Monday, November 24, 2014

Meal time musings (and a giveaway)

I think meals are one of the biggest challenges for parents, aside from sleep and other behavioural issues. I know mealtimes were a headache last time with Junior J, who was quite the picky eater (to the point that I started decorating food to make it look appealing). Then came Lil J, who was quite an adventurous eater, with a bigger appetite than his brother. However, he had his own mealtime challenges: he couldn't sit still for a meal, and he had various food allergies. Now with baby J, we're suspecting allergies again!

Whatever the case, we keep hearing the same worries from parents around us: Is our kid eating enough? Is he/she getting enough of this or that nutrient? Why won't he eat meat? Or why won't she eat any greens?

I'm not sure about you, but I found that just exposing them to various types of food and cuisines helped. The kids are trained to eat whatever is on their plates, and we aim to let them try new dishes. Sometimes they need some extra encouragement: they get fruits on the side, or some tomato sauce to dip their stuff in. They go through stages with different preferences: Junior J now refuses to eat most kinds of mushrooms (he used to love mushrooms!), but he still likes his salad. He used to hate any form of meat, but now is almost a carnivore. Lil J more or less eats everything, but we always have to watch out for processed food and stuff he may be allergic to. He is extremely fond of pasta and rice, but not so keen on meat. I think all in all they have a pretty balanced diet, going by the meals we have:

Stir-fried veggies, rice and braised pork belly. 

Rice with Klang-style ba ku teh and ribs, along with broccoli.

Yong tau foo.

Creamy chicken mushroom pasta with toasted portabello mushrooms topped with cheddar.

Junior J's typical lunch box contains a sandwich as well as a muffin-tin frittata (spinach, tomato, cheese, and ham).
I'm always worried about contaminating Lil J's food, so I usually prep these at night and freeze them in batches.

However, we still have concerns with regards to their growth, since all three boys are on the small side (especially Lil J who is almost off the percentile chart!). Which is why I was rather keen to try out the new NutriTrac tool launched by Pediasure, since it helps you to get a better picture of how well your child is eating. The tool allows you to select what your child eats for each meal on an average day, and then calculates his/her calorie intake (based on their height, age and weight) as well as the approximate percentages of each food group consumed.

I tried the tool for the older two (this tool only works for children above one year of age), and found out that that both Junior J and Lil J were consuming enough calories each day:

And the tool also told us what we knew all along, which was that Junior J was ok with regards to most food groups, but was probably not eating enough carbohydrates.

What I liked was that the tool also accounted for activity level (you are allowed to choose between three activity levels), and the food options were based on our local context and covered most of the things that children in Singapore would eat. In fact, the options provided covered a wide range of food types, and you can even choose the portion sizes. The tool was easy to navigate, and best of all, it's free!


Anyway, to celebrate the launch of this useful tool, we are giving away goodie bags to three readers of this blog! Here's what you'd receive in the bag:

A Pediasure tote, a Sistema plastic lunchbox, a set of two food cutters,
Pediasure kids' drinks and vouchers.

To enter, just complete ALL the following steps:

1. Like this post on Facebook.
2. Comment on the same Facebook post, sharing your child's favourite meal, as well as leave your email address so that we can contact you if you win.

This giveaway will end on the 1st of December at 2359 hrs, and the winner will be picked randomly and announced on Facebook. 

Have a blessed week!

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