Child's Nutrition, Material Moms

[Material Moms] How To Get Your Child To Drink More Water – Beverly Burgess

Getting their child to meet their daily requirement of H2O is a struggle many mums are familiar with. Our Material Mom Beverly Burgess has found a way around the problem, and she shares her tips here.


Most adults don’t drink their recommendated daily intake of water, and neither do many children. Considering water makesup 75 percent of our bodies, it’s important that we replenish our fluids regularly – especially in Singapore’s hot weather.

USDA recommends that toddlers drink 1.3 liters and young children up to eight years drink 1.7 liters daily. Do you worry whether your child is drinking enough water every day? Here are a few tips to encourage them to get their daily requirement of H2O:

1) Get your child to drink from a cup. Drinking directly from a cup naturally dispenses more water into your child’s mouth and also facilitates faster drinking. Try to wean your child off non-leak straws – those are notorious for making it hard work sucking any water out and the child often drinks less due to the greater effort required.

2) Flavour your water naturally. Does your child turn their nose up at plain ‘ol water? Boost it with some flavour like a squeeze of orange juice, or steep some cucumber in there. Water flavoured naturally with fruit and vegetables have the added bonus of giving their immune system a boost.

3) Chill your water. Few children will reject a glass of refreshing, chilled water. Pop a cube of ice into their cup to add interest (they can rattle it around) and icy coldness that is a hit with kids.

4) Use an insulated water bottle. When you’re on the go, invest in an insulated water bottle that you can fill with plain water and add an ice cube to. It will cool the water down and your child will have cool water whilst out – especially welcome if they are running around outdoors.

5) Serve more fruit and soups. Not all their recommended daily intake of water needs to come from plain water. Fruit, soups, and milk are also excellent sources of fluid and make a great snack for kids. Just remember, it is better for a child to consume plain cut fruit rather than fruit juice, which tends to have more sugar and lower fibre content.

Of course, I don’t need to tell you that dehydration has many unpleasant side effects such dizziness and sluggishness so be sure to practise what you preach and ensure that you, too, get your eight glasses a day.

BevChrisCloseupAbout the author: Having blogged for the past two decades spanning life in Australia, China and Singapore, Beverly Burgess entered an alternate universe at warp speed when she went from career-driven shopaholic and social butterfly … to juggling being a wife and a mother of two kids. All within three years. The career is now replaced with the privilege of being a full-time mum, but the urge to shop and socialize still remains (albeit with two obliging children in tow). And, she wouldn’t have it any other way. She blogs at Beverly’s Adventures.


Child's Nutrition, Material Moms

[Material Moms] Why This Fruit Holds The Kiwi To A Mother’s Heart – Delphine Tan

In this week’s Material Moms, Delphine Tan gives you not one but eight reasons why every mum should consider adding kiwifruit to their child’s diet.

My kids don’t like veggies and are quite particular about fruits. One fruit they do enjoy very much is yellow kiwifruit because it’s so sweet and juicy. I love that it’s such a convenient fruit to give to the kids: no need to fiddle around with a peeler, a knife or a cutting board; just cut and scoop with a spoon or the Zespri® spife (that’s a special spoon-knife) and serve!


Here are some fun facts about Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit (and other kiwifruits) to get any mum excited:

Fun Fact #1

Kiwifruits are a great source of fibre so they help to get things moving along in the loo, which is fab because constipated kids are such a pain in the butt (literally).

Fun Fact #2

Kiwifruits are on the Clean 15 list of fruits (i.e. fruits least likely to hold pesticide residues). You can feed it to your kids with complete peace of mind if you can’t find or can’t afford organic kiwifruits. Zespri® Kiwifruit is also completely natural and not genetically-modified so that’s one less thing to worry about.

Fun Fact #3

Some studies have shown that kiwifruit protects against respiratory problems such as asthma and wheezing in children. You can breathe easy knowing that!

Fun Fact #4

Kiwifruits have a low glycemic index which means that the glucose is slowly released into the bloodstream. You won’t have kids bouncing off the walls on a sugar rush! There’s also more potassium in a serving of kiwifruit than in a banana so it’s perfect for active kids.


Fun Fact #6

Kiwifruits contain high levels of natural chemicals (such as lutein and zeaxanthin) that may protect against eye problems. See why kids should be eating kiwifruit?


Fun Fact #8

The zinc in kiwifruit is needed for healthy hair, skin, teeth and nails so your kids can be healthy and LOOK healthy.

So there you have it – eight cool reasons why kiwifruit is excellent for your kids. I’ll see you at the supermarket!

Delphine - 2About The Author: Delphine Tan still feels like a kid but is married to Adrian and mother to Anya, Adam, and David. Since she has no artistic talent and does not know how to cook, she spends her free time reading, blogging, and collecting matryoshka. Besides being addicted to caffeine, Delphine also suffers from the compulsive need to Instagram every single plate of food that she eats. 

Child's Nutrition, Material Moms

[Material Moms] Tips For Helping Picky Eaters Enjoy Their Food – Beverly Burgess

It’s worrying when your child isn’t eating as much as he should be, but there are easy ways to sneak some nutrition into the picky eater’s bowl, says our Material Mom this week.

My husband and I are foodies. We’re not ashamed to admit that we live to eat, and not the other way around.

And our children? We have one child that eats like no tomorrow, and one that is a reluctant eater.

Can you guess which one’s the reluctant eater?

Probably not.

And that’s because they all grow up just fine. This is the hardest thing to tell a parent that is pulling their own hair out, at wits end because their child isn’t eating what has just been painstakingly cooked for them.

Believe me, I have tried everything to get my eldest son to eat with gusto! I’ve done the sweet persuasion thing. I’ve done the roaring angry mummy thing. I’ve done the take-the-food-away-he-will-get-hungry-eventually thing. I’ve even resorted to the bribery thing.

And I’ve done the cry-tears-of-frustration-and-worry thing. Three times a day. Every day for almost a year.

But you know what? He grew out of it. At 2.5 years old, he just started eating. I’d like to take credit for this, but in reality, it was just a phase (albeit a year-long one!) that he went through. And now, he’s at a perfectly healthy weight and height, happy as a clam, and I feel like all those sleepness nights for the past year was just a (really really bad) dream.

Here are some of the things I resorted to (and sometimes still do), to ensure my kids receive appropriate nutrition in their meals.

1) Squeeze kiddy packet food into their rice congee. Kid adverse to vegetables? Those packet foods in the grocery store’s children aisle are a savior. If you reckon they’ll get suspicious, simply squeeze a small dollop into plain rice congee, so it’s barely there. Amp up the amount daily.

2) Puree whatever’s good. My older son doesn’t like berries, which are high in antioxidants. But he’s perfectly fine with eating it when it’s pureed and mixed into his Greek yogurt every morning. You can puree and freeze these into ice cube trays, and pop out a block to defrost every night.

3) Tomato pasta sauce is your friend. Most kids are pretty keen on a tomato-based pasta sauce. Pop in chopped carrots, peas, whatever you get your hands on. It’s not as easy to spot them in the dark-coloured sauce. If your kid has particularly sharp eyes, puree those too! Tip: avocado can be mashed and stirred into pasta sauce. It’s high in good fats and makes the dish extra creamy – yum!

4) Make your own “junk” food. Search online for recipes for zuchinni muffins, carrot and brocolli pudding, vegetable cookies, baked potato chips, etc. It’s the perfect way to offer a little treat to your child, but still get some goodness into them.

5) Tofu is your friend. It’s an excellent source of protein and can easily be mixed (without being detected) into rice congee, pasta, etc. Want to make it more interesting? Lightly pan-fry slices of egg tofu – they can pass off as nuggets for the little ones!

Above all, I maintained a ZERO snacks and desserts rule until my son could eat a full meal by himself. Now, they are both disciplined enough to understand that the goodies aren’t allowed until after their meal. Well…. most of the time 😉

BevChrisCloseupAbout the author: Having blogged for the past two decades spanning life in Australia, China and Singapore, Beverly Burgess entered an alternate universe at warp speed when she went from career-driven shopaholic and social butterfly … to juggling being a wife and a mother of two kids. All within three years. The career is now replaced with the privilege of being a full-time mum, but the urge to shop and socialize still remains (albeit with two obliging children in tow). And, she wouldn’t have it any other way. She blogs at Beverly’s Adventures.

Child's Nutrition, Material Moms

[Material Moms] The Importance of Speaking Properly – Deborah Giam

To train your child to speak fluently, you have to do more than just skip the baby talk. 


The Little Miss talks and, boy, does she talk a lot. But what most people find amazing is how articulately she speaks. It’s not any training or extra tuition or enrichment that I’ve sent her to. Here are some tips to help train your child to speak properly – you’ll be surprised how easy it is!

Always speak properly. Kids are like sponges and they learn by example. So it goes without saying that if you speak to your child properly, that’s what they’ll learn and that’s what they’ll use. Since Little Miss was born, I always speak to her in full sentences. I’ve never indulged in baby talk with her, or given nicknames to any of her toys or items. Everything is called as it is, and everything is described as it should be.

Talk. A lot. Like I mentioned earlier, Little Miss talks a lot – as do I. I always encourage her to tell me how she’s feeling and ask whatever question is on her mind. This also means that I try to answer all her questions with proper explanations. It doesn’t always work out though, because sometimes the answers just aren’t enough for her! “But why is that man going there, Mum?” “What has he got in his bag?” “Where is he taking it to?” “Why?” My mum says it’s payback time. Apparently, I used to do the same to her when I was Little Miss’ age. Well, at least one mother is amused.

Watch the good stuff. Choosing the sort of TV programmes your child watches also makes a big difference. Try to avoid shows that feature gibberish-speaking characters, like Teletubbies.

Bedtime stories. Stories are a wonderful way for kids to get a feel of how words come together to form something so enjoyable. And it also gives them a chance to learn words in the right context plus stir up their imagination.

Correct them. But in a gentle, non-condescending way, of course. When they’re saying new words for the first time, it’s important that you make sure they pronounce it as correctly as possible. And, let them know what the word means – it’s easier for them to remember the word when they know what it means and how to use it.

Make it fun. Recently, Little Miss and I have been learning new languages. It happened quite by accident when I thought she’d be tickled by how we say “I love you” in German (Ich liebe dich, in case anyone wants to know). Since then she’s asked me to find out more words for her in a few different languages. I repeat the words slowly to her, say them as phonetically as possible and even spell them out. These language lessons have turned out to be a great parent-child bonding session as well. Once, Little Miss asked what light in German is. After I told her it is “licht”, she asked, “Lick? Like this?”  then proceeded to lick me on the knee. To this day, whenever she sees lights, she’ll stick out her little tongue!


About the author: Deborah Giam is a full-time digital native, having worked and played in the online world for most of her life. Her second job is mother to a precocious four-year-old who loves dinosaurs, airplanes and Hello Kitty. Forget designer labels she’s happiest in an old-school world shooting with film, traveling the world and exploring new places. See more of her travels and photographs at

Child's Nutrition, Material Moms

[Material Moms] The Veggie Dish Your Kids Will Love – Selena Quah


Selena with her boys

Ratatouille – there’s a reason why a movie was named after this dish, it’s that good! It is also one of my go-to recipes whenever I feel the kids need a veggie boost in their diets after a weekend of too much fast-food and party snacks.

Ratatouille nicoise, as it is properly called, is a traditional French Provencal stewed vegetable dish. There are several ways to prepare it, from the simple to the elaborate. Julia Child’s method involves cooking the aubergine and zucchini separately, making the tomato based sauce with onions, garlic and capsicums, layering all the elements in a casserole, and then finally baking it.

But how many of us really have the time for that?!

Enter my Speedy Ratatouille! Although it has none of the elaboration of French chefs, it is still nutrient-rich and delicious. It is sweet, fragrant and has a great mix of textures. My younger boy, who tends to be quite picky about his vegetables, gobbles up everything whenever I serve this dish. Here’s the recipe:

How to get your kids to love eating these veggies

How to get your kids to love eating these veggies

How a bouquet garni looks

How a bouquet garni looks

(For a family of 2 adults and 2 kids)

1 large white onion
2 capsicums of different colours1 medium zucchini
1 small to medium aubergine
1 medium wedge of pumpkin
4 to 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bunch of bouquet garni
1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil

1. If your kid doesn’t eat “anything green”, then use red and yellow capsicums, and yellow zucchini.

2. Bouquet garni is a bunch of herbs tied together with a string. You can get bouquet garni in small boxes at Cold Storage’s herb section.

1. Prepare the aubergine.
If you are particular about the bitterness of aubergine, you may peel it, slice it into round pieces, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and leave them under a weight (see picture) to drain the juice. But I just chop it up and cook with it the rest of the vegetables because I don’t have the time and the pumpkin should be able to counter the bitter taste.

How to drain the aubergines

How to drain the aubergines

2. Peel and slice the onion.

3. Cut, seed, and dice the tomato.

4. Dice the zucchini but DO NOT peel it.

5. Remove the pith and the seeds of the capsicums, then dice or cut into strips.

6. Remove the skin of the pumpkin and chop into large cubes. If you decided to drain your aubergine, now’s the time to rinse them out and dice them.

7. Heat up the olive oil and garlic in a pot.

8. Once the garlic is slightly browned, add all the vegetables and the bouquet garni into the pot. 
Leave the whole thing to cook for 30 minutes, stirring the mix occasionally to ensure they cook evenly and that the vegetables don’t stick to the pot. It is ready to be served when the whole thing turns into a moist stew and you can smell the aromatic sweet smell of the herbs and vegetables in the air.


9. Remove the bouquet garni before you serve the stew. Season to taste.



I like to serve this ratatouille over some rice or pasta, sometimes with an omelette or with fish for added protein. The boys usually eat a large bowl of it for dinner every time I make it. If you doubt your kids will take to ratatouille, why not let them watch the movie first?


Try it and do let me know how you and your kids find this dish.

Bon appetit!

[More stories by our Material Moms]

1. [Material Moms] “Why Is School So Bossy?” – Elisa Woodward

2. [Material Moms] Let’s Talk About Play – Shiney Huang

3. [Material Moms] Choosing the Right Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (OBGYN) – Delphine Tan