Sugar Free Sushi, Coconut Eggs & Contingent Communication

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I wrote this article for the wonderful website www.kidshealth.com.au and as I stand here in my little kitchen falling back on the same recipes, turning to the very same advice when it comes to understanding kids, I figured it was only fitting to repost, so if you have a couple of minutes up your sleeve and a couple of fussy eaters, please read on xx

Working as a Health and Wellness Coach, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt is how to listen. I’m not talking about the type of listening where you’re busting out of your seat, desperate for a chance to respond. I’m talking, mindfully, truly taking in what is being said. The verbal and the non-verbal signs, and then, responding accordingly.

In the world of parenting, this idea is known as Contingent Communication. It stems form the idea that as babies we do a delicate dance with our parents / primary care givers, that according to D.Siegel and M.Hertzell goes a little something like this, “I see you and I’m listening to you and I’ll give to you a reflection of yourself that is valued so you can see and value yourself too. I like you just the way you are.” In essence doesn’t the child in all of us just want to be heard, understood and treated with compassion?

As parents there’s always a risk of doing just the opposite. Especially when the pressure is on. Case in point, dinner the other night, as I proudly presented an infallible kids dinner only to have it completely rejected. Amidst the protests, crossed arms and shaking heads it would have been all too easy to push my own agenda. To insist dinner be eaten or off to bed hungry. But we all know hungry kids equal sleepless nights for children and parents alike.

In that fleeting moment was a chance to respond with grace. To truly hear what my children were saying. Little people are much more in touch with their bodies then often given credit for. And in this case, no one felt like meat. As a mainly plant based, occasional meat eating pescatarian, I’m conscious of ensuring the kids meet their protein needs. I risked pushing my own agenda. “Her reaction is dependent on what was actually communicated, not on a predetermined and rigid mental model of what was expected”. There lied an opportunity.

It was simple, I offered up two options that in our house result in jumps for joy. The little people felt understood. Here are two fail-safe options (at least in our house), Coconut Folded Eggs and Nori Wraps. The merits are as follows; Eggs are an inexpensive and relatively rich source of protein. Eaten whole they contain vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The rainbow of veggie sticks mean all bases are covered nutritionally.  As for the Nori, there’s no risk of it growing in mineral depleted soil, bursting with sea minerals it’s a pleasure to watch kids gobble it up. Lastly, in contrast to the amount of sugar usually present in sushi rolls, I’ve replaced it with coconut milk, keeps the rice nice and sticky, yet sugar free. The good fats in coconut milk and the anti-inflammatory properties in coconut oil. The lauric acid helps lower levels of harmful bacteria and boost immunity. All up, optimal nutrition to satisfy mamma and children who feel they are being heard xx

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Coconut Folded Eggs
Recipe By Shelley Kamil

Ingredients
(Serves 2 small children)
3 organic / free range eggs
¼ cup coconut (light) coconut milk
1tsp coconut oil
Sprinkle Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Buckwheat & Sourdough toast to serve
Extra coconut oil for spreading.

Direction
1.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk and a pinch of sea salt
2. In a medium sized skillet, heat 1tsp coconut oil over low-medium heat. Add the coconut and egg mixture and allow to set, approx. 2 minutes.
3. Using a non-stick spatula gently fold the eggs inward, turning them from the edge of the pan. Continue to cook for a couple more minutes or until cooked to your liking.
4. Serve along side toasted Buckwheat & Sourdough bread (Mattisse does an amazing loaf) with a scraping of coconut oil.

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Nori Wraps
Recipe by Shelley Kamil

Ingredients
(Serves two kids and a couple of peckish adults)
2 small carrots, julienned
1 red pepper, finely sliced
Handful green beans, blanched
1 bunch skinny asparagus, blanched and chopped
1tbs sesame seeds
1tsp black sesame seeds
1/2 cup basmati rice
1/3 cup coconut milk
3-4 sheets Nori

Directions
1. Begin by cooking rice. Boil 1.5 cups of water, or as per instructions on pack. Gently simmer and just prior to removing from heat add the coconut milk, continue to simmer until absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
2. Arrange veggie sticks in a serving bowl, sprinkle with sesame seeds and a little sea salt if using.
3. Transfer coconut rice to a serving bowl, sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Serve along side veggies, sheets of Nori and either soy or tamari. I love to say, let the kids roll their own, but they tend to need a little help from us xx

 

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