10 Healthy Naija Style Breakfast Menus

The phrase that breakfast is the most important meal of the day has become so familiar that it’s lost its tangible meaning. As common as it may sound, this wise saying is in fact a reality but not all adhere to it.
A healthy breakfast should be a mix of fibre, protein, a dash of carbs and of course, some fruits and vegetables. For a healthy balance of essential nutrients, fruits whether sliced, juiced or pureed can be added to your breakfast.
With all of the above in mind, let’s go through some delectable breakfast menus:
1. Moimoi with ogi (pap), custard or oats. Moimoi can always be prepared ahead and kept in the freezer for future consumption.
2. Plantain (boiled or fried) with eggs, sauce/stew, vegetables or even beans.
3. Rice is the most common meal in Nigeria and it is loved by all, especially children. Rice can be cooked and had as breakfast in a variety of ways – White rice, jollof rice, coconut rice, fried rice, and even concoction rice (a rice quickie). Chicken/ meat/fish, and plantain or beans are perfect combinations to any of the rice varieties.
4. Yams (either boiled or fried) can be enjoyed with beans / fried eggs/ fish or meat stew/sauce. Yam porridge is another good variation of yam that you can have for breakfast.
5. Cereals can be filling and they are great breakfast choices, easy and quick to prepare. There are a whole range of cereal assortments to choose from. Children love: Corn Flakes, Golden Morn, Kellogg’s varieties – Crunchy Nuts, Honey Loops, Frosties, Rice Krispies etc. For adults, oats, weetabix and several bran cereals are very ideal and can be enjoyed with milk, fruits and yoghurt.
6. Akara (fried bean cake) is another beans delicacy that can be enjoyed with pap, custard or oats.
7. Potatoes (Irish or Sweet) can be savoured fried or boiled with beans, any sauce/stew of choice, or/and fried eggs.
8. Bread. There are a thousand and one delicious ways to enjoy bread (plain or toasted); with beans (ewa agoyin…heavenly), eggs (boiled or fried), any butter/spreads of choice, or stew/sauce.
9. Don’t we all love pancakes? Pancakes can be enjoyed with tea/coffee/hot or cold cocoa beverages, oats/custard and even with vegetable salad. Pancakes are always on point with kids (my daughter needs no persuasion in eating her breakfast if it’s pancakes).
10.  Pasta is an enjoyable delicacy made from durum wheat flour that is loved by most Nigerians. The good thing is pasta comes in various styles and shapes; most common ones here in Nigeria are spaghetti, macaroni, and noodles. You can get very creative with pasta and get them cooked in loads of appetizing ways.
Nigerians love life and eating good food is a part of our lifestyle. Now you get to enjoy a healthy breakfast the Nigerian way! 

Recipes: Yam Porridge Delight For The Family

Highly nutritious and considered a superfood, yams are tropical tubers indigenous to the peoples of West Africa, most parts of Asia, and Latin Americans (South and Central). Yams are high in dietary fibre and carbohydrates; thus a major source of energy. Yams are also ample source of other nutrients such as: Vitamins A, B, C, and essential minerals – potassium, copper and iron.
Little wonder yam is an accepted staple food in many homes universally. All of the nutrients found in yam are required for maintaining a healthy balance in adults – promotes good functioning of the heart, kidney, and muscle.
There are many yam species and they can be cooked in varied appetizing ways; top on the list of yam delicacies is yam porridge. Yam porridge is a very common meal easy to cook, and enjoyed by both young and old. When cooked properly, the natural sweet taste of yam is loved by all.
To get the best out of yam porridge, we will be adding chunks of fish and very soft chicken; this will provide extra protein and flavour.
Required ingredients are:

1 tuber of yam (yam size may vary according to the number of servings required)
Palm oil
Fresh tomatoes
Fresh Bell Pepper (Tatashe)
Fresh scotch bonnet (ata rodo)
1 medium sized onion
Ground crayfish
Dried or fresh shrimps (optional)
Shredded chicken (well seasoned and boiled)
Dried Fish or Smoked fish (Mackerel (popular Titus fish) is suggested because of its yummy taste)
Seasoning cubes (I use Knorr but any of your choice will do fine)
Salt to taste.

Cooking Guide:
Peel and cut yam into small chunks, then put into pot of water to cook (you may want to add a teaspoon of sugar for some sweetness if it’s New Yam that’s being used).
Wash the tomatoes, pepper (tatashe and rodo), and onion then blend (try to use minimal water so you can get a paste-like pepper mix after blending).
Leave the yam to cook for about 5 minutes then pour blended pepper into the pot of boiling yam. Add ground crayfish, the washed smoked fish, seasoning cubes, a bit of salt, and then add some palm oil sparingly. Allow to cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
By now the yam should be very soft, begin to mash till you get a thick consistency; little lumps of yam can be left. Add in the shredded boiled chicken, taste for salt (a bit more can be added if needed), and then leave to cook for another 2-3 minutes on low heat. Your delicious pot of yam pottage (popularly called asaro in Yoruba) is ready to be devoured!
Another delicious twist to cooking yam porridge is adding green vegetables (Ugwu or Spinach). Some kids don’t like this addition (my daughter doesn’t) so to play safe, you can prepare your vegetable as a side dish for the yam porridge to be enjoyed by adults.

Cosmetic Surgery during Pregnancy: How Safe is it?

Cosmetic surgery is a type of medical procedure or operation that is aimed at improving a person’s appearance. Cosmetic surgery was at the onset popular only amongst the fashionable elites and celebrities; but recently, the general public is fast turning to the use of this constructive medical procedure as a means to enhance their looks, and of course give their self-esteem a boost.
Also referred to as aesthetic surgery, this medical process can be carried out on any part of the body. Cosmetic surgery incorporates a wide range of procedures. A few of the very common ones are liposuction (tummy tuck), breast augmentation (breast lifts/ enlargement/reduction), facial restructuring (lip enhancement, eyelid lift, eyebrow lift/reshaping, removal of wrinkles), cheek enhancement, ear reshaping; butt implants. Undergoing any or all of these medical reconstructions are ways people (especially women) attempt to give themselves the ideal image of their dreams.
Most female celebrities have successfully undergone several cosmetic surgeries in order to get a desired look, wade off the implications of aging, and in most cases get back their pre-baby look and shape effortlessly. However, as appealing and laudable as the effects of cosmetic surgery may seem, they are risk inclined and sometimes complications occur; one period in the life of a woman never to consider having this kind of surgery is during pregnancy.
Cosmetic surgery is a choice and doctors/surgeons strongly recommend against having these procedures during pregnancy. Breastfeeding mothers are also discouraged from such surgeries till at least 6 months postpartum. Reasons for this are that:
Most cosmetic surgeries involve general anaesthesia. This largely increases the risk of miscarriage if given within a pregnant woman’s 1st trimester.  
Everything a pregnant woman puts in her body or eats gets to her unborn child. Injections, medications and chemical fillers used during cosmetic surgeries equally gets to the foetus or newborn and can be very harmful.
The body goes through lots of metabolic and hormonal changes during pregnancy and often times, a woman’s immune system functionality is reduced. With this, there’s a high tendency for after-surgery infections which can be fatal.
Post-surgical medications are highly detrimental to foetal health and development.
Need I say more? Having a positive outlook to life and the desire to enhance your appearance is a real good one but if you are pregnant, your baby’s health is of utmost priority; feel good about yourself and the fact that you have a tiny human growing in you. So enjoy your pregnancy and wait till after your baby is born before indulging in any surgical makeover!

Postpartum Recovery: Healing After The Birth Of Your Baby

Congratulations dear mother on the arrival of your baby! Bringing forth your tiny bundle of joy can be a very memorable but overwhelming event; an experience not to be underestimated. From the very first moments of pregnancy to the last stages of labour through to delivery, your body has gone through some strain, and physiological changes and it will take some time for it to transit back to its non-pregnant state. Just as pregnancy and women differ, transitional phases are equally different too. The postpartum period may vary from several weeks to several months.
Within the first six weeks after delivery, your uterus returns to its normal size. Breastfeeding helps to achieve this faster, and you might feel uterine contractions/cramps as you nurse your baby.  One noticeable change as your uterus returns to normal is the gradual reduction of your abdomen.
Tips on postpartum recovery
If you experience vaginal numbness, you can have Sitz Baths. This procedure involves sitting in a warm bath or on a bucket with steaming water, at least thrice daily. Adding antiseptic to the warm bath/steaming water before sitting in/on the bucket helps as well. The soothing feeling of this practice not only helps relief the soreness in your perineum but makes healing a lot faster. Lying on your side rather than on your back will also give some comfort and aid perineal healing.
Postpartum is usually a time of excitement laced with phases of fatigue as your body recovers gradually from the tiring experience of pregnancy, labour, and eventually childbirth. Trying to get your body back into shape through vigorous exercise routines should be avoided till your doctor gives you the green light. You may feel you are up to it some weeks after birth, but it’s best to give your body all the rest it deserves before whipping it up again. There are a couple of light postnatal exercises that will get you moving and back on your feet in no time; however, it’s recommended to talk with your doctor/midwife before engaging in any.
Pelvic floor exercises are such exercises that can be done and without putting a strain on your postpartum recovery. It is a vital exercise technique recommended during pregnancy as well because of its ability to strengthen vagina and bladder muscles. Pelvic floor exercises engage the gently squeezing of the bladder tube or region around your vagina as if to stop the flow of urine, for about 10 – 15 seconds. This technique is so easy, and can be repeated over and over again. You can practise it anytime and anywhere; lying down, standing or sitting with at least 10 – 15 repetitions per session 4 – 5 times a day. You could also try them out while still sitting right there on the toilet bowl after urinating!
Maintaining a well nutritional diet which may come in small portions during postpartum is an essentiality for quick recovery. Healthy eating is certain to get you back into shape in no time, while also ensuring that your nursing baby gets the adequate nourishment it requires in his/her first weeks in life.

Lose Postpartum Weight: Healthy Ways to get your body back and look your best!

Moving maternity clothes to the furthermost section of the closet, and getting back into those skinny jeans and favourite outfits are some of the most common mentations that run through a woman’s mind the moment childbirth is done with and postpartum weight sets in.
If these are your sentiments, it’s utterly normal; the average woman loves to look good and getting off the extra weight gained during pregnancy is a thought in the right direction. The good news is, a fair percentage of your pregnancy weight is actually lost in the delivery room; your baby’s weight, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid are in totality about 4 – 6kgs and you are sure to feel lighter the moment your body is delivered of them.
Tips to lose your postpartum weight
To get started, you don’t have to push your body. Pregnancy and the toil of childbirth are stress periods for the human body therefore, adequate time and care must be given for proper recovery. Postpartum weight loss shouldn’t be your focal point within the first 6 – 8 weeks after childbirth. Let your baby have your attention this period thus allowing your body enough time to mend.
Healthy nourishment is required for your body’s healing, and of course for your new-born’s steady growth too. It is therefore crucial that you play it safe by indulging in good nutritious eating. Your diet, breastfeeding, ample sleep, and exercise are factors that facilitate effective results on your weight loss journey. Here are some hints to be mindful of:Breast milk is considered the most suitable food for your baby. It is also nature’s way of helping you shed pregnancy weight – as you breastfeed, hormones that work on shrinking the uterus to its pre-baby size are produced; your baby pouch inevitably diminishes as well. You should know that breastfeeding can amazingly get at least 450 – 500 calories off you daily.
Unlike carbs, low fat foods like protein and whole grains have high fibre content that will keep you feeling full for longer periods and also help your body burn more calories – eat more of them.
Keep healthy snacks around you; they will aid in your abstinence from junk. There are wide varieties of fruits and vegetables that will not only keep hunger away but also make up part of your daily recommended nutrients.
Drink lots of water! Surprised? Drinking plenty of water is healthy; apart from filling you up, conscious efforts to drink water will keep dehydration away. This is very effective because hydration, even at its mildest, slows down your metabolism by about 3% and if this happens, losing weight becomes an almost impossible feat.
No matter how eager you are to get back into shape, get the go-ahead from your doctor before hitting the gym. Long relaxed strolls first weeks postpartum and then brisk walking as you heal, can be effectual as healthy physical activities before your body is ready for regular workouts.

Is Your Child Safe On The Internet?

In today’s fast-paced world of technology, the World Wide Web has become a fascinating world of wonder for not only adults but for kids too. With the wide array of electronics – smartphones, tablets, internet-bound game devices, and digital televisions – found in most homes, a child’s access to the online world is almost unavoidable.
Maintaining your child’s safety on the internet can be a very intimidating challenge but there are quite a number of ways you can endeavour to keep your child safe from internet risks.
The following measures can set you on the right track for your chilld’s internet safety:
–  There is no definite age for a child to begin visiting the web. Parents can determine the right age to get their child started.
–  Children can be very inquisitive and an outright ban from going online will only fuel their curiosity; rather, a guided use of the internet is advised.
–  Careful supervision of your child’s internet access and usage from the very first day is a key rule. Computers should be kept in the living room or in an open place where your child can connect online under your watchful eyes.
– Guidelines should be set. Age-appropriate sites that are educative and have high learning potentials should be encouraged mainly.
–  For older kids, suitable social networks should be agreed on for visits and appropriate content (pictures, videos etc) that can be posted online or downloaded from the internet should be discussed and clearly defined.
–  The internet can be very addictive and it is your responsibility to help your child avoid internet addiction. Set time limits like the time of the day to go online, and duration.
–  Develop interests in the fun things your child does online and take time out to be a part of it too. This way you are kept abreast of your child’s online activities and can carefully guide him/her aright.
–  It is your right as a parent to manage your child’s online participation. So get involved; if your child has social network accounts, know the people s/he chats with. Ask relevant questions if need be, and cautiously educate your kid not to be too trusting; it’s easy for people to lie online about who they really are.
–  Always encourage your child never to disclose private information online (name, age, phone numbers, residential address, name of school), and to never make attempts to meet any online friend physically without getting apt approval from you.
As digital evolution increases by the day, parental control apps and software are becoming very common. With these programs you can filter websites, and also be fully aware of what you child sees, listens to and who they interact with online.

Nanny or Crèche? Making the Best Choice For Your Child

There’s never a time too early in making this post-baby care choice. Deciding on the most suitable childcare can start from the very period of pregnancy, although some mothers (non-1st timers) do wait till when they are almost ready to resume work before making a choice.
Employing the services of a nanny means your child gets to have personalized care in the comfort of his/her home while on the other hand, a Daycare/Crèche will provide your little one with care within a professional setting, and of course lots of playmates. However, this isn’t all to it; a thousand and one considerations come into play when trying to make an apt choice for your child’s care. Let’s take a look at a few vital points for both child minding options.
Nanny Care:
With a nanny, your child gets to enjoy dedicated one-on-one attention; can play with his/her own toys at will, and doesn’t have to conform to the scheduled activities of a daycare/crèche. Your child also gets to play safe within the comfort of a clean home environment, so there’s less exposure to germs and infections. Another good deal that comes with having a nanny is flexibility– a nanny can run flexible hours that suits an erratic busy schedule; you get to call the shots.
With a nanny, you don’t have to bother about packing and delivering food packs, diapers and all sorts at the crèche, and of course rushing to meet drop-offs and pick-ups are out of the picture. Some nannies don’t mind doing extra stuffs and are willing to help out with house chores like laundry and cleaning up – that’s a real great one…right?

Day – Care:
Most Day-care centres in Nigeria are similar to crèches. Both offer child care / preschool services in an organized pattern. At a daycare, your child is watched over by not just one but multiple well supervised capable hands, and gets to enjoy the company of other children too! Enrolling your little one in a day-care centre is a good start to his/her socialization and learning process; listening to and reciting nursery rhymes, learning to share toys, and interacting with other kids in group activities are all part of the structured benefits of a crèche.
However, at a daycare, your child is prone to get infections from any infected kid, and should s/he fall sick, taking time off work to tend to her/him or finding backup care at home is inevitable.
So really, neither is a better or worse option; both have their merits and drawbacks. What matters largely is – which of the childcare options is most convenient for you personally? Whatever your decision is, and as anxious as the experience may be, ensuring that your child gets the optimal quality care is essential.

Useful Ways To Get Yourself Ready For Delivery

The final arrival of your baby is one unique experience that can rock your world, and whether you are planning for a caesarean section or vaginal delivery, it’s best to ensure adequate preparation for a smooth delivery.
Labour pain is said to be one of the most painful experiences a human can have but you should know that pain is relative, and just as pregnancy experience differs from one woman to another, labour pains may also differ. So as you await the final day, and the days begin to drag, it’s important you avoid negative thoughts about labour so you don’t get too apprehensive.
To be well prepared, there are so many productive things you can do while you wait for delivery so get busy!
Pack Your Delivery Bag
First things first, try to ensure that you have a delivery bag and checklist ready. Don’t wait till your first signs of contraction before you pack your bag. Having your bag ready beforehand will help avoid any form of rush should your baby decide to come earlier than its expected due date. Knowing you have all you will need at the hospital will assuredly make you feel more relaxed as the days go by.
Be Active
Have regular 40 – 50 minutes brisk walks at least twice each day, and try your hands on squatting too. Squatting opens up your pelvis for birth by at least 15% – 28% and regular squats especially in your last trimester will improve your balance, while also building up your stamina in readiness for pushing when your due date comes. So don’t wait till you are in labour, get squatting now.
One much recommended exercise routines that can also help strengthen your pelvic and vaginal muscles are the Kegel exercises. If you are planning for a vaginal birth doing this will certainly ease your birthing experience.Start birth classes early so you can be done with these classes by your 36th week. You can ask your instructor relevant questions that will help you get acquainted with the birth techniques you’ve been taught. You should also consistently practise these techniques on your own. Asking your spouse to join your routines if that will make you more comfortable is a good idea.
Watch Your Health
As your baby’s arrival day gets closer, you should take lots of bed rests and always have someone around you for cases of emergency. Sticking to healthy balanced meal plans should also be top priority on your list.

Work life and Motherhood: Maintaining a Balance

For generations, working mothers have industriously juggled between being a mother and pursuing their dream career path effectively. Many have made a success of this daunting struggle, while some women on the other hand eventually had to sacrifice a prospective work career to become a fulfilling wife and mother.
The chance to attempt making a balance between these two worlds don’t even occur for some women, as certain policies in some companies give no room for working mothers. This is a major reason why some career driven women don’t give a thought to becoming mothers till they are way up the ladder, and have proved their worth in such companies.
Amongst others, one sure way to stay on top of your game as a working mother is being properly organized. Not every woman can be a super-mom but with determination, a seamless equilibrium between work and maternity can be maintained. Here are some more helpful pointers:
Carefully think through and weigh what fulfils you as an individual – a fulltime career success or motherhood?
Always plan head. Develop organized routines that work both at home and at work and most importantly, stick to these routines.
Learn to set boundaries at home and in the office. Do your best in executing given assignments effectively within official working hours and when the day is over, don’t be pressured to succumb to the dividends of extra time. And at home, be firm in saying No to unimportant things.
As important as it is to give your kids all the love and nurturing they deserve, don’t overindulge them with your attention. Set limits!
Appreciate and make the most of whatever little time you get to spend with your family. Fun doesn’t have to be a day out at the parks or shopping mall; you will be amazed at how much amusement and satisfaction a simple indoor game or watching a movie with the kids can bring.
Saturdays and Sundays are a blessing; don’t spend them engaging in frivolities or attending irrelevant parties. Use your weekend wisely in planning and preparing for the busy week ahead.
Make conscious efforts to be a part of your kid’s education. Spend some time helping with homework, attend school open days, and be friendly with teachers and even the school coordinator. Going this extra mile may be real tasking but it’s sure worth it. Be certain that by this, you will not in any way be in the dark about your child’s intellectual development.
Where possible, get a nanny or a help to assist with the domestic workload. In doing this, always ensure your house-help/nanny is gotten from a reliable source. Don’t delegate responsibilities and simply leave the nanny/house-help to her own world; stay in charge!
Above all, take good care of yourself. Eat right and get adequate sleep –staying healthy and maintaining a balanced mind is crucial if you must prioritize right in taking accurate decisions.

Pregnant? Be Gorgeous and Fit!

Most women fear pregnancy not only because of the hormonal changes, possible complications and the pains of labour and delivery but because pregnancy brings its own set of beauty challenges. The body changes rapidly and this affects the appearance of the Mother-to-be, thus women get concerned on how they will look like after all the weight gain, skin changes and the inevitable baby bump while pregnant.
It is important to maintain positive self-image and self-esteem during pregnancy as these contribute to a happy and healthy pregnancy and really, there’s no reason not to look your best for these nine months – you’ve earned it, you deserve it, and you need it!
A healthy lifestyle…Eat A Well-Balanced Diet
You must know that good nutrition during pregnancy is vital to delivering a healthy baby. Everything you eat, apply, or come into contact with may affect not only you but also your baby, hence it’s pertinent you include fruits and veggies to your diet. You can get as much needed vitamins and minerals from them. Stay away from fat and go for lean meats. Wean off on caffeine if you are a coffee addict. This is a stimulant and may affect your time of sleep and rest; caffeine also has detrimental effects on your unborn child.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Makeup and Moisturizers
Makeup can do wonders during pregnancy. It can be used as a tool to feel pretty and in control. That’s particularly important during a time when many women feel like they’ve lost control of their body. So go ahead and have some fun: Try a new shade of lipstick or eye shadow. Spice your looks with a nice mousse blush and moisturize your lips in colours that make you feel confident and elegant. And of course, treat yourself to a pedicure / manicure.
Your skin may become drier than usual or become splotchy during pregnancy. Not to worry, it’s the same pregnancy hormones that sent your emotions into an uproar that’s at work – a good moisturizer is sure to work wonders in such situations (it’s suggested that moisturizers with vitamin A should be used fairly).
Dress Right: Feel Comfortable & Sexy while Pregnant
Gone are the days when a pregnant belly was something to be hidden, not celebrated; the days of tent dresses and “baby on board” T-shirts are over.
There are so many great choices of fashionable maternity clothes available that your biggest challenge will be sticking to your budget. Choose maternity clothes that make you feel and look sexy. You often see pregnant women in oversized clothes such as tee shirts and old fashioned maternity skirts. They are comfy alright but if you are going for sexy and want to feel confidence & beautiful, you have to think twice and go for fashionable clothings which are in style and are comfortable as well.