Saving yet eating healthy

Shiela May, 36, is a mother of three. She is a graduate of a four-year course and owns a placement agency. However, with the global economic crisis, she's forced to close down her business and look for a job in order to feed and send her three children to school. She told me that most often, she feeds her children noodles or sardines.
Victoria Jane, 32, a mother of four. She owns a souvenir shop but can barely pay the rent. Her husband subsidizes the operational and rental expenses from his own salary. To save further, Victoria feeds noodles to her children almost every morning. With noodles, children won't get any proper nutrition at all.
Jester John, 19, said that his sister had to spend hours working in a farm in order to help buy their meal for the day. He said that when his sister and his parents don't have any income for the day, they eat rice with salt or get papaya from a nearby tree and that would be their meal for the day.
With the global economic crisis, even the budget for food is downsized. Coupled with a lack of information on nutrition, some families end up eating cheap but less nutritious food. This is the reason why more and more children are malnourished.
During the Nutrition Council Congress held recently, the Department of Health, through the Accelerated Hunger-Mitigation Program, issued some tips on how to cope with the current global economic crisis. I would like to publish these tips in my space, as follows:
First, encourage mothers to breastfeed their children. Breastfeeding is not only the most practical and best anti-hunger strategy especially for infants and young children but also an effective anti-poverty strategy. Breastmilk is nutritious, economical, safe and readily available.
Second, conserve rice. According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, 14 grams of rice per capita per day is lost due to plate waste and other wasteful eating practices. This translates to P459,9000 MT of precious rice wasted in just one year. Remember when we were young and our grandparents always reminded us “indi mag-uyang sa grasya?” Indeed, the more we waste on food, the more we become hungry.
Third, in your backyard, grow fruits and vegetables, and raise small animals such as chicken, swine, goat, and fish as sources of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients. For those without a bigger space, some vegetables can now be grown on pots.
Fourth, plan and cook nutritious recipes. Nutritious meals do not need to be expensive. It is always important to be creative, wise and practical in planning and preparing meals for the family. My partner and I noticed that his son does not like to eat vegetables or fish. Knowing that it's important for children to love vegetables or fish for their own good, I sought the help of my friend Debbie Enarle, a food expert. Through her advise, we are now incorporating vegetables or fish in the kid's favorite foods, without him noticing that he is actually eating vegetables or fish. One example is scrambled egg with malunggay, crispy lobo-lobo omelette or fish flakes. And if indeed we are forced to eat noodles (the kid loves it), we put lots of vegetables on it and make him drink lots of water during the day to cleans his body of the salt that he got from the noodles.
Fifth, practice a healthy lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle means being physically active, eating the right kind and amounts of foods such as eating more fruits and vegetables and other high fiber foods and foods low in saturated fats, sugars and salt.

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