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Mansi Zaveri On Kids' Changing Eating Habits And Food Trends – Slurrp

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Mansi Zaveri On Indian Kids' Changing Eating Habits And Rising Trends In 2023
Updated : December 25, 2022 06:12 IST
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This mother of two spared no time in leveraging her affinity for her parenting journey and the digital medium to become an entrepreneur quitting her corporate job. Mansi Zaveri, a celebrated author and inspiring influencer in healthy Indian meal planning for infants, kids, and children, is here to bring about a change that resonates with parents
A few years back, she was one among those mothers who would juggle between personal and professional responsibilities and duties but at spans struggle as a concerned parent about her children’s nourishment and eating habits. From this pain point, she evolved as a supermom bringing ease and solution to one of the most dreaded questions: What’s for food today? Meet Mansi Zaveri, Founder & CEO, kidsstoppress.com. And it boasts a digital reach of 15 million per month. A successful podcaster, she was also awarded as Business World 40 Under 40 – Content. What started as scribbles on paper gradually transformed into social media educating posts on healthy and quick meal planning for kids. 50 Indian Meal Plans, a food guide authored by Mansi, within four days of being on Amazon, became the number 1 bestseller in Cooking Encyclopaedia.
Today, she has thousands of followers on her Instagram and millions on KSE’s web portal, where she keeps educating parents about food choices for their children and leading a healthy and mindful life. She has authored three more books which are just launched. In an exclusive interview with Slurrp, the hands-on mompreneur spoke on varied subjects and shared what the eating habits of kids in the country are, how they are changing and how to bring a transformation to develop a taste for indigenous culinary fares and produce. She also shared her observation on significant food trends in 2022 and those likely to rule in 2023. 
Excerpts: 
Tips For Parents: How To Help Children Maintain Healthy Diet And Lifestyle?
6 benefits of meal planning a week in advance
Emerging Trends In Nutritious Snacks And Meals For Children
Chef Mirvaan Shares An Authentic Indian Meal Plan For Diabetics
Weekly Meal Planning: Decide What To Eat
Q. What made you get into meal planning for children?
As a parent who was juggling work and my kids, one of the things I missed was knowing or having control over what my kids ate. Each day at 5.00 p.m., my cook would call asking what to cook. It would interrupt my professional commitment. Eventually, all led to disruption in work, unnecessary expenses, and food wastage. 
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Mansi with her two daughters
It struck me that there must be other moms like me. I started scribbling and later began to share it on social media. Little did I know that it would become a rage. It’s now a full-service subscription service, with thousands of consumers of our Meal Plan book.
Q. 50 Indian Meal Plans: What inspired you to author such a subject?
It’s a result of my love for food and the kitchen, the impact on my family’s health and, of course, the dreaded question – ‘Aaj khane mein kya hai’. Having a carefully drafted meal plan in place means I know exactly what my family eats daily, even if I am away. 
The other bit is to bring in more diversity in what we are eating, including seasonal local fruits, vegetables, food items like chikki and seeds in winter, and corn and millets like Ragi in the monsoons. It also stemmed from our trial of many local and regional cuisines during trips. We wanted to bring a few items, like Assam’s black rice.
Q. Most exciting feedback on this book?
I have had so many parents sharing that they look forward to the new recipes and hacks we share weekly. And the best part- these recipes are kid-approved. Countless moms have said they finish meal planning in 15 minutes and have happy smiles looking at empty dabbas.
Q. How easy or challenging is it to plan meals for children?
Mansi chalking out meal plans
It’s easy if designed well. What makes it tricky is kids’ natural tendency to get fussy about a meal suddenly. A few Indian dishes also have their challenges of not always being very dry, thus making them leaky or not travel-friendly. The most critical course is the 6:30 a.m. start. Therefore, we created plans that address the travel, transport and early morning start issue.
Q. What factors do you consider while planning meals for kids?
We ensure meals are well-balanced. Did you know that experts say you should offer kids a particular food in different forms that they reject at least 20 times before you should stop giving it to them? For example, if it’s spinach which is in season, and they don’t like it as a sabzi, offer it to them as hara bhara kabab or make a bake with spinach, corn and cheese etc. The key is not to sneak it in but to communicate it better. You can’t always be around saying pink pasta or green dal. So, ensure they know how each of the food tastes as is.
Q.As a parent, what have you been observing in children’s eating habits these days?
Not only children but adults also eat food with their eyes today! The little ones have such evolved palettes now. They drool over Sushi, Edamame, Truffle and Ravioli. It is because of their exposure to many kinds of food, TV shows, travel and deliveries. Kids are also open to trying different things. Thus, they need to be introduced to a wide range of foods from the beginning, especially one’s local cuisine.
Q. Take on Indian kids’ obsession with western junk food?
That’s a misconception. The reality is our kids have yet to be exposed to some of the hidden gems in our regional cuisines. That’s why KSP meal plans highlight seasonal, local food and combine grub ideas from across the country (a hint of global fare) to make it a part of everyday eating. Exposing kids to different items helps develop their palates. Also, a meal plan can’t and shouldn’t be all healthy. Bits of indulgence are needed to balance it.
Q.How to get the best out of fusing foods? 
I am all for making western food using Indian ingredients. Take, for example, sneaky pizza sauce or amaranth-based pizza. Other hit options are homemade style banana chips, chaklis and lal mirch wali banana wafers or chaat masala laden makhana.
Q. Do you observe any changes in children’s eating habits post-pandemic? 
Home-bounds parents were into traditional recipes packed with immunity-building ingredients. Naturally, kids started eating such meals. They saw the effort it takes to cook, making them respect food considerably more. 
Q. Which Indian dishes are best picks for parents as children’s meals?
Children need to be introduced to the foods the rest of the family eats. But if you ask for a favourite and a sure-winner, it has to be theplas, chikkis, ladoos, idlis and aloo parathas.
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A wholesome and healthy meal thali by KSP
Q. What are some of the best food trends you observed in 2022?
How we eat, dine and perceive food has undergone a massive change over the last few years. Zero waste and farm-to-fork dining have been the most significant ones. Knowing where and how your food is grown makes you feel more at ease. Likewise, charcuterie boards looked so fancy, and I loved them for the drama they brought to my dinner parties. Crepes were a huge trend. Sweet or savoury tweaked to cuisines like Mediterranean or Lebanese. Rice cakes emerged as a preferred base for most world cuisines. I also saw gluten-free everything.
Q. Big trends in terms of children/kids’ meals in 2023?
Vegan foods are emerging as a strong preference, whether with plant-based milk or mock meats. The world is slowly returning to seasonal and local foods, which is a welcome sign. So that will continue in the year to come. Children are ready to try new things, and it will continue. Also, many kids have developed a love for cooking, and young chefs are here to stay.
Q. Which ingredients would be in the highest demand?
Along with plant-based food and meat, I would say dates, different seeds, and plant-based pasta will be sought after.
Q. What are your future plans?
After a successful round with the 50 Indian Meal Plans book, we also started an annual subscription service where a week’s meal plan, along with recipes and tips and tricks, are shared in advance. For busy parents, a recipe guide including seven dosa varieties, 20 different pasta recipes, savoury waffles and soups and many more are introduced. There are also infant meal plans. 6 – 12 months is crucial to developing a child’s palate, and we work on helping a mother choose the right foods between her feeds. 
Q. Would you like to share any healthy recipe that will be a hit among kids?
I am sharing an easy recipe today for Aliv Ladoos that are the perfect energy boosters packed with calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. 
Aliv Ladoos
w73am1lfo4Nutritious laddoos by Mansi
Ingredients
Method
If stored in the refrigerator, it will stay good for ten days or three days if kept outside.
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