How to Eat like a Yogi #2: Go at your own pace

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Source: Pixabay

Hope you all liked the previous post from the new ‘How to Eat like a Yogi’ posts! If you haven’t seen it, have a look here.

Our second little tip relates closely to the first, because it is still about listening to your body.

#2: Go at your own pace

We are all constructed differently, which means  we learn at different speeds and some may be able to achieve more while others less.

Important thing is to understand there’s no problem with learning faster or slower than others, it doesn’t make you worse or more special either way.

Sometimes we might not be aware, but certain words can make children anxious about what they eat, for example…

When little Tommy hears Aunt Sally say: “My girl started eating cabbage when she was two and

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Source: Flickr

now she eats all kinds of vegetables”, he might feel that he is worse off by not liking cabbage even though he’s already 4 years old.

Focus on the positives and the improvements. For example, talk about how little Tommy originally was scared of fruits but now strawberries and apples are his best friend.

OR, talk about something else (such as school, friends, their favourite TV show). Remember, we don’t want to make too much of a big deal out of food.

Let children develop at their own pace, and try to refrain from comparing two children. Every child is unique and should be treasured for who they are 🙂

-R.L.

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No Recipe Nutritious Snacks Ideas

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Source: Flickr

I bet we’ve all seen those amazingly complicated snacks that parents prepare for children, which require hours in the kitchen.

The fact is mums and dads are terribly busy, and though those snacks may look amazing, many people just don’t have the time.

So I thought I’d sort a list of quick nutritious snacks that require minimal preparation or can be easily bulk prepared before hand. These yummy, yet quick ideas will keep your kids satisfied without you reaching out for processed snacks and drinks!

  1. Fresh fruit (probably the quickest option)

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    Source: Pixabay

  2. Pure nut butter + toast
  3. Roasted nuts + dried fruit
  4. Veggie stalks (bell peppers, cucumber, carrots, celery) + hummus
  5. Yogurt + berries
  6. Cup of milk + cocoa powder (remember to choose the ones with no sugar)
  7. Cheese + crackers
  8. Oats + milk
  9. Cheese + toast
  10. Peas + corn + butter
  11. Fruit + Nut butter
  12. Boiled eggs (these can be pre-cooked and kept in the fridge for a few days) + salt & pepper OR soy sauce
  13. Smashed avocado + canned tuna + crackers
  14. Baked sweet potato chips
  15. Seaweed (try to get ones that aren’t flavoured to skip the sugar & flavourings)

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    Source: Pixabay

  16. Roasted chick peas or broad beans
  17. Popcorn (buy natural ones and slightly flavour them yourself w/ butter or salt)
  18. Fruit & yogurt popsicles
  19. Homemade fruit smoothie (bananas, dates, cooked sweet potato/pumpkin are all good natural sweeteners)
  20. Edamame beans (The frozen ones only need 2-3 minutes in the microwave and they taste great salted or eaten as they are)

 

If you have any other good suggestion, please comment and let me know!

-R.L.

How to Eat like a Yogi #1: Listen to your body

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Source: Flickr

Firstly, I must state that this is not a ‘detox’ or ‘diet’ blog post. I’m trying to share a way of approaching food which I have learned from my yoga practice.

What is a yogi? 

A yogi is a person who practices yoga.

So, how do you eat like a yogi? 

In short, eating like a yogi means approaching food in a relaxed and positive manner.

No strict guidelines like you MUST NOT eat something, or HAVE TO eat something.

I’ll be splitting some main points into several posts, so you can slowly think about them and maybe apply them in your family to see if they work out.

#1 Listen to your body

In yoga, there is no right or wrong. Because the person next to you can do a handstand, it

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Source: Pixabay

doesn’t mean you should be pressured to do so in any way.

Teach your children to listen to their internal cues, such as how hungry they are, when they are full, whether they are ready for a new food. If Max, whose sitting next to your child likes to eat carrots and beans, he/she by no means needs to be pressured to eat those foods too.

Everyone is unique and will feel different everyday. Maybe today you can do the splits, but tomorrow your muscles might not feel comfortable to do so, and that is OK.

Today, little Tommy may feel like potatoes, and tomorrow he may not even want to see them. Tell your child that it’s OK and it’s good that he is learning to listen to his body.

Remember that it’s alright if your child’s preferences change around and their hungry today and not tomorrow. The best skill they can learn is to listen to their body and do what they feel is right.

-R.L.

Tip #6: Embrace Diversity

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Source: Gratisography

This has two main objectives:

1) Making diversity the new norm

If you want kids to be more accepting to new foods, change ingredients around often. This teaches children to be adaptive and flexible.

Think of a person that has lived in several places (like me!). I’ve lived in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, which means I’ve met and seen many different people from different cultures. When compared with my peers, I am more accepting and understanding of different traditions, religions etc.

Something similar goes for food. If you child constantly sees new combinations and foods appear on the dinner table, they will gradually understand that CHANGE is OK, and it’s not that scary. They will feel more at ease with new flavours and stepping out of their comfort zone.

2) Creating interesting meals

Who likes spaghetti with meatballs 7 days a week?spaghetti-576787_1280.png

Make meals interesting and something to look forward to! If it’s oats with blueberries today, why not add some cocoa powder and bananas tomorrow? If you made chicken avocado sandwiches today, why not change it to cheese and avocado toast tomorrow?

If children find meal time more interesting, they will generally be more excited about it!

Things to keep in mind


165050612.jpgMake sure there’s at least one food that your child will like
. This makes your child more comfortable with meal time, and assures you that he/she will be eating something. When children feel more comfortable, they will be more likely to try other things on the table.

Even if your child likes one dish a lot, be mindful of how often you serve it. You want to teach them to have a balanced and versatile diet and not rely on only one type of food. Serving it once in a while will also keep them excited about it, rather than getting bored of it!

-R.L.

Tip #5: Dividing Responsibility at the Dinner Table

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Source: Danielle McInnes (Unsplash)

During meal time, parents should be in charge of WHAT, WHEN & WHERE to eat, while children are responsible for HOW MUCH and WHETHER OR NOT they want to eat.

As a parent, carefully plan the family’s meals so that you’re not giving in to ‘short-order cooking’.

You want to ensure that there is something everyone prefers, but also new foods to keep things interesting.

You also want to ensure that meal time is free of distractions and that snack times are well planned so they don’t affect your child’s appetite.


 

Your child, has the responsibility of deciding whether they eat and how much they eat.

There should be no ‘one-bite’ rules, and no force feeding.

You can however, teach your children how to monitor their internal cues for when they are full and express their preferences in a polite and more positive manner.

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Source: Hero Nutritionals

The above has been drawn from Ellyn Satter’s books on happy and healthy eating.

-R.L.

My Meal Prepping Tips

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Like many mums and dads out there, there are a million (or maybe more) things that I need to get done over the week, and cooking is certainly not something I want to be wasting time on. However, understandably we all know that we can save a lot of money while getting nutritious meals by cooking ourselves.

So how to we make meal prep less stressful?

After few years of experimenting, I’ve come up with some TIPS on how I meal prep.

The Veggies

Tip #1: Buy what’s in season

It will save you money and get you good quality.

Tip #2: Find out how to store them

Some veggies can last quite a while if stored correctly, so I always try to Google up the best way to store it. For example, I found out that broccoli is best stored in a plastic bag (there are other ways, but this works best for me).

Tip #3: Run veggies under cold/ice water after steaming/cooking and drain VERY well before storage

This keeps the veggies from turning yellow and becoming soggy. The draining part is very important!

I usually just steam or boil my veggies for 3-4mins (w/ salt, fresh ginger slices or olive oil) and store them in air-tight containers. You can portion them and put them in zip-lock bags too if that’s more convenient.

Tip #4: < 3 days in the fridge; >3 days in the freezer

This is my little rule.

If I’ll eat it within 3 days ⇒ fridge

More than 3 days ⇒ freezer


The Protein

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My favorite is chicken breast, because it’s not that expensive and easy to prepare (no taking off the bones and cutting off excess fat).

Tip #1: Marinate in the zip-lock bag

This means the meat is ready to go whenever you need to cook!

Every time I buy meat, I’ll clean it, wipe it dry and chuck in a large zip-lock bag with whatever spices I like.

Then I either freeze it or put it in the fridge to cook within 2 days. If you put it in the freezer, the meat will marinate itself when it defrosts.

I find that yogurt, milk and lemon all help tenderize the meat!

Here are some good combinations that I’ve tried out (for around 1 kg of meat) <–skip the dairy to make it dairy-free

  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder + 1 tbsp smoked paprika + 1 tbsp yogurt + squeeze of lemon
  • 3 tbsp paprika + 1 tbsp yogurt
  • 3 tbsp tamari + minced ginger + 1 tbsp mirin (optional) + 2 tbsp japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder + 1 tbsp turmeric + 1 tbsp smoked paprika + 3 cloved minced garlic

*Experiment with whatever you have in the kitchen and garden, from spices to herbs!

Tip #2: Pan fry for 1.5 min on each side then into the oven 180 degrees for 10-15min

Yes I know what you’re thinking….I have to wash an extra pan??

But trust me, this method keeps the chicken juicy and ends up saving you time if you cook in bulk, because the oven does most of the work.

It will take some experimenting to get the oven time right, but you’ll be a pro after 3 or 4 times.

When it’s meal time, I microwave my chicken and it’s still tender and juicy!

For storage, I pack them in portions (in zip-lock bags) or put them in a glass container. To defrost, either put it in the fridge for 1-2 days or on the counter for a few hours…OR you can do it the quick way and chuck it in the microwave.


The Carbs

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Source: Pixabay

Whether it’s sweet potato, rice or other grains, they can all be portioned and frozen.

If I’m eating them in the next few days, I just put them in a glass container and in the fridge.

-R.L.

Stop ‘Weight Talk’

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Source: Pexels

“She’s so skinny, is she not eating enough?”

“I’ve been gaining weight, I probably need to start dieting”

“My thighs are massive!”

Have you ever said something like this to yourself or someone else? 

Any comments, to yourself or to others, to suggest problems with weight are considered ‘weight talk‘.

When we say these things, those little ears are listening and those observant eyes are watching. This is how they developing standards of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

If their mother or aunt constantly talks about dieting and how huge her arms are, children will begin to realise that huge arms are ‘bad’.

If their mum comments on a skinny friend on how good they look, they will grow up thinking that being ‘thin’ is good and will try to live up to those (unrealistic) standards (possibly using unhealthy methods).

young people [are]…overexposed to unrealistic body shapes

Dr Newton

What are the facts of weight obsession?

  • Body dissatisfaction – 7 out of 10 preschool aged children are unhappy with how they look, preferring a ‘thin’ body. 
  • Eating disorderskids with parents that talk about dieting or diet are more likely to diet in the future and develop eating disorders.
  • Fear of food – kids can end up trying to avoid food groups and developing anxiety. This reduction in variety can cause selective eating (or increase the severity).

The problem is we focus too much on WEIGHT and APPEARANCE and too little on MENTAL and PHYSICAL health.

If your child is eating happily, developing a good relationship with food, and your family doctor has no concerns about their health, it doesn’t really matter if they look slightly thinner or fatter than other children.

They are MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY healthy!

What do we need to do?

What’s important is that we teach children about ‘mindful eating’ and listening to their internal cues.

They need to learn how to enjoy eating and consume all foods in moderation. NOT judging their self-worth by their weight or how they look.

To everyone out there: try to be more conscious of what you are saying around children. It’s not easy, but if we make the effort, we can minimise the long-term impacts on our children.

*If you’re interested in more tips on developing a mindful eater, check out Baby Guru Nutrition, I just love their values on eating and nutrition!