Sunday, 29 April 2012

Fresh and Healthy Meal Plan for Kids

 A simple yet healthy meal plan for your kids-
Moms are usually are the family managers.Since most of the things are in our control,food come number 1 in the priority list.Choosing the right kind of meal plan which includes lots of vegetables,fruits,whole grains,milk and meat is very important.A proper meal plan will  provide the essential nutrients and calories that kids little bodies require.
I sometimes involve my son while preparing a meal plan.He comes up with some weird ideas that has actually helped me come up with a new recipe.
No matter how busy you are,try and have atleast one meal with you family.Always remember,"a family that eats together,stays together".

Here goes the weekly menu plan:
Day 1:
-A glass of milk
-2idlis with coconut chutney or sambar
-3-4 almonds

-toor dal
-shallow fried brinjals
-bottle gourd and chana dal curry

-A glass of milk

-potato and cauliflower curry
-Salad(onions,tomatoes and cucumber)

  Day 2:
-Egg omelette
-Toast with peanut butter
-Watermelon juice

-Raita(onions and cucumber)
-Mixed vegetable curry

-Dry fruits
- A glass of milk

-Bajra and ragi roti with ghee(see my post on immunity building food for kids)
-Fruit salad
-Paneer curry

Day 3:
-Orange juice
-Dosa with potato stuffing

-Fish curry

-Crackers with Hummus dip(See my post on yummy Hummus dip)
-A glass of milk

- Scrambled eggs
-cabbage and green peas fry.

Day 4:
-Cheese and veg sandwich
-Banana smoothie

-Rajma(Kidney beans curry)
-Boondi Raita

-A glass of milk
- green moong Sprouts with tomato and onions and chaat masala

-Ragi and jowar roti with ghee(see my post on immunity building food for kids)
-Tomato chutney
-Chickpeas curry

-Oats with milk
-Fruit salad

-Spinach Rice
-Chicken Curry
-Roasted papad

-A glass of milk
-Onion Pakodas

-Radish Parathas
-Okra fry

Day 6:
-Cheese sandwich
-A glass of milk
-Any fruit

-Peas and carrot pulao
-Cauliflower curry
-Chana dal

-Dry fruits
-A glass of milk

-Methi Paratha
-Dal fry
-Green coriander chutney(see my post on green coriander chutney)
-Potato and capsicum fry

- Onion Uttapum
-Tomto chutney
-A glass of milk

-Whole wheat pasta with fresh tomato gravy
-Baked cheese and mushroom

-Sweet Ragi Malt
-A fruit

-Veg/Chicken wrap made with fresh whole wheat(see my post on Healthy wraps)
-Tomato soup/Chicken soup.

I will tell you how you can make the tasty and very healthy recipes mentioned in my weekly menu planner in my coming posts.The curries,dals and the parathas are simply delicious and are some of the best known recipes in Indian cuisine.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Stop Child Labour

  Say NO to Child Labour:

Childhood is the most special time in one's life.When we look back,we all have happy memories of childhood.Spending time with parents and grandparents and all the love and attention we got.
Unfortunately,there are many children who have been deprived of this love.Life for these children is very different.They have to drop out of school to work as labourers at construction sites,as domestic help or in hazardous industries.

Supporting their family from an early age is a must for them.Life for these little children is a constant battle with hunger and disease.
Child labour is a disgrace for the society.These unfortunate children are neglected by their families and society too.Poverty and unemployment forces the little children to steal and do odd jobs.They are even harassed and exploited by people.
This is the plight of millions of poor children in developing countries including India.The government has enforced certain laws to stop child labour but it still needs to do much more.The government should  punish people who employ children.
The Indian government is providing free school education to poor children and is also giving free books and mid-day meals.Despite the government's efforts,not many parents are sending their children to school.
There are various NGOs that are working towards improving the living conditions of these poor children and their family.
I truly appreciate the efforts of organizations like CRY.It has helped many children live with dignity.
We as responsible citizens of the society too can do a lot to put an end to child labour.
  • Don't employ any children for domestic help and discourage others too.
  • Volunteer to teach poor children buy conducting evening classes in your locality.
  • Don't buy products of manufacturers who employ child laborers.
  • Support organizations working to stop child labouur.
Every child is special and has the right to education and life of dignity.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Multiple Intelligence in Children

 How to discover your child's learning style:

 Discovering Multiple Intelligence in children can help both parents and teachers find fields where children can excel.
According to Gardner's theory,intelligence is-
  • ability to solve new problems
  • ability to solve problems in real life
  • He has identified 8 different types of intelligence
-Verbal/linguistic- Children are good storytellers and can write poems and stories.They can even create word games and write jokes.

Children are good at organizing facts and can solve story problems by analyzing facts.They also like to create and find patterns.

Children like to compose  melodies or learn in a rhythmic pattern.They can even change the words to a song.They also learn to play and sometimes create musical instruments at an early age.

-Kinesthetic/Bodily- These children are good at role playing.They perform well in plays and skits and also like putting together puzzle pieces.
-Visual/Spatial- These children pretend to be someone else and love playing with shapes and colours.They are also good at creating diagrams and charts and even maps.

-Naturalist-They are nature lovers.They love to collect leaves,flowers and watch tress,sunshine and clouds.

They are people smart children.One -to-one communication is something that comes naturally to them.They are also team players.These children love to work in groups.

Such children are said to be self-smart.They are usually good at describing about themselves and their feelings.They also have clear thinking strategies and good concentration spans.

As parents you too can discover your child's learning style and thus find out his category of intelligence.
By observing your child you can figure out what interests him the most.Every child has a different style of learning.
Some learn by exploring their environment and some may simply prefer learning by listening to stories read to them.

There are several websites where you can discover your child's intelligence profile by simply taking a quiz.There are also websites where children themselves can take multiple intelligence tests.These tests can help them analyze their strengths and weakness.You can talk to your child's teacher and discuss ways to help him improve in areas where he is lagging.No matter what the results are,your child can have one or a combination of two or more intelligence but finally its all the intelligences at work that make us who we are.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Germfree your Bathroom

BATHROOM GERMS-You can really catch them!

It's true that you cannot entirely wipe out the germs but there are simple things that can be done around the house to maintain a germ free house.
Without much effort you can keep the germs at bay and keep your family healthy.
It's true that when the dirt is visible we quickly wipe it off or wash it,but the fact is that most of the dirt is invisible and odourless.The kitchen and toilet are the heavens for the common household germs.
So it's important that you concentrate on these two rooms in the house.

According to a survey by Hygiene Council, the bathroom is the room where you can find germs lurking.
Here's something most people are unaware of,they think that the toilet seat is the place where most bacteria are found.Instead, the germiest parts of the bathroom are not just the toilet seats but faucets and the toilet handle.
  • Cleaning the toilet each week should be a priority.Use a good toilet cleaner that contains bleach or a disinfectant cleanser and a brush to clean.
  •  Don't forget to change your germ ridden toilet brush from time to time.You can also make your own bleach solution with 1 cup of bleach mixed in 1 gallon of water.Close the lid on the toilet seat before you flush because flushing can cause germs to spread to the other counters.
  • Use old towels or disposable sponges to clean.
  • Keep the shower walls and floors free of molds.You can do this by spraying bleach solution and cleaning the walls with packaged cleaning wipes.
  • If you are using shower curtains then keep changing them every 3 to 6 months.

Following a daily routine of good personal hygiene can help you win the battle against bathroom germs.
  • You must wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap after using the toilet.Kids must also be taught to practice this.
  • Each member of the family should have a separate towel in the bathroom.
  • Discard old toothbrushes from time to time.
  • Replace the plastic bathroom cups with disposable paper cups.

Cleaning regularly and practicing hygiene can lower your risk from bathroom germs.
If you and your family practice  good personal and household hygiene and follow these simple steps then you can prevent the unnecessary bouts of illness.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Kid Superfoods

Helping kids avoid junk food and eat superfoods:

Kids love to eat burgers, fries and a whole lot of other junk food.It's not that a trip to KFC or McDonalds is bad but having it once in a while is okay but if your kids want to have it on a  regular basis, then we all know it's definitely not good.old habits are hard to break but it's not impossible.Though my son is not accustomed to eating junk food but he sometimes whines for it and I do take him out for a treat but that is not very often,once in 2 months maybe.
I try to make sure that there is no junk food in the house .Developing good eating habits in kids can be tricky but parents should make sure that kids are exposed to different kinds of super foods from an early age.

What are Superfoods
Well, superfoods are those foods that are packed with vitamins,minerals and antioxidants.In other world superfoods are whole foods.These foods act like a tonic for the body and help you build immunity and live a healthy life.They are natural food sources where the nutrients are in the raw unprocessed state.
Some of you might be thinking, why not multivitamins and supplements? research has shown that taking multivitamins over a prolonged period of time increases the person's chances of death .No.I'm not trying to scare you but it's a fact established on the basis of several studies.

10 Super foods
 1) Oatmeal- Oats are rich in fiber and antioxidants.They also contain Zinc,magnesium and also iron.Some studies have also shown that kids who had oats in their breakfast were able to concentrate better in classroom.The study also showed that kids who ate oats at the start of their day showed increased spatial memory skills as compared to kids who had cereals.Spatial memory is related to memory and problem solving abilities in kids.
2) Whole Eggs-Eggs contain Choline, an important component that is essential for brain development in kids.They are also packed with protein.Egg Yolk is equally important.It contains all essential vitamins and minerals.So,don't even think of throwing away the yolk.Best way to have eggs is hard boil it and kids can have it as snack or can even take it in their lunch box.
3)Fruits-As we all know "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Yes, apples are a great source of vitamins and minerals .Other fruits like Kiwi fruits,strawberries,mangoes, bananas and pears.Serve fruits as fruit salad and fruit kebabs
4)Milk-A natural source of calcium and protein.Proteins helps in the wear and tear of the body and calcium is great for keeping bones and teeth strong and healthy.
5)Nuts and Seeds-Nuts provide the essential fats that kids little bodies require.A handful of nuts can provide quick energy and keep away the hunger pangs.Almonds are rich in Vitamin-E and calcium.Mix powdered almonds into a glass of milk.Walnuts contain antioxidants and are very beneficial for brain developments.
Another seed that is rich in antioxidants is Pumpkin seeds.Pumpkin seeds are known to have many health benefits.
6)Tomatoes-Tomatoes contain Lycopene. Lycopene is a substance that fights against cancer.Kids can have ripe and juicy tomatoes or you can even cook it.Cooking tomatoes makes it even more healthier.
7)Yogurt-Regular consumption of yogurt  helps build immunity.It also helps in digestion.Yogurt contains healthy bacteria which regulates the sugar levels in our kid's body.Go for pro-biotic curd.
8)Fish-Fish like Salmon,mackerel and sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids which is good for brain development in children.It is also heart friendly.
9)Beans-Pinto beans.chick peas,black beans are all filled with protein, vitamins and calcium.They help our body to fight against bad cholesterol.Darker the colour of beans,the better it is.
10)Green Vegetables -This includes green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.Vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are extremely good for health.They contain antioxidants and are full of vitamins and minerals.

I know it can be tough to get your kids eat all the healthy veggies and fruits.I sure do.In my next post I'm going to share some of my ideas to get kids eat vegetables and fruits.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Celebrate Earth Day with Kids

Today is World Earth Day and this is the best time to teach our children how to protect and preserve what mother earth has given us.

Our children are the future of this planet and it's never too late to explain how by our small efforts we can make  the earth a green place to live.

Teach then the concept of REDUCE,REUSE and RECYCLE.
  • Reduce-means making less garbage.Take your kids to a nearby park and pick up trash like plastic bottles,cans but be there to supervise so that they don't pick up any dangerous stuff like broken glass pieces.Talk to them how certain waste can pollute the environment and make animals sick.Also talk about the bio degradable and non-degradable stuff.
  •     Reuse-means making use of something more than once.Take a reusable bag and decorate it with ribbons and buttons.Involve kids in this activity.Kids can use this for carrying lunch boxes to school or even to the local grocery store.
  • Recycle-turning something useful into another useful item,like recycled paper and cans.
Save Energy-Explain what is energy and where it comes from.Talk to them about the various alternate sources of energy,like solar,hydro and wind energy.Tell your kids to turn off lights and Tvs when you are not in the room.

Save Fuel-You and you kids can walk to the local store instead of going by car.Cycling is also another option you can consider.Encourage your kids to walk or ride a bike to their school.

Global Warming -how pollution and cutting trees is effecting mother earth .Explain how global warming is effecting our life on earth.

Save Water-How water can be used to generate electricity.How can we save water by rain water harvesting and stop the water pollution.

Endangered animals-Talk about the various endangered animals like the Indian tiger.Why they are becoming extinct and what we can do to conserve this species.

Giving back to mother earth:
  • Plant more and more trees
  • Use recycled products as far as possible
  • Participate in fundraising activities for environment and wildlife conservation.
  • Involve in clean up garbage or other green activities in your community.
  • Spread awareness about environmental issues with friends.

Here's a list of some interesting books on Earth:
1)The cat in the hat comes back-by Dr.Seuss
2)Worms eat my garbage-by Mary Appel
3)The hungry caterpillar-by Eeic Carle
4)Kids nature notebook-by Susan Milord
5)Bugwise and Birdwise-by Pamela Hickman

Everyday is Earth Day.If we take care of nature,it takes care of us.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Nutritious Breakfast-Hummus Wrap

To start your day right,a good nutritious breakfast is important.Both for adults and kids it's the morning meal.
The ever growing bodies and developing brains of kids relies on the kind of food they eat.So it is not a good idea to skip breakfast.A wholesome and nutritious breakfast keeps you and your kid full the entire day and gives the essential energy the body requires.It also helps you avoid buying unnecessary calorie rich snacks.
Today i will give you a simple yet nutritious recipe for a wrap which can be made vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
You will need a few things like tomatoes and onions and hummus(see my previous post) which is used to spread and chapatti.Chapattis you can make by kneading fresh dough or by using leftover chapattis.

Nutritious Breakfast Wrap with Hummus Spread

You will need:

Hummus(see previous post)-3-4 tablespoons/chapatti
Green Chillies-2
Tomatoes- 2
Boiled Potatoes-2
Boiled Chicken(Vegetarians can skip this)-4-5 pieces
Finely chopped coriander leaves-2-3 teaspoons
Salt-to taste


For Non-Vegetarians
Put 4-5 pieces of chicken in a pressure cooker and add 1 teaspoon salt to the chicken.
Pour 4-5 cups of water into the cooker and cook it till 4-5 whistles
Take the chicken pieces out and tear them into small pieces with hand.

Cut the boiled potatoes in small pieces.
Finely chop the onions,tomatoes, green chillies and mix them together.

Put each chapatti on a dry plate and spread hummus with a butter knife or spoon.
Now, add the chopped onions,tomatoes and green chillies and also put the boiled chicken pieces.
Gently wrap each chapatti.

For Vegetarians-
Boil the potatoes and peel them off and add a pinch of salt to the potatoes and mix.
Cut the boiled potatoes in small pieces.
Finely chop the onions,tomatoes, green chillies and mix them together.
Put each chapatti on a dry plate and spread hummus with a butter knife or spoon.
Now, add the chopped onions,tomatoes and green chillies and also put the boiled potatoes.
Gently wrap each chapatti.

Yummy Hummus Dip

Hummus is a popular dip in the middle eastern countries.It is extremely healthy and packed with vitamins and minerals.
Hummus is low in calorie and rich in fiber contents.It's made with chick peas and tahini (sesame)paste and garlic and lime juice.People have different ways of making this dip.No matter how you make it but this dip is certainly a healthy and yummy alternative to other condiments like ketchup and mayo.

You will need
chick peas-1.5 cups
garlic cloves-2-3(or according to your taste)
sesame seeds-5-6 tablespoon
Lime juice-3 tablespoon
Olive oil-6-7 tablespoon


Soak the chickpeas is water for about 8 hours or you can even soak it overnight.
Boil the chickpeas by adding 2-3 teaspoon salt in 4-5 cups of water and pressure cook it for 4-5 whistles.
Cool it and take the peel out of the chickpeas.
Chop the garlic cloves .
In a mixer jar put the chopped garlic,chickpeas,sesame seeds and lime juice.Add olive oil and  blend to make a fine paste.
Yummy Hummus is ready!
Use it as a dip or spread.

Healthy Green Dhania chutney(Coriander Chutney)

My son loves this chutney and it's also an easy and quick to make recipe.This healthy chutney when made with garlic makes it rich in anti-oxidants and is great for immunity too.Garlic acts as a powerful antibiotic,especially when eaten raw.

The chutney can be spread on bread while making sandwiches,can be eaten with pakoras or simply with hot parathas and rotis.

While buying coriander leaves,make sure you buy the fresh variety with no yellow leaves.
Wash the leaves thoroughly under running water and cut stems that are thick.Do not throw away all the stems.The stems taste equally good as the leaves.

Nutritional Benefits of Dhania(Coriander/cilantro)
Green coriander/cilantro leaves are considered to be rich in anti-oxidants and fiber too.They also contain s vital nutrients like folic- acid and
vitamin K.

Now coming to the recipe part...

                                      GREEN DHANIA CHUTNEY(Coriander/Cilantro Chutney)

You will need:
Fresh dhania(coriander/cilantro) leaves-1 bunch
1-2 cloves of garlic
Green chillies-1-2
Salt-to taste
Juice of 1/2  fresh lime /2 teaspoons of tamarind pulp.
Water-3-4 teaspoon

Method :
Wash properly and chop the dhania leaves roughly along with the stems.Take the thick stems out.
Put the chopped Dhania leaves in a mixer jar and add chopped garlic,salt ,green chillies,tamarind pulp and water.
Blend it to fine paste.Add litter more water if required.
Your healthy and yummy dhania chutney is ready.
Serve it with the snack of your choice.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Money Smart Kids

Good parenting comes with a great deal of responsibility.Teaching kids about money isn't always easy,but it is the duty of every parent to raise financially-fit kids.
Talking about money to your children and teaching them how to save and spend wisely is the key to building a healthy relationship with money.
A child who has been taught to make wise money decisions can also handle financial responsibilities with confidence.
Here are a few kid-friendly guidelines:

1 Be a good role model
Before talking to you kid about money you must make sure that you talk about money with yourself.Your approach in handling financial matters will help you educate your child about money.
Positive money practices like responsible spending and saving will also help your child understand money matters better.

2 Be patient with your kid

If your kid makes wrong buying decisions or overspends,do not argue or scold him.Instead make your conversation positive and listen to him.

3 Encourage saving
Whenever your kid gets an allowance or gift encourage him to put a part of the money in a piggy bank.You can also open a savings account at a bank and take the child to deposit the money there.

4 Give a modest allowance
Whenever your child helps you or other members of the family with some work reward him with allowance.Do keep in mind that the money should be a modest amount so that your child does not fall into harsh spending habits.

5 Help your kid find work
You can help your child find a part time job locally.Help him prepare for the application process and the interview.
For younger kids,instead of handing over the allowance you can ask them to help you with some chores.

6 Invest in stocks
This is a very good way to make money and create wealth too.Open a custodial account for your kid and teach him how to pick good stocks and invest in them.He can invest a part of his allowance in stocks and see his money grow with time.

7 Plan family money nights
Play board game like monopoly and discuss about stocks and other investment options.

8 Involve your kid in making family budget
Ask him to make a shopping list and explain what to include and why you need to avoid the unnecessary items.This will help him understand how a budget works and will also help him make disciplined financial decisions in future.

9 Giving back
This is a very important lesson which every kid must be taught.Encourage him to donate a part of his allowance to the poor and needy.Explain why contributing money to the homeless or child charity is more important than buying expensive gadgets.
Such contributions also teach social responsibility to kids.

Once your kid learns the virtues of saving,he can spend and invest wisely which will ultimately help him create wealth.

Early reading skills in children


Learning to read is one of the most important milestones in your child's life.
Literacy begins at birth and is developed through everyday interactions with your child like pointing out, singing songs and story telling.
Reading to young children is one of the ways to build literacy skills and also prepare them for school.
Several research studies have shown that children who have been read to at home are well prepared to read and write in school as compared to children who have not had any experiences of listening to books read aloud.
Many people believe that children are ready to learn to read and write in kindergarten or first grade,but that's not true.Literacy skills actually starts in the earliest months of the child's life.
Helping your child to learn to read at an early age has several benefits.

Early Language development for Infants to 1 Year:
Read to your infant.Yes,books are important at this stage.Reading aloud will help your child find patterns in the sounds he hears.
Choose books with big texts and with just one object or person are the best.You can buy chubby books with puppets and peepholes.
Bring home cardboard books which can take rough handling.
Babies learn from repetition.Interact as much as you can and talk about whatever is new.

1Year to 2 Years:
By this time your child would have grasped a few words read to him and his listening vocabulary too must be large now.
At 1 year your child is ready to hear proper words so keep talking to him and make story time your everyday routine.
Introduce books with short sentences.Ask him to point to the object of his interest and describe it to him.You can ask him questions like "What's this?","Where is the cat?".
Read the same book over and over because children love repetition.
Keep him interested in your conversation by asking him questions throughout the day.

2Years to 3 Years:
At 3 years your child would have mastered nearly 1000 words.He's learning new words each day and is gradually increasing his vocabulary.
Keep reading his favorite story books.Let him pick the book he wants to read and both of you can enjoy the book.Try connecting the stories to the real world by asking questions.You can include your child's friends or family members in the story and try making up new stories together.

4Year to 5 Years:
Your child's vocabulary is blossoming and he is on the verge of reading.This is a stage where kids are talkative so encourage him by prompting along and asking him questions.
Keep exploring by talking to him and adding new books to his existing collection.

Here's a list of a few interesting children's book:
1)Big Little
by Leslie Patricelli;Ages-0-5

2)Twas the Night Before Christmas
by Clement C. Moore;Ages 0-5

3)Dr. Seuss's ABC
An Amazing Alphabet Book-by Dr. Seuss
Ages 0-5

4)I Love You, Good Night
by Jon Buller and Susan Schade;Ages 0-5

by Marie Torres Cimarusti ;Ages 0-5

Helping your child develop early reading skills will not only instill confidence in him but it can help your child develop critical thinking skills too.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Kids immunity boosting recipe-Jowar & Ragi Roti

Jowar & Ragi roti :
Sorghum(Jowar):Sorghum,white millet or jowar as it is popularly called in India is an important crop in the dry land.Sorghum starch does not contain gluten so it is good for those who are allergic to gluten.It is rich in carbohydrate,calcium,iron and protein and can be introduced into to kid's diet from age 6 months onwards.

Millet(Ragi):Ragi or millet is another wonderful crop that is loaded with calcium and carbohydrate with a few traces of iron and vitamin b-complex.This also helps to boost the kid's immunity.

Jowar & Ragi Roti(Sorghum & Millet Flatbread):

you will need:
1)1 cup ragi flour
2)1/2 cup jowar flour
3)2.5 cups water
4)1/2 teaspoon salt
5)pan to boil water
6)1/2 cup wheat flour to roll the rotis
7)2-3 teaspoon ghee(clarified butter)(optional)
8)rolling pin

1) Boil 2.5 cups of water in a pan and add the salt once the water starts to boil.
2)lower the flame and add the ragi flour and then the jowar flour and stir once and turn the flame off.
3)let the mix cool down.
4)now mix the content with a spoon and knead a soft dough with your hand.
5)make 2-3 balls from the dough and roll each ball to make a roti by dusting wheat flour(atta).
6)Heat a flat pan and put the rotis one at and time and turn sides and put the roti on the gas flame for sometime .
7)smear ghee on top of roti.
8)serve hot with plain yogurt and onions or with any pickle of your choice.Your kid will simply love it!

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