Eating in by hjkuiw354


									32 — THE MERCURY                                                                                                                                         Wednesday, February 23, 2005

                 JUDITH SWEET                                                                                                                    Fast              ITH the hectic pace in

                OME children are creatures of

                                                                                                                                                                   many families’ lives and
                habit and would be happy with
                                                                                                                                                                   more mothers working full
                the same filling in their
                                                                                                                                                                   time, even the most health-
                sandwiches for all their school
                                                                                                                                                                   conscious parents find it
                                                                                                                                                                   just too easy to fall into the
                Others get bored and need the                                                                                                 trap of relying on fast foods.
stimulus of a variety of foods to keep them
                                                                                                                                                 How often do you stop at the drive-through,
interested in eating lunch.
                                                                                                                                              settle on a takeaway pizza or grab a pre-
   A packed lunch need not be restricted to
                                                                                                                                              packaged meal from the supermarket for
sandwiches, although they’re still the most
popular choice for lunch. The lunchboxes that
accommodate a freezer block are great to keep                                                                                                    Fast foods are tasty, quick and easy to
fillings cool and fresh even when they’re                                                                                                     consume but they equal empty kilojoules.
stored in a schoolbag until lunchtime. Drink                                                                                                  They fill you up but are usually very high in
bottles filled with juice or water can also be                                                                                                fat, saturated fat, sodium, sugar and
frozen and will still have a refreshing chill                                                                                                 kilojoules and lack the essential nutrients and
when it comes time to drink them.                                                                                                             fibre we need.
   I’ve been amazed by the vast array of boxes                                                                                                   While they’re fine every so often, many
and bottles available in the stores — small                                                                                                   people bolt down these meals with little
ones, large ones, some insulated, some with                                                                                                   consideration for the cost to their future
freezer blocks, others with divides and                                                                                                       health and well-being. Even the healthier
sporting the latest TV heroes. The challenge is                                                                                               alternatives now offered by many fast-food
to make what’s inside as enticing as the                                                                                                      chains are still frighteningly high in sugar
outside.                                                                                                                                      and salt.
   There are many choices, most of them                                                                                                          You can make your own fast meal at home,
simple to prepare, easy to eat and healthy.                                                                                                   cutting the kilojoules and fat in half. All it
Cherry tomatoes, cucumber and carrot sticks,                                                                                                  takes is a little planning.
lettuce parcels, hardboiled eggs, cheese sticks                                                                                                  A homemade pizza can be ready in about 10
or cubes, hummus and other dips with                                                                                                          minutes.
suitable dippers, ham rolls, bread rolls,                                                                                                        Pitta bread is a perfect quick and easy low-
cooked chicken, cold sausages, grilled lamb                                                                                                   fat base for pizzas. Grill one side lightly
cutlets and rice-paper rolls are all great for                                                                                                (watch closely as
school lunches and snacks.                                                                                                                    they can burn easily),
   For those with a sweeter tooth, add some                                                                                                   then add the topping.
grapes, sliced watermelon, apricots,                                                                                                          Think creatively and
nectarines, strawberries, apples or pears. If                                                                                                 put on lots of fresh,
it’s going to be a very hot day, freeze the                                                                                                   colourful ingredients.
grapes and they’ll be like little ice blocks. If                                                                                              The possibilities are

your child likes the skin removed from apples                                                                                                 endless: grated
and pears, roll the peeled fruit in orange juice                                                                                              carrot, creamed corn,
to prevent browning. Pack the pieces in                                                                                                       low-fat cottage
resealable plastic bags or small containers                                                                                                   cheese, smoked
that pack neatly into the lunchbox.                                                                                                           salmon, low-fat fetta,
   Yoghurt and jelly made with unsweetened                                                                                                    hommos, mustard,
fruit juice are also favourites. Try packing                                                                                                  tomatoes, chopped
some poached fruit in small easy-to-open
                                                                                                                                              broccoli — all can be
containers or set poached fruit in jelly.
                                                                                                                                              combined. Put back

                                                   with class
   Fruit leathers, which are made from pure
                                                                                                                                              under the grill and
fruit with no added sugars, are available in a
                                                                                                                                              cook until hot.
variety of flavours from Salamanca Market.
They make a chewy, flavoursome extra in the                                                                                                      It’s easy to make a fast fish and chip meal.
lunchbox.                                                                                                                                     Dip fish fillets in beaten egg white, seasoned
   To prevent sandwiches from going soggy,                                                                                                    herbs and then crumb with crushed
put the wet fillings, such as tomato slices,                                                                                                  cornflakes, oats or breadcrumbs. Bake in the
tuna and beetroot, in between lettuce leaves.                                                                                                 oven for 20 minutes. Peel some large potatoes
   The recipes below will most likely appeal to                                                                                               and cut lengthways into wedges. Par-boil
older students and those with an adventurous                                              250g bean sprouts                                   these, spray with olive oil and bake in the
palate. For those who don’t need to think                                                                                                     oven for 30 minutes until crispy.
                                                                                          1 bunch chives
about packing lunches, you’ll find these                                                                                                         Make your own crumbed chicken nuggets.
recipes are great for an easy, healthy lunch.                                             1 tsp fish sauce                                    Coat bite-sized pieces with a homemade
   Reduce how much chilli is in the avocado                                                                                                   seasoning and breadcrumbs and bake in a hot
                                                                                          1 tsp light soy sauce
dip if it’s for very young ones.                                                                                                              oven for about 40 minutes. You can add fast-
   Rice-paper roll-ups are a favourite with                                               Sweet chilli sauce                                  food side dishes and condiments such as
children who like to help in the kitchen. They                                                                                                homemade healthy coleslaw and corn cobs. To
                                                                                          Peel and cut the carrot into fine julienne. Cut     make onion rings, slice onions thickly into
can pick the leaves off the parsley, roll the                                             the capsicum and zucchini into julienne
vegetables sticks in the sauce mixture and fill                                                                                               rings, dip in beaten egg white, roll in
                                                                                          strips. Finely chop the coriander, parsley,         breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for about
and roll the rice-paper covering.                                                         chives and spring onion. Put the coriander,
   The white bean and parsley mash is great                                                                                                   20-25 minutes.
                                                                                          spring onions, parsley, chives, capsicum, bean         Home-cooked meals don’t have to be time-
spread on crusty bread, as a sandwich spread                                              sprouts, carrot and zucchini into a large bowl,
and as part of a salad platter.                                                                                                               consuming. It just takes a little planning.
                                                                                          mix through the fish and soy sauces. Soak the       You’ll be surprised how easy it is when you
                                                                                          rice-paper in a little water to soften, drain and   have healthy ingredients on hand and these
White bean and parsley mash                                                               then place a spoonful of the vegetable mixture      recipes will prove the point.
                                                                                          into the centre of each sheet and roll up.
Extra virgin olive oil                                                                    Serve cold with sweet chilli or plum sauce.
4 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed                                                                                                  Fish burgers
2 or 3 cans (each 300g) butter or small lima                                              Guacamole                                           FISH PATTIES:
beans drained and rinsed
                                                                                          2 avocados                                          600g firm white fish fillets
1 cup finely chopped parsley
                                                                                          1 red chilli, seeds removed                         4 egg whites
1 tsp sea salt
                                                                                          2 limes or lemons, juiced                           1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Squeeze lemon juice                                       POPULAR: Rice-paper roll-ups.   3 tbsp olive oil                                    ½ cup dried breadcrumbs
Warm a quarter of a cup of oil in a frying pan
over the lowest possible heat. Add garlic and                                             2 spring onions, finely sliced                      ½ tsp dried parsley
cook gently until cloves are just beginning to     Vietnamese rice-paper roll-ups         3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped                    ¼ tsp onion powder
colour.                                            1 packet rice-paper sheets
Stir in beans and heat through gently. Stir in                                            Black pepper                                        salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
parsley and sea salt.                              1 carrot                               Cut the avocados in half and remove the             TO SERVE:
Remove from heat and press mixture with a          1 red capsicum                         stones and skin. Cut roughly and place into a
                                                                                                                                              2 Turkish bread rolls, halved and toasted
potato masher or the back of a spoon to give a                                            processor with the chopped chilli, lime juice
coarse mash.                                       1 zucchini                             and spring onions. Process until smooth and         low-fat tzatziki (available at supermarkets)
Spoon into serving bowl and sprinkle with                                                 slowly add the olive oil.
                                                   1 bunch coriander                                                                          ½ red capsicum, sliced
lemon juice, a little more olive oil and freshly                                          Put into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the
ground black pepper to taste.                      ½ cup Italian parsley                  coriander and fresh black pepper.                   1 tomato, sliced
Serve at room temperature with fresh or                                                   Serve with crudites (crisp vegetable sticks),
                                                   3 spring onions                                                                            baby lettuce leaves
toasted Turkish bread.                                                                    Grissini sticks or rice crackers.

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