Nutrition for Children ~ Guest Post by PJ!

>>  Thursday, October 29, 2009

I am pleased to introduce Padmajha Suresh, known as PJ in the blogging world. It is a pleasure having her here to share her knowledge as a dietitian and health educator!

PJ is a trained dietitian and a health educator. She started her career in a multi specialty hospital that gave her ample opportunity to apply and expand her knowledge.She is specialized in handling dietary needs for women, children, including other health conditions like diabetes, hypertension etc. Apart from this she also taught yoga for pregnant women and the elderly.

She is a multi talented lady with two Master Degrees, one in "Nutrition and Dietetics" and the other in Sociology. Not to mention her being graduated in Veena [Indian classical music]. Her hobbies include photography, philately and other forms of fine arts like Indian classical music, Rangoli.

Right now she is implementing what she learnt and taught to others, by being a full time mom to her lil one. So I can say practice makes a better teacher!

This will be a series of articles, today post will introduce us to the nutritional aspects we will have to think about.


A sound mind in a sound body can be achieved only by starting off with the right type of food from the very beginning.

During infancy, the nutritional needs are looked after the mother, i.e. by the breast milk. The mother however has to eat the correct food to pass on the nutrition to the baby which sometimes is not achieved.

The next stage comes the weaning. Weaning begins when supplementary foods are introduced into the baby’s meal. Different people have different ideas on this topic. Some suggest weaning at 3 months and some at 6 months.[My daughter’s pediatrician suggested that I start weaning my daughter at the 6th month and not earlier than that.]

Weaning is essential as the nutrients in breast milk alone are not sufficient to satisfy the nutritional needs. There will be an increase need for calories and protein which cannot be met by mother’s milk. Iron stores in the infant’s liver will last until the first 4-6 months of life and hence have to be supplemented by other foods later.

Sometimes, weaning foods are introduced too early and even if they are starting it in the right age, they are directly introduced to the adult foods. Bulky adult diets do not meet the nutritional needs especially the calories. Some mothers in their eagerness to provide the best food for their kids often end up force –feeding the child with dense foods that may not be suitable for them. It can results in the child falling sick or developing an aversion towards food. . A gradual pace has to be set when introducing new foods to the little one which not only meets the requirements but are also easy to digest. [Read more on weaning food here]

Children at any stage need a balanced diet and the mother of course tries her best to feed the child with all the nutritious foods so that her little darling grows up big and strong. She faces the daunting task of putting together a meal that will be attractive to the platter and the taste buds.

In my next post I will talk more about a quick guide on Nutrients – Functions and sources. So stayed tuned!

Part 2 - Nutrients – Functions and sources- A quick guide


Measured Values ~ How do you handle with your Kids!

>>  Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The other day while nibbling on a treat a colleague brought from home, she happened to mention about how her mom used to give them measured quantities as kids. I was surprised hearing that, because my mom used to do the same thing. I told her that Amma also did the same thing, be it a biscuit or a muruku, it always used to be either 1 or 2! The reasons of course, we now know. If we eat too much of one, we refuse the other regular food.

Like it used to be only 2 biscuits with a glass of milk. We were able to eat our breakfast. But my boys eat about 3 - 4, sometimes even more. They refuse to eat anything after that. Maybe our stressed lifestyle makes us more hesitant to take efforts to accept otherwise? But whatever, I am exhausted end of it, to even try making them understand they should stop with some and have space for their breakfast.

The thought stayed back and I was wondering how will one combat these situations? With my 8 year old daughter, it has always been a case of picky eating habits. So even if she ate just biscuits, I was so relieved. But my 3 year old boys just refuse to listen to anything. I grew up adhering to the fact that even if there were 10 apples, I got to share with everybody at home. So I clean, chop and share with the family the 2 -3 apples that I cut. Now nobody wants to share!

I always believe being very measured teaches kids to share, to know how much one should take in and be receptive to all foods as they are not satiated.

Do you have the problem. How do you handle it with your child? I would welcome suggestions and ideas on improving children's habits!


Banana Halwa ~ Indian Sweet Step by Step!

>>  Thursday, October 22, 2009

There is really no need to talk more about the goodness of a Banana! But if you want, well let me tell you that a banana a day keeps a doctor away! Yes this is the new mantra. We ensure our kids eat a banana everyday, at least most of the times. They get fussy when we force them right. But we cojole them somehow. One big banana has enough to supplement your calorie needs.

Best way of eating it, of course is as such. But when you run out of ways to make the kids eat them, then chop them into circles, mix them in condensed milk and give your babies. I am sure they will love this. Another awesome way of eating banana would be with custards. Any flavour would do, just chop banana, top it on the custard, chill it and serve!

Few times when I had very ripe banana on hand, I made them as substitute for egg in cakes, especially those delicious brownies. Now baking, as I have already said is currently not in my agenda. So what else can I end up with? Sometime back, I read about these banana pieces sauteed in ghee and given as a kid's snack. Now that made me think further to one step more about halwas! Well anybody who knows about my Halwa series, knows that I end up with one too many variations at making Halwas.

So here comes the simplest way of making a halwa. Of course, if you don't want the ghee and sugar, you are welcome to eat as such, that is if you remember to eat the banana on time. Else you can end up with this twist!

Ok take about 3 long ripe bananas, peel them off like this! Of course you know that!

Roughly chop them into circles and take it in a pan or thick bottom kadai! Add about how ever ghee you want. Ok ok, I got to remember the health factor. Since you are not going to eat this , but for your kid, pls be liberal. But if you must eat, then add about 2 tsp of ghee/clarified butter!

Cook on high flame, you will find the bananas start cooking up and see lot of froth coming up. At this stage if you have the camera as I did, it is very tricky to get a good shot! Phew I managed somehow!

This takes about 5 - 7 mins, you need not keep stirring. It won't get burnt as there is lot of water content still. It really got to evaporate.

Meanwhile, get about 4 teaspoon of sugar with just enough water to cover over the stove. Once it is melted, remove any impurities that it has.

Then put it back on the stove and cook till it thickens a bit.

Now please don't forget the bananas cooking on the other stove! It would become this way almost. This is the stage you got to start stirring.

The sides will start leaving. Keep stirring till it thickens to a solid. The ghee would start coming out of the sides.

Since this is a halwa you need not bother about worrying if it crystallize! That is the beauty of a halwa, I tell you!

Now the final product once again!

Banana Halwa Recipe

Ingredients Needed:

Ripe Banana - 3 long
Sugar - 4 tsps
Ghee/Clarified butter - 2 - 3 tsp
Cardomon powder a pinch.

Method to prepare:

Peel and chop the bananas into small pieces.

Heat a pan, add the bananas with ghee. Cook on high till all the water content is evaporated and thickens.

Once it starts leaving the sides, keep stirring till you get a thick pulp.

Meanwhile, melt sugar with just enough water over high flame. Remove dirt if any. Cook again till it thickens a bit.

Transfer the sugar syrup to the banana and continue cooking till the halwa is shining and thick. Add in the cardomon powder, mix well and remove

Serve hot!

Notes: Sugar syrup need not very thick, but that shining thick syrup.
If you want you can puree the banana, but that will be very smooth paste.

Thanks to all the participants who had sent in their entries for Kid's Delight. I will check your entries soon and the round up will be out shortly! Thank you once again!


A Gift to a child!

>>  Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Some aeons ago, I remember somebody asking me if I ever wanted to relive some period of my life. I remember telling that I wasn't so old yet and I was happy with things as such. But then maybe not. Maybe I might answer differently this time. Maybe I would say wish I can rewrite the history of my most critical period in life. Maybe as most everybody, my answer might sound like I wanted to relive my childhood. Of course not!

Who would want to relive that period again, fearing which teacher is going to give a surprise test that I wasn't prepared. I am kidding of course. But then I think everybody feels they could have done better! I had the best childhood one can ask for. With the best parents one can ever wish for. I always say one can't comment or compare on this aspect. But I have seen what my friends have gone through. Though they were well taken care of, with all luxuries and the usual things a kid can expect, I always felt I had better examples of how one should lead, with special focus on what is good and what is bad, explained by being a role model.

What I would've wished for, is another chance to have been a better child. I had all my vices, yet I was ok to handle I think. But I knew I could have done better. Being a parent now, I can understand what a parent would wish for their child to be. To benefit the best of what was offered. But does the child really understand. I know it is very wrong to expect a child who is 10 years old to understand this. But maybe as they grow older, they must be expected to understand this.

Finally when I thought about this, I really wished every child be given an insight to understand what a parent wants! It is not what the parent want the child to become or achieve in their life. It is the wish of the parent to make the child understand and accept what they want to become and achieve in life. More than any wealth or material gains, the wish is to make the child better equipped to handle life in balance. To make the best of what they have to offer the child, with hard toil and full of expectations!

As a parent now, I know the sacrifice, the hardship a parent takes. A child need not feel indebted for it, but rather should benefit!

That would be a real gift to our child, one who can understand how to enjoy the time that is always flying away!


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