When you are a first-time mom teaching your child to eat nutritious meals, but struggling to keep it within your household budget, what do you do?
When your children do not want to try food other than what they are accustomed to, giving them proper nourishment can pose quite a challenge. Knowing what and how to prepare can help children develop proper eating habits.
According to the 8th National Nutrition Survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), two out of 10 children from aged 0 to 5 years are underweight, while three out of 10 are stunted. These can be attributed to the quality of food that they eat. For example, sugary snacks are easily available to children, but they would still need proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for optimal development.
Introducing Moms and Kids to Nutritious Meals
Mayla Deinla, 22 years old, is a first time mom to four-year-old Miel and a participant in the Knorr Lutong Nanay Nutrition Program implemented by Unilever Philippines.
“Miel hates vegetables, he only eats fish. He joined playschool earlier this year and learned to eat chocolate biscuits and instant noodles. He doesn’t want to eat anything else,” Mommy Mayla recalled.
Three months ago, the first phase of the program introduced mother and son to nutritious food. Mommy Mayla shared that since joining, Miel is no longer considered malnourished. He has since gained two kilograms (4.4 lbs) and now eats vegetables like kangkong and radish from sinigang.
After the first phase of the feeding program concluded, Mommy Mayla was concerned about sustaining the good habits they developed.
“I didn’t know how to cook or pick out food in the market. We don’t have that much money to be able to prepare what they served from the program,” shared Mommy Mayla.
Sustaining Healthy Habits
While the Knorr Lutong Nanay Nutrition Program has already been running for the last 15 years, Unilever Philippines has explored ways to scale it up for a wider and deeper impact to mothers and children.
With the first phase of the program educating mothers and children on nutritious food and help them form healthy eating habits, the second phase of the program focuses on teaching mothers to prepare healthy meals for a family of two adults and three children, costing only between Php30 to Php90 per meal.
Aiding mothers to prepare affordable and nutritious meals is the idea behind the launch of the Knorr Lutong Nanay Nutri Budget Cookbook, a project by Unilever Philippines together with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute.
The Knorr Lutong Nanay Nutri Budget Cookbook helps mothers prepare meals that are inexpensive, healthy, and flavorful. There are 31 recipes included that are very easy to prepare, packed with flavor, and meant for kids to enjoy. The cookbook also comes with complete with a guide on the ingredients, cost, nutritional value, and cooking instructions. It has since been launched to the mothers in seven barangays in Taguig City.
“Moms are effective nutrition ambassadors. The Knorr Lutong Nanay Nutri Budget Cookbook can be every mother’s weapon to help nurture their kids,” said Czarina Manalo, Knorr Senior Brand Manager.
Promoting Nutrition at the Community Level
Creating communities that value nutrition and support healthy cooking and eating habits is crucial in ensuring that kids are properly nourished. The local government of Taguig City has placed a premium in nurturing communities mindful of kids’ nutrition.
“Taguig City has always been supportive of the partnerships that strengthen their communities. They recognize the help that other sectors can offer them. Presently, malnutrition in the city has significantly declined,” said Victoria Wieneke, President of Kabisig ng Kalahi Inc., a program partner of the Knorr Lutong Nanay Nutrition Program.
Mothers participating in the program have expressed eagerness and excitement in learning new skills from the Knorr Lutong Nanay Nutri Budget Cookbook.
“I want to learn how to properly feed kids. I want Miel to grow healthy and active. Learning to cook means becoming a better homemaker,” shared Mommy Mayla.
Unilever Philippines Vice President for Sustainable Business and Communications Ed Sunico said, “We are thankful for the city of Taguig for welcoming our community initiatives, from feeding programs to waste recovery. When we started Lutong Nanay in Taguig, we wanted to impart to mothers the knowledge and value of providing nutritious meals through their own cooking. We believe that malnutrition can be alleviated with one home-cooked meal at a time.”
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