How to prepare this dish so it's safe for kids

This salad dish uses spinach and rocket leaves, which have the same calorie content but differ in their vitamin K content.

Spinach leaves have 480micrograms of vitamin K per 100g while arugula has 109micrograms per 100g. Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting.

This dish also has black nori strips, a type of seaweed. These strips are high in iodine, which is good for regulating metabolism and a source of potassium and magnesium. Mirin, a sweet rice wine used commonly in Japanese cooking, is added to the dish.

While children above the age of two are encouraged to eat the same food as adults, introducing alcohol at that age is still not encouraged.

To make a dish that uses mirin safe for their consumption, cook the mirin on high heat to allow the alcohol to evaporate. The sweetness of the wine will remain in the dish but not the alcohol.

This means that mirin in salads which do not undergo heat treatment are not safe for children. But this is a personal choice for parents who opt to use mirin with a very low alcohol content.

There are different grades of mirin and the alcohol content can range from as low as 1 per cent to as high as 14 per cent. Babies should not be given mirin, as their liver and kidneys are not mature enough to handle even the slightest amount of alcohol.

This is a dish that is low in carbohydrates but not necessarily in calories. The calorie content is high due to fat in the peanut oil, which is calorie-dense. But the quality of fat is mainly unsaturated, which is the preferred fat.

To make this dish healthier, I would trim the amount of peanut oil by half to reduce the overall calorie and fat content.

If you want to reduce the sodium content, you can omit the salt as the recipe already uses light soya sauce.


NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per Serving (195g)

ENERGY: 552 kcal

PROTEIN: 8.2g

TOTAL FAT: 54.5g

SATURATED FAT: 9.8g

CHOLESTEROL: 13mg

CARBOHYDRATE: 7.2g

DIETARY FIBRE: 2.4g

SODIUM: 654mg


Jaclyn Reutens

Dietitian, Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2017, with the headline 'How to prepare this dish so it's safe for kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe