Fitness First with Fast Food

09:28 am | Wednesday, 17 June 2015

I sometimes joke that when my 13-year old looks at me, all he sees a big plate of food, because the first thing he says when he's back from school is, "Mom what can I eat?". And the questions, "What's for lunch or what's for dinner" sometimes drive me batty. But the truth is that as a mother I know that he cracks seven-hour days in school studying, playing football, working on his robotics and band practice...the list gets longer every year. 

He's also growing fast (already a good couple of inches taller than me) and constantly needs energy to fuel that growth. The reality is that our kids do a lot on a daily basis, much more than we did (no matter that we hate to admit it to them), and deal with way more information and competition. The bottomline is that they need to eat healthy to keep their motors running, and as parents that means putting in a little more effort than just buying them a donut or a box of juice for them to snack on. But that doesn't always have to translate into long hours in the kitchen for you. There are lots of healthy (and delicious) eats that can be rustled up in a jiffy without breaking a sweat.

Let's try oats. I know, I know, kids turn up their noses at that gloopy porridge but there are other ways to eat them that'll have them asking for more. I promise. Here are a couple of simple, easy-to-do recipes that you'll love.

1 cup instant or rolled oats powdered in the blender

1 egg
11/2-2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsps sugar (light brown or unrefined if possible)
A pinch of salt
Oil or butter for frying the pancakes

1. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together with eggs and enough milk to make a thick batter of spreading consistency. 
2. Heat a teaspoon of oil or butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat, pour in a ladle of batter and spread to form a 3-inch disc. Cook till bubbles form on the surface and the sides appear to be done. 
3. Flip the pancake and cook for a minute more till golden brown and done. Serve pancakes with fresh fruit slices, a drizzle of honey or even Nutella.

Oat Idli
1 cup instant oats, coarsely ground
1/2 cup semolina or rava
1/2 cup yoghurt
3/4 tsp soda bicarbonate
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
A few curry leaves
1 tbsp oil
1.    Mix the oats, semolina and salt with yoghurt in a bowl.
2.    Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard, cumin and urad dal along with the curry leaves. When they crackle, pour into the oat-semolina mixture and mix well. 
3.    Gently fold in the soda bicarb (be careful not to overmix) and set aside for 10 minutes. 
4.    Oil the idli molds, put enough mixture to fill 3/4 of each mold and steam for 20 minutes till the idlis are done. Unmold and serve with coconut chutney.

*Add 1/2 cup grated carrots, peas or any other veggie of your choice to the batter to raise the health quotient a notch.

Supriya Kutty is a freelance writer having written on everything from food, tourism and travel, architecture and interior design and IT for CW Interiors magazine, and Harmony magazine. She also blogs at