Author: kalifar

The Mom’s Choice Awards Names Eating These Foods Makes Me… Among the Best in Family-Friendly Products

The Mom’s Choice Awards Names Eating These Foods Makes Me… Among the Best in Family-Friendly Products

I am honoured to announce that Eating These Foods Makes Me… has earned the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award®. Having been rigorously evaluated by a panel of MCA evaluators, this children’s book is deemed to be among the best products for families.

The MCA evaluation process uses a propriety methodology in which entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal, and cost.

I am thrilled to earn the Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence Seal of Approval. I know all the great things the MCA does to connect consumers, educators, and caregivers with the best products and services available for families.

To be considered for an award, each entrant submits five (5) identical samples for testing. Entries are matched to evaluators in the MCA database. Evaluators are bound by a strict code of ethics not only to ensure objectivity, but also to ensure that the evaluation is free from manufacturer influence. The five evaluations are submitted to the MCA Executive Committee for final review and approval.

“Our aim to introduce families and educators to best-in-class products and services,” explains Dawn Matheson, Executive Director of the Mom’s Choice Awards. “We have a passion to help families grow emotionally, physically and spiritually. Parents and educators know that products and services bearing our seal of approval are high-quality and also a great value. The MCA evaluation program is designed to incorporate the expertise of scientists, physicians and other specialists; but we also engage parents, children, educators, and caregivers because they are experts in knowing what is best for their families.”

About the Mom’s Choice Awards® The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children, families and educators. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of entries from more than 55 countries.

Around the world, parents, educators, retailers and members of the media look for the MCA mother-and-child Honoring Excellence seal of approval when selecting quality products and services for children and families.

Find the award-winning children’s book Eating These Foods Makes Me… listed in the Mom’s Choice Awards® Shop  .

Learn more about the Mom’s Choice Awards by visiting their website: www.MomsChoiceAwards.com.

Have a great day!

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc., RD, CBS

Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…

A Deep Dive Into Me & My Writing

A Deep Dive Into Me & My Writing

As part of my virtual book tour, I’ve been invited to do a few author interviews that provide potential readers with a deeper perspective on my writing and some background on who I am as a person.

Being open and vulnerable has never been an easy thing for me to do but I’m happy to embrace this new opportunity for personal growth and development as I live out my dream of sharing my book Eating These Foods Makes Me… with the world!

Here are my top 10 Author Q&A :

  1. What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I was inspired to write this book by my 2-year-old daughter, a picky eater who has faced many feeding/nutrition challenges since being born very prematurely. Back then, I would spend my days and nights in the NICU singing, praying, and reading to her, and this sparked my dream to write my own children’s book. Also, after searching for a nutrition-related children’s book that encompassed the values and concepts I wanted to share with my daughter, I noticed there weren’t many available, and since I’m a practicing registered dietitian I figured what better way to share my passion for nutrition than to fulfill that need and write a credible nutrition book for kids.

Dynasty a few days old in the NICU incubator
  1. How did you come up with your idea for your book?

As a clinical nutritionist who works with an adult population, I see firsthand how many of the health issues people face – from self-esteem and mental health challenges to chronic diseases- could be prevented or at least reduced if they had some prior nutrition-related knowledge and developed healthy eating habits earlier in life. I also know that food is so much more than just the basic nutrition it provides. The foods we eat are tied to our family traditions, our values, and our identity, they significantly impact not only our physical but mental wellbeing.

So I knew this book would have many layers. I wanted to take a complicated intimidating subject that even adults struggle with and simplify it so that a young child could learn the basic foundation of nutrition without overloading them with too much detail. I knew from the beginning I would include practical examples with real photo images so, young kids, could practice their vocabulary and develop their ability to identify different foods and how they’re connected via the role key nutrients play in the body. At the same time, it was an opportunity to make a real impact by introducing crucial nutrition concepts that I feel could be life-changing if grasped at a young age, such as nutritional mindfulness.

  1. What elements are necessary components for this genre?

I believe a great children’s non-fiction book should have 3 key elements; it should be informative, entertaining and inspirational. Eating These Foods Makes Me… provides a great basis for food/nutrition intelligence at a young age, and plants the seed for leading a healthy lifestyle. It’s perfect for picky eaters because the real photo images expose them to different kinds of foods and allow them to explore in a safe and fun way via the characters and illustrations in the book, while the bonus activity pages offer even more interactive ideas to consolidate their learning. Last but not least the repeated positive affirmations are empowering and aim to inspire a healthy relationship with food. The gender and culturally diverse representation of characters, even those with special needs such as those having physical or “hidden” disabilities such as ADHD, aim to broaden the reader’s view of the world- something all non-fiction books should strive to accomplish, such that readers of different backgrounds and experiences can also recognize themselves within the pages of the book.

  1. What expertise did you bring to your writing?

As a currently practicing registered dietitian I’ve obtained a bachelor’s degree in nutritional biochemistry as well as a master’s degree in human nutrition and dietetics, and I’m currently a practicing registered dietitian so my passion for nutrition is a huge component. But, I also rely on my personal life experiences as a parent to truly connect with my readers.

  1. What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

The characters in my book represent children of various racial, ethnic and social demographics. It also celebrates those who identify with equity deserving groups. For example, Eating These Foods Makes Me… includes illustrations of characters with a physical disability as well as one with a “hidden” challenge such as ADHD. There is a persistent problem in children’s literature, and that is a lack of diversity. Furthermore, misrepresentation of underrepresented communities.  I believe that reading books can be a powerful means of self-affirmation and seeing someone who looks like you doing things, in turn, plants the idea of that possibly being you someday. I owe it to the people whom I based my characters on to be validated, empowered and feel a sense of belonging as they read the pages of my book.

  1. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

Reading has always been one of my favourite pastimes, however, I would say after my daughter was born, my passion for children’s books in particular skyrocketed. In the NICU we were encouraged to read storybooks to her and the bond this created has resulted in a deep-rooted love for children’s books/reading and now writing. Back then, I would spend my days and nights in the NICU singing, praying, and reading to her, and this sparked my dream to write my own children’s book someday. Also, after searching for a nutrition-related children’s book that encompassed the values and concepts I wanted to share with my daughter, I noticed there weren’t many available, and since I’m a practicing registered dietitian I figured what better way to share my passion for nutrition than to fulfill that need and write a credible nutrition book for kids.

  1. What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?

I am a self-declared personal development enthusiast! I love listening to anything or anyone motivational. As a toddler mom, I barely have time to sit and read for fun anymore so my favourite thing at the moment is listening to audiobooks, it’s become part of my daily morning routine on my way to work

 

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

One book I connect with on so many levels is the children’s book “When I Pray for You” by Matthew Paul Turner. It is beautifully written and illustrated. It makes me emotional almost every time I read it with my family because it is as though Turner has taken what’s in my heart and expressed it on paper. It brings me back to the times I would pray many of the same prayers expressed in this book as I sat and watched my daughter lay -so small and fragile- in the incubator of the NICU.  I long with everything in me to be able to watch her grow and experience the world. “When I Pray for you” truly captures my dreams, hopes and love as a parent.

  1. How do you maintain your creativity?

I think my creativity is maintained by a synergy of prayer, meditation, journaling and reading.  I also like to push myself to do things that are outside of my comfort zone, and this develops my abilities to be adaptable and rely on my creativity.

  1. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

I have a deep desire to write another children’s book in the future, I have so many great ideas it’s just a matter of putting them down on paper.

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc, RD, CBS
Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…​

p.s. Let’s connect on social media! You can follow my FB page Kalifa Rodriguez Books or IG @the.nutrition.connection and for more health-related videos check out my YouTube Channel. Want to share this blog post with a friend? Simply copy this URL and send it to them!

Congrats! You’ve WON!

Congrats! You’ve WON!

I want to wish Heather and Julie from Ontario, Ca. as well as Genevieve from Alberta, Ca. a heartfelt congratulations on being randomly selected as the 3 winners of the Goodreads Giveaway who will be receiving a brand new copy of my book Eating These Foods Makes Me…

There were over 300 entries, wow! Thank you so much to all who entered the giveaway and have shown genuine interest in my book. I look forward to any feedback you may have and I’d love to connect with you at any point in the future. Feel free to message me on my FB page Kalifa Rodriguez Books, IG @The.Nutrition.Connection, or my website www.KalifaRodriguezBooks.com

Blessings,

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc, RD, CBS
Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…​

Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week (Feb 1-7th)

Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week (Feb 1-7th)

In light of it being Children’s Authors and Illustrators week , to help you get into the spirit of encouraging a lifelong love of reading, I decided to share some our (my daughter Dynasty and I’s) favorites in the video below.  Don’t forget to head to Goodreads.com for your chance to win a FREE copy of Eating These Foods Makes Me…

I’d love to know, who are some of your favorites? Please share in the comments.

 

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc, RD, CBS
Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…​

p.s. Let’s connect on social media! You can follow my FB page Kalifa Rodriguez Books or IG @the.nutrition.connection and for more health related videos check out my YouTubeChannel. Want to share this blog post with a friend? Simply copy this URL and send it to them!

Why Diversity and Inclusivity Is Important in Children’s Literature

Why Diversity and Inclusivity Is Important in Children’s Literature

It was Multicultural Children’s Book Day last Friday January 28th and it got me thinking about how truly important diversity and inclusivity is in the books available to our children. In fact research shows that by the tender age of 2 years old children already start noticing social differences such as race. Diversity in children’s literature is so important, especially for kids who identify with different communities. These books allow children to “find themselves” within the pages and it validates their place in this world. It is about ensuring all our kids feel seen and included in activities, especially one as important as reading!

Let’s clarify: what is a multicultural book?

According to https://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/ diverse & multicultural books include those that:

  • Books that contain characters of color as well as main characters that represent a minority point of view.
  • Books that are written by an author of diversity or color (such as myself) from their perspective.
  • Books that share ideas, stories, and information about cultures, race, religion, language, and traditions. These books can be non-fiction yet still entertaining and informative.
  • Books that embrace special needs or even “hidden disabilities” like ADHD, ADD, and anxiety. For example, Eating These Foods Makes Me… features a character with special needs and embraces children with “hidden disabilities” like ADHD.
  • Books that show IBPOC readers what is POSSIBLE–like in my book there’s a black female teacher with dreads, there’s also a Muslim child modestly dressed in a hijab practicing gymnastics.

 

Why choose children’s books that celebrate diversity ?

I remember growing up and feeling frustrated by the lack of books, toys and dolls that looked like me. As a child you don’t really understand these thoughts and begin to harbor subtle feelings of inferiority and estrangement that can last a lifetime. Our kids inadvertently start to compare themselves to those they more frequently see books written about. However, books with diverse characters aren’t only meant for IBPOC readers, they help to develop kindness and empathy in all readers! These books help our children learn respect for all identities, something we desperately need in today’s world.

If you share my mission to raise awareness for kid’s books that celebrate diversity, you can do your part today by sharing the word about your favorite children’s books and #elevatemelanatedvoices by supporting authors of color, as well as requesting them at your child’s school, local libraries and day camps.  Together we can raise our #ownvoices and #readyourworld by demonstrating how much #representationmatters.

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc, RD, CBS
Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…

p.s. Let’s connect on social media! You can follow my FB page Kalifa Rodriguez Books or IG @the.nutrition.connection and for more health related videos check out my YouTubeChannel. Want to share this blog post with a friend? Simply copy this URL and send it to them!

Top Reviews In Canada

Top Reviews In Canada


“Eleanore loves it. I love the images, diversity and affirmations!! What a great idea.”

-Melanie Richards (Owner of Happy Tree Yoga, Toddler Mom)

 


“I read this book with my 4 year old daughter and she loves it. It’s informative while still being kid friendly. The pictures are bright and colourful. It was nice to see the children smiling while enjoying healthy foods. My daughter mostly enjoyed reciting all the foods she recognized in the pages!”

-Kelsey Smith Wright (Fitness Instructor, Toddler Mom)

 


“What a great book!! Our daughter is just over two years old and she loves following the pictures and naming all of the foods.”

-Kevin Chapman (Regional Vice President, Toddler Dad)

 


“Bought two books. Perfect gifts for my friends’ babies.”

-Olivia Rodriguez (Restaurant Owner, Caring Friend)

 


Average Rating
4.7/5
Top Meal Time Practices for Baby: How to Get Your Toddler to Eat Like a Champ!

Top Meal Time Practices for Baby: How to Get Your Toddler to Eat Like a Champ!

As parents we always question if we are doing all that we can to set our kids up for success, and making sure they have healthy enjoyable meals are part of it! This short video demonstrates the meal time practices we use at home with our daughter to instill positive eating habits during meal time. It’s never too early to get your child on the right track nutritionally! I hope you find these simple techniques useful. Have you tried any of these with your toddler?

What Every Parent Should Know About Picky Eating

What Every Parent Should Know About Picky Eating

Something many parents and caregivers don’t fully grasp (myself included) is that even with a picky eater meal time does not need to be a struggle, in fact it shouldn’t be! Picky eating is often related to the “fight or flight” stress response to trying unfamiliar foods. The good news is that as the parents we have the power to ensure that each and every meal serves as opportunity for our child to learn about food while making meaningful connections with family and friends. Often times we want to make sure our kid is getting the nutrients they need so bad that when they refuse to eat what is being offered, we easily get flustered and that energy is quickly transferred to our little one. In this post I’ll offer you some information and tips to help put your mind at ease.

If you haven’t noticed by now, when we repeatedly put pressure or force a child to eat this actually backfires and causes more resistance. The act of eating becomes associated with negative emotions and criticism so meal time quickly becomes something that both parent and child dread. Trust me, I’ve been there…and I’m still navigating my 2 year old’s picky eating tendencies. But as a clinical nutritionist (and fellow mommy),  I’m here to say sit tight, there are things you can do to keep your little ones nutrition on the right track while getting through this phase. Speaking of phase…did you know that it is totally common for young children to go through periods of time where they refuse to eat certain foods, show a preference for a select number of foods or just have a smaller appetite in general? Yup, you are definitely not alone, in fact there are 2 main reasons behind this:

1) At a very young age children begin blossoming into their own person and want to demonstrate their independence by doing things like feeding themselves and choosing their own foods. Just like you, there are some days when their appetite and food interests fluctuate. So I wouldn’t worry too much about what your child eats in any given day, instead try to focus on offering a variety of healthy foods throughout the week and you can rest assured they’ll most likely be meeting their nutrient needs. The children’s book Eating These Foods Makes Me… explains why a variety of foods and key nutrients are necessary for our body’s growth and optimal quality of life. It’s a great resource that can help empower even the pickiest eater to be open to trying new foods, or at the very least spike their interest.

2) After the 1st year of life most children eat less, and their appetite really takes a dip around the 2 year mark. That’s because the natural period of rapid growth and development slows down at this point, so there simply isn’t a biological need to eat as much as they were before. As a parent or caregiver one of the best things you can do for your child is to introduce the concept of mindful eating at this stage, this way it becomes a life-long healthy habit.

To help your child build a positive relationship with food and their self-image start by encouraging them to listen to their bodies- eating when they are a hungry and stopping when they are full, something toddlers are very good at! It is okay to trust your child’s appetite, in turn this will help solidify their internal hunger and satiety cues, something I notice many of my adult client population struggle with to this day. This means, even if your child is not eating as well as you think they should, as long as they are generally healthy and growing, you do not need to worry. As a parent or caregiver, your job is to provide a variety of healthy foods – aim to offer at least 2-3 different food group items at each meal and snack. Then it’s up to the child to decide what, how much and whether they will eat.  Canada’s food guide can offer you more details on what a balanced diet and recommended servings are for different age groups.

The most effective way to say good-bye to picky eating is to increase exposure to foods. In fact it can take about 8-15 exposures to the same food before a child is willing to eat it. So it’s really important to peak their interest by allowing them to look at, touch, smell and even play with different foods. But here’s the real kicker-Successful food exposures can also be accomplished by inviting kids to help out in the kitchen and with grocery shopping, playing with toys that imitate real foods and reading books about food!

I’d like to say one last thing. While picky eating is common, not all picky eaters are the same. It’s important to listen to your intuition, and if you know that your child’s eating challenges are more complex or severe please follow the advice of a pediatrician or a registered dietitian.

My fellow dietitian Leslie Schmille is an expert in the field and is currently helping parents and their kids who are experiencing feeding challenges, please feel free to reach out to her at www.raisingdaringeaters.com for personalized support.

I really hope this helps! I’d also love to know, what do you find works best for your picky eater? Until next time,

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc, RD, CBS
Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…

p.s. Let’s connect on social media! You can follow my FB page Kalifa Rodriguez Books or IG @the.nutrition.connection and for more health related videos check out my YouTube Channel. Want to share this blog post with a friend? Simply copy this URL and send it to them!

 

Foods That Make You Feel Fuller Longer

Foods That Make You Feel Fuller Longer

We rely on food for energy, so it’s normal to feel hungry if you don’t eat for a few hours. But if your constantly feeling hungry even after a meal then something isn’t quite right. It’s important to know that not all foods fill you up the same way. Check out this video if you’d like to know the best foods that curb hunger and keep you feeling full for longer.