HOW TO PREPARE HEALTHY SNACKS FOR YOUR CHILDREN

Snacking for children

A woman wields the  greatest  power over her household as she determines what gets eaten in her house ,she determines how healthy her family will be and most of us forget the power we have.You solely can  set the course over what kind of eating habits your children will carry with them through out their lives and well into adulthood.

As a woman many times I have found myself  asking this very simple question- ” why am I  here?” .

I don’t know if many others struggle with the same question ?This   feeling  that even though I may be doing very well in my career,business,relationships….I am not yet quite there.

It feels like we are in some kind of waiting room,you know like the one at the docotrs where you have to wait out your turn?

Hospital waiting rooms and waiting rooms of any kind are interesting places to get to see what people do when they have nothing to do but wait their turn.

Some are busy on their phones,reading newspapers ,magazine or a book or just people watching.

When you have children and have to take your children to the paedetrician,it is a great time to meet other mother,fathers as well though they are pretty rare.As a nutritionist it is also a time to see the kind of snacks children carry with them.Snacks are a great way to keep children  busy,their  very short attentions spans (15 minutes with my kids)means that they get bored pretty fast.They have very creative ways of keeping you busy as a parent with their trips to the dispenser pouring out cup after cup of water or making repeated trips to the bathroom to wash their hands.

Snack time is an opportunity parents can use to teach children to pick the healthy option rather than the one that looks tempting.Whether it is a hospital visit or packing snacks for school ,whatever snacks we put into their hands should more often than not be a choice that feeds their bodies and their taste buds as well.

Snack time is an opportunity to meet our nutritional requirements and growing children require more micro nutrients which are the vitamins and minerals than adults do.Giving them  a choice of fruits,nuts as well as vegetables is a healthy way of meeting their nutritional needs.

The trick to getting children eat more vegetables and fruits is to present it in a very attractive manner.

After the last post on the building blocks of your child’s nutrition some readers asked if I could give some ideas on healthy snacks they could give to their children .

Just before I share the suggestions I have  prepared I thought I should say some things to every woman who is doing her best to raise her children to eat better and have healthier habits.

A woman yields the  greatest  power over her household as she determine what get eaten and most do not  know it.You are the one that sets the course over what kind of eating habits your children will carry with them through out their lives.

A woman has the power to determine the kind of lifestyle her children,grand children and future great grand children will live.

A woman determines what ends up on the plates of her children,by the choice of the kind of foods she chooses to wean her child on, she is developing her child’s taste buds for healthy food .

The reason why we are told to wean children on a variety of natural foods is to develop their taste for nature’s goodness and not food from little  jars or boxes that is filled with a lot of sugar,salt and other additives and preservatives.

As much as possible try and develop healthy eating habits in your children as early as you can.

And even when you may have missed the opportunity earlier on,as long as they live under your roof you still have the power to change the course of their eating habits.

Children who develop healthy eating habits from an early age have fewer incidences of disease and hospital visits.They are more likely to perform better in school as well as socially.

You may want to read a post I did on why you should be reading food labels as well.

The foods that are great and healthy alternatives are foods you can pick from your local kiosk or grocery shop and when it comes to fruits,the best choices are the fruits in season,these offer you a fresh as well as cheaper alternative than those that are out of season.

1.Fruits

Fruits are best eaten  whole not blended.

Blending a few fruits for juice may seem healthy on the surface but fruits contain fructose a sugar and drinking too much fruit juice means  children while enjoying nature’s goodness in a glass of juice are also taking in too much sugar.

2-3 fruits daily are enough to meet a child’s dietary requirements .

Instead of blending 2-3 fruits to make fruit juice have your children eat the fruit whole,if it is an orange,slice it and let them have the orange.If an apple let them crunch their teeth  through the skin of the apple or let them peel the banana .Peeling bananas is a good way to develop your child’s fine motor skills as well.

As we live in the tropics,Kenya is never out of fruits,we enjoy a wide variety of fruits all year round,be sure to have your child eat at least 2 in a day by packing them as a snack for school and having another as an after school snack.

3.Salads

Salads are a great way for getting your children to meet their dietary requirements for  vitamins and minerals .

Making salads is a fun and easy way to get children to eat more of their vegetables.

Better still is if you use your own dressing,forget the one you buy from the supermarket that is loaded with preservatives,sugar and salt.Home made salad dressing are easy and tasty.

Try making them with some olive oil,freshly squeezed lemon juice ,black pepper,pinch of salt ,honey and use that dressing to toss your grated cabbage and carrot,or lettuce tomatoes and carrots.

Salads can be served for dinner or over the weekend and are a great way to get kids involved in preparing healthy meals ,lessons that they will definitely carry with them through adult hood and when they bring up their own children as well.

4.Nuts and seeds

Before you start giving your children nuts and seeds,ensure they do not have any nut allergies.

Cashew nuts,macadamia nuts are   favorites with most children , we also have peanuts(some children have peanut allergies)  we also have almonds,hazel nuts that are not produced locally and cost more but are also healthy choices and are stocked in a variety of stores.

Before packing nuts and seeds as a snack for children ensure they are past the age of 4 years and can comfortably eat them in your presence as they are a choking hazard for younger children.

There are also nut butters available and these nut butters can be used on bread,on sandwiches as well and are healthier than margarine as well as most commercially produced fruit jams.

5.Dried fruits

Dried fruits like sultanas,dates  and raisins are also good but not too much though as sugar is used as a preservative to lengthen their shelf life.These you can mix in with your favourite nuts to create some variety or added to breads you make at home and to cakes as well.

Salads can be jazzed up with some nuts,dried fruits and seeds like sesame seeds as well.

6.Sandwiches

Everybody loves bread(at least I thought so until we started thinking gluten was evil)

You may want to read :WHY YOU MAY NOT REALLY BE ALLERGIC TO GLUTEN.

You can make sandwiches from left over chicken and add tomatoes and with a simple simple dressing of olive oil and lemon you will have  a really delicious sandwich.You can add some crunch to it by first grilling the bread,rubbing some garlic clove on it and what you will end up with your children will keep asking for every time you have left over chicken.

One of my favorites as well as my kids is placing a slice of bread on a plate and layering it with thinly sliced avocado pieces  ,slices of  tomatoes  and topping it with a slice of bread then slicing the bread  diagonally into 4 cute triangular pieces.

You can come up with as many sandwich varieties as you like depending on what your family likes and as long as it is a healthy.Make your sandwiches  irresistible  by cutting them into fancy shapes using cookie cutters,your children will love them.

The secret to  getting it right with  sandwiches is to buy sandwich bread which is denser in order to hold the filling(s )and pick a healthy filling as well.

Fillings for sandwiches can be anything from fruits like avocado,tomato  to salads like guacamole or left over roast beef,chicken,turkey or tuna.

6.Making your own fruit yoghurts

A lot of the fruit yoghurts available in the market have a lot of sugar in them,a great idea is to buy  plain yoghurt and it with a fruit of your choice and pack it for your child  which they can have  as a mid morning or after school snack when they come back home.

Fruits that will give you a really great flavor when blended with yoghurt are strawberries,bananas,avocado,blueberries and just  one fruit per serving of yoghurt at a time .

A few years back I bought a popsicle maker and would often make popsicles with fruit yoghurt. The kids loved it especially when the weather was hot.

You may want to read :BENEFITS OF YOGHURT

A great way to ensure you do not have to push your children to choose healthy snack options is to always have a fruit bowl in the house,make sure its filled with fruits like bananas,oranges,apples ,grapes and by keeping a jar of nuts and seeds as well so that when the hunger pangs strike then they know where they can refill from.

If this post helpful,we would love to hear from you.It is readers like Wambui and everyone else who sends in their questions that keep us writing.

We may not always get it right all the time but when we can get it right 75% of the time when we pick a fruit over a packet of crisps then we are doing the right thing.

See you in the comments section and thank you Wambui!

HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY ORGANIZE YOUR CHILD’S BIRTHDAY PARTY

birthday-cake-

A time will come when as a parent you will have to organize a party for your child,in most instances  it will birthday parties  that will form the majority of these celebrations.

How you go about  organizing one will be an opportunity  to teach your child about social graces that they will carry with them through life.

In organizing for one, bear  in mind your budget and your child’s taste and definitely have some activity or entertainment in mind as children do get easily distracted.

1.Let your child help in providing the guest list .

Age range should be narrow as five year old’s and 10 year old’s  not get along very well.

2.Teach your child the importance of returning hospitality,get him or her to invite those who have invited them to parties.

3.The space you have available will determine the number of guests you can host.

4.Get an adult  helper if you will have more than 10 children attending the party.

5.If your child is inviting the whole class ensure no one is left out and explain to them the misery of being the odd one out not getting invited to the party.

6.Send out the party invites 2-3 weeks before the event to allow parents bringing their children to the party enough time to plan,include the reason for the event and the time when you expect it to start and end.

7.Let the children play before they eat.

8.Generally a party should not last more than 3 hours,the perfect time for having one is   between 3-6 pm.

9.If you are hiring an entertainer for the children let that be the last event of the day before children are picked by the parents,they will be less fussy .then

10.Let the children have fun.

Sharing is caring s d share with us extra tips .

 

Blessings,

Ina

MY TIME ON THE SET OF VICTORIA’S LOUNGE & WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT

Just before the show aired last Thursday,i wrote about it in Lights.Camera.Action

The irony only hit me a few seconds later…..being a stay -at -home parent had got me on national Tv

Who would have thought…?

Victoria Rubadiri is as gracious in real life as she is on TV and we had a blast on the set at the design studio  of Mambo Interiors.

Being very interested in issues around women and parenting ,i asked Victoria a few questions on what had inspired Victoria’s Lounge, as well as how the reception for the show has been so far.

On the concept for the show , Victoria says she wanted to create a platform from where people could have  candid conversations about their experiences,you know kind of like the  ones we have with close family and friends around our kitchen tables or living rooms and in doing so  inspire and encourage someone .

Being a news anchor heavily influenced her decision to have a show around social issues as she wanted to interrogate issues  further than the time availed during a news bulletin would allow.As a result Victoria has seen how willing people are to talk about issues affecting them ,offer to help others as well as be influenced to seek help.

Through the choice of topics and guests she brings on the show ,she wants to encourage people  to talk and eventually move to seeking solutions to the issues that they are facing .And that people are able to draw encouragement and hope from her guests experiences,no matter what it is they are facing in life

As for her guests she wants them to have the gratification of knowing that by sharing their experience  they helped to inspire  and encourage someone.

So far, the reception for the show has been overwhelming and a  complete surprise was the large percentage of men who watch it ,such that they are thinking of future topics for the show that would include their male viewers.

We wish Victoria and her great team all the best in everything they do.

Make sure to catch the show every Thursday on NTV AT 7:30 pm and while at it become a fan of Victoria’s Lounge and make sure not to miss out on  inspiration.

HOW KENYA MARKED WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK

Dr Kioko  from the Ministry of Health and Safaricom CEO,Bob Collymore .
Dr Kioko from the Ministry of Health and Safaricom CEO,Bob Collymore .

“It is embarrassing that in the 21st century women should have to be expressing milk in washrooms and toilets.”

-Bob Collymore  CEO,Safaricom

You know the event you are attending is going to be great and has been well planned for months  when you are handed a sky blue media kit complete with a DVD by UNICEF .

I am entering the Michael Joseph Center and it looks resplendent in blue and white colors for the official launch of the breastfeeding week that is being celebrated in more than 17 countries across the world.

But first a thorough  security check you are entering  “Fort Knox”.

The Ministry of health together with relevant stake holders is launching Guidelines on Support for Working Mothers A first in Kenya and the theme for this year is Breastfeeding at Work,Lets make it Work.

The Chief Guest for the event is James Macharia,the Cabinet Secretary for Health but he sends Dr James Kioko in his place.

As usual we are a wee bit late in starting the event,but not to worry i get time to admire the baby piano and nice seats at the MJ center,i almost wish i could carry one or six with me .

We are first led on a tour of Safaricom”s Mothers room and creche,facilities that are a first for a Kenyan company to invest in for their female staff who are parents or plan to be in the near future.

As Mrs Marilyn Mbuthia the Head of HR Operations tells us,female staff at Safaricom get an extra one month of maternity leave in addition to the statutory 12 weeks the government recommends.

Mothers working here also enjoy flexible working hours and a medical insurance that covers all costs from pre- natal,post natal to delivery  costs.

We got entertainment from a group of mothers called Diamond Mothers,who meet at St Teresa’s Catholic Church in Mathare,an informal settlement in Nairobi and their skit on the challenges and benefits of  breastfeeding deserved an award.

One of the mothers from the group recounted her experience losing a child at 5 months because she had started giving him complementary foods at 1 month.There was in drop silence as she told her story in Swahili.

The CEO of Safaricom Bob Collymore gave a passionate appeal for corporates to see facilities like a mothers room as being the right thing to do.

Every company needs to support women who choose to breastfeed and it need not be an expensive venture like what they have done,a mothers room to express milk is enough.

While making the workplace a conducive environment for mothers has largely been led by the private sector will the public sector slow to follow ,it is a milestone to finally see the government launch guidelines on making the workplace a more family and child friendly environment.

Who knows,we may just see a creche at parliament .

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and Dr Kioko helping children at the Safaricom creche with their artwork.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and Dr Kioko helping children at the Safaricom creche with their artwork.

LIGHTS.CAMERA.ACTION

Stay at home mum

When i received Mummytales cryptic sms I did not know  it would lead me to the set of Victoria’s lounge, sharing my experience of being a stay at home mum.

30 minutes is very little time to share your experience of 6 years,travelling over Kenya while raising 3 kids,it is the most fulfilling thing yet the most difficult thing i have ever done.

You see,i never planned or intended to be a stay at home mum for that period of time but the experience and the growth over the last 6 years ,i would not trade for anything.

It is skimming the surface when i say being a stay at home mum was something i felt i could afford to do at the time.

It is a story of a lot of blood ,sweat and tears over the years.

But it has led me to my meeting the most fantastic women in the world,been inspired by great women like my sister in law Diana,she is a Ninja.

And it has led me back to Nairobi,the most beautiful city in the world.

If you get to watch the show on Thursday at 7:30 pm on NTV,remember that is just my story,part of my story.

It is not the perfect solution for everyone and it should not be taken by everyone but for those who decide to be stay at home parents,my hats off to you.

You will be spending a part  a large part of your time doubting yourself,feeling like pulling your hair out and pleading with a 2 feet angel who will not touch peas because they are yuck .

Maybe they will pull a tantrum one,two,several times when they do not want to do their homework and you will think your working friends are the luckiest people in the world.

But you know what kids grow up, you can  never get those first three years back.

So whether you are working at home,from home or in an office,spend time with your children,know who they are ,love them and love yourself and cut yourself some slack,you are doing a great job.

And when you see me with lots of make up on TV looking like a deer caught in the headlights,be nice.

Xx,

Ina

TEACHING YOUR CHILD SOCIAL MEDIA SMARTS

Photo source :Pixabay
Photo source :Pixabay

We are raising a generation of children who think it is absolutely normal to carry out conversations with people in real time from the other side of a screen.

How do we remind them that face to face conversations are more important  and more nurturing in the long run?

How do we teach them that technology helps us make our life better and that in the end life ,real life in the real world matters more than screen time?

Human beings are social creatures and the need to be socially connected is an intrinsic part of  us,we want to belong to someone,to a group, a cause,something.

Social media is a good and a bad thing,where do we draw the line at  teaching  our children how to make good use of it and protect them from the dangers lurking in a highly connected world .

The Good

  • One remains connected with friends and family.
  • You get to share ideas with other people and expand your knowledge base
  • You get to meet and interact with people with whom you share similar interests.

The Ugly

  • Social media can be the cause of cyber bullying or social media shaming for perceived wrongs
  • Criminals and peodophies do hide behind social media ccounts .
  • It is easy to lie about your age when registering for a social media account.

How can we teach children how to be safe when they enrol on social media?

1.By being a good  example.

Set a good example with your gadgets and devices,do not hide behind a screen when you get home to catch up on your social networks.When your teen does the same you will have no basis with which to reprimand them.

Meal times are usually not the best times to be checking the funny videos your colleagues from work sent you.

2.Think before you hit enter

Do not post unbecoming photos of yourself or your children at anytime.

A picture of yourself sloshed at a party will be hard to explain to a teen when you extol the virtues of being sober.

3.Guidance

Guide them with their first use of social media,sites like Facebook allow one to join if they are at least 13 years  but this may be higher in some jurisdictions.

Become  an internet aficionado of sorts,keep abreast of trends and what is happening in order to be able to best advice your teenager.

The best placed person to advise your child on the good and bad of the internet is you, as a parent or guardian and not a peer.

4.Set privacy controls

If internet access at home is through a commonly used device be sure to set up privacy controls to protect your child.

A good rule of thumb is to ensure access to the internet is in a common area in the house like a study room,living room .

If you have wifi in your house then ensure it is restricted to common areas in the house until your teens are older.

5.Respect and being safe

Teach them not to follow the crowd,not be part of any bullying and especially not to friend strangers.

What other guidelines would you like to share on bringing up children in a world that is increasingly becoming more connected.

We would love to hear from you.

Xo,

Ina

BRINGING UP WELL MANNERED CHILDREN

Train up a child in the way he should go even and when  he is old he shall not turn from it..Proverbs 22:6

Children are not naturally inclined to be well behaved.

Good behavior in children is taught and  nurtured .

Being around a child or grown up who is well mannered is a pleasure and a delight and it is a skill that in life will open doors.

A book i have been reading set in the period just before the 2nd world war says that the sign of a well brought up child is gratitude.

And the best person to teach your child good manners is you..as a parent or guardian by setting a good example.

The best time to instill good behavior and manners and before they get to 7 years of age.

A good place to start is  by expressing gratitude in the presence of your child for something your spouse or someone else has done.

It is a sign of  respect to be well mannered towards  everyone you meet,no matter what social class they belong to.

Acknowledge the help you have received from others.

When you are out shopping ,take this as an opportunity to teach your child  by expressing gratitude for help you have received from the service staff .

If you are a Christian you express gratitude by saying grace before meals,thanking God for the provision of food.

The rainy season in Kenya just started after a dry spell,at the first drops of rain i said a prayer together with my children thanking God for the rain.

Express gratitude that the rain shall feed the crops out in the fields and there shall be food on your plates as well as in the homes of millions of other people.

Training in good manners requires patience and you may only see the results months after you started it .

Begin when your child is young,be patient and keep repeating the lessons.

I would love to hear from you.Share your ideas on how we can bring up well mannered children in our comments section

Xo,

Ina