Tips for balanced snacking

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I had the privileged to meet and interview, Barni Nutritionist Hala Barghout, at an event hosted by Barni early this year. Hala believes in committing to family meal times and making them enjoyable. As a parent one of the best gifts you can give your children is a strong nutritional start. With school season in full swing, every mothers biggest challenge is to put together a creative and healthy snack box amidst all the hustle and bustle prior to sending kids off to school. When kids are back from school, preparing a meal that they will actually eat is another mammoth task. As a mom of 3 boys( 2 in school), i keep my eyes open for any tips i can find to make meal times more enjoyable to prepare, and enjoyable for my picky-eaters to savor.

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     Nutritionist Hala Barghout and i, at an event hosted by Barni Snacks, promoting healthy eating and balanced diet for kids.

Below are some child friendly pointers by Hala, for  ensuring a well-balanced diet for your child, thereby contributing to their overall growth.

  • Mix and match

Serve baby carrots, cucumber or other raw veggies with fat-free ranch dressing or hummus. Dip cracker sticks or fresh fruit pieces in labneh. Or, keep a portion of fruits in the mid meal snack daily with peanut butter to allure your child to eat fruits.

  • Broaden the menu

Offer out-of-the-usual fare, such as pineapples, cranberries, red or yellow peppers, or roasted peanuts, almonds or Mediterranean nuts that are freely available in the local supermarkets. Whole grain pretzels and tortillas provide energy and stamina for your little ones.

  • Revisit breakfast

Serve breakfast foods — such as scrambled eggs and a whole-grain toast — as alternative snacks for kids in the afternoon.

  • Sweeten it up

Healthy snacks for children don't have to be bland or tasteless. To satisfy your child's sweet tooth, offer fat-free pudding, pancakes or frozen yogurt. Make smoothies with skimmed milk, yogurt, and fresh fruits.

  • Creativity is key

Use a cookie cutter to make shapes out of cheese slices, whole-grain bread similar to the attractive shape of their endeared Barni Bear.  Make fruit kebabs or show your child how to eat diced fruit with chopsticks or toothpicks. Make a tower out of whole-grain crackers, spell words with pretzel sticks, or make funny faces on a plate using different types of fruits.

Hala says, “Above all, remember that food diversity and moderation are the keys to sensible and well balanced diet. Smart nutritional choices during childhood can reinforce lifelong healthy eating habits and it helps kids grow up to their full potential. So it’s important to start young to reap good results in the future.” A HEALTHY OUTSIDE STARTS FROM THE INSIDE.

Celebrate each child-Every child is special, unique and extraordinary

I come from a home where ‘ I ‘ was celebrated, ‘I’ was made to feel important and ‘I’ was special. I had a wonderful childhood not because of the things I had but because of the way I was made to feel. God created each child to be a wonderful unique individual. My oldest is spirited and he loves all the attention he could possibly have. He loves to play with automobiles and planes. My second is calm (now moving on from there) and independent. He loves to play with pots and pans. My third is a mix of both. What motivates one child does not motivate the other. Each of my pea's is so different although they are from the same pod. They are uniquely different in their personalities, interests, strengths and capabilities.

As for me I wish every little boy were calm and easy to parent. I wish every little boy would play with automobiles and planes. However, I have learned that there is absolutely no value in comparing our children to the other. As parents, my husband and I are constantly reminding each other to be conscious not to exercise favoritism. As parents, we have realized that each of our 3 children possess different strengths and require unique support to meet their individual needs. It is up to us as parents to be involved with our children, to observe their gifts and to help nourish them. I am reminded of the famous verse “Children are like arrows in the hands of a warrior”. We have to be mindful of raising our children, not as objects that we control rather raise them as powerful tools that we can release for a greater purpose.

Every child is a perfect reflection of God’s magnificent diversity. Let's celebrate each of them for who they are and who they were created to be. Every child is special, every child is unique, and every child is extraordinary!

 

 

 

Teach them to read while they are young

read One of the most exciting and rewarding phases in Parenting, for me, has been reading to my little ones. I started as early as when the bun was baking in the oven. Throughout my pregnant phase, I read to all 3 of my babies in the womb. I chose to read positive reading material of which ‘The Bible’ is my favorite. At any age group when you choose to read with your child choose a time when they are in the best mood and when you are too. Look for interactive ways to engage your child in reading. Yes! It might require of you to get out of your shell and to behave and sound like a fool.

With my Toddlers, I started with differentiating sounds and words. A child finds it fascinating as they learn to make a connection between a ‘COW’ and ‘MOO MOO’. The next phase is to recognize an alphabet with their sound. For this, I would use flash cards and alphabet books. For learning sounds a great resource I use is ‘Jolly Phonics’ on YouTube, they are the best. Once they recognize the sound they can combine letters to sound the word. Once the child learns a few words then ‘Sight Words’ can be used. I use Picture books and the Internet provided you with innumerable resources for the same. Reading to your child a bedtime story or their favorites fairy tale is the best way you could gain their interest. If you are ever lost for ideas for the perfect gift for your child, run to grab a storybook and I can assure you, you will never regret that decision. You have in your hands a genius in the making, it is up to you to mold and inculcate this amazing habit.