"When your serve a meal with words like 'healthy', people tend to reject it, be it an adult or a child. They hear the word healthy and they refuse to eat. What I do is alter one part of it. You cannot force food on Indians; it's a part of their legacy," said the Michelin Starred Indian chef and restaurateur, Vikas Khanna.
Khanna says that children should not be stopped from doing anything. All we need to do is engage with them more and provide substitutes for their favourite food.
"If they love Maggi, let them have it. Just replace it with atta (wheat) noodles. Do you know that in Ladakh people have been eating whole wheat pasta as their meal since a long time? The regular pasta should be changed with the wheat one, that's all," says Khanna, who has also hosted the popular television show 'Master Chef'.
Smita Gyan Srivastava, author of ‘Fun Food for Fussy Little Eaters’ says that children get scared when they see a plate full of pulses, veggies and roti. Their meal should be divided and sometimes innovated to help them consume the nutrients with a dish that looks tasty.
Srivastava shared her most trusted kids' recipe that she calls 'roti noodle'. The recipe calls for chappatis to be cut into thin slices, even the stale ones would do, and then cooked like noodles adding veggies, ketchup and other spices.
Srivastava suggests boiling and pureeing well bottle gourd and vegetables that children dislike the most and then kneading them with wheat to fashion chappatis or parathas.
"Instead of the staple dal and roti, make kebabs out of dal, wrap it up in a roti, add different veggies and present it in form of veg kebab roll. Make the regular sandwiches funky and colourful by using veggies to make funny faces. Food for kids should be a little creative because they eat only what attracts their eyes," says Srivastava, who also hosts a blog 'Little Food Junction'.
Involving children while cooking fun food for them also helps them understand more about their nutritive food. A mother can help her child learn about the importance of vegetables and healthy food in a playful manner.

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