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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fast Food at Home

Are you in a mad rush and need to cook dinner in a hurry. Check out these great tips by Nicole Dean on how to make "Fast Food". Don't worry, they are not the "Mac" type of fast food but nutritious yet yummy food that is good to eat and fast to cook!

Kids have to eat. Three meals a day, every day. All moms know how important it is to have an arsenal of quick meals handy. You never know when you'll have to put healthy food on the table in a hurry, or when you need ideas so dad can help.

Dunk It
Fruit Dips

Lucky for us, kids love dip. Cut some fresh cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, celery, and bell peppers and serve them with ranch dressing. Even finicky veggie-haters will eat their veggies with dressing on them.

Saved by a Sandwich
Delicious Sandwiches

Start with two waffles, an English muffin, bagel, croissant, or a hotdog, hoagie or hamburger bun. Simply add jam, peanut butter, fruit slices, meat, hummus, veggies, eggs, or cheese. The possibilities are endless.

Oodles of Noodles
Oodles of Noodles

If you've got noodles, you can make a meal. Add some salad dressing and some meat, garbanzo beans and veggies and you've got pasta salad. Or, start with noodles and add a little butter and parmesan cheese to make buttered noodles. And, there's always the classic standby - add pasta sauce and a dollop of cottage cheese onto noodles and you just made lasagna.

Wrap it Up
All wrapped up

If you've got tortillas and leftovers, you've got a wonderful meal. Warm up your leftovers and wrap them up in a tortilla with some cheese. Voila! Leftovers Burrito.

Spuds from Heaven

Potatoes are a meal waiting to happen. Microwave a potato, pile on cheese of any sort (cheddar, mozzarella, cottage cheese) and some meat, veggies, or even salsa or sunflower seeds, and you have a delicious dinner.

Soup Warms the Soul
Yummy Soup
Fill a pan with broth and veggies. Then, just throw in whatever you have in the house, meat or beans, leftovers, a can of diced tomatoes, noodles or rice, and spices. You just made soup in minutes.

Turn the Day Upside Down

You can have breakfast any time. Cereal, eggs & bacon, waffles, or pancakes. Breakfast is always better at night.
Next time you're in a position to make a meal in a hurry, refer back to this list and presto - you'll have dinner on the table in minutes.

Nicole Dean is the mom behind http://www.ShowKidstheFun.com, a website that helps address the question "How do I communicate with my children?" and http://www.ShowMomTheMoney.com, a resource that takes work at home moms by the hand and helps them to achieve success.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Parents can be a Learning Guide.



Many a time a parent will comment on his child's school work without thought to how he will receive it and react to it. Nowadays, school work is so daunting for a young child, so you can keep him motivated or not just by the things you say.

FIVE PHRASES TO KILL YOUR CHILD'S INTEREST IN LEARNING.

1. "You should be able to do that because it's easy."
Simple addition may be easy from your point of view, but it's probably not that easy for your five-year old. Your suggestion reduces his interest in learning even further, by making him feel stupid, and he gives up altogether.

2. "You just need to try harder."Don't make the mistake of assuming that your child's lack of interest in learning is due to lack of effort. You have to be very confident before making that assertion. In many instances, a child's slump in interest in his school work arises because he struggles with new concepts despite all his efforts, not because he does not try.

3. "You should be more interested in school work."The chances are that he would like to be more interested. Giving him a stern admonition that he should have a different attitude is unlikely to bring about the change in interest that you seek.

4. "I don't know why you don't like this because I loved it when I was in school."
Your child is a unique individual with his own interest, likes and dislikes. Although you try to stimulate his enthusiasm by pointing out how enthusiastic you were at his age, this could have the opposite effect.

5. "I'm so disappointed that you aren't first in class."In every class, only one child can come out tops. By all means have high educational aspirations for your child, but do not make him feel a failure because he missed first place. If he is raised to believe that anything less than the top of the class is perceived negatively, he may lose interest very early on.

FIVE PHRASES TO GIVE THAT ADDED "OOMPH" TO LEARNING!


1. "I'm pleased that you tried so hard."
Recognition of your child's effort in trying to complete a difficult class assignment makes him feel valued. Even though he may not have succeeded in getting the right answer, your acknowledgement that he tried hard is enough to make him do more the next time.

2. "I can see this is difficult for you."It is always helpful to show your pre-schooler that you realise school work is not easy at times. Your empathy, rather than criticism or ridicule, makes him feel that you support him. A brief remark like that can ease him over this learning hurdle.

3. "There were times I found things boring in school."It is normal for a child to have fluctuating interest in class activities occasionally. By pointing out that your interest also varied when you were his age, your child begins to believe that this is a temporary phrase which should soon pass.

4. "Let's think about how school can be more interesting for you."Ask your child to think about possible changes to make learning more attractive. Perhaps he would like to change his seating in class, or to attend a new after-school club, or to complete his homework with his friend. Basic changes can be helpful.

5. "I'm so proud of you."
There is no better boost to motivate learning than praise. It does not matter that your child took all week to complete that short page in his reading book, while another child completed the entire book in half the time. Your child's achievement deserves your praise and approval.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits for Children

Healthy Eating Habits
It is essential for children to practice healthy eating habits. As a parent your are in the best position to influence your child. If you eat healthy food and exercise regularly, your child is more likely to do the same.

Here are some tips to help your child stay healthy.

1. Encourage your child to :

* Eat a variety of food and eat all food in moderation.

* Eat at regular meal times and do not skip meals

* Eat breakfast every day. Food such as wholegrain cereals with low fat milk or wholemeal bread with peanut butter are good breakfast choices.
Eating Healthy Breakfast

2. Prepare home-cooked meals at least twice a day (e.g. breakfast and dinner). Cook food with less salt, fats,oil and sugar. Use healthier cooking methods such as steaming, microwaving, boiling stir-frying and grilling instead of deep frying.

3. Milk is important for your growing child. Include milk as part of his meal. If your child does not like to drink milk, you can include alternatives such as calcium fortified yogurt, cheese, soya bean milk or small fish with edible bones, such as sardines or anchovies. If your child is overweight, you can use low fat milk products.
Drinking milk is Healthy

4. Avoid buying unhealthy snacks that are high in fat, sugar and salt. If your child wants a snack, provide healthy choices such as:

* A serving of fruit
* A glass of low fat milk
* A portion of low fat fruit yogurt
* A sandwich (tuna/chicken/egg)
* 4 plain biscuits

5. Keep a bowl of fruit on the dinning table where your child can easily reach for them.

6. Avoid cooking extra food. Cook enough for one meal. Advise your child to leave the table once he has finished the meal.

7. When eating out, you may suggest two healthy options to your child, "Would you like to have noodle soup or porridge?" instead of asking "What would you like to eat?". Teach your child to say "no" to people who offer him food when he is not hungry. If your child keeps asking for unhealthy snacks, say "no" firmly and offer a healthy snack instead.

8. Limit pocket money to a reasonable amount (based on your child's age). Do not give excess pocket money for your child to spend on unhealthy snacks.

9. You can help your child to reduce his intake of unhealthy food step by step. For example:

* If your child drinks 7 cans of soft drinks a week, cut down to 4.
Once he has achieved his goals, try to reduce the quantity further.

* Drink half a can of soft drink or dilute it with ice or add water to the drink.

* Buy a smaller bag of snacks and share it with others.

10. Praise your child when he chooses to eat healthier food.

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