Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sonali Shivlani's Supermom's Recipe Book

I first met Executive Director CAPPA India and Paediatric Nutrition Counsellor Sonali Shivlani at her office while she was still working on a very interesting and unique concept – a recipe book by the moms and for the moms. We were talking of work, and when Sonali mentioned the book to me, I was immediately interested to know more. Being mum to a young daughter myself, I know very well the kind of preparation and thought that goes into the meal of a toddler or a growing child. Many recipes need to be modified and tried and tested before a child will willingly want to eat something healthy and filling. So I was really curious to know why Sonali wanted to venture into such a difficult and challenging territory, and how was it that this book was taking shape. The book is called Supermoms Recipe Book and is available now in all leading bookstores.

For those of you who do not know Sonali, she is a mom to two lovely children – a 10-year-old boy Nirvaan and a 08-year-old girl Moksha. Sonali has been a hands-on mum throughout her parenthood, but at the same time has been extremely career oriented. She pursued her certification as a childbirth and lactation educator and later a pediatric nutrition counselor. She has worked with more than 7000 couples through her prenatal programs across the country. She also heads CAPPA India which is affiliated to one of the largest Birth Professionals Training Organisation in the world.

Here’s a little bit from our chat:

What prompted you to turn author?
I have been a student all my life and learning new things has always been a passion. I would say one of my pre-natal clients – Preeti Vyas who is also the head of the publishing house, FunOkPlease, which specializes in publishing contemporary books for children based on Indian themes, is the motivating factor behind turning me into an author. She came to me with the concept of a recipe book by Indian Moms with the nutrition analysis and it sounded perfect. If you look at it, the book actually has 51 authors not just 1.

Why a recipe book? How is it different from the other recipe books for kids in the market today?
The biggest difference is that these are real recipes, by real moms which real kids enjoy. We did not want to write a book on only nutrition for kids – in this way we are covering healthy eating habits and showing moms a fun way to meet the daily nutrition needs of the child.

Give us a little insight into the book
The book focuses on healthy eating habits in children. Our focus is Healthy Tasty and Visually appealing. Each recipe is by a mom from her own kitchen which is loved by her child. It has been evaluated for the above mentioned factors and a nutrition analysis is provided. Each recipe also has a little marker showing which nutrient need is highest – iron/calcium/protein/energy. We received almost 150 contributions, out of which these have been selected.

What was the response when you first decided to bring in ‘real mums’ to be a part of the book?
The response was phenomenal. We received over 150 contributions from across India and some from even outside India. Mums were especially pleased that the recipe would be carried with a picture of mum and child and the recipe would be named after the child.

How did you get in touch with the mothers who have contributed to the book?
That was easy considering the fact that I have been in the pre-natal business for 7 years and have worked with over 7000 couples. Facebook helped too as we have a community called Early Years which caters to pregnant and new parents.

How were the final recipes selected for the book? Did you personally get into each recipe? Was there any research done to check the nutrition content of the recipes selected?
Each and every selected recipe has been tried in my own home. Nutrition value is judged based on the content. If there was a change required to enhance the nutrition value the mom was consulted and asked for the modification. It has taken us a little more than a year to get all this ground work done.

Why would you ask your audience to buy the book?
For the simple reason that the recipes are tried and tested. They are tasty, healthy and visually appealing. Best of all they are really simple to prepare for our busy mothers.

You are a mother of two – how difficult or easy would you say it is to feed children today? Are your kids fussy eaters? Do you constantly need to experiment at home?
Children are never fussy eaters, they just have their own unique tastes and if you cater to them then there is no fuss. For example, my son can eat almost anything but my daughter prefers bland food. She will happily eat plain boiled dal, salads, fruits, dry fruits etc. but give her a plate of some spicy vegetable and she will not even eat a spoon. I will not call her fussy, it is just a matter of choice. I also believe that food habits are inculcated early on and I would encourage moms to be cautious right from breast feeding and weaning days. Also make sure that you eat what you want your child to eat as they will surely emulate you.

Are you going to try out any of the recipes in this book yourself?
Already done that :)

Are you a book-lover yourself? What is your choice of genres/books?
I love books. My husband dreads my entering a book store as I will surely end up buying some. I prefer the traditional way of reading and have not yet warmed to the e-book concept even though it is all the rage. Give me a traditional book and I am happy to curl up on the couch with my pillows around me.

Who are your favourite authors?
I read all my kids’ books – the Enid Blyton and the Harry Potters. I also love
reading the Archie comics, mystery and suspense books from Agatha Christie and some more fiction from authors such as John Grisham and Sydney Sheldon. Ofcourse, a lot of study books too. Not too fond of philosophical books even though I love people and the way the human mind works and reacts.

For all of you who wish to have a collection of super-delicious and super-healthy recipes for your little ones, rush to the bookstore now and pick up Sonali Shivlani's new book Supermoms' Recipe Book. And if you want to win a FREE SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK BY SONALI herself, visit back here and know how :)
Publishers: FunOKPlease Publishing India
MRP: INR 165

And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown the little ones....

Debolina Raja Gupta
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