Like any good chef, I design recipes for children occasionally. Today's Asian noodle house style Teri Honey Turkey Udon Noodle recipe is a nice entrée for kids. The flavors are gentle, light and quite appealing.
I personally do not own a television, nor do I want to have one in my home. I happen to be much more productive if watching television is not part of the routine. A few years ago, I was transferred to a few different cities as part of training for a job. I spent quite a bit of time in motels while relocating. While cooped up in motel rooms for endless weeks, I occasionally did watch a few television programs.
One program that I viewed was a cooking show that featured great chefs that were required to create a 3 course meal for a group of children. After being served, the children were asked to criticize the food that each great chef prepared.
The chefs had some entertaining ideas for their children's menu recipes. The presentations of the food had a carnival like flair with all sorts of bells and whistles.
After it was all said and done, the children rated each chef's food creation. What the children said really made an impression on me. No matter how extravagant the presentation of the children's food was, the thing that was most important to the children was the flavor and texture of the food! In fact, many of the children's comments focused only on how healthy each food item was!
It was surprising to see the children commenting about how they preferred the food items that were healthy and natural looking, rather than the items that were presented like carnival junk food.
With the TV show children's food critics in mind, I designed today's children's food platter with no gimmicky junk food style presentation. Thinking that stereotypical carnival style presentations of food is what kids like is a mistake. Modern kids want natural looking healthy food that tastes great.
Using USDA Choose My Plate To Design Kid;s Meals
Nutritional balance and energy balance are good things to keep in mind when designing a children's entrée. In the Le Cordon Bleu Nutrition Class, one project involved selecting the fast food company that offered the worst children's menu and improving the nutritional value of the food.
The easiest way to get the complete nutritional value breakdown on specific weights of ingredients in a menu item is to use a good accurate dietary computer program. When designing children's food, a tool like this is great asset. One of the best meal planning programs that also does nutritional analysis is free of charge on the internet. Here is a link:
• USDA Choose My Plate - Super Tracker - Dietary Planning Tools
To start the USDA Choose My Plate-Super Tracker nutritional analysis, the age, sex, height and weight of a child is entered into the data. The average daily needs in each food category automatically pop up. The basic children's meal and snack plan can be designed around this data.
With a nutritional intake program, the weight of each ingredient in each meal consumed in a day is entered as data. The computer program then uses the physique of the child to judge whether any daily nutritional deficiencies or excesses exist, just by sorting the value of each item consumed.
After analysis, it is easy to see where adjustments must be made in each meal in order to meet healthy daily nutritional requirements. It is also easy to see which food items cause excesses that may lead to heath problems.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing a children's daily menu or meal at home or in a restaurant:
• All meals and snacks should add up by the end of the day to meet daily nutritional requirements. Not every individual meal or snack should be expected to meet the entire dietary requirements of the entire day. Daily meal planning is a running balance system.
• Processed sugar intake should always be minimized. Natural sweeteners are a better choice.
• A certain amount of Lipids (fat) are necessary for healthy cell wall production.
• Fibrous grains are the best source of long lasting Carbohydrate energy. There is a limit for the amount of refined grains that can be consumed in a day. A Carbohydrate free diet is dangerous for children.
• Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of Vitamins and Minerals.
• Healthy lean meat or vegetable protein sources are essential.
• Dairy products or their equivalent are essential. Cheese is okay but most cheese has a high fat content. Goat milk products, like Greek Yogurt or Feta Cheese are fat free.
• Water is the single most important item in a good children's diet because water makes every body function happen. Water rids the body of toxins.
Nutritional Value Of Today's Lunch or Dinner Recipe For An 8 Year Old Child
A fancy kid's food tray or plate is the best choice for a kiddie meal. Cafeteria style trays that have comical character designs appeal to young children.
The individual wells on the tray separate the ingredients. Children like to see items separated on a platter, because children like to experiment with creating new flavor combinations by mixing the individual items together on the tray. A food tray with separated food item wells also can act as a guideline for the portion size of each item or nutritional food group.
Complete Lunch Or Dinner Meal:
1 - Teri Honey Turkey Udon Noodles - Children's Platter
1 - Cup 2% Fat Milk
1 - Side Dish of 4 Carrot Sticks and a 5" Celery Stick
• Total Calorie Count of the entire meal is 729. The daily limit is 2000.
• Noodles & Hopia Cake supplied 31% of the daily grain requirement, but the source of grain is refined grain. The amount of refined grain is within the daily limit for refined grain.
• Protein is 54% of the daily requirement.
• Dairy & Yogurt 40% of the daily requirement.
• Vegetables 28% of the daily requirement.
• Fruit 32% of the daily requirement.
• Saturated Fat is 5gr. The daily limit is 22gr.
• 538 mg Sodium. The limit is 2300 mg
• Empty Calories is 244 and the limit is 258.
• 0.0gr Oil
• Consuming refined grain in the form of noodles or cake is okay if the amount is within daily limits and fibrous grains are planned to be part of the remaining daily diet. Refined grain and honey offer only empty calories.
• All nutritional values are within healthy limits.
• The meal provides about 1/3 of daily requirements in most food categories. Protein and Dairy is slightly higher and this is okay, especially for lunch or dinner. The remaining 2 meals and a snack should be designed to make up the nutritional balance.
• Sodium level is good. Enough Sodium is present for healthy electrolyte activity.
• The Saturated Fat level is low, which is good.
• Beneficial fats, like olive oil or Omega 3 Fatty Oil, are lacking. Serving a vinaigrette dressing with the carrots & celery would improve the nutritional value.
• The amount of vegetables and fruit is enough to keep a steady supply of Vitamins and Minerals in the system for part of the day.
• Overall the Teri Honey Turkey Udon Noodles - Children's Platter + Milk + Carrot & Celery Sticks combination is a good healthy lunch or dinner for an average 8 year old child. The grand totals leave room for 2 more meals plus a snack during the rest of the day.
*This entire recipe yields 1 kid's meal! The fresh udon noodles only take a few minutes to cook, so it is best to set up the rest of the platter first!
Pear Tomatoes with Honey Yogurt:
Step 1: Cut 3 small pear tomatoes in half.
Place the tomato halves in one of the small wells on the platter.
Step 2: Place 2 tablespoons of goat milk yogurt in a small cup.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of honey.
Stir the ingredients together.
Spoon the honey yogurt over the tomatoes.
Adzuki Hopia Hapon:
Hopia Hapon is a small fancy moon cake that has a Japanese Sweet Adzuki Bean Paste filling. Adzuki Bean Paste is usually sweetened with sweet potato. Hopia cakes can be found in an Asian food markets.
Place a hopia hapon in the center well on the food tray.
Fruit with Roasted Coconut Water:
Roasted coconut milk is packaged in soda cans. Roasted coconut milk can be found in Asian food markets.
Place 1 trimmed large strawberry in the third small well on the children's platter.
Place 2 cantaloupe cubes in the well.
Place 2 honeydew cubes in the well.
Shake a can of roasted coconut milk, so the coconut bits are suspended in the clear roasted coconut liquid.
Pour 2 tablespoons of the roasted coconut milk and coconut chunks over the fruit.
Teri Honey Turkey Udon Noodles:
Teri is short for the word teriyaki!
Step 1: Bring 3 cups of water to a gentle boil over medium heat.
Add 3 ounces of roasted turkey breast that is cut into small bite size square shapes.
Add a children's portion of fresh round long udon noodles. (About 3/4 cup)
Boil the noodles and turkey gently, till the ingredients become hot.
Drain the water off of the hot noodles and turkey pieces.
Step 2: Place the hot turkey and noodles into a bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of bottled pre-made bottled teriyaki sauce.
Toss the ingredients together.
Mound the teri honey turkey noodles in the large well of the children's platter.
*Serve with 1 cup of low fat milk and a glass of water.
*Serve with 4 carrot sticks and a 5" celery stalk.
Yes, this children's platter entree was officially taste tested by me! None of the flavors are overpowering or as a child would say, "yucky." The presentation style has a natural healthy look that modern kid's like.