How I Ended A Long-standing Battle With My Kids About Their Lunch Boxes!

Hey everyone! Glad to see you all once again. As usual, I have been absconding from the scene for quite some time now. And I know, you all must be so tired of forgiving me. However, I would still like to say I am sorry and try to be as regular as I possibly can. That said, let us get to our topic today, which would tell you how I ended a long-standing battle with my kids about their lunch boxes!

I am sure, if you are reading this, you have endured the pain of seeing your kid’s lunch box coming back home- full and untouched. Dearies, I guess this happens to all of us at some or the other point in life. Trust me, I was there too. It was just sssooo annoying to see that box being brought back to home exactly in the same condition as I sent it to school. More than annoyance was the pain of thinking that my kid was almost on no food the whole day, in spite of her box being full! It kept happening for quite some time, until i felt, that was that, and I decided to do something about it.

I sat my kid down one day and asked her, “Why is it that you don’t finish your lunch box? It’s been so many days that you haven’t even touched the food in your box and you seem to be eating fine at home? Is there a problem?” And her reply was so dramatic! She said, “Mom, I was expecting that you would give me this(some other thing than that was given) in box. I opened the box and when I didn’t see that, I was so disappointed!”

There you go. So, it turned out that I was making a big mistake by not asking my child what she would like in her lunch box and giving her food just because I thought she would like it or she should eat it, what with healthy stuff and all! That night, I sat down with both my kids and asked them what all their favorite foods were. Of course, they didn’t remember all the dishes by their names. However, they could relate to most of them when I described the dishes. They could identify some, like banana balls, pancakes etc.

After our list was done, I sorted it into two categories- snacks and lunch. My girls take two boxes to school- a snack box and a lunch box. I divided the dishes accordingly and then made a meal prep chart according to the dishes. I paired some snacks and lunch recipes and noted them on a piece of paper. I stuck this paper on the fridge. Now here comes the tricky part. It’s obvious that my daughters wouldn’t both want the exact same thing. Naturally, there was a war deciding whose choice it would be. It was becoming difficult to get them to make a settlement. So, I decided, for one whole week one of my girls would have her choice for breakfast and the other one would have it for lunch. The next week, we would just rotate it around. That way, they both get to carry their choices to school.

I have this magnetic board, which I attach to the fridge. It helps me a lot in this task. Every night, I or my elder one write down the meal plan for the next day according to their choices. I add in the dinner menu along with that, make the meal prep accordingly and am good to go for the next day!

Many of you must be thinking that I can make the meal prep and planning for the whole week. Then why take the trouble to do it each day separately? Well, that’s because my girls are very small. And though they may seem okay with the meal plan for the whole week while we are writing it, they may not actually want to eat a particular dish three days later as per the plan and the whole point of doing this exercise would be a waste. It’s better that I ask them each night what they would like to have the next day and plan accordingly.

I know, the options that they have chosen may not be entirely healthy ones always, but I have made sure that they are at least partly healthy. Also, I would rather have them eat something that they like than have them stay hungry throughout the day and get cranky by the time they get back. I have ample chances to feed them the healthy stuff at dinner, on weekends and each morning before they leave for school.

So far, this thing is working like a charm. In fact, they are pretty excited to write their choices on the board each night and I am saved the trouble of thinking each morning what to cook for them! Not to mention, the box comes home empty almost everyday!

Oh, and one more thing. In case their choice is a complete junk, I make sure to add some healthy stuff like cut fruits or salad veggies, to balance it out.

I hope this helps you to get some ideas as to how you can plan your kids’ meal times, especially for school days and you are treated to an empty lunch box when your kids come back home!

I will see you soon with yet another interesting topic. Until then, take care, bbye. Here’s Dr. Apoorva, signing out for today!

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Keep well…..when Monsoon dwells !

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The first showers of rain, the distinct fragrance in the air, the lush green grass and trees…. who doesn’t like all of this! oh well, maybe a rare few !!

Hey everyone! Thank you all, for yet again finding your way to this blog. Here I am, back again with yet another interesting post. I hope, the title has given you a fair idea as to what is going to follow in the post. We are well into the monsoon and hence into various rainy-season related diseases. While it is very much a part of our nature to enjoy the particular weather traits, it is equally important that we take good care of our health as well. As it would only help us more to enjoy to our heart’s content; without giving a break by reason of sickness!

As many of you know, Ayurveda is called science of life. It greatly believes in prevention and precaution, more than cures. Following this principle , the great Acharyas or practitioners of Ayurveda have written down a well versed discipline for each season, which they strongly recommend to be followed in each particular season. It is proven that following these ancient texts can actually help you to keep several seasonal diseases at bay. So , let us begin!

Most of us are aware of the basic principles of Ayurveda, like the tridoshas( three humours- vata, pitta and kapha), Prakriti ( body type) etc. Our body is affected by different doshas in different stages of our life. Likewise, these doshas have an influence over the seasons too! And each season is dominated by one particular dosha. So naturally enough, our seasonal routine ( or shall I say discipline?) as well as our daily routine should be in accordance with these season specific doshas, so that the body behaves as naturally as it should and adjusts easily to the seasonal changes . Else, it is  forced to adapt to the new season, resulting in low immunity and a host of diseases.

Rainy season as such, is related to aggravation of vata and accumulation of pitta. So the diet and lifestyle has to be the one which balances both of these doshas.

The discipline ( or what we call Ritucharya in Ayurveda) for the rainy season , as written in ancient texts goes as follows –

Rainy season falls in the northern solstice( Uttarayana) and the general body strength of a person during this season is weak. The chances of getting digestive problems is great in this season. You are likely to experience a loss of appetite too. Keeping this in mind it is advisable to make some changes in your diet.

DIET

  • Consume light and fresh foods, especially prepared from barley, rice and wheat.
  • Include cow ghee, lentils, green gram, rice and wheat in daily diet.
  • If having meat, have lean meat.
  • A small piece of ginger mixed with rock salt taken before every meal will greatly help in improving digestion.
  • Consume sour and salted soups of vegetables.
  • On cooler days, take a diet  that is sour, salty and oily( how many of you thought of pakoras aka fritters 🙂 Ohh and I forgot to mention tea to go with it :-)) ). This is the time in India to make yummy pickles-sour, salty and oily, and rightly so:-) .
  • Drink boiled and cooled water mixed with a little honey- a great immunity booster.
  • Green gram and ginger is to be used in daily diet.
  • Avoid consuming stale food.
  • Avoid foods that take longer to digest-like red meat and curds, choose buttermilk over curds.
  • Consuming haritaki ( terminalia chebula) with rock salt in monsoon is very beneficial for health.

Now lets move to what behavioural discipline has been mentioned in Ayurveda texts.

LIFESTYLE in rainy season –

Taking healthy diet alone may not help in getting the desired good effects, unless it is supplemented by a healthy lifestyle. U have to make at least some of the following important changes in your lifestyle in rainy season.

  • Sleeping in the daytime has to be avoided as it affects the digestive system and slows down the metabolism.
  • Over exertion is to be avoided and so is over exposure to sun (oh well, if and when mr. sun shows up 🙂 ).
  • Try to keep the body warm, as cool body temperature is what is needed for the viruses to attack….seems our grannies weren’t wrong after all, when they said we ought to wear warm clothes in this weather too…especially kids :-).
  • Keep your feet dry, especially diabetics!
  • It would be good if you could burn some neem leaves at home and fumigate the house with that from time to time…wards of unwelcome pests!

Make sure to advocate these diet and lifestyle changes slowly, as any abrupt change in the routine can shock your body.

Oh, and by the way, there had been  requests from a few of you about posting some such recipes which are easy to make and weather friendly and also which suit particular body types, according to Ayurveda. So, I had made an attempt in this post by listing two very easy to make recipes, which can be included in your diet this monsoon. These recipes are designed in accordance with the diet guidelines mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts. Now you can have a yummy dish with the benefits of Ayurveda diet too !

RECIPE-1

Ingredients

  • diced carrots- 1 cup
  • fresh or frozen green peas- 1 cup
  • diced potatoes – 1 cup
  • 1 tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • a pinch of hing
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • fresh coriander for garnishing

Method of prep – Heat oil or ghee in a heavy skillet. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When they crackle add hing and turmeric. Add all the veggies one by one and stir a bit. Add coriander powder and stir once again for a minute. Add salt and  a cup of water and let the veggies simmer and cook till done. Once done, mash some of the potato pieces to give the curry a thickness. Adjust the consistency by adding more water if desired. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or chapati.

RECIPE -2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup fresh corn
  • one very small onion chopped
  • some coriander for garnishing
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • water to boil veggies
  • a small blob of butter (optional)

Method of prep– Heat water in a heavy bottom pan and add all the veggies. Let the veggies cook properly till tender. Once the veggies are done, add salt and pepper. Blend into a paste in a blender jar. Your easy and yummy soup is ready. Serve hot with some fresh coriander chopped and sprinkled on top. Can add a small blob of butter on top if desired.

So while you enjoy these two delicious, easy to make and weather – friendly recipes, I say bbye with a promise to bring another interesting topic in my next post and if you wish to have more of such recipes, please do write in the comments section below and I will surely try to upload as many recipes as I can.

Enjoy the monsoons while they are here, both in and out of the house! Be seeing you soon,  here’s Dr Apoorva, signing out for today.

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Nutrition for Kids – Are they getting enough ????

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hey friends! I know my disappearance is unpardonable and I also know that many of you must have been eagerly waiting for my next post. So first of all,, let me please apologise for my absenteeism. We actually relocated and hence I was busy setting up the new house at a new place. But I know that is no excuse for not showing up and here I am with my sincere apologies. So, without delaying things further , let us move to our today’s topic of discussion…a much awaited and much requested one!  Yes, you got me there…Kids Nutrition !

Nutrition for kids is about making sure that your child gets enough nutrients from age 1 through 11. And what is enough? Well, definitely the individual requirements do vary from child to child, but there are certain guidelines , which can help you get on the right track. Your  child grows each year and her needs for nutrients and new textures change. Giving your child a healthy diet is vital so that she grows , develops and stays at a good weight for her age.  So, here are a few ideas that can help you guide them to eat a healthy diet, that in turn will keep them active and growing during their childhood years.

Kids this age are very active and their bodies need nutrients on a regular basis, even if they don’t feel hungry at times. Offer them meals or snacks 4-5 times a day. This will provide them with enough fuel to play and grow. The amount of certain nutrients , especially calories and protein depends on both the age and weight of your child in kilograms. So guys, if you weigh your kids in pounds it would be a good idea to divide your child’s weight in pounds by 2.2 to figure out her weight in kilograms.

I have tried to chart down here the age wise nutrients requirements for kids , so that you just have to pick the  age group that is relevant to you and follow the per day servings guidelines along with the per serving size. Hope, it saves you some trouble of going through the details and descriptions !

Calories         ( per kg body weight ) Protein

(per kg body weight )

0-3 years About 100 About 1.2 gms/kg
4-6 years About 90 About 1.1 gms/kg
7-11 years About 70 About 1 gm/kg

Kids requirements for one full day are given in terms of the number of servings they need in a day.  Size of one serving is about the amount given below for each age group.

Breads / starches

( 5 or more servings per day. )

Fruits

(2-3 servings per day)

Meat/meat substitutes

( 3 or more servings per day)

Milk or yogurt

(3-4 servings per day)

Vegetables- cooked or raw        

(2-3 servings per day)

Fats –oils, butter etc.

( 1-3 servings per day)

1-3 years ¼ cup pasta, potatoes or rice

½ to 1 slice bread or 1/2 to 3/4 chapati

½ ounce dry cereal

¼ muffin

¼ cup pureed fruit

¼ cup juice

1 egg

1 tbsp peanut butter (after age 2)

1 ounce meat, fish or poultry

¼ cup cooked dried beans or legumes

¾ ounce cheese      ( about ¾ of the one inch cheese cube)

½ to ¾ cup ¼ cup ½ to 1 tsp
4-6 years ½ cup pasta, potatoes or rice

1 slice bread or 3/4 chapati

¾ ounce dry cereal

½ muffin

¼ to ½ cup canned fruit

½ piece fresh fruit

½ cup juice

1 egg

1-2 tbsp peanut butter

1-2 ounces meat, fish or poultry

1/3 cup cooked dried beans or legumes

1/3 cup cottage or ricotta cheese

1 ounce cheese      ( I cube of 1 inch)

¾ cup ¼ to 1/3 cup 1 tsp
7-11 years 1 cup pasta, potatoes or rice

2 slices bread or 1.5 chapati

1 ounce dry cereal

¾ muffin

1 cup canned fruit

1 piece fresh fruit

½ cup juice

1 egg

3 tbsp peanut butter

2-3 ounces meat, fish or poultry

½ cup cooked dried beans or legumes

½ cup cottage or ricotta cheese

1-2 ounces cheese      ( 1-2 cubes of 1 inch)

1 cup ½ cup 1 tbsp

 

Sweets and Desserts – The maximum number of servings per week a child can have is given below. One serving is a medium portion, like, 1/2 cup of ice cream or pudding or a 3 inch cookie.

1-3 years :  1 to 2  servings per week at the max

4-6 years :   3 to 4 servings per week at the max

7-11 years:  4 to 5 servings per week at the max

Always remember, that your child should only be eating enough of the fats and sweets to meet their calorie needs!

Vitamins and Minerals- Your child does not need to take extra vitamins or minerals if she eats a balanced diet. Any vitamins and minerals supplements should be given by proper consultation with your caregiver.

Some quick tips to consider-

  • Give your kid at least one serving per day of-  A high vit C food ( citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, potatoes and green peppers ) and  one serving of high vit A food    ( spinach, carrots or sweet potatoes ).
  • Until age 2, give your child whole milk and full fat dairy products so that her nervous system grows well.
  • After age 2, give your kid low fat dairy products to limit saturated fat intake.
  • Choose lean meats, poultry and fish for your kid.
  • Avoid fried foods and high fat desserts except on special occasions.

People often ask – when it comes to junk food consumption – how much is too much? Well, it can be tricky since there is growing concern over kids’ weight. But, I would say its perfectly okay when it comes to offering them treats occasionally. While I am certainly not saying that we can load their diet with junkies, what I want to say is that we shouldn’t make it so off limits that it starts to have some sort of an appeal or a mystique. Trust me, tight restrictions on junk food do backfire. We really need to work on navigating in a way such that it doesn’t turn into a battle. You can say to your kid, ” Well, u can have the potato chips but lets eat some carrots too”.  But yes, again….not always. As the denial shouldn’t be every so often, so shouldn’t be the approval.

Always do remember, children may appear not to be listening to you, but they are certainly watching you.  Your example is important in teaching her good food habits.

On that note, I would say bbye. I hope you found what you were looking for. For those of you who haven’t yet followed my blog, please do follow and like and comment. Also, please do write if you have any special requests . I will be glad to do an article on your requested topics.  Be  seeing you soon with yet another interesting and requested topic, until then, here’s Dr Apoorva, signing out for today!

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The wonder drugs in ayurveda !

Hey all…..Oops, i m so sorry to have vanished like that !!!!!!! Holidays, trips, outings and what not ! I must admit that I was carried away by all these and just couldn’t manage to get hold of time ! But, here I am and as I had promised in my earlier post, I shall be dedicating this particular post to the wonder drugs in Ayurveda and their wonderful medicinal uses . So lets get going!

wonder drugs 2

Ashwagandha. As the name suggests, it smells like a horse! And, it is said to impart horse like strength and vigour to you. If u wish to look younger, feel healthier and sleep better, then ashwagandha is just what you need. For ages, it has been used for day to day worries like stress, anxiety, exhaustion, sleeplessness etc. It is a powerful antioxidant, and is classified as a rasayana i.e. rejuvenator and promotes mental and physical health, in turn promoting longevity. It has a dual capacity of energizing and calming at the same time.

Shatavari- Known to have a hundred roots, shatavari has been long used in Ayurveda for its cooling and calming effect. Reputed for its affinity towards the female reproductive system, it is a powerful antioxidant, and helps in restoring vitality. But that said, it is equally helpful in males. It promotes healthy energy levels and strength, healthy peristalsis of the gut and supports the immune system. It is a nourishing, tonic herb.

Amalaki– Also known as the indian gooseberry, it is a supportive and nutritive herb for the digestive tract. Works on the skin and is a wonderful blood purifier. It acts on liver rejuvenation. It is the principal ingredient of chyawanprash . It helps balance the blood sugar, supports a healthy reproductive system, promotes energy levels, supports healthy cholesterol and acts as a cleanser, promotes healthy hair, aids in digestion, tonic for a clear mind and improved vision. Overall, an all-rounder in ayurvedic drugs.

PippaliPippali is the term applied to the fruit of piper longum. It is a very unique spice. It is useful in indigestion, asthma, cough etc. But, it is also a very good aphrodisiac and anti-ageing spice. For all spleen related disorders, pippali is the best. It is useful in ascites, diabetes, haemorrhoids. It acts as a bronchodilator, vaso dilator and expectorant. Hence, works as a rejuvenative for the lungs and all mucus conditions associated with lungs.

Brahmi– Many of us know that brahmi is used as a brain tonic. But this is just one of its many wondrous uses. It is used in mental illness, emotional imbalance, stress, anxiety and addiction issues. It is a nervine tonic, hence very useful in Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, ADHD, autism and dementia. It cleanses the blood, kidney and liver, it’s a cardiac tonic, anti spasmodic and anti inflammatory. Beneficial for premature graying and balding. Too much beyond what the name suggests!

Triphala– It is an ayurvedic medicine used for treating stomach ailments and for body detoxification. The name indicates three fruits- it is a combination of fruits of haritaki, bibhitaki and amalaki. It can stimulate appetite, maintain blood sugar levels and improve skin color and tone. It can treat indigestion, constipation and gases and reduces the chances of getting haemorrhoids. It is a gentle, safe cleansing formula for the colon. It is high in antioxidants and Vit C. It is an anti bacterial, anti ageing, it regulates lipid levels and is very useful in maintaining body weight.

Tulsi- Last but not the least. A miracle drug in itself, tulsi, or holy basil, has found its place in almost every indian household. And why not? A few tulsi leaves consumed daily can keep you away from a host of ailments. It strengthens immunity, fights bacterial and viral infections,combats and treats several hair and skin disorders. It is rich in antioxidants, helps to reduce stress and conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. It fights infections and allergies and is very useful in respiratory ailments. It works on skin problems like acne ,both when consumed orally and applied locally. It helps in fever, cough , cold, asthma etc and facilitates proper digestion. It is loaded with phytonutrients, essential oils and vit A and C. Truly, a blessing in disguise to the mankind!

So guys, these are just a few of many, many wondrous drugs mentioned in Ayurveda texts. And however much i write about them, it isn’t going to do them justice! I have tried to summarise them here, hoping that you find this info useful, so that you too benefit from it as i have. Will see you soon with another interesting post, here is Dr Apoorva, signing out for today!wonder drugs

Eat well….Age well

Hey there once again! Thanks a lot for all the love and support!  I hope I haven’t kept you waiting for too long. And now let’s switch to today’s topic of discussion. Yeah…you got me there! eat well age wellblog

Aging is inevitable, so we all know! But there’s more to it. While aging is inevitable, many of the degenerative disorders that pop their ugly heads up past  middle age , are not! But only if, preventive measures are taken. Medical researches confirm that such degenerative conditions can be prevented, or at least slowed down, with the help of good nutrition and a balanced lifestyle. These conditions come disguised in the form of osteoporosis, diabetes, heart problems, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, to name a few.

Any age-well strategy cannot be complete without including proper nutrition in it. Yet, sadly, senior citizens are the most under nourished group of all . There are many reasons for this- diminished sense of taste and smell during old age, which makes food less appealing, difficulty in chewing, swallowing, heartburn, constipation and other digestive problems, declined absorption of nutrients, emotional stress due to loss of a partner, difficulty in shopping or preparing meals and not to forget financial factors.

Change in needs

Our body composition changes with age. As a result, nutritional and calorie needs also change. Also, other medical conditions like osteoporosis may change the nutritional needs of our body. Hence, an older person is more likely to need extra quantities of some of the essential nutrients, like-

  • Calcium to maintain healthy bones
  • Vit D ,which the body needs in order to absorb calcium
  • Vit B 12, needed to build red blood cells and maintain healthy nerves
  • Potassium, especially if having high BP
  • Fiber, to prevent constipation
  • Zinc, to provide immunity

Some seniors may need a multivitamin and mineral supplement so that they are ensured of getting the adequate quantities of the nutrients. But of course, your physician is the best person to guide you through this, since supplement imbalance can be equally hazardous.

Make sure you have enough fluids throughout the day. Seniors experience decreased thirst and eventually may end up drinking lesser fluids than required.

That said, although nutrition is an important part of aging-well strategy, it is not only about nutrients. One must try to make the most of mealtimes. Try sharing a meal with family and friends, go for pot-lucks , shop together with others in a similar situation. These simple steps may improve your mood along with your nutrition.eat well 2

Ayurveda and Yoga

The science of rejuvenation , or rasayana , is ancient. Ayurveda has been reputed to increase the body’s resistance to diseases and slow down the aging process. In fact, rasayana is one of the eight main branches of Ayurveda!

According to Ayurveda, rasayana, brings about the proper nourishment, growth and function  of all seven body tissues (dhatus). There are many rasayana herbs and foods. Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Amalaki, Brahmi, Pippali and Triphala are a few worth mentioning.

If taken in right form and doses, these herbs can do wonders to your body and slow down your aging process . And what better way than to pair these up with some yoga asanas and meditation? Researches show that yoga, if done in a proper way, can immensely boost up your  vitality and keep you mentally and physically healthy.

In the end its all about keeping a proper balance between your way of living and the supportive therapies needed for a healthy life. A balanced,  healthy and nutritious regular diet, Ayurveda, yoga and modern science together can do wonders when it comes to restoring your vitality. So folks, there it goes – Eat well…Age well !

Hope you found this interesting. In our next post, we shall see how these Ayurveda wonder drugs( and many more), along with other positive lifestyle changes, can restore the vitality and increase the body’s resistance to  fight against diseases. Hoping to  see you guys soon,  here’s Dr Apoorva, signing out for today!