'd be eating things like beans and tortillas; lentils and rice; moros y cristianos, hummus, babaganouj, and tabbouleh, and adding a few other vegetable along side.  But no.  They haven't.  Or those sorts of meals would staples all over the globe.

 

Can't have the protein without tofu, apparently. 

 

BDL


I get the feeling that when people think "healthy eating", BDL,  what they really mean is self-deprivation. 

Even vegetarian eating is often associated with self-deprivation.  Eat stuff that's not pleasant, it's good for you,  If it tastes good (hostess twinkies, yum) it must be bad for you,.

 

Back in the day, 1971 maybe, I was with a guy who lived in an urban "comune" of students (nothing proletarian about it, all rich kids playing at being poor).  They had just joined a food cooperative that had fresh vegetables.  No one of them had ever eaten fresh vegetables, apparently. For them it was an ideological thing.  

Before I stepped in and explained how to shell peas (they were using a knife, scissors, pulling the string saying it was a zipper!!!) or how to blanch stringbeans, they were cooking everything in a wok with a ton of soy sauce and all the vegetables were BLACK. Burnt and soyed up.  THey thought healthy food had to taste bad, they hated vegetables as kids, so they thought they were being somehow virtuous, swallowing down crap but it was "healthy".   For me, food is also for the soul, you might say, not only for the body, it has to taste good or it poisons you in other ways, makes you a nasty self-deprived or worse self-righteous person!

 

I like vegetarian restaurants because they have a much more inventive cuisine - the vegetable is not a side dish, but takes center stage and is usually done in an interesting way with interesting combinations.  I love meat, I adore meat, but i like it plain, grilled, roasted, i don;t even particularly like it stewed or in other dishes, and I'll be darned if i'll go to pay good money for someone to put a piece of meat on a grill which i can do just as easily at home, and charge me five times as much as i pay for it at the butcher.  I'd rather eat an elaborate dish that I had never thought of.    But lots of people become vegetarians without having any knowledge of the range of high-protein dishes available.  You'd think with the economic crisis, there would be a proliferation of these. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #19 of 31

Ahhhhh, the heady days of the alternative lifestyles of the '60s generation. You and I lived in the same part of the world, back then. So maybe our view is a bit warped? I don't think the rest of the country was quite so crazy. Well, maybe the Pacific Northwest?

 

(they were using a knife, scissors, pulling the string saying it was a zipper!!!)

 

Not for nothing, Siduri, but I grow and eat more old-fashioned beans, cowpeas, and garden peas than you can shake a combine at, and I call them "zippers." So does everyone else I know who raises them---including market growers.

 

But you're absolutely right about people connoting healthy with self-deprivation. Which is precisely why so many diet plans fail.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #20 of 31

I might have an unpopular response,  but I'm going for it anyway.  Perhaps you are overthinking this.   Presumably, these children get breakfast and dinner at home.  Just make sure what you feed them for lunch does not offend their religiosity,  and let the dietary protein be their parents' concern.  Another alternative would be for the parents to pack lunches for their children.  That way they would be assured that both bases [religion and protein] would be covered without any additional frustration to the day care staff. 

"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cori View Post

The daycare I work at has a couple children who don't eat meat for religious reasons. I'm looking for ideas on what to make them for lunch that contains protein. It would have to have simple (and inexpensive) ingredients.


Kids love macaroni and cheese. You can buy whole wheat macaroni to increase the nutritive value

post #22 of 31

I am surprised at the responses to this thread. My friends ,neighbors , customers.....etc  consider healthy eating a privilege....oh that is so sad that others feel that healthy eating is deprivation. I have never considered it that way. Oh dear ......

My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsy2727 View Post

I am surprised at the responses to this thread. My friends ,neighbors , customers.....etc  consider healthy eating a privilege....oh that is so sad that others feel that healthy eating is deprivation. I have never considered it that way. Oh dear ......


That's not exactly what we were (or at least I was) saying.  What I was saying is that some people consider it healthy only if it IS a deprivation.  They seem to seek out the deprivation part, and love to jump on the bandwagons of no meat, no milk, no chocolate, no coffee, no wheat, no anything.  Not to mention a predilection for things like tofu, fake soy meat, soy "milk" and, I choke to say it, whole wheat pasta. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all your replies!  I guess my frustration is trying to figure out what to feed these children. As a mom, I feel horrible not giving them a decent meal and as a cook, I'm embarrassed by what is offered.  It would be great if parents brought in a lunch for the special food needs, but none of the parents do, even when reminded. Mind you for the amount they are charged a month for care, I feel we should be providing some sort of meal for their child. At the moment there are 3 children not allowed meat unless it's Halal, hence my protein alternative question. If I give them only rice and vegetables for example, the health unit will cite us for not offering a protein. I also have a couple of children who aren't allowed wheat or dairy. They are difficult to feed as well, as the menu relies heavily on pasta. Fish sticks were taken off the menu, as were eggs so there goes more protein options.

 

Regarding finding out children's likes and dislikes for food, the only information I'm given about the children is what foods they are allergic to, or they aren't allowed foods due to religious reason.

 

Unfortunately, and more frustration for me, the owners only allow us the bare minimum of food, at the cheapest they can get and question (and 9 times out of 10 refuse) any request for other foods. Alot of the suggestions in these posts sound great, and if I had my way, many would be incorporated, but I know that they would not be approved if I suggested.

post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post




That's not exactly what we were (or at least I was) saying.  What I was saying is that some people consider it healthy only if it IS a deprivation.  They seem to seek out the deprivation part, and love to jump on the bandwagons of no meat, no milk, no chocolate, no coffee, no wheat, no anything.  Not to mention a predilection for things like tofu, fake soy meat, soy "milk" and, I choke to say it, whole wheat pasta. 

 

*chuckle*  Yeah, when I was first getting into vegetarian habits I saw whole wheat pasta on the shelves and just thought: "Eegads!  Say it ain't so!".   I was content to make my own egg noodles with a generous ratio of durum flour added to the AP.  After many more times walking by that whole wheat pasta, I finally gave in to my morbid curiosity and bought some.  First attempt:  cook to aldente for expanded use later on.  Result:  what did not turn to mush overnight in the fridge stuck to the other firm bits (despite shocking AND dressing in oil before setting in fridge) and all fell apart in globs when prodded gently with a rubber spatula.  Second attempt:  cook to just beyond aldente for immediate inclusion to sauce and veggies.  Result:  fell apart with gentle stirring, muddied the sauce, stuck to pan, horrible texture.  Third attempt:  tossed remnants of box into garbage.  Results: went back to beloved egg noodles, was happy again.

 

Tofu, for me, is a love/hate relationship.  I love tofu in certain applications, HATE it in most.  The times when I love it are when it's drenched in sauce, diced into little bits for Asian soups and stir fries that are well thought out and executed, properly grilled, smoked, or pan seared and then baked (again, only when served either drenched in sauce or with a generous amount of other veggies or noodles to put some life into the dish).  As exemplified, there are plenty of ways that I actually enjoy tofu.  The problem is that most people gravitate toward tofu as an easy "meat substitute", and most people tend to cook their meat in a very simplified (S&P, pan cook) fashion, and use the meat as a large portion of (basically) stand alone flesh on a plate at the 6 o'clock, with taters on the 10 o'clock, and a bit of carrots or green beans on the 2 o'clock.  Just doesn't work for me when that approach is taken with tofu.

post #26 of 31


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cori View Post

Thank you for all your replies!  I guess my frustration is trying to figure out what to feed these children. As a mom, I feel horrible not giving them a decent meal and as a cook, I'm embarrassed by what is offered.  It would be great if parents brought in a lunch for the special food needs, but none of the parents do, even when reminded. Mind you for the amount they are charged a month for care, I feel we should be providing some sort of meal for their child. At the moment there are 3 children not allowed meat unless it's Halal, hence my protein alternative question. If I give them only rice and vegetables for example, the health unit will cite us for not offering a protein. I also have a couple of children who aren't allowed wheat or dairy. They are difficult to feed as well, as the menu relies heavily on pasta. Fish sticks were taken off the menu, as were eggs so there goes more protein options.

 

Regarding finding out children's likes and dislikes for food, the only information I'm given about the children is what foods they are allergic to, or they aren't allowed foods due to religious reason.

 

Unfortunately, and more frustration for me, the owners only allow us the bare minimum of food, at the cheapest they can get and question (and 9 times out of 10 refuse) any request for other foods. Alot of the suggestions in these posts sound great, and if I had my way, many would be incorporated, but I know that they would not be approved if I suggested.

 

 

Ah, Halal...  I take that to mean that these children are Muslim.  If that is the case, you might consider looking into some traditional Arabic dishes.  I don't know what kind of a setup your kitchen has, but I do know that many traditional Arabic dishes are on par with Mediterranean and Indian style dishes with respect to concepts, ingredients, and techniques.  Lentils and rice are staples in most Muslim cultures, along with tortilla style breads consumed on a regular basis.  If your kitchen allows for basic sautes, stewing, and baking/roasting, you should be able to tackle most traditional Arabic veggie dishes.  Pulaos, tabboulehs, falafels, mjaddara, (I've actually seen that served in Mexican style flour tortillas as a shortcut), hummus, tahini, are but a few examples of what I was thinking.

 

Of course, if looking into traditional Arabic dishes isn't where you intended to go with this thread, there are still a lot of American style veggie dishes you can prepare in even the most basic kitchen.  I suppose the owners wouldn't object to providing you a steady supply of grain and beans?  Bean and pasta salads of all sorts, lentil stews (perhaps with barley), bean cakes (croquettes or fritters, if you want to sneak in some more appealing names), pilaf (I know that one isn't American per-say, but it is certainly well known in the U.S.) with nuts and dried fruit and/or other veggies.  I could go on with this list as well, and I could elaborate with some additional meat-type substitutions, but if I haven't hit the mark at all yet, I would prefer not to expand on the exercise in futility. 

 

If your owners object to helping you procure what you need to provide these children with a meal of any substance, then shame on them.  It would lead me right into their offices with the full intent of a tirade.  If it's more a matter of having to research some recipes and coming up with some basic substitutions to fit your own kitchen and pantry, then keep working at it and it will come to fruition.  If your pantry is your greatest limitation, it is pretty difficult to offer decent suggestions outside the realm of prepackaged mac and cheese without knowing the limitations first hand. 
 

post #27 of 31


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iplaywithfire View Post



 

*chuckle*  Yeah, when I was first getting into vegetarian habits I saw whole wheat pasta on the shelves and just thought: "Eegads!  Say it ain't so!". 

 

Tofu, for me, is a love/hate relationship.  I love tofu in certain applications, HATE it in most.  The times when I love it are when it's drenched in sauce, diced into little bits for Asian soups and stir fries that are well thought out and executed, properly grilled, smoked, or pan seared and then baked (again, only when served either drenched in sauce or with a generous amount of other veggies or noodles to put some life into the dish).  As exemplified, there are plenty of ways that I actually enjoy tofu.  The problem is that most people gravitate toward tofu as an easy "meat substitute", and most people tend to cook their meat in a very simplified (S&P, pan cook) fashion, and use the meat as a large portion of (basically) stand alone flesh on a plate at the 6 o'clock, with taters on the 10 o'clock, and a bit of carrots or green beans on the 2 o'clock.  Just doesn't work for me when that approach is taken with tofu.



It's the grit in the whole wheat pasta that is repulsive for me.  If made with durum whole wheat flour it doesn't fall apart so much but it's the grittiness - like taking pasta dough and adding some sawdust.  Whole wheat is very good in bread, muffins, but for cakes and pasta, leave it out!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iplaywithfire View Post

Ah, Halal...  I take that to mean that these children are Muslim.  If that is the case, you might consider looking into some traditional Arabic dishes. 

There are many muslim countries without an arabic cuisine, as well as many muslim converts from every culture - so without more knowledge you might have a hard time.  But there are few kids who won't like hummus, which is very high protein (combining legumes and seeds and eaten on bread, grains too) and any legume-grain dish (minestrone with pasta or rice, dahl with rice, mexican beans and rice,) gives full protein.

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by iplaywithfire View Post

Tofu, for me, is a love/hate relationship.  I love tofu in certain applications, HATE it in most.  The times when I love it are when it's drenched in sauce, diced into little bits for Asian soups and stir fries that are well thought out and executed, properly grilled, smoked, or pan seared and then baked (again, only when served either drenched in sauce or with a generous amount of other veggies or noodles to put some life into the dish).  As exemplified, there are plenty of ways that I actually enjoy tofu.  .

Sorry, tried to put the quotes all together but flubbed up. 

the tofu dishes you like just demonstrate my point.  It's not the tofu you like, it's that you like what is around it.  If you put tofu in a tasty dish, it absorbs the taste - if it;s not in a tasty dish, you notice even more its tastelessness.  It's a solid cube where there is no flavor,
So when you say you love it in certain applications, i think what you love is the applications, and if you had a piece of chicken or pork or even nothing at all in its place, you'd like the dish the same, if not better!  It's like saying you have to take a pill and if you can hide it in the ice cream, it goes down ok! 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #29 of 31

Yes, the durum will (edited from "with") add a grainy texture to the pasta, but if it's rested properly with appropriate moisture levels before being rolled out, the pasta should not have a gritty texture, and, for me, the grainy texture is enjoyable.  Some people prefer their pasta one way and one way only, completely uniform in granule size ( for those who hold this opinion, the granules should be undetectable as a texture).  I see nothing wrong with the uniformity, but I also like the rustic pastas, especially when extra egg is added. 

 

On the subject of tofu, you found a hole in the explanation of my love/hate relationship that I could not readily identify.  I thank you for that!  In addition to application, it's also a matter of treatment.  Under-season and/or over-cook any meat with a low fat content and it will be bland and not very appetizing.  It's more like having to take a pill in a gel capsule vs having to swallow a pill with no coating whatsoever, leaving that nasty metallic taste in your mouth.

post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by iplaywithfire View Post

Yes, the durum will (edited from "with") add a grainy texture to the pasta, but if it's rested properly with appropriate moisture levels before being rolled out, the pasta should not have a gritty texture, and, for me, the grainy texture is enjoyable.  Some people prefer their pasta one way and one way only, completely uniform in granule size ( for those who hold this opinion, the granules should be undetectable as a texture).  I see nothing wrong with the uniformity, but I also like the rustic pastas, especially when extra egg is added. 

 

On the subject of tofu, you found a hole in the explanation of my love/hate relationship that I could not readily identify.  I thank you for that!  In addition to application, it's also a matter of treatment.  Under-season and/or over-cook any meat with a low fat content and it will be bland and not very appetizing.  It's more like having to take a pill in a gel capsule vs having to swallow a pill with no coating whatsoever, leaving that nasty metallic taste in your mouth.

It's not the durum that gives the grit (all the pasta here is made with durum flour) it's the undissolvable grit of the bran of the whole wheat.  Bran can absorb moisture in bread, and can make the bread very pleasant, or in muffins, for example- bran muffins are moist.  But in pasta, which is dried out, it is grit that remains between your teeth.  sawdust. 
 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
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