Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Serve Foods from Different Countries at the Table

By: Lucy Nelson, Guest Blogger 

We all get stuck in meal ruts making the same thing over and over again. Plus making healthy and interesting meals can be difficult. Try spicing things up and make dinner fun by cooking around the globe. What is on your Choosy plate?

Make passports with your kids: Give stamps for trying new foods or helping with preparation

Travel the World in your own Kitchen: Search far for home meals! Try food from other cultures to explore healthy options and get kids interested!

  • South America - Beans and rice are a common staple food in South American countries. Super cheap, and it’s a complete protein, so you don’t need to add any meat. There are more kinds of rice than you think, and you can spice it up with lemon zest, peppercorns, and more. Shop around to find your favorite bean, add some stir fried veggies for some color, and enjoy!
  • India - India is known for it’s bright flavors. Curry can add a new element to a basic chicken dish and adding cloves (don’t eating these!) or fruit such as raisins to rice can add a sweetness that your kids will enjoy. Take an onion, potato, and something green (zucchini, broccoli, etc.) to complete your meal. 
  • Japan - Sushi is considered a fancy meal here, but in Japan it’s the equivalent of a sandwich. Try making your own! Sushi ingredient can be celery, carrots, cream cheese, tuna, avocado, and nori (seaweed). Fish doesn’t need to be raw (make sure you get fresh fish if you do leave it raw), and you can add your own untraditional twist. Vegetarian options with just veggies are great as well! Deconstructed sushi rolls are easy. Just throw in some rice, veggies, fish (or more veggies), and soy sauce. Pack it in a jar/container to take for later.

Healthy cooking hints!

  • Try different methods of cooking vegetables: steaming, frying, baking
  • When experimenting with spices, start small; two or three is fine. A little goes a long way.
  • Rice: brown rice is high in fiber
  • We all have heard of refried beans, but there are many healthy types of beans. Black beans, black-eyed peas, white beans, and kidney beans are all options.
  • Haddock, cod, and catfish are cheaper mildly flavored fish that can be cooked and served with a rice dish.

Choosy loves to travel and try new foods. You never know when you might find something delicious! Where will you travel to with your dinner?

About the Author: Lucy was born in Western North Carolina. She is a current high school senior with plans for a four-year university. Engaged in a yoga teacher training program, Lucy has become concerned with mental, emotional, and physical health. She hopes to discover a career that involves these concerns.

Lucy became involved in Choosy Kids through a high school project and was inspired by the movement toward healthy living that Choosy encourages. She works with Choosy Kids by writing newsletters encouraging healthy eating and activities.

54 comments :

  1. I think it's great to expose kids to foods from other cultures when they are young. I wish my parents did that for me.

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    1. But now you can be sure to do it for your kids or any kids in your family!

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  2. This is a great post! I think children learn to like a wider range of foods - and develop an interest in other cultures - when they are introduced at an early age. - Trish

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    1. Exactly! I think that is why baby led weaning is so popular!

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  3. Sounds like a great idea exposing kids to different culture, custom and their foods.

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    1. There is so much to learn from just food!!

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  4. I am very fortunate that my kids love veggies. And yes, serving it in different ways helps a lot.

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  5. This is actually super fitting for my family today! We were just discussing this morning what other people eat around the world! Love this!

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    1. That is awesome!! What areas were you discussing?

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  6. Great post. We are having an international food day at my childs school sponsored by the parents. Can't wait!

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    1. That is an awesome idea!! Does everyone pick a different country or does it have to do with their nationality/background?

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  7. We love to travel and try other foods. My husband is from another country and he thinks the food here is bland. When I went to where he lives I can see why you thought that.

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    1. A lot of people say that the food in the US is bland, but it is also loaded with sugar/salt!

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  8. I like the passport idea. I may have to do that with my preschoolers. We have been studying different countries.

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    1. Will you please share with us if you do the passports with your pre-schoolers? Email us at info@choosykids.com and maybe Choosy can be a part of your classroom!!

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  9. This is such a great idea! I try to introduce my kids to new foods but I love the idea of sharing the origin with it! Thank you for sharing!

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  10. Hey Lucy,

    I love the idea of making the passports. Like a build up to dinner. Getting the kids excited over new tastes. These ideas are cheap enough to play around with as well. Not sure about the sushi, it always seems like a mystery to keep to me getting that rice to stay in Nori. Thanks for a great read.

    Rachel.

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    1. Sushi is hard to make! But it could be fun for kids to try!! :)

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    2. I always have trouble with rolling, but it tastes just as good if you toss it all together like a salad :)

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  11. How exciting if you let the child research the culture's food and help prepare it. An investment always makes new things appealing

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    1. Children will just dive into information that you put in front of them!

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  12. What a nifty idea. Very cool. Wish I still had kids at home.

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    1. Awe :( Well you most certainly can enjoy foods from different countries too!!!

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  13. These are great ways to add something new to dinner time. We usually eat Chinese and Mexican.

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    1. Those and Italian seem to be the big 3!

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  14. This is great Lucy! My kids are grown now but I do remember how hard it was to come up with new and fun things to cook. I will share this with my daughter who has two picky toddlers. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cori

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    1. I think making meal time into fun time can help those picky eaters. Make some Italian food and talk about something Italian with the kids.

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  15. Thanks for all this wonderful tips! I like Indian Curry and South American beans and rice!

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  16. I absolutely love food from all around the world. Curry is definitely one of my favorites!

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    1. That is awesome! Curry can be used in so many dishes!

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  17. How FUN! When I was a kid, I would have loved to have these themed meals, especially the Japanese one!

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    1. Oh I know! Just takes some imagination to make dinner time different and fun!

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  18. Who wouldn't love that idea! I think the passports are enough to make them excited. That's really awesome. Thank you!

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  19. Sounds like a great idea to make a meal for the kids and for the whole family. My nephew is not a fond of eating vegetables. I must try this :)

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    1. Please DO try this and report back to us on our Facebook page! www.facebook.com/choosykids

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  20. great idea! i usually mix brown rice with white rice

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  21. I'm a foodie so I would love to try the food from all over the work, specially from Japan and India :D

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  22. Great ideas to get kids to try different foods. Lucy sounds like an amazing young lady. Great guest post.

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    1. Thank you, Kim! For only being in high school, we think Lucy did a FABULOUS job!!

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  23. my kids did a program at preschool that introduced them to new foods, but i like the wrodl travelling idea even better. I think even older kids could get into it more.

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    1. More preschools should introduce kids to new foods that they may not get the chance to try at home.

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  24. I love this idea. I want to pick different foods from different places and try making a few of the favorite dishes. A great culture experience.

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    1. Awesome! Let us know how your dishes turn out!!

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  25. I love this!! Kids should be exposed to diversity in everything! It is nice see people thinking about this :)

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  26. Great idea! My son can be very picky, but I do prepare foods from different countries almost regularly.

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  27. I am really inspired with your writing skills.The new style wood sunglasses are here to help you flaunt your fashion everyday! wooden sunglasses

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