Category Archives: Health & Nutrition
By: Marzia Shamsi
From the time I became a mother for the first time I have been very particular about what I ate while I breast fed my kids to what I fed them when they were young to now at ages 8 & 4. Both my kids started off with solids from 4 month on wards. Their diets included little portions from poached eggs,poultry,fish,fruits,vegetables,puddings & rice all boiled & mashed till the time they fully developed their tastes being able to decide their likes & dislikes. A lot of new parents are normally concerned & reluctant to start off with solids. My advice to them would be we must understand that from the ages of 4 and 6 months, most babies are developmentally ready to get their first taste of solid foods. At this point, they lose the extrusion reflex that is beneficial for sucking a breast or bottle but can shove a spoonful of baby cereal right back out. It is very important for us to note that its the initial stages when they develop different tastes & textures slowly & gradually until they have entered the toddler phase. It is very important to balance their nutritional requirements since they need a little bit of everything as they are crawling, learning to walk or already walking, running, playing, tripping & at the same time teething. There’s a lot going on in the little body. To balance it all the body requires a lot of energy .
When talking about different nutritional elements in the body fats have a pretty bad reputation, but it’s actually an essential part of every cell in your body. Dietary fat is a concentrated source of energy that’s necessary in a young child’s diet to meet those needs. Babies naturally get more fat because breast milk and formula are higher in fat. So when a child starts to eat more solid food and drink less breast milk or formula, the composition of her diet begins to change to a more balanced ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It’s all about balancing. I have designed few healthy & easy snack recipes for your toddlers that I hope you all will enjoy!
Creamy Potato & Carrot Croquettes
These potato & carrot croquettes are a slightly fancier version of the potato pancakes. This recipe can be incorporated with shredded chicken or other soft easily digestible veggies too. All-time favorites with my kids when they were little. Easy to carry around and quiet filling almost replaces a meal than a snack.
- 1.5 lbs potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes), peeled
- 1lbs of Carrots peeled
- 1/4 cup water
- 8 oz. package of Cabot cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- olive oil cooking spray
- Toppings: ketchup and parsley
- Boil potatoes & carrots in water until tender, about 30-40 minutes depending on the size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Mash both vegetables with a fork and add up to 1/4 cup of water if needed to make them stick together a bit more. Add the grated cheese, salt and pepper, and mix to incorporate completely.
- Form the potato and cheese mixture into 12 croquettes (these will be large but you can also make them smaller.
- Coat each croquette in flour, dip into the egg mixture, and cover in breadcrumbs.
- Place the croquettes on a baking sheet and generously spray each croquette with cooking spray.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cheese begins to bubble out
Home Style Chicken Nuggets
I have been an anti towards frozen & processed foods for a long time now. And after learning about its health risks in details at my culinary school it has helped me work harder towards creating home cooked snacks even more. This easy home style chicken nuggets is a favourites among toddlers & little kids
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 1/2 cup (45g) bread crumbs
- 1 (about 200g) chicken breast fillet, cut into 3cm pieces
- 1 small (about 290g) potato, peeled, cut into 1cm-thick slices
- Salt & white pepper
- Garlic powder
- olive oil spray
- Preheat oven to 200c. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
- Place the egg and bread crumbs in separate bowls. Marinate the chicken for half n hr with garlic powder , salt & pepper Dip a piece of chicken into the egg then in the bread crumbs, tossing to coat. Place on 1 prepared tray.
- Use a 4cm-diameter star pastry cutter to cut stars from the potato slices. You can use any shape cutter you like. Place on the remaining tray.
- Lightly spray the chicken and potato with olive oil spray. Bake the potato for 10 minutes first then add the chicken and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until the nuggets are cooked through and the potatoes is tender. Serve with your homemade dipping or tomato ketchup.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Roll Ups
Kids normally get bored easily especially when it comes to eating bread, butter & cheese so I thought why not make it more exciting for them.This is a standard cream cheese roll ups recipe favourite among toddlers easy to digest & appetizing in its own unique way.
- 20 slices white bread, crusts removed
- 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- Heat oven to 350. Roll out bread slices with a rolling pin until flattened; arrange on work surface.
- Beat together cream cheese, egg and 1/4 cup sugar. Combine remaining 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl or pie plate
- Divide cream cheese mixture onto bread, spreading about 1 level tablespoon on each. Roll up bread to enclose filling.
- Brush rolls all over with butter and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Arrange on prepared baking sheets. (To make ahead, prepare to this step and cover baking sheets with aluminum foil. Freeze for up to a week. Do not thaw rollups before baking.) Bake until the rollups begin to puff, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve warm.
Hope these easy snack recipes will make their way into your kitchens & into those little belly’s leaving you with smiling faces & happy hearts.
About the Author:
Marzia Shamsi is a single mother to two lovely kids. Brought up in the UAE, a Canadian resident originally from India. A professional chef out of house while at home her first and last name is Mom. An amateur blogger who’s just started out, Marzia loves to share her thoughts and knowledge and dreams of owning her own restaurant some day.
By Marzia Shamsi
As we all are well aware an individual suffering from diabetes normally has to keep a very sharp and strict diet regime. But did you also know that their meals should vary as per 50% of total daily carbs, 20% calories from protein and 30% calories from fat of which 7% should be from saturated fat?
A personalized diet plan has always been at the top of my priorities and caught my interests for the same, firstly as a daughter and then as a chef. Diabetes is a very common disease in my family; my grandmother first, then dad and other elders in our family also suffer from diabetes. Dad’s eating habits have always caused me concern and I researched for a long time on different ways to keep him under a strict special dietary plan without the food loosing its natural flavours. I have learned that it is never too late to learn and help a member of your family through this by introducing them to meals that are easy to make, delicious, very healthy, yet appetizing to your eyes.
Any individual suffering from diabetes should follow few of the point below while considering their routine meal plans:
- Always include fibre contents,whole grain starch options and incorporating fruits and vegetables.
- Limit the use of fat in general
- Food options should vary, from grilling or sautéing using a fat free non-stick cooking spray. Or use a small amount of canola or olive oil.
- Choose low fat dairy products, skim or a 1% milk, low fat yoghurt and low fat cheese.
- Make sure you portion your meals properly.
- Always include 15 to 30 grams of carbs in your evening snacks.
Here is my personalized special dietary 3 course meal for a diabetic patient keeping all the nutritional values in mind and trying to keep the flavours intact just like in any normal recipe.
Clear Chicken & Vegetable Soup
- 500 g skinless chicken breast
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 4 celery, chopped
- 1 parsnip, chopped
- 1 leeks, chopped
- 1 cup green beans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped finely
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 3 -4 tablespoons chicken stock
- 8 cups water
- salt & pepper to taste
- Bring water to boil.
- In the meantime, cut up all the vegetables into small cubes.
- Cut the chicken into 1cm cubes.
- Add in vegetables and garlic and stock and boil on high heat for 5 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add chicken and bring to boil for 2 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or longer.
- Soup is ready when all ingredients have sunk to the bottom!
Fish en papillote with brown rice
Papillote means paper in Italian, ’en papillote’ is a method of cooking in which food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. The parcel is typically made from parchment paper, but other material, such as a paper bag or aluminium foil, may be also be used. The parcel holds in moisture to steam the food while the pocket is created by overlapping circles of aluminum foil and parchment paper and then folding them tightly around the food to create a seal. A papillote should be opened at the table to allow people to partake in the aroma when it opens. It is by far one of the finest tasting baked fish recipe I have made.
- Fish fillet of your choice, 1 to 1 1/2 lb. in four equal portions
- 3 Tbs. chopped parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbs. minced lemon zest
- 4 scallions (both white and green parts)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbs. lemon juice
- 3 tbs. softened butter (optional)
- Heat oven to 450°F.
- To make the gremolata, mince the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest together. Set aside.
- Cut the scallions into 2-in. lengths and slice them lengthwise. Season the fish with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and spread the top with butter, if desired.
- Divide the scallions among four sheets of parchment, top each with a portion of fish, and top the fish with a portion of gremolata. Seal the packages and bake on a sheet pan until puffy and browned, about 8 min
Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like cantaloupe decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes and heart disease while promoting a healthy complexion and hair growth, increased energy and overall lower weight. This recipe is perfect in all aspects and not just for diabetics but for everyone. It is a healthy yet delicious way to finish of this three course meal.
Creamcheese filled cantaloupe bowls with strawberry sauce
- Light tub-style cream cheese or mascarpone cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon toasted and coarsely chopped pecans or almonds
- 1/2 medium cantaloupe, seeded
- 1/3 cup strawberries
- 1/3 cup fresh raspberries
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon dried lavender or dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/4 cup fresh raspberries (optional)
- Fresh mint leaves (optional)
- For filling: In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese, honey and nutmeg until smooth. Stir in nuts, set aside.
- Using an ice cream scoop (around 1/4 cup measure), scoop two large balls out of the cantaloupe (one side of each ball will be indented). Save remaining cantaloupe for another use. Set each cantaloupe ball in a small bowl or custard cup, indented side up. (If necessary, cut a thin slice from the bottom of each ball so it sits flat.)
- Spoon or pipe cream cheese mixture into the indentation of each melon ball.
- In a blender or small food processor, combine strawberries, honey, and dried lavender. Blend or process until smooth. Press through a sieve to remove raspberry seeds. Spoon strawberry coulis mixture around cheese-filled cantaloupe cups. If desired, garnish with the 1/4 cup raspberries and mint leaves. Makes 2 (1 portion cantaloupe, 2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture, and 2 tablespoons strawberry coulis) servings
Some day, I hope to convey this message to everyone suffering from diabetes, and their families, that you don’t have to give up on flavourful food to maintain your health. We need to educate everyone, not just those who are diabetic, but also those who are around them that Diabetes is not the end of the world, every problem always has a solution. We can bring back joy in their lives by little gestures and food is definitely one of them.
About the author:
Marzia Shamsi is a single mother to two lovely kids. Brought up in the UAE, she is a Canadian resident originally from India. A professional chef out of house while at home her first and last name is Mom. An amateur blogger who’s just started out, Marzia loves to share her thoughts and knowledge and dreams of owning her own restaurant some day.
Menstruation is a crucial part of every woman’s life that brings with itself a phase of discomfort and mood swings. It is easy to label them as mood swings or a feeling irritable but in reality it involves our bodies’ chemical imbalances that need serious attention. Most of the times these changes are gradual and women try to compensate with more exertion, and other times they are so sudden that it’s easy to identify that something is majorly wrong. Whatever it may be, it needs attention and treatment so a woman doesn’t have to compromise her quality of life.
What is PMS?
Exaggerated Mood swings
Irritability and depression
Difficulty to focus
Change in eating and sleeping patterns
Headaches and backaches
To start with, the patient is requested to keep a ‘menses diary’ to identify a regular pattern. The symptoms necessarily are a hindrance for the woman in carrying out her routinely activities. Before one is labelled with PMS, all other possible diagnosis have to be excluded. These conditions may include thyroid disease, depression, migraine headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. Sometimes the doctor may prescribe medicines that stop ovarian function, if that stops PMS symptoms as well, that will serve as a diagnosis.