Friday, November 9, 2012

Coffee, Tea and Kids

Depending on how strong it's brewed,

Black tea contains about 50 mg of caffeine per cup.
In comparison, green tea contains 8 to 30 mg per cup, while coffee contains 100 to 350 mg.

My kids drink tea with milk and sugar. Some of my friends think I am crazy.

Can we give our kids Tea And Coffee ?
In short – Yes – but ....

A lot of people generally view coffee as unhealthy – especially for those who drink a lot of it. But scientists and researchers have found that coffee may actually be good for our health.

Should kids be drinking coffee for health reasons, too?

Researchers think that six cups of coffee a day had a much reduced risk of developing diabetes compared to those who consumed no coffee each day. Coffee may also reduce the risk for Parkinson’s disease, liver cirrhosis, colon cancer, gallstones, and Alzheimer’s disease. But, at the same time, it may INCREASE the risk of heart disease.

Caffeine can also increase or be bad for heart problems or nervous disorders, and can produce symptoms like jitters, irritability and hyperactivity. Caffeine can be addictive, cause restlessness for those who are hooked and miss their daily dose.

Coffee is such a complex brew of chemicals, many of which are created and brought out in the process of roasting and brewing coffee. (For adults, have a look at for good brew of coffees)

Is Coffee Good for Kids?

As parents, we tend to keep our kids away from coffee although some doctors say that it can help improve concentration and may help children do a little better on tests for this reason. On the other hand, there are negative effects of drinking coffee, especially for kids, where even 1 cup of coffee could have negative effects.

What About Tea?

Black Tea is made from the same plant as green tea and white tea. Black tea doesn't mean tea without milk, and white tea doesn't mean tea with milk. The difference is the way the tea leaves are processed after picking.

Green and white teas are hardly processed at all, whereas black tea is fully oxidized.

Drinking just 3-5 cups of black tea daily can bring about all health benefits. Here are 5 main benefits of black tea. The benefits of black tea are lessened when milk and sugar are added.

1. Weight Loss Management – black tea burns fat and speed up metabolism.

2. Reduced Glucose levels for Diabetics

3. Prevent tooth decay

4. Delays the ageing process – have you noticed that many ageing products contain tea extracts?

5. Combats and reduces diseases because of the antioxidants that it contains

Should Kids Drink Tea and Coffee?

Tea tends to have lesser amount of caffeine compared to coffee.

As kids, there are probably already consuming other products that have caffeine in them, like soft drinks and chocolate. Having coffee may add up the caffeine intact to unhealthy levels.

The National Institute of Health says even though caffeine is safe to consume in moderation, it may have a negative effect on overall health and nutrition.Caffeine can affect appetite. The Institute says caffeine can be completely restricted in a child’s diet since there is no nutritional requirement for it.

Source information: - useful information about tea and how much to give our kids. – information on the best coffee around the world.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

20% off for the World’s Best Coffee – For the Next Two Weeks Only

It’s coming to the end of the year. Great time for a break! Parents, readers of Teaching Kids, I am giving away a 20% discount on any coffee purchased from This is a wonderful opportunity, as the promoters of are highly experienced and only pick the best roasts. distributes the best coffee from around the world without us searching for it. Many coffee lovers would spend lots of money just to have the right roast. You would typically need to buy a bag full.

Just like a fine wine, each coffee is different. Coffees change from year to year. And just because a roaster is good, it doesn't mean that every coffee it sells is the best coffee available right now.

What this company does can be quite amazing. Sometimes the roasters with the best reputation have the best brews, and sometimes they don't. tends to feature coffees from tiny upstarts as well as more established artisan roasters. They are blind to packaging and branding.  The emphasis is about the quality of the coffee.

Parents and readers,

Have a cup of coffee. Good coffee with friends and family for a fraction of the cost.

Ask for the discount code by emailing to receive the 20% discount for any variety of coffee offered at    We will email you the code, which you can use to purchase your first month of Craft Coffee at 20% off your first month.

Happy Teaching and Cooking!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"You have dirtied the whole floor again! Why do you always do that?"

As parents, arent we sometimes frustrated and have daily struggles to get our children to behave in a certain way ... the way society expects. Children and adults have conflicting needs.  Adults want cleanliness, order, courtesy while children are not too bothered about those things. They are busy being children!

I have to say, my husband constantly are up and arms with my boys on cleanliness and courtesy. The 2 Big Cs in my household.  The kids don't understand why he goes on about it. They abide by the requirements to prevent their father from getting ruffled and cross with them.

I set out to look for some reading material. And this is probably the best to described what is happening and what to do.

I love to hear parents give their views on this.

Have you heard parents speak to their kids this way:

Name calling - "you are a slob. what a dirty room. can't you clean it."

Threats - "If you don't do your homework, I am going to speak to the principal"

Commands - " Do your homework now"

Comparison - Lisa/Bob is so much clever/hardworking/pretier than you.  She/he has so much better manners

Lecturing - "Do you think it is a nice thing to do? You dont seem to realise the importance of manners"

Warnings - "Careful, what is wrong with you" You will be hit.

Prohecy - " Keep doing what you are doing. You will not get anywhere with that attitude"

These is actually verbal violence and abuse. It breaks their self esteem and creates bad feelings.

These are 5 ways to work with kids - pick the ones that work for you:

(i) Describe what you see or the problem.

e.g. There is a wet towel on the bed

It is easier to deal with a problem then with an accusation.

(ii) Give information

Give information that the child can work with. e.g. the towel is making my bed wet

(iii) Saying it to the point
Children dont like lectures and sermons. Shorter the better.

(iv) Talk about your feelings
Dont comment about the child's character or personality. e.g. I dont like slepping on a wet bed

(v) Write a note
My older son is into writing his feelings. I get him to write and i sometimes write him back.

I confess I am guilty of some of things. But sharing experiences help and and I tell my children to remind me or even tell me if my actions are unkind and hurtful. This, I hope shows that I respect them as being intelligent, sensitive and have their own character and feelings.

Interestingly, these are also good reminders for the work place!

I look forward to hearing your views on this topic in particular.

Happy teaching and cooking!

Remedies from the Kitchen

There are lots of home remedies, which are right in our kitchen Spices, olive oil, garlic, lemon, honey, vinegar, the list goes on .... Here are a few i use with my children. My mother is a great proponate of home remedies. Its natural. But of course, nothing replaces the doctor and proper medical care. Natural remedies can nevertheless help.

1.    Cuts and wounds, including paper cuts

(i)  Tumeric powder

Wash the wound first. Mix a little tumeric powder and water and rub over the wounds. It should provide quick relieve. Tumeric is a natural antibiotic.

(ii) Tea tree oil

Stir a teaspoon or so tea tree oil into a cup of warm water and rinse the cut. Do it a couple of times.

2.  Coughs

(i) Honey and ginger
Honey has antibacterial properties and works wonders for coughs and sour throats. Crush some ginger and include some honey with warm water.

(ii) Eucalyptus oil
This oil is wonderful to clear sinuses and the coughs caused by excessive flame. Place some in hot water and breathe in the vapours. Dont forget to place a towel over the child's head. This is better for older children - above 7 because of the strong vapours.

3.   Body Odour

(i) Try wipping vinegar or lemon juice under the arm pits. These will kill the bacteria in the area

(ii) Dusting bicarbonate of soda and corn flour powder is another remedy

4. Motion Sickness

(i) Chew fresh slices of ginger, drink ginger tea or nibble on ginger biscuits

Happy Teaching and Cooking!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Which is a Good Cooking Oil?

Do you sometimes wonder which cooking oil is best? Olive oil? Coconut oil? Canola oil? Sunflower oil? I did some research and this is what I found.
Cooking oil is fat and can be from plant or animal.

Types of cooking oil include:

- Ghee

- Olive oil

- Palm oil

- Soybean oil

- Canola oil

- Pumpkin seed oil

- Corn oil

- Sunflower oil

- Safflower oil

- Grape seed oil

- Peanut oil

- Sesame oil

First understanding the different kinds of fats

Oils differ from one another and are categorized by their degree of "saturation."

Generally saturated fats has heart health risks, which generally come from animal sources. Coconut, palm and palm kernel oils are the 3 plant-based exceptions to this rule, and should generally be avoided.

1. Monounsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature but cloud and thicken when chilled - Olive, canola, peanut and hazelnut oils, safflower and sunflower oils.

Consuming monounsaturated oils seems to reduce total blood cholesterol and the "bad" (low density lipoproteins [LDL]) cholesterol levels without affecting the "good" (high density lipoproteins [HDL]) cholesterol levels.

Olive oil and canola oil have been recommended as the safest sources of fat in a heart-healthy diet.

2. Polyunsaturated oils – regular safflower and sunflower, walnut, corn and soybean oils, remain liquid whether in or out of the refrigerator. Sesame oil contains approximately half monounsaturated and half polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Polyunsaturated oils are healthy because they too reduce total cholesterol and LDL, but they also decrease HDL's positive effects.

Polyunsaturated oils are chemically unstable, especially when exposed to heat and can change in content that contribute to cancer and other chronic diseases. Notice, there is more smoke with these kinds of oils especially sesame oil.

Have you noticed that some advertisements boasts an oil containing no cholesterol. It is true because vegetable oils contain no cholesterol as only animals have cholesterol.

Cooking with oil

Heating an oil changes its characteristics.

The cooking oil we choose depends on the cooking method.

Polyunsaturated oils - degrade easily to toxic compounds when heated. Prolonged consumption of burnt oils can lead to inflammatory joint disease, and development of birth defects.

Saturated fats – such as palm oil and coconut oil can withstand the high heat of deep frying and is resistant to oxidation compared to highly unsaturated vegetable oils. It remains stable in deep frying or in baking at very high temperatures.

Never fry at high heats with corn oil, it's notorious for foaming and smoking.

So, which oil is healthy?

There is no real answer because the fat content between the oils differ and they have their different characteristics. All cooking oils are 100 percent fat and thus the best way is to use oils is with thought and sparingly.

Canola oil is lowest in the saturated fat that clogs our arteries, while olive oil is highest in monounsaturates.

The dietary difference in cooking oils lies in the proportions each contains of the three basic types of fat – saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Regardless of the type of oil, we should used no more than 10 percent of total calories intake.  Try reading this book for more information on cooking oils.

Happy Cooking and Teaching!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Family Cooking

Teaching young children about nutrition should start at an early age. How do we do this? Most parents will explain using books, pictures, having a talk and so on. There are other effective ways.

Family Cooking - Click to Get Picture to Decorate Kitchen

Get the children involved in the cooking process, which includes from planning to preparation to the actual cooking.

Growing children have receptive minds. They are able to learn and absorb new information and skills easily. Preschoolders for example easily learn another language compared to adults. It is an excellant time to injet ideas and information to a preschoolers and school going children.

 I am telling my children to drink less juices and fizzy drinks and drink more water. No coke or even orange juice where sugar is added. All these steps prompts my boys to tell themselves that they are 'taking too much sugar' and 'stay away from unhealthy food'. They of course stray - they are children after all - but their minds are being moulded to think about bad food.

How to cook with children
Cooking activities' is  a brilliant way to get the kids 'programmed'. Get the kids involved in the whole assembly line:

Plan and Discuss
Discuss your meals. Allow your child to contribute their ideas. Benefits are endless: children's confidence booster, saves money because of the planning, healthy meals. Aim to
- guide your child
- serve three main meals including healthy snacks
- food must be nutritional from the food pyramid
- have variety - avoid repetition - dont have chicken stew on Monday and Wednesday for example
- use healthy cooking methods - roasting, steam, grill, stir fry

Shop and Teach
Teach you child about food and nutrition when you take them shopping.
- which is good and bad
- expiry dates
- money needs
- reading food labels

Cook and Teach
Depending on the age of your child, start with simple tasks such as washing and cleaning. Allow spread butter, tuna, mix, knead dough etc. They are many reccipes on this blog that helps various age groups.
Cheerful Family in the Kitchen - click to use as wall deco

The old proverb - Give someone a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach someone to fish and you feed him forever.

A simple everyday activity - cooking - can be such a powerful and useful tool for our children. Its free and entirely up to us.

Cooking with children
Click to Find Out More

Happy Teaching and Cooking!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Almonds- A nut for all Children

Almonds is a fantastic nut! Almonds are a great snack for children and adults.  A wonderful food for the growing brain and useful to adult weight watchers.

Almonds is extremely great to reduce risk of heart disease and curb hungry pans and thus helps reduce weight.  It is a nut for after meal or between meals.  Its has high content of monounsaturated fats, the same found in olive oil which helps in reducing risk of heart disease.

For children,  we could either soak a few seeds in water to soften it. Take off the skin and allow children to eat at least twice a day if not twice. Another way is simply to pound the almonds making it milky. Have it in the morning is best to start the day.

70grams or about 3 ounces can reduce bad low density lipoprotein cholesteral levels. Thats is only a handful of seeds.

A quarter cup of almonds has 100grams of magnesium plus 257mg of potassium. Magnesium is nature's calcium blocker. With enough magnesium, veins and arteries allows better blood flow and thus oxygen and nutrients flow better throughout the body.

Flavonoids found in almond skin and with vitamin E in the seed delivers double the antioxidant compared to if these 2 nutrients are given separately. There are 20 potent antioxidant in the almond skin which contribute to healthy benefits similar to that found in green tea and grapefruit.

Here is an almond cookie recipe. Simple to prepare and get the children involved. Make sure you explain to the children the benefits of almonds while baking.

50 grams whole almonds
2 tablespoons caster sugar
140 grams plain flour
100 grams butter
pinch of salt

1. Heat overn at 170C
2. Roast almonds for about 5 to 10 minutes - roughly chop the almonds
3. Cream butter, sugar and a pinch of salt and fold in the flour
4. Add the chopped almonds
5. Make into small balls
6. Bake for about 15 minutes

Almond Cookies