Cooking for kids is hard enough when you don't have any dietary restrictions to deal with. But if your child needs a gluten-free lifestyle, your challenge is even greater. Luckily, kids -- and moms! -- usually love noodles. For the gluten-free family, rice noodles are your new best friend. They are quick to prepare and, with a few simple additions, they make for a tasty meal the whole family can enjoy together.
What Are Rice Noodles?
Rice noodles are made from only a few simple ingredients. They might contain rice or rice flour, water and tapioca starch. These white noodles come in several shapes and sizes, from a thin vermicelli noodle to a broad, flat noodle. If your toddler or preschooler turns up his nose at one type, try another! While you might think they taste the same, size and texture can make a world of difference to a child. You should be able to find rice noodles in the Asian, gluten-free or health food section of your grocery store.
Dinner In A Jiffy
Besides being gluten free, the main benefit to rice noodles is their ease of preparation. After a day of cleaning, diaper changing, filing papers and dealing with the demands of a needy child, cooking can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Rice noodles only have to be soaked in boiled water for about four to seven minutes, depending on their thickness. While the water is boiling, Mom can saute a few toppings and toss together a quick salad. Talk about a healthy meal in only minutes!
Put a tablespoon of vegetable oil or olive oil in a large non-stick pan or wok. Heat to medium-high. Add a protein source, like extra-firm tofu cut into small cubes. Cook, stirring frequently, until tofu is lightly browned. Add a cup or two of frozen mixed vegetables and continue to stir until the veggies are well heated. Turn the heat down to medium. Add 2 tablespoons of gluten-free teriyaki sauce and 2 tablespoons of gluten-free tamari. Stir. Add the cooked noodles and stir briefly. Remove from heat.
Dinner Is On The Table
Rice noodles can definitely be described as "plain" -- normally not the first adjective you would choose to describe your dinner. But, moms know that plain food is an appropriate fit when it comes to toddlers and preschoolers. And, this recipe allows you to adjust the taste individually so Mom and Dad can enjoy it too. All you have to do is add more tamari to your own plate of noodles. Or, maybe Dad wants to spice it up with some hot sauce. If your picky child doesn't like veggies much, try using smaller veggies, like frozen diced peas, carrots and corn. Many children tolerate small veggies better.