5 healthy cooking methods for kids | pickyeating.com.sg

5 healthy cooking methods for kids

Do you know which cooking methods help to retain the nutrients in your food? Learn more about the 5 top healthy cooking methods, and tempt your picky eaters’ taste buds with our simple meal ideas!

Find out which cooking methods help to retain nutrients in your food!

You may be struggling to get your picky eaters to eat their food at mealtimes without tears and tantrums along the way. But most importantly, parents are also particularly concerned about the way food is cooked, as they try to make the food flavourful and nutritious for kids. There are plenty of ways to cook up juicy and flavourful food without using too much oil, salt or sauces. Here are some healthy cooking methods that you can start off with when planning meals to suit your picky eaters’ taste buds.

1. Boiling

Boiling: no fat or oil is needed.

Boiling is one of the easiest healthy cooking methods that goes well with a wide variety of vegetables. Giving your vegetables a light boil also helps to break down the plants’ cell walls – making it easier for you to digest. To ensure that the nutrients from veggies that are boiled do not go to waste, you can use the veggie stock for a nourishing soup dish. Throw in slices of meat into the stock and serve this to your picky eaters for a balanced and nourishing dish during mealtimes.

2. Steaming

Some picky eaters may not be fond of food that is rough in texture or ones that are too heavily seasoned. For this, you can consider steaming your food to give it a softer texture and a pleasantly mild taste. You can steam anything from veggies to fish fillets to allow them to stew in their own juices and retain all natural goodness. Simply add a touch of seasoning such as salt or a squeeze of lemon to perk up the flavour of your steamed dishes.

3. Poaching

Poaching basically involves cooking food in a small amount of water just below boiling point. This cooking method may take slightly longer, but it is a great way to gently cook delicate food like fish and eggs to achieve a smooth texture (perfect for picky eaters who are fussy about food texture!). Plus, most kids can’t resist poached eggs served on top of a slice of wholemeal toast for breakfast.

4. Grilling

Add a touch of fun to your grilled dishes! Skewers, anyone?

If you’re looking for a way to retain the nutrients in your food without sacrificing flavour, grilling is a great option to consider. It gives a pleasant smoky flavour to your food while keeping meats and veggies juicy and tender. This cooking method also allows you to present your everyday dishes in a fun manner for your picky little ones – think, grilled chicken chunks on a skewer.

5. Stir-frying

Stir-fried dishes require a small amount of oil to allow you to get a nice sear on your meat and veggies. This method of cooking is perfect for combining pieces of bite-sized meat with thin-cut veggies like capsicum, julienned carrots and green beans for a wholesome and nutritious dish during mealtimes.

Wholesome meal ideas

Here are some yummy recipes that you can whip up for your family meals using the 5 healthy cooking methods. Happy cooking!

ABC soup

This Chinese pork bone soup with vegetables is filled with the goodness of carrots, tomatoes and potatoes. Serve it with a bowl of rice, and you may find your picky little ones lapping it up – right to the last drop.

You will need:

  • 250g pork bone
  • ½ pot water
  • 2-3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ikan bilis (optional)
  • 2 stalks celery (sliced thinly)
  • 1 tomato (sliced to wedges)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Blanch pork bones in boiling water for about 5 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Add water, blanched port bones and the rest of the ingredients (except salt) into a soup pot.
  3. Bring to boil, then simmer over low fire for another 40-50 minutes. Season to taste with salt before serving.


Steamed snapper with ginger

Some kids make a fuss at the sight of fish during mealtimes, due to the unpleasant fishy smell. This dish brings out the sweetness of the fish through steaming, while condiments like the salty bean paste helps to cover up the strong fishy smell.

You will need:

  • 1 whole snapper fish (deboned)
  • 1-inch cubed ginger, sliced thinly
  • 4 shitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
  • 2 tbsp salty bean paste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
  1. Place fish fillets in a steaming dish, and drizzle fish sauce all over it.
  2. Spread the salty bean paste evenly onto the fish, and sprinkle mushroom and ginger slices.
  3. Steam for approximately 15 minutes on high heat, then turn off the gas and let it continue to cook in the steamer for another 10 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with plain white rice.


Easy poached eggs

Poaching is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to prepare eggs, as there is no added fat. It is a great addition to salads, and having them with a slice of toast for breakfast gives kids the nourishment they need to get through the day.

You will need:

  • Fresh eggs
  • 1-2 tsp vinegar (optional)
  1. Bring water in a shallow saucepan to almost boiling. If the water is already boiling, lower the heat until it is no longer boiling.
  2. You may add 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar to the water if you want. The vinegar will help the egg whites congeal more easily.
  3. Crack an egg into a small cup, then place the cup near the surface of the hot water and gently drop the egg into the water.
  4. Using a spoon, nudge the egg whites closer to the yolk. This will help the egg whites hold together.
  5. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan. Let it sit for 4 minutes until the egg whites are cooked.
  6. Lift eggs out of pan with a slotted spoon.


Grilled honey chicken skewers

These honey chicken skewers can be grilled over the pit during the holidays. They are also a perfect way to get your picky eaters to eat their meat and veggies with minimal fuss!

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup light soya sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 small onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 red capsicums, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Skewers
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, soya sauce and pepper. Before adding chicken, reserve some marinade to brush onto skewered chicken while cooking. Place chicken, garlic, onion and capsicums in the bowl, and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours (the longer the better).
  2. Preheat the grill to high heat.
  3. Drain marinade from the chicken and veggies, and discard marinade. Thread chicken and vegetables alternately onto the skewers.
  4. Lightly oil the grill plate. Place the skewers on the grill.
  5. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear. Turn and brush with reserved marinade frequently.


Stir-fried vegetables

Pick and choose your child’s favourite veggies and give them a toss in the wok for a wholesome stir-fried dish. It’s also a super easy way to add colours to your dish!

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth (either homemade or store-bought)
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 green capsicums, cut into thin strips
  • 4 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 8 mushrooms, sliced
  1. Combine light soya sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Mix flour, chicken broth and water in another bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Cook and stir peppers, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms until just tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Toss vegetables with soya sauce mixture, cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually stir flour mixture into vegetables. Bring to boil and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Tips: add prawns, if desired.