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Homecooked meals for your little ones July 26, 2012

What is it?

Nutritionists’ Choice Cookbook

What’s the price?


Where to buy it?

What are the special features?

  • Printed in English & Malay, side by side to suit Malaysian readers
  • Lots of information on nutritional needs of kids of different ages, how to prepare & cook for your child, meal planning, smart snacking and lots of healthy recipes, suitable for the whole family


I have two kids, a 4-year-old daughter and an almost 3-year-old son. My son is a wholesome eater – he loves food and eats pretty much anything. He’s a little small for his age, but you wouldn’t believe how much this little guy can eat. I’ll give just an example – he could eat three bananas in one sitting. Not the local, little bananas. The Dole bananas which are as long as the palm of an adult’s hand. He could also eat two whole apples in one sitting, with the skin on.

My daughter is exactly the opposite. She thinks of eating as hard work, something unpleasant that needs to be done, not something to be enjoyed. A necessary evil, if you will. She can survive on ten bottles of formula milk a day, some crackers and a couple of chicken nuggets. Getting her to eat is a tiresome feat that can really stress me out.

So I decided to have a look at this book, which was recommended by a school friend of mine, Anne. The book is published by Nutrition Society of Malaysia and sponsored by Shell Gas, Pfizer, Maggi, Nestle, Yakult and Zespri. It covers nutrition and meals for a baby’s first year up to a pre-schooler kid.

The book is divided into three chapters, and I’ll give brief points in each chapter.

Chapter 1 – Your Baby’s First Meals

This chapter tells the basics for introducing solids to a baby. It explains the nutritional needs of an infant up to two years old, when to start feeding solids, what and how much to feed your baby, followed by the recipes section. The recipes here are also divided up by introductory recipes for 6-8 months old, cereals mix for 9-11 months old and solid food for 12 months old and above. It also shows how to make basic chicken and vegetable stock to mix into baby’s food for more taste, which I think is very useful.

Chapter 2 – Toddler’s Tiny Bites

This chapter tells of the additional nutrition needed for 2-4 year old toddlers, during the formative years as the physical and mental abilities grows and develops. There is an emphasis on feeding frustrations and challenges of a picky eater, which is quite common at this age. This is followed by the age appropriate recipes categorized by mealtimes i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Chapter 3 – Feeding Small Tummy

Apart from the even more nutrition needed, since the child is starting pre-school now, the chapter also emphasizes on regular, healthy snacks, hygiene matters before and after eating, eating together as a family and involving the child in preparing and cooking meals. The recipes in this chapter are suitable for the whole family and are also categorized by mealtimes.

All chapters include sample menus or meal planners and are loaded with cooking tips for moms. There are also lots of informative advertisements from sponsors, most of them in the food industry, therefore giving additional recipes using their products.  There is a recipe index by age category in the back for quick and easy reference.

What I like about it

I like it that the book was printed in both English and Malay, side by side. This is especially useful in reading the recipe ingredients, when sometimes you know the word in English and you want to know what it means in Malay, or vice versa. It makes it easier for the reader i.e. time-starved moms, instead of flipping the book back and forth to find a recipe in English, and then trying to find out what turmeric or galangal means in Malay.

What I don’t like about it

Can’t find anything to dislike.


I know there are tons of free recipes online, but the compilation of all the nutrition information and appropriate recipes, presented nicely in a book, makes this a great investment, at an affordable price. A must-have!


Asian Parenting Today June 4, 2012

Filed under: Books for moms - to enrich a mom's knowledge — zil_aziz @ 12:00 AM
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What’s the title of the book?

Asian Parenting Today

Who’s the author of the book?

Co-authored by Jennnifer Hor, Ho Ai Ling & Jocelyn Oo

Who are the authors?

All three co-authors are registered nurses and midwives with experiences in nursing and midwifery in UK, Australia and Malaysia. They also specialize in and support breastfeeding mothers, and provide advice on parenting, women’s health, child’s health and wellbeing, among many other parenting matters.

What’s the price?


Where to buy it?

What are the key highlights of the book?

  • The book is divided into 5 sections; sections 1 to 4 are categorized by age of baby in months e.g. Section 1: 0-3 months. Section 5 is like “Other issues” covering keeping the baby safe, recipes & local nursery rhymes.
  • There are plenty of FAQ’s throughout the book, in between paragraphs that are related to the paragraph itself, instead of dumping one long FAQ at the end of the section.
  • As the name suggests, the authors addresses many questions and myths regarding to Asian superstitions (some quite outrageous and ridiculous) such as shaving a baby’s head after birth will encourage ‘abundant hair growth’, formula fed babies that pass greenish-yellow stools means that the baby has been ‘frightened’ and binding the baby’s tummy to keep the ‘wind’ out.


The book is quite extensive, so I think the best way to summarize the main contents is in bullet points.

The 0-3 month’s section takes up half the book, and might as well – it tells the basics of baby care.

  • Breastfeeding – benefits to mom & baby, preparation, standard breastfeeding positions, complications & diet for mom, milk expression & how to stockpile expressed breast milk (EBM), schedules of when to breastfeed, when to pump & when to feed EBM to baby, storing & thawing EBM. Following all this are several pages of FAQ’s related to breastfeeding specifically, and lots of practical tips.
  • Formula feeding – how to choose formula milk, how to prepare formula, complete with step-by-step illustration; travelling checklist and a list of do’s and don’ts.
  • Clothing & bathtime – noting that most Asian countries have tropical climate, it recommends light weight fabric for day and slightly warmer fabric for nights. Onwards to preparation for outings with baby, cloth vs. disposable diapers
  • Sleep – baby’s sleeping positions and no of hours of sleep according to age, appropriate bedding and room temperature, establishing a bedtime routine, swaddling and co-sleeping. The FAQ’s give lots of practical tips on avoiding over-tiredness and establishing a routine from the start. It even touches a bit on the usage of sarongs or hammocks, which are quite popular with Malaysians.
  • Healthcare & interaction – it includes screening tests, immunizations, common sicknesses and infections, interacting with baby, baby massages (I like this one!), floor time & tummy time.

All other sections are shorter as they follow as the baby grows, therefore highlighting changes in feeding & sleep patterns, more activity and social interactions as baby becomes mobile and able to move around i.e. crawling & walking. The main topics are also major milestones in baby’s first year such as:

  • Teething – how to care for baby’s new teeth when they appear, brushing teeth, teething discomforts
  • Feeding habits – longer interval between feeds, increase or decrease in the quantity of milk consumed, which are also related to baby’s weight gain
  • Introduction to solid foods – types of food recommended, foods to avoid (at least in the beginning), how to prepare homemade baby food, feeding schedule between milk & solids, even sample recipes to try to feed baby
  • Home safety & baby proofing

The 10-12 months section where baby will be nearing the first birthday emphasizes a lot on:

  • Healthy eating – types of food that are now safe to feed baby, food & recipe suggestions, sample feeding schedule & menu
  • Health – dental care & immunizations
  • Physical, social & interaction skill – a super crawler or beginner walker, ability to speak a few simple words, building self-esteem & independence, talking, reading & playtime.

At the end of each section, there is a checklist provided to gauge baby’s growth & progress for the 3-months period.

What I like about it

The book is very comprehensive. I think it’s safe to say that, if you buy this book, you won’t need any other parenting book. In fact, this is the only one I’ve ever owned to date. As it was written and published by locals, the image of the book looks very simplistic; this mirrors the low price of the book, compared to many other imported parenting books.

The language is straightforward and easy to understand. It also lives up to the name, by tailoring to Asian situations and conditions; it considers the tropical climate of most Asian countries, the culture and superstitions of local people, local ingredients in recipes and even local nursery rhymes in different languages. This tailoring is also apparent in the FAQ’s, where there are questions on some cultural beliefs that I’ve never known existed.

The line spacing between words is wider, so the words don’t look like they’re cramping the page i.e. plenty of white space which improves readability.

What I don’t like about it

The font colour is not black, but something bluish or light turquoise, which looks fine on white background. However, the FAQ’s and illustration boxes use this bluish background, with the font colour in white, which sometimes can put a strain on the eyes while reading.


Considering the wealth of knowledge in this little book, the price is very affordable and good value-for-money investment. If you’re thinking of buying just one parenting book, make it this one.