Lena has started requesting certain things in her lunch, specifically manna bread and field roast rounds. Both foods are similar in that they give her body some richness and a chewy texture. This has caused me to rethink a bit about what I need to be providing in her meals so that she feels nourished and satisfied.

My goal for Lena is to help her body feel satisfied with lots of whole grains, vegetables, legumes and moderate amounts of local fruits. Ideally, this includes minimal to no baked flour products (including chips and crackers), no tropical fruit and no refined sweeteners except for brown rice syrup, barley malt and maple syrup.

So, when she starts asking for things like pizza and bread with nut butters several times a day it’s one way she is letting me know that she needs a little more richness in her diet. Children need some appropriately used oil and more fried foods in their diet than a lot of adults. They tend to be very active and these foods keep them satisfied and fueled. So here are a few ways you can address these needs in ways that are satisfying for your child and still stay on track with long-range dietary goals.

Fried or deep-fried tempeh. I especially like this when I add it to brothy soups.
Oil-Sautéed Noodles
Grated mochi added to soups. Or fried or deep-fried mochi added to soup. Yum!
Steamed sourdough bread. Or sautéed bread cubes added to brothy soup.
Vegan, Gluten-Free Tempura
Vegetable Fried Brown Rice

Below is a simple dish Lena and I came up with together. She totally ate the whole thing up. I could tell it was just what her body was needing. I don’t have amounts, but here’s the technique. It works with brown rice, wheat berries and quinoa, also. Plus, it’s great when you have just a little grain leftover and are searching for a quick snack.

Sautéed Barley and Walnuts

small amount of unrefined sesame or olive oil
handful of raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
about a cup of cooked hulled barley

1.  Add the walnuts. Sauté for a minute.
2.  Stir in the barley. Add a few tsp water. Cover.
3.  Serve when heated through and liquid has evaporated.

An easy dish to add to your collection.