Jan 15, 2010

* Feeding your child right

For all my growing up days living with my parents, I always looked forward to getting home and enjoying a fantastic home made meal that truly satisfied my appetite. Nope it wasn't extravagant dishes on a table, but simple dishes that was prepared with so much love by the woman who never grumbled when she stood alone in the kitchen cooking for all of us at home, who allowed us to eat anywhere in the house at anytime convenient to us, my Mum!

It was for her I would say that I survived most of my illnesses that I suffered with after I had to handle food myself.
Allergies ranging from my skin to my nose, migraines, headaches and tummy aches.
Not anymore, looking back, I realise it was the food that made everything stay at bay, but most of the time kept away.

Now with kids of my own, I cook more often that I did before they came into our lives.
What's most pleasing is that, my children truly enjoy the food I cook.

Variety and creativity is the key to doing this right.
I try and make it as simple as possible making sure it's packed with the nutrients they need.
I make it fun most of all and try never to bore them with rice and curry as most Indian families would do.

When it comes to vegetables, I recommend following how the Chinese cook for their style of cooking vegetables truly retains the nourishment we require from it, where else most Indian cooking destroys it all.
I often feed my kids breads and pastas that are prepared with home made (not canned) ingredients for its toppings.
A balance of seafood, poultry and vegetables are essential and yes lots and lots of fruits and fruit juices and these days I steam more than I fry, and that's a plus point to our arteries.

I try to avoid as much as I can from allowing them to eat sweets and chocolates.
The days when we do go out, my husband makes sure our meals are at proper restaurants and not fast food outlets with good kid's menu available.
All this effort to making their food right, PAYS OFF!!!

I must be honest, I don't spend a whole load of time in the kitchen as some may think. I am not bragging just because I am a stay home mum either.
The cooking and preparations uses up very little of my time, which means even as a working mum you can afford to do this. But for stay home mums, why not take more time in your child's meal, since you can, instead of neglecting it and resorting for shop food?

Jamie Oliver once asked in his show "If an Italian working mother can be back from work and cook a hearty meal for a family of 10, why can't any one else?"
He had a great point there. Why can't anyone else? Why can't we?

A small advice to some mothers I know, don't stop cooking for your kids just because they don't eat it. That's a sign to you that you either need to change your cooking style or discipline your child to eat the right food. The more you think they don't enjoy and resort to fast food, the more you are driving them to the fast track on their health issues!

Besides all that, also remember, don't force your child to eat! Some kids have a bigger appetite on some days than others. Sometimes, they are allowed to not like what you had to cook up for them, so observe their pattern. As my brother Richard would say, your kid is not going to starve himself to death, when they are hungry they will come to you looking for food. Plan their eating time right, but learn to be expandable to their moods too, but never give in to crappy food as your final resort!

In the long run, besides teaching your kids not to binge on unhealthy food and drinks and watching what your child puts into his or her mouth, a good home cooked meal can truly help your child to be a responsible eater and a healthy individual.

So start your child's day with the right breakfast followed by a balanced lunch, a healthy evening snack and a light dinner and remember a small full plate is good enough, do not overfeed them just because its a healthy home cooked meal nor force it down their throat!

Remember you are responsible as a parent to putting them on the right track.

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