If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m passionate about cooking and that I’m passionate about getting kids to cook, so you may be wondering what I’m doing ordering a takeaway on a Friday. When you say takeaway people immediately think ‘oh that’s really unhealthy’ or ‘that’s really fattening’ or ‘I bet that’s all they ever eat’ but if you tell someone that you’ve been out to a restaurant that’s absolutely fine. Well, good takeaway is just like having a restaurant experience in your own home as far as I’m concerned.
Now some takeaway food is very unhealthy, I grant you, that’s why we usually order Chinese. The Chinese diet is actually one of the healthiest in the world, although that doesn’t mean that you should start living on Chinese takeaway. Sometimes it’s been one of those weeks where there just haven’t been enough hours in the day. There hasn’t been enough time to go shopping and if you start making a meal it’s going to be really late and everyone’s going to be in a bad temper, so that’s the time when we order Chinese and I don’t see anything wrong in that. It makes Friday night a bit special and it gives the boys a chance to try a foreign food that they haven’t had before.
- Let them choose what they want, but don’t let them choose anything. Anything crispy or deep fried is going to pile on the calories so I steer them towards the healthy options like the vegetable stir fry.
- Encourage them to try new dishes. We order lots of small dishes and all try a bit of one another’s. Each time we order we make a point of ordering new things rather than just sticking to old favourites. I think it’s a really good way to stop children becoming fussy eaters.
- Encourage them to use chopsticks. My boys always seem to be dreadful for bolting their food so we encourage them to use chopsticks. This means that we all have a good laugh trying to use them and it means that we all eat our food much more slowly, which is a good thing. I used to think they were a bit of a daft way to eat but now I’m quite a convert.
- I try to encourage the boys to choose a soup. At first I think they thought that soup doesn’t really count as proper food because it’s liquid but now they love it and so do I. Crab and corn soup is a particular favourite.
- Make veggies part of the main event. Chinese food is a great way to get the boys to eat lots of vegetables and when it’s steamed it’s really healthy.
Each time we order it’s an adventure and it’s very rare that we order something that we don’t like. The kids love the duck of course, who doesn’t but they’ve also developed a taste for all kinds of seafood which I don’t think they’d have been too keen on if I’d served it up to them. So don’t be a food snob, enjoy your Friday night takeaway, just make sure you order carefully.