Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

By Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Sharon Jane Akinyemi
Sharon Jane Akinyemi

As we gradually approach the end of year 2015, and with the much talked about celebrations, festivals, carnivals and other social functions, it’s a season when love is shared and expressed with family and friends in different ways. Exchange of gifts, cakes, wine, soft drinks etc. also take place.
What am I driving at, you may ask. Am sure a lot of dining and wining will take place to celebrate the end of the year and the new year . But celebration of love should be a continuous experience and lifestyle, although one must do all things in moderation. I must also advice that caution be applied at this point.
Would you deliberately sprinkle or throw specks of red pepper in your own eyes or those of your children? Of course not, you’d say. Did you know that the stomach lining is more sensitive than the eyeball? Too much pepper can be very irritating to the membranes of the stomach. A doctor charged me a horrendous sum of money to give me that piece of advice when a member of my family had a bleeding ulcer. My inattention to good nutrition in the kitchen was making a painful problem even worse. So we must consciously make wise choices this season.
Serving breakfast demands tough love in the kitchen. If your mother or wife forced you to go without food for sixteen out of twenty-four hours, would you think she loved you? I wouldn’t! Yet millions of Nigerian homemakers act as if breaking the fast before leaving for school or work should be left up to the individual family member, even the children! Don’t fool yourself.
Tough love in the morning makes sure that the human motors leave the house with enough gas in their tanks to drive to all the places they need to go before lunch time. Can you back your car out of the garage and drive to work on an empty gasoline tank? In the same way you can’t leave the house with an empty stomach and not suffer for it later in the morning . You will run out of energy just when you need it most: during an important meeting with the boss, or while caring for your toddlers at home.
It takes tough love to get everyone up, run them around until they are hungry, and then sit patiently with them while they eat a nourishing well-balanced breakfast. That calls for the stiffest upper lip that a mother can produce! But it is necessary , if you want to give your family an energetic start for a new day.


Here are a few dietary guidelines that will help you express real love in the kitchen:

1. Feed your family a substantial breakfast every day. Serve your smallest meal at night, preferably three or four hours before going to bed.

2. Avoid foods made from refined grains, like white bread, pancakes, doughnuts and so on. Instead, serve whole grain products like wheat, millet and oats. Remember cooked cereals (pap) are more nutritious than dry breakfast cereals.

3. Serve more fruits and vegetables, especially raw or steamed, whenever possible , and avoid peeling away the outer skins.

4. Serve beef once a week. Instead , use more fish, chicken, beans, and egg dishes in your weekly menus.

5. In cooking and serving, limit the use of spices that are hot to the tongue, such as pepper and chilli powder.

6. Limit the amount of desserts, cookies, and other sweets served to your children, instead give them nuts, seeds and fruits.

7. Do not serve beverages with meals because this delays digestion. Instead encourage your family to drink lots of water between meals.

8. Remind your family to eat slowly and chew food thoroughly in order to receive the maximum benefit from their food.

9. As much as possible, serve meals at regular hours and avoid snack between meals.

10. Experiment with more vegetarian dishes that include dry beans and legumes. Try to limit the amount of oil you use.

11. Gear up for fitness. Make exercise a part of your life. Engage your family in simple morning exercise. You can jog on the sport, jump rope and stair climbing.

12. Rest and sleep are very necessary at this season. Don’t put yourself under undue pressure. You don’t need to oppress or intimidate anyone to get full satisfaction and your worth. Be yourself, be happy and stay blessed.
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