Eat your veggies!

spots the snail 1
Artwork by Nisyah Raguan

“Look at all those lovely red tomatoes. Why don’t you give it a little bite?” I said to my daughter. “Yuck, I don’t like tomatoes cause they taste funny,” she replied. I’m sure a lot of you have experienced difficulty in getting small children to eat their veggies. Well, this is a story about a snail named Spots and how I finally managed to get my youngest daughter to try some vegetables.

Spots the snail grew up in a vegetable farm way up in Cameron Highlands. He was different from other snails because he had spots all over his shell. You see, Spots has a sweet tooth. He loves candy.

Spots’ taste for sweets started when he was a baby. Kids would visit the farm and drop bits and pieces of candy at the farm. Spots had spots because of all the sugar he eats. And because of Spots’ sweet tooth, he doesn’t eat his veggies.

His parents tried everything to get Spots to eat his veggies but without success. One day his parents were surprised to see Spots eating some lettuce. They were amazed and couldn’t figure out what happened. Apparently, some candy was dropped on the lettuce and because of unusually hot weather had melted and coated the lettuce leaves. Spots was actually eating the lettuce leaves without realizing it was vegetables.

The same thing happened to my youngest daughter. She doesn’t particularly enjoy veggies and I had cooked them in many different ways to try and get her to eat them, but to no avail. One day we prepared some Malay Rojak (salad) together with our family salad dressing, Raguan’s Sos Pedas Bijan. I coaxed my daughter to try the Rojak and to our surprise, ate all of it and asked for more. My other children also tried the Rojak and liked it. My only problem now is to have enough Sos Pedas Bijan to serve with Rojak. And oh yes, Spots still has his spots and now loves his veggies!

Malay salad or also called Rojak
Malay salad or also called Rojak

Here are some nutritional benefits of Malay Rojak:

Lettuce. Photo courtesy of

Low in calories but high in water volume. Lettuce are a good source of Vitamin A with lots of dietary fiber.

Tomato. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Is actually a fruit. Tomatoes provide sweetness together with bitter and acidic qualities to the taste of our Rojak. It is rich in Vitamin C and has been widely studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties.

Cucumber. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Provides a moist and cooling taste (its more than 90% water) nicely complimenting our Sos Pedas Bijan‘s hotness. A rich natural source of fibre, Silica, and hydrates the skin.

Sengkuang. Photo courtesy of
Sengkuang. Photo courtesy of

Jicama or Yam Bean in English. Provides excellent crunch and moisture for the Rojak. It is high in Vitamin C, low in Sodium and has no fat.

Tauhu/Tofu. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Tauhu/Tofu. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Provides the “meat” for the Rojak. Made by coagulating soybean milk. Rich in proteins and iron and is a good source of Omega – 3 fatty acids. Regular intake of soy protein also helps to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

Egg. Photo courtesy of
Egg. Photo courtesy of

Eggs are a good source of protein and contains selenium, vitamins D, B6, B12, A, E, and K, and lecithin.

Eat healthy!


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