Celebrating fruits and vegetables
Last month, schools around the country celebrated Nutrition Month with activities that emphasized on the importance of eating a balance diet that is composed of Go, Grow and Glow foods. Go foods like rice and bread that have carbohydrates provide energy. Grow foods are dairy and meat products like milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, chicken, fish, pork and beef. Glow foods are fruits and vegetables.
For the Pre-Nursery and Kindergarten students and parents/guardians at St. Vincent Ferrer Parochial School in Leganes, the observance of Nutrition Month was in the form of dances and songs that promoted the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. The reason why parents, guardians and nannies were asked to participate is for healthy eating to become a partnership between adults and children.
Children love to eat hotdogs and junk foods (thanks to television commercials) and this craving is strengthened when an adult who wants to please the child, is also the one who gives it to him/her. This results to a child who is easily susceptible to colds not to mention the unnecessary expenses on doctors and medicines.
Stanley Palisada, ABS-CBN news anchor and an Ilonggo, said that while his child Gelo has a few violations like eating pork and hotdog, he is healthier compared to other kids his age because he started as a vegan.
“We started the moment he was ready for solid food. Carrots, potatoes, squash and sayote used to be boiled and mixed with rice. That was his first encounter with food. As such, he had no point of comparison between veggies and meat, having no encounter with meat to begin with. He also liked leafy vegetables. We had success in introducing almost all types of veggies except for ampalaya and radish - too bitter and pungent for any kid,” Palisada said.
“School and TV ruined it all when he was about four years old. He began to question why his classmates ate meat. He saw how kids his age chomped up fried chicken or hotdog on TV,” he added.
But, “he’s healthier than most kids his age - great skin, more alert and less sickly. But he needed carbo for energy so we always balance the veggies, meat and rice in the diet,” he concluded.
At our home, the child’s training four years ago started with eating his favourites – pork and chicken – with vegetable soup mixed with his rice to gradually introduce the taste of ‘laswa’ in his taste buds. We didn’t force him to eat the okra and leaves because the experience can be stressful or traumatic for the child (case: adults rebel against eating vegetables). Several months later, we introduced ‘patola’, okra or squash with limited slices of meat plus the story that his favourite superheroes eat vegetables that’s why they are strong. Gradually, we eased out the pork and made an all-vegetable recipe paired with fish. His father often cooks squash, okra and string beans with coconut milk soup. Squash is mashed, making the soup richer and creamier.
He consumes fruits in creative ways: There’s the fruit shake (banana and apple with the skin on is yummy); his favourite Coco Crunch mixed with milk and sliced apples and bananas; and the latest, sliced bananas topped with peanut butter which he prepares himself.
Now, pork is eaten twice a month at home while corned beef seldom makes it to our cupboard, without any complaints. We all need some discipline on the rice, though!
To get a child to cooperate, it’s best to explain to him what fruits and vegetables can do for his/her body as well as the effect of meat, especially red meat when taken too much.
We adults want to be popular and loved by our children by giving them what they want. But, these kids will grow up to be adults. And when they are healthy adults, they will thank you, their parents/guardians for having said “no” when they were young.
FATIGUEAccording to HeartMath Institute, we can understand how our thoughts and feelings affect us by looking at these as assets or deficits.
“Our energy bank account is growing in value. Accumulating assets results in more vitality, adaptability, resiliency, creativity and a steady improvement in a healthy quality of life—psychologically and physically. Of course, your energy account diminishes in value when you accrue deficits. Think about how we often feel when we’re upset, constantly stressed over a situation or distraught about someone we love,” the HMI’s literature on fatigue states.
“If our deficits accrue faster than our assets ... our energy account is diminishing in value. We become emotionally spent and wear out quicker. Our creativity and overall intelligence diminishes, as does our ability to roll with the punches while keeping hopeful and positive perspectives. If we are accumulating more deficits than assets, our quality of life decreases significantly. This is often the underlying cause of fatigue.”
We are not perfect. We get upset depending on the gravity of the situation or on our mindset at a particular time an incident happens. But with this new awareness, HMI believes we can take a “major step toward reducing fatigue and increasing energy and resilience.”*