Wellness coach and mother of three, Mia Sison, tells us about children’s nutrition, meal planning, and dealing with picky eaters…
With the steady rise of sustainable living and the exposure of fast food giants in recent years, more and more people are becoming conscious of the way they treat their bodies. There’s been an increasing awareness in overall health, not just in movement (or lack thereof), but also in what they eat. Naturally, this adds to the growing concern of how to manage the children, and whether or not they are getting all the proper nutrients needed. Mia is a wellness and health coach, raising three kids, and she dishes out the know-how on basic nourishment for the little ones.
How would you describe the overall nutrition of kids these days?
Kids these days are exposed to a lot more media than during our time— online learning, Youtube videos, online games, Netflix shows. They are handed information from channels other than their parents, peers, teachers, family and friends. With the lockdown, our kids are becoming more detached from nature, our food source. These affect their nutrition, as kids prefer packaged and processed foods over those that are home cooked, and food in their natural forms. But as I’ve always believed, it’s #MonkeySeeMonkeyDo.
This lockdown has given us parents more time and space to be our children’s primary role models. Families eat two-three meals together in a day now, as compared to 0-1 meals a day pre-lockdown. Our meals are mostly home cooked, we can serve vegetables every lunch and dinner, and we have the luxury of having unhurried conversations with our family.
It’s easier to buy, heat a pack of nuggets, and serve it without objections to our kids, rather than prepare food like ginataang kalabasa— we have to buy the ingredients, cook it and serve it to our kids, but it’s doable. It’s a battle between convenience and nutrition, but as parents, as mothers, we have that choice, and I hope we choose nutrition on most days.
Do you have any suggestions on how to properly plan a meal for your family?
When I plan a meal, I think of the food groups— whole grains, protein, plants, and healthy fats. I try to make sure each food group is represented in every meal.
For whole grains, we’ve switched from white to mixed red and white, or pure red rice. Nowadays, we’re eating black and red rice. I think it took me two years to make this switch for our family.
Protein is mostly seafood like fish, shrimp, and squid. We have beef once a week, pork maybe two or three times a week, and chicken once or twice a week (my youngest has allergies).
For plants or vegetables, I stick with the vegetable dishes my kids would eat like ginataang kalabasa, sigarilyas, or beans, bulanglang, monggo, veggies in sinigang or nilaga. I also let them try new vegetables like kamote tops or ginisang pechay once in a while. Protein and vegetable dishes can be cooked in bulk and usually served 2-3 times within the week.
Any tips on dealing with picky eaters?
All I can do is set an example for them. #LeadbyAction #MonkeySeeMonkeyDO. Shine the light. By doing. For myself, for them. My kids see me working out, and oftentimes they jump in and join. If they see me eating blueberries, they’ll ask if they can try some. They’ll ask me why I like salads, and I tell them that I like eating food that’s good for our bodies. I’m not trying to paint a perfect picture.
My kids get mad at me for limiting their snacks, for asking them to eat vegetables every meal, but I’ll always try. One day they will look back and thank me. When they make their kids move and eat the same way, they will remember me.
Want to know more? Catch Mia this weekend!
My talk will be entitled Start with the Body (A Nourishment Talk). I’ll be sharing how a mother can jump start her journey to a healthy lifestyle through food and movement, and hopefully inspire her family to do the same, as well! Watch out for it on November 29, 11am-12nn at the Mommy Mundo ExpoMom Online 2020: Love & Light, Mama.