Sunday, October 30, 2011

Warm Hot Chocolate in this Cold Weather!

Deliciousness in a warm cup
With rain all over the country, one can't but want a warm cup of tea, coffee or in my case hot chocolate! Tea and instant coffee mixes can sure provide you with a low calorie warm drink if prepared right, but I was craving some delicious cocoa and there's no better idea than to make a hot cup of chocolate! Better yet, there is no better news than the fact that cocoa is indeed a great source of antioxidants. Some cocoa powders - like natural ones from Nestle or Hershey's for example - have more antioxidants than others - Dutch processed cocoa - due to the different processing techniques that could reduce the polyphenolic compounds such as flavonoids. Nevertheless, unsweetened cocoa dry powder is the cocoa type to choose. Try to go for organic ones, I prefer those to be honest!

Preparation is simple and quick! Just mix 3 tbsp of milk (I usually go for almond or rice milk and not animal-source milk - so this is great if you're a vegetarian or vegan), 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tsp of sugar (or agave if you are vegan) in a warm cup of water! This way, you'll end up with a rich warm cup of hot chocolate, enough to provide you with calcium, proteins and antioxidants all in around 100 calories! Now, for some, it's a big deal to switch to nut/rice milk, but, hey, you will be cutting off at least 100 calories and lots of cholesterol and saturated fats!

Keep in mind to lay low on those marshmallows, biscuits and cream that could lurk around your hot chocolate. Either way, when you're craving a sweet chocolate taste, hot chocolate made with skim milk and unsweetened cocoa powder is a healthier sweet source than a commercial chocolate bar.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why Dieters Fail to Maintain their Reduced Weight

Worldwide, there are more than 1.5 billion overweight adults, including 400 million who are obese. In Lebanon, a study conducted in 2003 showed that overweight adult men were 60 % and overweight women were 50%. As for obesity (in which one's BMI greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2) was higher overall among women with 19 % than men with 14 %, a trend that became more evident with increasing obesity class!

Now although restriction of diet often results in initial weight loss, more than 80 % of obese dieters fail to maintain their reduced weight. Many studies are still digging to know why - and a recent study suggests it's all about your hormones!

A new study  published in the New England Journal of Medicine couple of days ago involved 50 overweight or obese adults with an average weight of 95kg, who enrolled in a 10-week weight loss program using a very low energy diet. The whole point was to monitor levels of appetite-regulating hormones before, during and at the end of the program  as well as after 1 year after initial weight loss.

>> Results showed that following initial weight loss of about 13 kgs, the levels of hormones that influence hunger changed in a way which would be expected to increase appetite! These changes were sustained for at least 1 year and thus this made participants more prone to regain weight by around 5kgs during the one-year period of study. This is because when we lose weight, our bodies think we are going in a starvation mode thus it tends to work its butt off to maintain our regular weight - even if it's not a healthy one! This is called the "set point theory" - a serious enemy of weight loss. It served us well during early ages, when food was scarce and famines were more prevalent, but it is sure not serving the obesity pandemic now!

Tackling childhood obesity
is the key!
Hormones have an immensely huge role in regulating dietary and behavioral changes, in order to reach the initial weight! Dr. Proietto, from the study, indicated that although health promotion campaigns recommended obese people adopt lifestyle changes such as to be more active and to change their dietary habits, this might lead to minimal changes and is unlikely to lead to reversal of the obesity epidemic! The key is to focus public health efforts to prevent children obesity in the first place!

Information and photo sources:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blue Colored Plates to Reduce your Appetite?

Can blue plates affect your appetite?
Blue sure is a color that calls to feelings like serenity and calmness. But when we come to think of factors that can affect our appetite, colors come last! However, our eating behaviors are affected by the environment surrounding us - especially those colors in our kitchen or dining area. Studies suggest that the color blue shows interesting promise to act on the brain as an appetite suppressant

But why? Other than its potential to stimulate calming waves in the brain, blue is rarely occurs naturally in food – aside from blueberries and some plums. Consequently, we don’t have an automatic appetite response to blue foods while we are more prone to consume yellow, red and orange colored foods – which could act as appetite stimulants. Moreover, we are more prone to avoid foods that are blue, purple or black because unconsciously, the colors could be signs of spoilage or poison.

Therefore serving your food on blue plates, having blue utensils or covering your table with a blue cloth may help in eating less or reduce your urge to eat more. We sure need further studies to establish a more solid relationship between the effect of the color blue and weight, but for the time being, I think I’ll be experimenting with some blue plates!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Right Nutrition When You Have the Flu!

So the flu season is here! I've been sneezing and coughing all day and I found myself super tired, with watery eyes, a sore throat and no appetite at all! Obviously, when you're sick, you're too tired to think about healthy eating! Now, a healthy lifestyle - with lots of fruits, vegetables and lean protein, accompanied by regular exercise – will help in increasing your immune system. Alas, colds and flus are possible and it’s natural to let good nutrition slide when coping with illness. But when your body battles flu symptoms for days or weeks, your diet is essential to help you achieve speedy recovery especially with work, school or university - these guys just don't seem to take a break!

Nutrition tips to boost your strength and immunity!

Protein is crucial - Because protein is crucial for building and repairing cells, it can help prevent the loss of muscle mass. It also helps maintain fluid balance and improves your body's ability to heal, especially that antibodies needed to find germs are actually made of proteins themselves!Some sources of protein are fish, chicken, lean meat. Eggs and dairy products such as milk, labne and cheese are also easily digestible forms of animal protein, but I'm not a big fan. You can go for animal sources of protein such as quinoa, legumes and nuts. The key is to combine legumes, beans and nuts with whole grains such as bulgur, whole wheat or rice. This way, legumes and grains will complement each other in providing you with complete source of proteins.

In addition, by eating foods high in protein, you also get the benefit of other healing nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system. Proteins also contain minerals such as selenium and zinc that work to keep your immune system strong!

Getting Enough CaloriesWhen trying to lose weight, counting calories could become a habit. So if you are a calorie counter, it’s time to ditch this habit! When you are sick, instead of trying to cut your total energy intake down, it’s time to increase it. Because your body is working harder to fight off germs and boosting your strength, you will sure need the extra nutrients!
Moreover, when you are sick, your appetite might decrease which could cause unintentional weight loss leaving you weak and exhausted! Therefore, boost your protein in your diet, have fruit and yogurt, whole milk and cream soups with vegetables and chicken!

Keep your Fiber in Check - Fiber is good for you both in the short and the long term. It helps keep you regular and prevents constipation. In the long run, it may lower the risk of intestinal problems, diabetes, and other diseases.But when you're feeling sick, it's easy to forget about the fiber. These diet changes, along with lower fluid intake and less exercise, can lead to constipation. So focus on having enough proteins, nutrient and energy dense foods as well as best sources of fiber such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts!
Having warm nutritious
soups can revitalize you!
Lots of fluids are a must - Water, soups and teas help keep your system stay well hydrated and counteract any fever you have. Warm teas help in opening congested airways, thin mucous secretions, coat the throat, soothe and warm up your aching stomach, help in decreasing any flu-related nausea and drain mucous secretions faster. Hence, the chicken soup: warm fluids with veggies as fibers and chicken as proteins!
In some people, dairy products increase mucus production. If this happens to you, avoid dairy for a few days. Dairy products may also make nausea and vomiting worse so know thy self!

Supplements - Vitamins and minerals are important for health; calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, D and E are just a few of them. But don't make the mistake of relying on supplements, instead you should concentrate on getting nutrition from whole foods. Lots start popping vitamin C tablets with their drinks and with every meal possible! Well, vitamin C  is protective if taken adequately as part of your daily dietary intake and not as a last minute resort! With whole foods, you’ll have the perfect combination of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber! But hey, always check with your doctor before starting supplements or any alternative treatment!
Have lots of rest,
you need it!

Your sense of taste may be off since your nasal passages are plugged. So don't be surprised if some or your favorite foods don't taste the same.Remember to get plenty of rest, your body needs it!Everyone needs to get enough sleep, vitamins and nutrients and this is truer than ever when you're sick.

Photo sources

Friday, October 21, 2011

The First Cooking Festival In Beirut

For the first time in the region, Beirut is hosting the first Beirut Cooking Festival for all food-lovers! This festival will bring the very best small and big businesses to present top chefs, professional winemakers, irresistible cuisine, foods and beverages!

The Beirut Cooking Fest will take place in Biel from November 17 to November 19 - starting 11.00 am till 8.00 pm.

There will ongoing kitchen workshops, live cooking, olive oil tasting and workshops, wine tasting sessions, cocktail live demonstrations, organic and farmers corner, etiquette learning, a full program for 6 to 10 year old children and a wide selection of cookbooks!

Information, Photo source and for more info:
Beirut Cooking Festival Facebook Page
Brochure to download!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Run Beirut, Run for a Cause!

"The Beirut Marathon Association is a non-profit organization certified by Ministry of Youth and Sports". The aim behind the marathon is, therefore, non-profit. So I digged into this matter and yes, running on the 26th of November in this marathon is totally non-profit! You will get to exercise, enjoy some active time with hundreds of Lebanese runners and get to benefit a charity of your choice!

Some of the causes which you can run for include include The National Organization for Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation, BraveHeart Fund, Think Green, KunHadi, MySchoolPulse, Jeunesse Contre Drogue, Chronic Care Center, etc.! There are many and you can check the list here.

There are 8 different races : Check their description, starting time and registration fees here. I will be running in the 10 Km Fun Run - it is non-competitive, fun, you can run at your own pace, you'll enjoy the company of families and children running, you'll get to exercise and benefit the charity of your own!

The title was suggested by Lebanon
Information source, photo source and if you want more info:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Move More, Sit Less

Start from the bottom of this exercise pyramid and adapt an active lifestyle!
  • Be as active as possible everyday: Park your car far and walk/bicycle to work, take the stairs instead of elevators, walk to buy your groceries and wash your car or your pet!
  • Enhance your activity by choosing other activities of the pyramid. It's not enough to just have an active lifestyle; in fact, it is best to choose structural aerobic and recreational activities that you enjoy and that would increase your heartbeat such as biking, swimming, basket ball, jogging, the list goes on! Exercise at least 3-5 times a week and as a start, 20 minutes will do. However, increase your exercise duration gradually to reach a steady habit of 50-60 minutes per day!
  • Have strength, flexibility and leisure activities twice a week to increase your muscle mass, improve your muscular strength and increase your endurance! Muscles have the ability to help in regulating your blood sugar level (believe it or not) and to burn fat at rest so the more muscles you have, the more you will burn!
  • Last, try to cut down on your sedentary time. Spend less time watching TV, playing computer games and surfing the net (so get up after reading this and move it!). It might be challenging, but sure worth it.

Most of activity pyramids out there are for kids; however, exercise is as important for adults as it is during earlier ages, especially that with schools, universities and work, we tend to "slob" more! So, set yourself to be more active and commit to an exercise you enjoy! No need to start with an hour of sweaty exercise a day, you'll end up quitting sooner than you know it, start gradually with a 10-minute exercise and increase your exercise by around 5-10 minutes a week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cancer Prevention Nutrition Tips

It's World Food Day and Blog Action Day while it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month - so I decided to combine all those together and blog about the healthiest diet that helps in cancer prevention! Of course, cancer is a mutli-factorial chronic disease with genetic factors as well as environmental, personal and dietary ones affecting its incidence. So why not control what is modifiable! Whatever the situation, your dietary choices matter! Some foods actually increase your risk of cancer, while others support your body. By making smart food choices, you can protect your health, feel better, and boost your ability fight off diseases.

Research shows that a large percentage of cancer-related deaths are linked to lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet. Avoiding cigarettes, minimizing alcohol, and getting regular exercise are a great to an anti-cancer lifestyle. But to best support your health, you also need to look at your eating habits.

Focus on plant-based foods  - Plants have less fat, more fiber and more cancer-fighting nutrients. These 3 work together to support your immune system! The best diet that aid in preventing cancer is a plant-based diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, pulses, beans, seeds and nuts!You don't to go completely vegetarian, just aim to have at least 2/3rds of your intake of whole grains, vegetables, beans, or fruit while keep 1/3rd for dairy products, fish and meats.

A fresh bowl of salad will
boost up your fiber intake!
Bulk up on fiber - Another benefit of eating plant-based foods is that it will also increase your fiber intake. Fiber is the part of plants (grains, fruits, and vegetables) that your body doesn't have enzymes to digest. Fiber plays a key role in keeping your digestive system clean, healthy and it keeps food moving through your digestive tract thus moving cancer-causing molecules out with it.Now, the more natural and unprocessed your food is, the higher in fiber it is. So have fiber from more brown, bran, whole-grain, whole-wheat, whole, skin-containing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, seeds and nuts! And keep on mind that meat, dairy, sugary, and processed white foods (white bread, white rice, pastries, etc.) are very low in fibers! 

Cut down on meats - Research shows that vegetarians are about 50% less likely to develop cancer than those who eat meat. Why? Because meat lacks fiber and other nutrients that have been shown to have cancer-protective properties while having lots of fat - saturated ones. High-fat diets have been linked to higher rates of cancer especially saturated fat. Moreover, it also depends on how meat is prepared. When charred, those black bits are shown to be carcinogenic compounds!
So you can cut down your cancer risk substantially by reducing the amount of animal-based products you eat and by choosing healthier meats. Keep red meats to minimum, choose leaner options such as fish, chicken or turkey while avoiding processed meats (sausages, makanek, salami, deli meats, hotdogs) to the max!

Liquid fats - unsaturated ones -
are your best bet
Choose your fats wisely - A major benefit of cutting down on the amount of meat you eat is that you will automatically cut out a lot of saturated, unhealthy fat. However, don't cut down fat entirely, nope! In fact, some types of fat may actually protect against cancer. The wisdom lies in choosing your fats wisely and eat them in moderation.
-- Fats that increase cancer risk have been shown to be
: saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products such as red meat, whole milk dairy products and eggs. Trans fats, could be also called partially hydrogenated oils (check your nutrition facts labels), are created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid and increase their shelf life - something food for industries but horrible for you.
-- Fats that help in decreasing caner risk are unsaturated ones, the more liquidy fats. They are from plant sources such as olive oil, canola oil, olives, nuts and avocados. Also focus on omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation and support brain and heart health. Good sources include salmon, tuna and flaxseeds. 

Choose cancer-fighting foods - Your immune system does a great job to fight off unhealthy molecules but there are many ways in which you can help strengthen in even more. There is not miracle foods of course, only those that will help your body fight off diseases.So increase your anti-oxidants intake from fruits and vegetables, eat brighter-colored foods, throw in some spices in your meal (and be creative!) while drinking lots of water!

The way you cook your food is as important
as what you eat!
Don't forget that the way you cook/store your food is as important as what you choose to eat!
  • Eat raw fruits and vegetables, they have the least leached vitamins and minerals 
  • Steam foods with the least amount of water possible, you don't want to lose those cancer-fighting compounds!
  • Go for fresh meats and avoid processed and cured meats with preservatives such as hotdogs, deli meats, sausages and bacon!
  • Don't overcook your BBQ to burn or char your meats to be dead smoky!
  • Don't cook oils on high heat like deep/pan frying. Instead bake, broil, boil or steam!
  • Store your foods wisely - Store oils in dark, dry and cool places to decrease the risk of rancidity and avoid moldy foods. Keep foods fresh and cool!

-- You are what you eat, so make every bite count!

Information sources

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Global Handwashing Day!

As simple as it seems to many, proper hand washing is in fact crucial! Studies have shown that hand washing with soap can cut deaths from diarrhea by almost 50 % and deaths from acute respiratory infections by 25 % - saving more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention!

Washing one's hands with soap, and not with water alone, could reduce worldwide rates of diarrhea by almost half and save deaths of over 3.5 million children under the age of 5!

Because hands act as vectors that carry disease pathogens from person to person, either through direct contact or indirectly through touching surfaces. When not washed with soap, hands that have been in contact with human or animal feces, bodily fluids like nasal excretions, and contaminated foods or water can transport bacteria, viruses, and parasites to unwitting hosts.

So when to wash our hands?
  • Before and after handling/ preparing/ eating food
  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose
  • After coughing/ sneezing
  • After touching pets and animals
  • Before and after visiting sick people
  • Or simply when they are dirty

And even though the below video is intended to increase kids' awareness about the importance of hand washing, it is quite helpful to show everyone the proper way to wash our hands!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy Blog-aversary to US!

Paty M's Nutrition World is celebrating its ONE year blog-aversary today!!

With 158 blog posts and 38,000 views, we have tackled various topics in this nutrition world and started to focus on more Lebanese health-related concerns later this past year but hey, there's a lot to talk about in my world, so stay tuned for a far more interesting year (and topics) to come!

Better yet, due to my blog, I got to meet many new, fun and interesting people in the Lebanese blogosphere, to which I am very thankful! So not only did my blog give me more space to "babble" more about my passion: food, health and nutrition, but it also made it possible to meet wonderful people! So thank you all, and Happy Blog-aversary!
*Illustration by the left hand, red nose illustrator : Rodrigue Harb

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Why Wait for Sunday Gatherings - Souk El Tayeb, Authentic Lebanese Food in the Heart of Beirut!

A lot of us long for Sundays to have those authentic gatherings with our extended families, around a table rich in traditional Lebanese food, from tabboule, fattoush, hummus, home-made mana’ich, to kebbe, grilled meats and Lebanese sweets; especially with brilliant cooks like our moms and tetas!

Food is indeed a very important part of our daily lives, better yet; food constitutes a crucial part of our identity and heritage! So what about a place, cozy and authentic, that prepares your Sunday lunches every day?  This is what Tawlet is all about!

On Saturday 1st of October, Cynthia from Strawberry Blu, my friend, dietitian, food scientist and amazing blogger decided to visit Tawlet, located in Mar Mechael street in Gemmayze, Lebanon! And what an amazingly delicious experience it was! We had lunch and a casual chit chat with Mr. Kamal Mouzawak, chef, writer and founder of Souk el Tayeb- Tawlet, and here’s how it went…

Tawlet Overview
Tawlet (Arabic for Table) is a farmer’s kitchen that simply revolves around “Shou tabkha el mama el yom?” (English “What’s mom cooking today?”). Each day, different food producers, cooks and also well known chefs come from all over the country to prepare traditional Lebanese home-made food from their own region or village.
The Menu
Visitors can serve themselves food buffet-style from a menu that varies daily, depending on the regional specialty for that specific day.
Tawlet's open buffet
You can definitely find foods that you are familiar with, but what is most exciting are those foods that are unique to every region of Lebanon! Such as Bemye bi debess el remmen (Okra with pomegranate molasses) from Jezzine, Koussa bel zet (Zucchini in oil) from Maaser El Chouf and Kebbe arnabiye (Kebbe with sesame paste and sour orange juice) from Kfaratra!

You can have some lemonade, jellab, arak or wine while the water is free to pour some from the traditional “bri2” (which is a rounded glass bottle with a tight neck and a nozzle from which you can pour water, mainly found at our granny’s!)
Tawlet uses preservative & chemical-free (products) produce in all the foods prepared! That’s why you don’t find any place for carbonated beverages, such as cokes and sodas, for they are not part of our cuisine, right? As for dessert, you can find the finest fruits, fruit salad, as well as Arabic sweets such as knefe, so we definitely had some! 

Delicious fruit, knefe, cakes and Lebanese sweets!
To wrap up, the menu is full of delicious authentic Lebanese dishes that you don’t get to have every day and which you can actually check weekly on facebook!

Tawlet's Environment
The place's interior is earthy, green and warm! The chairs and tables are wooden with plants and flowers all over the, might I add, smoking-free dining area. You can find meticulously arranged bri2 stand, a beautifully arranged Lebanese wine collection as well as a stand for various home-made Lebanese mouneh (pickled and preserved produce and pantry). Moreover, what I loved is that the kitchen is right there in front of your eyes! Whatever food is being prepared, heated or cooked is out there for all of the visitors to see!

Beautifully arranged wine collection
Warm, green and homey!
Maya Zankoul's illustrations
decorating one of Tawlet's walls
Tawlet under the Umbrella of Souk El Tayeb
Tawlet's kitchen actually falls under Souk El Tayeb (Tayeb meaning tastes good/delicious) that includes a farmer's market, wine tasting classes, cooking workshops, food feasts and school programs! Cynthia and I will make sure to visit this market very soon in Biel (which opens every Saturday in Biel from 9 am till 2 pm) to check their mouneh, pastries, sweets, dairy products, and their fresh, local and organic fruit and vegetables.

Kamal Mouzawak is doing his share of preserving our Lebanese culture and traditional cuisine by supporting local farmers, organic and fresh produce and by focusing on the importance of our Lebanese character and identity! So what are we doing to preserve our culture?

Tawlet Contact Details
Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday: 1 pm - 4 pm
Cynthia (right) and I (left)
enjoying Tawlet's kitchen
At night, it is open for private dinners and exhibitions
Price range:
  • "Producer's buffet" and "Saturday's Souk Brunch": 27 USD $
  • "Plate du jour": 10 USD $
Phone number: 01-448 129
Address: Beirut, Sector 79 -  Naher Street #12 (Jisr el- hadeed), Ground floor facing Spoiler center, Beirut, Lebanon
*Photos courtesy of Paty M's Nutrition World and Strawberry Blu.
Strawberry Blu's similar post about Tawlet [here].

Blog Action Day 2011 - All about FOOD!

Blog Action Day is an annual event in which all bloggers around the world post about the same topic during the same day (this year it's October 16) - and this year it all revolves around FOOD!!

This event aims to increase awareness about hot topics worth discussing globally, topics that affect us all and impact our lives everyday, hoping that such discussions would generate new ideas, plans and actions, kind of like a global brainstorming! Since 2007, topics such as poverty, water, environment and climate change in which more than 10,000 bloggers have participated!

So why FOOD?!
Food is part of our daily lives, part of our culture and identities!
The topic of food is broad: from celebrating feasts, cooking, famines, obesity, food politics, food production, food chemistry, to the nutrients it provides us with or the toxins and unhealthy components it may contain, I mean the list is endless!

Blog Action Day even provided us with a list just to inspire all bloggers out there! Some of which are:
  • Obesity or famines
  • Favorite foods and recipes
  • Hunger and poverty
  • Healthy vs junk food
  • How industries and politics affect food
  • Traditional/cultural food
  • Your relationship with food, what it means in your life
  • Growing your own food
  • Will we able to feel 9 billion people in 2050
  • Are you a vegetarian or a meat eater and why
  • Strangest thing you've ever eaten
  • Delicious food you had on your last trip
  • Your struggle with food
  • Foods that are good for your health or immunity
  • Awareness you would love people to know about food 

No one can deny that food has a huge impact on each of our lives and hence that's what Blog Action Day is all about! So register your blog here and take part of this global action!
If you're on twitter, don't forget to hash tag your post with #BAD11 so we can all get a glimpse of what each of us has written!

Info source: Blog Action Day

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Helping your KID to stay FIT

There’s a lot going on about the importance of building health build blocks since we are kids…so as parents, you can do it now!

Start teaching your kids how to be fit, healthy and happy.
Being fit is another way of saying that your kid eats healthy nutritious food, is active and has a healthy body weight. When they are fit, they feel good, they can do better performance in class and they can play and enjoy their time with friends.

BE the role model
Being a role model sets an example for your kids. Kids mirror you; just because you are “Mommy!” Eat healthy yourself, choose snacks nutritiously and live by hearty habits. It’s hard to convince your kids to eat the vegetables in their plate if you didn’t or to drink milk or fresh juices if they see you sipping sodas. It’s even harder to integrate active life in them when they don’t see you move it to some music with them or use the stairs instead of the elevator. Little things you do could become their habits. If you complain about exercising and eating healthy food, your kids might relate those to negative feelings and refrain from doing them. Therefore, step up and be your kid’s role model! Start simply by eating fresh fruits, adding more vegetables on every meal and even parking your car far and walking home!

YOU are the supply controller

You decide which foods to buy & serve and which foods stay out. Kids could be really influential on their parents to trick them in buying less nutritious foods and parents eventually agree with them often just to finish the grocery shopping and head home. Well, no, adults are in charge when deciding which foods are regularly stocked at home and no, kids won’t go hungry. They eat what is available in the fridge. However, it’s important not to deprive your kids. If their snack is not all that nutritious, it would be ok to buy it once in a while. Note that in such cases, this “not all nutritious snack” should not be used as a reward nor a punishment. Getting a good grade should be rewarded indeed but not with food. This could build in them the idea that reward equals junk food and grow to reward themselves with that. So it’s a good idea to keep foods neutral, they are not used for reward neither for punishment. Moreover, from the foods you buy; let your kids choose what they want to eat from them. This will give them the freedom to choose what they want to eat. So rewarding them with a nice trip to the amusement center could be a good idea.

Quit the all Lebanese “Clean the plate” rule
We are all used to our grandmas and moms telling us that we are not leaving the table unless we finish the last grain of rice on that plate. Well it’s time to change that! Let kids eat slowly and let them stop eating when they feel full. This would help them listen to their bodies, notice and respond to feeling of fullness and know what it really is to be comfortable full. Sometimes, people eat too much because they don’t notice or learned to ignore “the feeling” that signals the need to stop eating. Know that the stomach needs 20 minutes to tell your brain that you are full so letting your kid choose how much they way to eat will teach them not to overeat.

Offer variety young
Variety in food is important. It offers your kids a wide spectrum of nutrient that their bodies need to healthfully grow up. But what is more important is to start them young. Food preferences are developed very early in life. So the more flavors you offer, the less the chance to have “picky” eaters in the future! Don’t force them to eat it of course, but offer few bites. You may need to serve foods more than once, on different occasions and in different forms for you child to get used to the taste but it’s sure worth it.

Offer the activity of creative cooking
Cook with your kids! Whether it’s squeezing oranges, grinding garlic or mixing the ingredients of that cake you are baking, it all counts.
  • To start with, let them plan what is to be cooked. 
  • They could choose what fruit they want with their cornflakes or what goes in the vegetable salad and even write the shopping list.
  • Introduce them to new foods and how they are manufactured.
  • Add some “nutrition hints” for your kids on why these foods are good for them.
  • Teach them food safety and sanitation rules like how to wash their hands and even fruits and vegetables.
  • Make the kitchen their “learning laboratory”! They could read the ingredients of the recipe, check expiration dates, measure amount of salt or water used and set the timer.
  • Encourage their creativity. Let them draw faces with food items or more, encourage them to create their own recipe.
When children cook with you, they can’t wait till they taste them since they are most likely to eat foods they have helped in preparing. This way you could integrate more healthy foods in their diet. Don’t forget to give them compliments after their achievement; it gives them a sense of accomplishment and self confidence
In addition to that, it could even be a good idea to take your kids grocery
shopping with you! You might as well get your kids help to prepare them a quick snack that could be readily available when they feel like it. For example, keeping shiny carrots at the reach of your kids would encourage them more to eat them. The most important thing is to keep it safe. Always supervise them, give them age appropriate tasks and watch for sharp utensils and appliances.

Benefits of family meal time

Family meal time should be sacred. Make it a priority to eat altogether at least 4 times per week. If you are not eating together now just increase that gradually one day at a time but make sure to start this tradition. And if you know you can’t make it together for dinner, well plan an afternoon snack together or yet, plan breakfast. Yes you can have breakfast together, but if you think there’s not enough time, you could always prepare you breakfast’s ingredient on the table a night ahead! Kids need to know that there is a specific place where the whole family eats, away from school problems, television, games, etc.
Kids who eat at home with their families tend to eat more veggies and fruits, more fibers and less junk food. Moreover, when you eat together, this will give you a chance to show your kids that role modeling we talked about. You could display your good eating habits such as choosing medium portions of food, eating a variety of vegetables, or stopping when you are feel full. It is also important to know that get-togethers over lunch or dinner improve communication between family members. You get make it a fun time to joke and catch up on what happened during the day.

Play Station, TV, PC … Limit their time
Screen time is time spent on TV, video games, DVDs… all what is seen through a screen. The more time you and your kids spend on such “sitting” activities, the less time spent on “active” activities and thus the higher the risk of becoming overweight. So, don’t be a couch potato! Show your kids that moving is part of your and their life and encourage them to stay active. So to start with, try to limit your kids’ screen time to maximum of 2 hours per day. By doing this, you would avoid mindless snacking on TV and in the same time ensure that they are spending at least half an hour per day playing basketball, biking, running, swinging, swimming…any physical activity they love.