Giving our kids the right food could mean preventing them from acquiring the wrong kind of energy

A HEALTHY CHILD IS A HAPPY CHILD
A healthy child, indeed, is a happy child.

Obesity in children has become a global pandemic. This may be the direct result of poor lifestyles our kids are leading to have which could translate into more serious health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease earlier than they usually be.

Food additives, and sodium benzoate, according to a study, could affect the behavior of our children. Sodium benzoate is a preservative found in many sodas and fruit drinks and has been linked to cell damage and to an increased risk for cancer. The study indicated that children who consumed drinks containing additives, by which to include sodium benzoate and food coloring found in commercially available drinks, are said to be displaying significantly more hyperactive behavior and shorter attention spans.

The old adage that says “you are what you eat” is true enough, at least, serving as a warning that we should be careful about what goes onto our children’s plates. Many children, according to a survey, are eating less nutritious foods, and shows that if it’s not a lack of good food, the problem could be an excess of the wrong food:

  • Kids who eat no fruit and few vegetables.
  • Mostly of these kids are overweight.
  • Their calcium and iron intake are inadequate.
  • These kids often eat take-out and commercial snack foods.

Parents should be correcting such a kind of problem now, if this was the case with their kids, to achieve better health for their children beginning from childhood, to teenage years, and up until they reach adulthood. Children should be encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat a better diet each day with:

  • An extra glass of milk and fruit juices.
  • Skipping the soft drinks, salty chips, and fried foods.
  • An extra serving of vegetables.
  • One more piece of fresh fruit.
  • One more glass of clean water.
  • An extra serving of rice, pasta, or noodles.
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Cooking a very Filipino snack called Maruya for my toddler

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An authentic Filipino delicacy called “Maruya.”

Did you know that “Maruya,” an authentic Filipino delicacy made from banana of the Cardava variety, was included as one of the foods being served to the guests and diplomats during newly elected Philippine president Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s inauguration last June 30 at Malacanang palace?

Although banana is not the national fruit of the Philippines, I think there’s something in Maruya that is more Filipino in both the concrete and abstract sense of it. Bananas, especially the Cardava variety, grow in abundance in almost every part of the country. This variety is one of the most important banana cultivars in the Philippines.

cardava
A bunch of Cardava banana fruits.

Nutrition wise, it has the highest nutrients compared with other banana fruit varieties growing in the Philippines. It is very high in potassium which could help to regulate body circulatory system by way of delivering oxygen to the brain.  It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals and natural energy.

My toddler is now on his second week of a two-hour-a-day Daycare school. It’s only a walking distance from where we lived. He usually had cracker biscuits, cookies, and a fruit juice sachet for snack. Sometimes, he would be having a cupcake, a sandwich, and a chocolate milk drink.

I know these foods contain some nutrients but they aren’t the most nutritious. In fact, some of these foods are even packed with high sugar level contents, preservatives, additives, and artificial colors and flavors. These foods are easy to acquire though. You can buy them almost everywhere. It saves you time preparing and cooking.

I'm yummy!

But when I saw the fruits of the Cardava banana that freely grow in our backyard ripened, I had a bright idea. I would like to cook my son a very Filipino snack called “Maruya.” It is a snack most popular to school campuses then and even these days.

It reminds me of my childhood years where I used to buy Maruya during class recess for only twenty-five centavos a piece. Today, it is sold at ten pesos each.

So here’s how to cook a Maruya:

Ingredients:

Five bananas (Cardava variety) already peeled off of skin, or up to how many you would like to, sliced into halves

maruya003

Powdered sugar (preferably brown)

Butter or cooking oil

Procedure:

  1. Heat oil or butter in a pan.
  2. Deep-fry sliced bananas until they become brownish in color.
  3. Add powdered brown sugar.
  4. Stir until the sugar melts and mixes well with the bananas.
  5. Put them in a container that has net to drain the oil.
  6. Put in a plate and serve.

By the way, before I forget, this is still banana related topic I would like to be sharing with you. It’s about a very rare food I once tasted with bananas as one of its ingredients. I say “rare” because a schnitzel is usually using meat, either a pork, beef, turkey, mutton, veal, or chicken, as its main ingredient.

It was introduced by a friend of mine way back in college. But what may be rare to me may not be rare to you or anyone else. Maybe some of you have, at least, already had eaten this one or tried cooking at home. Anyways, here’s what my friend called “Banana Schnitzel.”

Banana Schnitzel

Ingredients:

Six bananas (already peeled off of skin) sliced into halves

Rhum

One egg, beaten

Breadcrumbs

Oil for deep-frying

Warm Cream Sauce:

Four egg yolks

One half cup evaporated milk

Three tablespoons of powdered sugar (either brown or white)

Rhum

Procedure:

  1. Sprinkle sliced bananas with rhum; chill in the fridge for fifteen minutes.
  2. Dip in beaten eggs and roll in breadcrumbs, and then deep-fry in hot oil.
  3. Drain and place in absorbent paper.
  4. Just before serving, pour over warm cream sauce prepared by mixing together ingredients on top of double boiler and cook until thickened.

Empower your kids with a food supplement that is already proven and tested for over one hundred years

cod01.jpg
The food supplement of my childhood.

If I had to recommend a food supplement that’s best for kids, then I wouldn’t hesitate telling anyone, especially the parents who only want the best for their kids, to try Scott’s Emulsion Cod Liver Oil. This is no sales talk but I’m speaking straight from the facts on a product I myself had used since time immemorial. I grew up taking this food supplement and it was just too good a food supplement can be.

I rarely got sick when I was a little child. I also did well in grade school (I was a consistent first honor pupil from grade one to grade five and a salutatorian in grade six.) I had a good memory, too. I could easily memorize songs, phrases from different books that I’ve been reading, faces, places, and people.

I may be just being gifted as a child, or just quicker to learn. I considered myself to be just average though. But there’s one thing I thought was contributing a lot to my physical health as well as to that of my brain. And that’s Scott’s Emulsion Cod Liver Oil I was taking as a child.

I could still recall how it tasted the first time I took it. I almost vomited as I couldn’t quite take the taste of it. But later on I liked it as it made me feel better. Good things don’t always taste better at first.

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My son tried to drink of what’s left with an empty bottle of Scott’s Emulsion Cod Liver Oil food supplement.

It was in a bottle with an engraving of a man with a fish on his back. The color of its content is milky white. It has become a part of my childhood.

There was a time when it was not available in the market. So I switched to taking other commercial food supplements. But a few years back, just when I’m already a dad for the first time, the food supplement of my childhood has made a huge comeback as it was already available in the local market and with a new flavor.

Scott’s Emulsion Cod Liver Oil is packed with vitamins A, D and calcium. It is also rich in phosphorus, and is a natural source of omega 3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA. These nutrients help the body build its natural resistance to infections and also for brain health.

I am making sure my toddler, who would be turning four years old this coming August, gets only the best nutrients his body needs by giving him the natural food supplement of my childhood. What’s good news was that Scott’s Emulsion Cod Liver Oil now comes in a new orange flavor, making its taste agreeable to kids, or even adults. Of course, following the required dosage for a given age is very important as over dosage might result for one to experience some adverse effects.

Six reasons why kids should be encouraged to eat fruits

caimito01
Nathaniel standing before a tray of fresh star apple fruit.

Kids will have a lot of benefits they can get from eating fruits. Parents should know how important it is to consider fruits as one of the most important parts of their children’s diet. The challenge, however, is in getting them to actually do so.

But that’s why there are parents because they are tasked to help their children develop food preferences and to encourage them to eat a more healthy diet in the first place. Children looked up to their parents as role models so that when they see their parents eating fruits and enjoying it, they would most likely do the same. The following are six reasons why kids should be encouraged to eat fruits:

FOR OVERALL NUTRITION

Fruit is jam-packed with vitamins and minerals needed by the body for it to function well. It consists for the largest part of water keeping the body hydrated and well-nourished.  It keeps the kidneys and other internal organs working normally.

AS AN ULTIMATE BRAIN FUEL

Brain development and healthy diet go hand in hand. The nutrients kids are getting from fruits stimulate their memories that may boost their performance in schools. It has a positive effect on the human brain.

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Freshly picked guyabanos or also called soursop.

AS A RICH SOURCE OF NATURAL FIBER

The fiber in fruits help prevents constipation, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Fiber serves as a natural broom for the body. It cleanses the system from wastes and impurities that could help kids from chronic diseases.

AS A NATURAL FOOD

eating durian
The exotic fruit called “durian.”

Fruits are produced naturally by fruit-bearing trees or plants for animal and human consumption. Both humans and animals help spreads its seeds. Eating an all-natural food like fresh fruits could have a significant impact on children’s health.

AS A LOW FAT, LOW CHOLESTEROL FOOD

High amount of cholesterol is not good for the body. Much of this cholesterol is acquired from consuming animal products like meat, and dairy. Regular fruit consumption could lower children’s caloric intake, therefore preventing unhealthy weight gain.

IT MAKES KIDS FEEL BETTER

banana
The serotonin compound found in bananas may help fight depression.

Eating fresh fruit (especially a banana) on a regular basis could cure depression. Fruit has a miraculous healing effect on human beings. Kids would surely have a lot to benefit from eating fruits regularly.

Why cooking a highly nutritious Filipino style chicken soup is the best birthday gift I can give my wife as she turned thirty two

tinolangmanok
The highly nutritious, authentic Filipino dish called “tinolang manok.”

Two days ago, my wife turned thirty two and I prepared something I knew she would love right on her natal day. I was cooking a traditional Filipino dish called “tinolang manok” or Filipino style chicken soup. Tinolang manok, by the way, is an original Filipino main dish and best complimented with lemongrass, green papaya wedges, malunggay leaves, ginger, onion, and bell pepper.

During her previous birthdays, while we’re still residing in the city, we always ended up dining in expensive restaurants which were, to some extent, quite boring already. Now that we’re on our fourth month of living in the province, it would be special, I thought, if I’m going to make it province-like, with all its simplicity and plainness without sacrificing quality and intent. Sure, some restaurants in the city serve tinolang manok but what’s making my chicken tinola really special was the fact that I’m the one cooking it.

Tinolang manok is a comfort food for me and my wife and yes, even our three-year-old son also loved the way it tasted. I really liked the way our adorable Nathaniel sniffed something from the air, with matching closed eyes, each time a tinola is served on the table. And, suddenly, as he opened wide his eyes, exclaimed, “Wow, sarap” which means delicious in English.

I would be crushing the softened chicken meat on his plate so it would be easier for him to chew and then mixed it up with rice and soup. This simple authentic Filipino dish is highly nutritious my toddler would surely benefit a lot from. Moringga, which is one of the ingredients and grows abundantly almost everywhere in the Philippines, is considered by many as a superfood.

It’s very simple to prepare or cook but the dish itself is full of nutrition not to mention the fact that the ingredients I’ve used were all organic. In case you’d like to know how to cook the Filipino chicken tinola, you may follow the simple cooking instructions below:

birthdaygirl
My wife picked up the two free-range chickens needed as a main ingredient in cooking the traditional Filipino chicken tinola.

For the ingredients, you’ll need:

  • One kilo whole chicken, cut/sliced into pieces/preferred sizes.
  • Two pieces medium-sized ginger crushed or sliced into strips.
  • Three medium-sized bell peppers sliced into strips.
  • Five stems of lemongrass.
  • One small unripe papaya or, if there are no available papaya, chayote cut into smaller pieces.
  • One plate of malunggay (Moringa) leaves.
  • One and a half liter of water.
  • One medium-sized red onion, diced.
  • Five tablespoons edible/cooking or olive oil.
  • Six garlic cloves, minced.
  • One and a half tablespoons of salt.

    spices
    Spices…

How to cook:

  1. In a large and deep pan, heat oil and saute garlic, then the bell pepper, followed by the onion and ginger.
  2. Add the water and the lemongrass.
  3. Bring to a boil before adding the chicken.
  4. Simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  5. Add the salt.

    moringga
    A plate of Malunggay or Moringga leaves.
  6. Add papaya or chayote. Continue to simmer for four minutes or until the papaya softens. Be careful to not overcook it, though.
  7. Add the malunggay leaves. Turn off the fire or heat.
  8. Serve steaming hot on a glass bowl with plain rice on the side.

After we have eaten our lunch, we remain seated for orange juice and a small talk. “So what’s your birthday wish, darling?” I asked my wife. “That from now on, each time I celebrate my natal day should be as special as this one because you had not only given me your time in the first place, but for cooking my favorite dish as well,” she said. Before I could utter a word, a burp escaped my lips. That should be saying Happy Birthday, sweetheart.