Dec 30, 2015

2015 in review

I wrote my last year's review while nursing a cold and throat infection. 2015 has been a year in which I won against the common cold virus :-) I didn't catch a cold/cough even once (touchwood!). Many reasons behind this but I think the major one has been starting my day with Yoga and being consistent with it for the past 8 months. I can't stop raving about the benefits that Yoga has brought to me - be it feeling fit, relaxed and an overall sense of peace and calmness. Hoping to continue with the same consistency next year too. I spent a lot of time outdoors this year as compared to the last 3-4 years. That could also have helped me boost my immunity levels.

The discipline towards conscious, healthy eating continued this year too. I embraced more and more of local foods and millets. I'm proud of the fact that I can walk into an ice-cream parlor and not order a scoop for myself :-) Wish I could say the same when I enter a chaats place ;-)

I had started an initiative in Facebook named "365 healthy meals project" early this year to motivate myself to eat healthy and share ideas with my friends. Though I was consistent for the first 3-4 months, I didn't hit the mark. But this little initiative spawned into multiple other mediums - increased activity in Instagram and a collection of healthy recipes in my food blog.

2015 has been a challenging as well as a relaxed year in multiple ways. There were multiple changes in the home front - getting D's admission in a school which we liked and then helping her get settled into a new routine, husband's new job which has been quite demanding on his time so far. The first half of the year vanished so quickly while I was busy working and learning new stuff in my product marketing role at MindTickle. Working for a fast-growing startup provided me ample opportunities to try new things - giving sales demos and connecting directly with customers being the most important of them.

Around the middle of the year, I hit a point where I felt like I was in cross-roads - an area of interest that I've become more passionate about (no points for guessing what it is!) and was in a dilemma in leaving my familiar territories of work in product management/marketing. The limited hours I have in hand is not helping either, thanks to D's 4 hour preschool timings and hubby's long working hours. Choosing a direction in which I have neither prior experience nor educational background makes it even tougher. But I've been taking tiny steps towards the direction my heart yearns for and I'm hoping I would have the courage to take a leap forward this coming year.

I continued with reading as a regular habit in 2015 as well. Here's the list of books I read this year:

  1. Delivering happiness by Tony Hsieh
  2. Lady, you're not a man by Apurva Purohit
  3. India on a platter by Saransh Goila
  4. There's something about you by Yashodhara Lal
  5. Nalam 360 by Dr. Sivaraman (Tamil)
  6. Suttramum suzhalum natpum by Dr. Sivaraman (Tamil)
  7. Aarusuvaiyum anjaraipettiyum by Dr. Sivaraman (Tamil)
  8. Siragai viri para by Bharathi Baskar (Tamil)
  9. Nee nadhi pola odi kondiru by Bharathi Baskar (Tamil)
  10. Present - A techie's guide to public speaking by Poornima Vijayashanker and Karen Caitlin
  11. Big magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  12. Start with Why by Simon Senek
  13. Drive by Daniel Pink

I also invested significant effort in regular writing in my two blogs. Wrote close to 50 blogposts. Similar to last year, I had set a goal to speak in atleast one public forum. Managed to check this item off my list when I got the opportunity to give a guest lecture on design thinking to students of the executive MBA programme at the Institute of Product Leadership.

This year, I finally managed to "complete" courses in Coursera. I loved the two courses - "Learning how to learn" and "Design thinking for business innovation". The course titled "A life of happiness and fulfillment" is another one which I thoroughly enjoyed but haven't finished it yet.

We traveled to new places - Yercaud, McLeodganj, Agra and Pondicherry. We also did a temple run with family to Tirupathi and Guruvayoor. Traveling with D is more fun now.

Hubby dear made my birthday very special this year. He gifted me a small notebook titled "Anu's gratitude diary". He had filled with handwritten notes everyday for nearly 4 months, about the things he has been grateful for, about his wife :-) Best expression of love.

As a family, we have started a weekly ritual of going to a nearby temple every Sunday evening. D loves this temple….and the prasadam, ofcourse!

I'm taking multiple steps towards leading a minimalistic living - be it with clothes, groceries, birthday parties or eating-out expenses. This will continue with more rigor in 2016.

With 2015 being a year of transition, I look forward to 2016 for more razor-sharp focus, energy and purpose.

Wish you all a very happy and joyful new year. Invest your time and energy in what's most important to you and what makes you feel alive.

Dec 25, 2015

Book Review: Drive by Daniel Pink

I'm intrigued by the theories of motivation and behavioral psychology - what pushes us to do something, start an initiative, take it to completion, bring people together for a common cause and many more important and mundane steps we take in life. This interest has led me towards some very interesting books and the recent read has been this simple and profound book "Drive" written by Daniel Pink. I have listened to his TED talk earlier and have read about the core principles of intrinsic motivation. I finally made time this past week to really dive into the book and explore the principles in detail.

The author first talks about what's wrong with the earlier assumptions on motivation - the carrot-stick rewards/punishment practices, if-then rewards, extrinsic recognition, role of money etc. For the present knowledge economy, these practices are proving to be more detrimental in achieving individual/organization's goals. He lays down in depth the research behind intrinsic motivation and why tapping into this powerful resource can be the key differentiator for organizations towards empowerment and engagement of their employees. While I reflected back on some of the key moments of my career so far, I couldn't agree more on the author's views on the power of intrinsic motivation.

He then talks about the three basic triggers behind intrinsic motivation - autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Autonomy - how much freedom I have towards getting my work done. This can be measured in terms of 4 Ts - task, technique, time and team. The 20% time given to employees in organizations like Google and 3M, the focus on results rather than time leading to ROWE - result oriented work environment, internal hack days where you get to pick the team you want to work with etc are all examples of how organizations empower their employees through autonomy

Mastery - We all love to be experts at something that we care about. In order to tap into this trigger, we go through deliberate practice, day after day, month after month. We feel deeply motivated and inspired when we are sufficiently challenged and are in a state of "flow" where the process of engaging in an activity is more exciting than the end result/outcome. The author calls such activities as "Goldilocks tasks" where we are challenged slightly higher than our current abilities. A state where we are neither bored nor anxious. Organizations need to provide an environment where their employees can experience flow on a frequent basis that will help them reach the state of mastery. This was my most favorite chapter and I really understood the importance of getting into "flow" on a regular basis.

Purpose - The world is moving from "profit maximization" to "purpose maximization" where individuals and organizations are motivated by causes larger than themselves. Associating a clear purpose motivates employees to pursue mastery and inspires them to take decisions. I was able to relate some of the principles that were discussed here with what was covered in "Start with Why" by Simon Senek that I read a few weeks back.

If you manage teams or run an organization, do give this book a read. It is filled with valuable insights that will help you to motivate your team to reach their potential.

Dec 23, 2015

A workation at McLeodganj (Dharamshala)

This post has been pending in my drafts for the past 7 months now. As the year 2015 comes to a close, it's high time I wrap this up and publish it.

Thanks to my ex-employer, my family and I got to visit one of the gorgeous places in India last April. Though I was apprehensive traveling with a 3 year old, my boss was highly encouraging and we decided to take the plunge. It was D's first time traveling in an airplane and also by train. Tickets booked, warm clothing purchased and bags packed. We were so excited and a little anxious about how we will manage. Being a workation, the plan was that I would be working with my team during the working hours (9 to 3) and hubby dear would take care of D during that time. He was fully prepared with her books, puzzles and her favorite DVDs.

The workation part is well-covered here, so I will share about what we did as a family outside the working hours in this beautiful little town near Dharamshala.

Contrary to what we thought, D was at her happiest and well-behaved during the journey. She thoroughly enjoyed her 24 hour long journey - first in cab from our home to airport, then by flight to Delhi, by cab again to Delhi railway station, by overnight train to Pathankot and by a van to McLeodganj. Seriously, we underestimated her and tried to be over-cautious in our earlier short trips but she proved that she is ready for longer trips now :-)

After a late breakfast, we checked into our cozy rooms and slept for a while. In the evening, we took a walk to Dalai Lama temple and were soaking in the sights of snow-clad mountains amidst a cool breeze. This is the first time I actually saw snow and couldn't take my eyes off those pristine mountains.

The next morning, we dressed up early and went for a one-day sight seeing trip in a cab. The driver was very friendly and he covered most of the places in and around Dharamshala - the tea gardens, HPCA cricket stadium (would be an awesome experience to watch a match there!), Norbulingka Institute (the thukpa in the cafe is the best), war memorial, St.Johns church (so beautiful), a couple of monasteries and Dal Lake. The best part was a drive to Naddi village where we trekked for a little bit. The sights of the mountains is just breath-taking. Hopefully, one day I trek to Triund and touch and feel snow :-)

I was working in the morning hours during the work week while hubby and D roamed around McLeodganj, discovering interesting places to eat and telling me stories later in the day. I stumbled upon this cute little cafe "Cafe Illiterati" when I went for lunch with my colleagues. It was exactly "MY" kind of a place, with loads of books stacked up, beautiful view of the mountains and yummy food. During my one week stay in McLeodganj, I had been there 4 times, by myself, with family and with colleagues. It was the most memorable experience when I look back - sipping hot chocolate, reading a book and soaking in the views of majestic mountains. There was a sense of slowness and relaxed times there where you can just sit and be with yourself without any thoughts.

Hubby and I took turns for early morning walks - while he walked to Bhagsunath falls and couldn't stop raving about it, I went for a walk around Dalai Lama temple. It was so peaceful and serene - many monks and elderly praying with their beads, a few of them sitting in benches and meditating, the sunrise brightening up the snow-clad mountains, the cool breeze swaying the flags, the prayer wheels and the lush greenery all around. If you are near McLeodganj, I highly recommend you to go for this morning walk. 

The other memorable experience was a campfire inside a pine forest one late evening. D still remembers it vividly. Playing in the cold flowing river, warming her feet by the fire, listening to music and eating grilled pineapple :-)


On the last day of our trip, we took a long walk around the market area, bought a couple of souvenirs and ate delicious brownies at Woeser Bakery. 

Before we headed back home, we took a short stop-over at Agra to visit TajMahal and Fatehpur Sikhri. It was a complete contrast to our slow, unhurried experience at McLeodganj.

I'm a mountain-girl and have been to many hill stations in the South and a couple of them in North-East. This was my first trip to Northern Himalayas and it was a lovely, humbling experience. Being amidst mountains makes me so happy and cheerful. One day, I hope to be a resident instead of a tourist somewhere up in the hills.

Dec 21, 2015

Why I'm okay with my child not drinking milk


I'm writing this post mainly for mothers who face the same issue as mine - "my child is not drinking milk". Don't worry, you're not alone.

To give you a little background of my motherhood journey so far,
I breast-fed my daughter for 2 years (exclusively for the first 5 months). I never gave her formula milk. When she turned a year old, I started to introduce cow's milk slowly (Nandini blue packet available in Bangalore). She hated it so much. I tried with a little sugar and also with health mix powder (sathumaavu kanji) but she wouldn't open her mouth.

I strongly believe that I will never force-feed my child and I follow it diligently. So I didn't want to force milk down her throat. I checked with my pediatrician and she wasn't too worried about this issue. She asked me to give her enough curd and continue with breastmilk. After she completed 2 years, I tried adding a little chocolate malted drink powder into a glass of milk. She was initially curious, drank for a day or two but then she refused that too.

Was I obsessed with feeding her milk? Not really….but the elders of the previous generation in my family are totally obsessed about milk and couldn't believe that a mother is not giving her child enough milk. There were a lot of comments passed, questions raised and suggestions given:
"What does she drink first thing in the morning?"
"You breastfed her for so long and now see what has happened. She's not drinking cow's milk. You should have started cow's milk from 4th month"
"Why don't you try this brand X? It helps the child to grow taller and stronger. I saw the ad on TV"
"Try this brand Y. It will help her to put on more weight"
"You didn't run behind her enough"
"Seriously, you don't give her milk? How will she get her calcium?"
"If she doesn't drink milk, give her lots of milk chocolates. Atleast, the milk goes in some form"


Though I was strong most of the time, I did question myself often if I'm doing the right thing for my daughter. Now she is 4 years old and I'm settled with this dilemma. Here are my 5 reasons why I'm okay if she hates milk:

1) I ensure she gets her calcium through other foods. She loves curd and cheese. I include ragi (finger millet) in her diet in the form of idli/dosa 2 times a week. Other good sources of calcium include oranges, custard apples, spinach, fenugreek, drumstick leaves, till seeds, chickpeas (kabuli channa), black eyed peas etc.

2) I came across an article that milk wasn't a staple diet during our great grandparents generation. It was used only for certain medicinal properties. Our country has become milk obsessed only in the last 50-60 years, thanks to the White revolution.

3) In earlier days, milk was directly procured from milkmen who raised Indian breeds of cows. I still remember when I was a child, a lady who resided in the same street as us would milk her cows and deliver fresh milk to our door step twice a day. Our grandpa would complain sometimes - "she has added water today. Milk doesn't look thick". This was about 25 years back. The primary concern at that time was diluting milk with water. But now, the commercial milk we get is loaded with antibiotics, growth hormones, urea and what not! If that's not enough, many malt based milk additive drinks lined up in the super-market shelves are full of ingredients that we cannot easily identify. No wonder, we hear news about children reaching their puberty age very early.

4) Milk increases mucus formation in children. In Ayurveda, it is called "kapha" dosha. According to my pediatrician, milk and milk based products are to be avoided if the child has a cold/cough.

5) Milk fills up the tiny tummy of kids and if a malt-based powder is added to it, the appetite totally goes for a toss. There is no way for a child to have a glass of flavored milk based drink and a wholesome breakfast in the early-morning rush hours. The same is applicable for the evenings too. I would rather let my daughter have a bowl of assorted fruits and veggies as a snack than fill up her appetite with milk.

This is my personal opinion about this issue. I'm not suggesting that you stop giving milk to your children. That's completely your call. My main intention is that if your child doesn't drink milk, don't make it a big issue and worry about it. Find other ways by which you can get calcium in his/her diet. Focus on feeding a healthy, wholesome meal.  There's no need to buy expensive milk-additive powders if your child hates plain milk. Spend that money on organic fruits and veggies if you can get access to good quality produce.

Dec 14, 2015

A simple framework to increase your SaaS free trial conversions

In my earlier work, I was driving the efforts to optimize the free trial experience of a SaaS product. The key objective was to increase the free trial conversion rate. We first tried to fix the low hanging fruits by evaluating the first-time customer experience with the product. We came up with a structured onboarding flow, video tutorials, relevant lifecycle communications and a clear call-to-action to experience early wins. We also evaluated if there are any friction points in the prospect's first run with the product and fixed those as well. These worked well for prospects who were willing to take the time out to evaluate the product.

If we map this to BJ Fogg's behavior model B=MAT, the prospects were high on motivation (M) ; we increased their ability (A) by fixing the above mentioned product gaps and sent appropriate triggers (T) through lifecycle communication strategy. So the expected behavior (B) of "going through product free trial and experiencing value" occurred, resulting in a positive impact on conversion rates.

But there was a good pipeline of prospects who weren't so keen to try out in the first place, even though they liked the product demo. When we analyzed the not-so-apparent behavior of such prospects, it was clear that their motivation levels to try out and make a decision were very low. It would be extremely helpful to get a sense of prospects' motivations before-hand, so that we can come up with a reliable model to predict the free trial experience and expected conversion rates.

In order to understand their "motivations", we took the help of the popular task prioritization framework devised by Stephen Covey in his book "First Things First". It comprises of a simple 2*2 matrix with Urgency on the X-Axis and Importance on the Y-Axis.

These 2 parameters have a direct correlation with a prospect's behavior during free trial.

Prospect has a need/problem/issue/opportunity in hand (Bundling all these together as N) and he is looking for a possible solution.
Importance - How important is N in the context of the annual business goals of the prospects' organization AND the prospect's own KRAs
Urgency - How urgent is N in the prospect's organization/business unit

Only when both these parameters are HIGH, we found that the prospect's motivation to pursue the free trial is high.

Adapted from Stephen Covey's Task Prioritization framework
To apply this framework for your product's free trial strategy, I suggest that you get enough context on both these parameters before you decide on whether a prospect is a suitable candidate for free trial. As part of the lead qualification process, define and get answers to relevant questions which will help you understand these 2 parameters from the prospect's point of view. Once you have the required insights, you can then map the prospect into one of the 3 segments as below.

1) Importance - HIGH ; Urgency - HIGH (Quadrant 1)
When both these parameters were HIGH, the probability that the prospect will be interested in progressing through the free trial is also high. So make sure you give the highest priority to such prospects in this quadrant. The main action items here are to provide a seamless experience and to showcase the perceived value relevant to "their" requirements.

2) Importance - HIGH ; Urgency - LOW (Quadrant 2)
Many of the prospects in the free trial pipeline understand the importance of the problem to be solved. They also have some idea on the impact of this problem in their business unit / organization. But they are busy with other immediate priorities and don't have the required bandwidth. So they end up procrastinating / delaying the solution evaluation to next month (or next quarter). For such prospects, the best way to get them to experience value from your product is to make the free trial evaluation process so easy and simple that they get to experience quick wins without much effort. If the prospect comes with a perception that the evaluation will be time consuming, try to see if you can share their workload. Manual configurations, data uploads, data syncing, code integration, content creation etc - basically any effort they need to put from their side in order to evaluate your product.

There could also be an alternate scenario where the head/leader of a certain business unit wants to start looking for a solution before the need hits them hard. But the leader delegates the solution evaluation to their team who don't seem to have the bandwidth to commit time or effort (however little the required might be). For such prospects, keep in touch with the leader to be on top-of-mind recall, share case studies on impact you have made in other customers' business outcomes, share contacts of reference customers from similar businesses/industries with whom the prospect could relate to.

The key objective here is to move the prospect from Quadrant 2 to Quadrant 1, without creating any "artificial" urgency. Rather, it makes sense to give an alternate perspective on how the need if fulfilled now rather than later can lead to better business outcomes. More on the lines of creating "hope" than "fear".

3) Importance - LOW ; Urgency - HIGH (Quadrant 3)
At first glance, this quadrant may not make sense. But this is quite possible in cases where your prospects are looking to sort out compliance or quality audits. Also in some cases, the initiator persona understands that the problem to be solved is urgent but the other stakeholders (especially those up in the hierarchy) don't seem to give that much of an importance, given their other priorities. In such a scenario, ensure you get full buy-in of the initiator persona and make him/her a champion within the organization. Help him/her build a crisp business case that he can present to the leaders of his organization.

The key objective here is to move the prospect from Quadrant 3 to Quadrant 1. Understanding the prospects'  business model, their present challenges, industry dynamics and presenting a big-scale impact and ROI will certainly be more helpful. I find this exercise challenging but I have also seen how much of an impact and value it could create for your prospect.

Hope this framework helps you to segment your free trial prospects and also gives you some clarity on your plan-of-action for each of these segments. Do share your comments and questions if any.

Dec 11, 2015

Book Review: Start with Why by Simon Senek

Simon Senek's Start with Why is one of the best books I have read in 2015. The underlying message by the author is very simple but we often overlook it, given the noise around us.
"People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it"
Inspiring leaders and organizations are so clear about their WHY - their purpose, cause or belief. WHAT they do serves as a tangible proof of their WHY. The author has covered relevant examples throughout the book to reinforce this concept - be it Apple, Harley Davidson, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines or Walmart. The vision of their founders clearly demonstrate their WHY.

Apart from an organization's context, the author has also talked about why this concept is relevant for any leader who inspires others. The examples of Wright Brothers and Dr.Martin Luther King showcase how an individual can inspire a group of people by being clear about their WHY.

I found the concept of "Golden circle" to be extremely relevant for today's startups as the main issue they face is how to communicate the value of their product/service to their customers.

At the core of the golden circle lies WHY. Why do you exist as a company? what is your purpose, cause or belief? Why should anyone care? Can you clearly articulate why you do what you do?
The second layer is the HOW. How are you different or better? What is your core value proposition?
The third layer is the WHAT. What do you do? What products or services do you offer?

Your WHY should influence any decision you take related to HOW or WHAT you do.

Most companies talk about their WHAT and HOW but only great companies are able to articulate their WHY. Too much focus on HOW results in "manipulations", as the author claims. Manipulations are short term tactics to gain customers but they will never be loyal. Discounts, promotions and playing on emotions like fear and peer pressure are all examples of manipulative tactics. Few leaders and organizations choose to inspire rather than manipulate in order to influence behavior. They are clear about their WHY so well that they are able to inspire "early adopters" who believe in their cause.

As organizations grow, they face a "split" stage where their WHAT is no longer in sync with their WHY. This happens typically when the founder leaves, new leaders take over and change the direction of the company.

Though the message is repetitive, the examples made for a very interesting read and I was able to relate to most of the author's arguments. I highly recommend this book to all startup founders and leaders of organizations. If you are short on time, do listen to his TED talk on the same topic.

Dec 1, 2015

10 ways to deal with junk food consumption in children

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convenience_food#Packaged_mixes
Last night, I had prepared noodles for dinner after a very long time. Not the instant noodles that you think :-) Plain noodles boiled and mixed with sautéed veggies and paneer. My 4 year old got so excited that she was jumping in joy when I told her that I'm making noodles. She doesn't have much exposure to noodles since I don't make it at home often, she hasn't seen that many ads in TV and she wouldn't have observed noodles being eaten by other kids in school, given the strict lunch box restrictions.

Yet, her excitement got me thinking deeply about how times have changed. As parents of today's generation, we have to deal with the onslaught of junk food everywhere - be it the attractive ads, colorful packaging, the add-on plastic toys/goodies that come with each pack and peer pressure from other kids. Here are 10 ways by which I manage junk food consumption at home.

1) Be aware of ingredients
Check the labeling for transfats, sugars, sodium and overall calories. If the pack has very high quantities for a serving size, then try to avoid them as much as you can. Give some random excuses to kids like "shop uncle will not let us buy this", "this is very spicy" etc. Older children may not buy into such silly excuses and so put on your thinking caps and whip up some believable excuses :-)

2) Do not deprive junk food completely
This makes them crave for such foods and they start to pounce on them the minute they see them elsewhere (birthday parties, family outings etc). Make them understand that these are not good for their health if eaten often. Kids as young as 2-3 years old can understand this message, believe me!

3) Try making it from scratch from home
Instead of instant noodles or instant pasta, buy the plain ones and make the dish from scratch. Instead of ordering expensive pizza, make it at home, including the pizza base. Add some colorful veggies, paneer or cheese to increase the nutritive quotient. You can also flavor them with pepper, ginger and garlic, which would help the kids fight common viral infections prevalent in winter. It doesn't take a lot of time and this could be a nice family activity for the weekends.

4) Set shopping quota
Whenever we take D with us for weekly grocery shopping, I used to be worried of the fact that she is going to load the shopping cart with cookies, chocolates and packaged juices. But a couple of months back, I tried a new strategy. She can only take 1 item of her choice. So if she brings say, a packet of cream biscuits and a tetra pack juice, I ask her "Which one she wants?" and let her take the item of her choice. Through this method, we let her experience control and decision making.

5) Allow one cheat per day
Children being children love lollypops, candies and other colorful stuff. While we as adults don't have any attraction towards them anymore. So it's okay if they enjoy a piece of candy. We don't have to be so hard on them or on ourselves. This is a lesson I learnt in the past 2 years. Be aware of their daily diet and allow one cheat in a day. If they had already munched on say, a couple of biscuits, then tell them that they can enjoy the candy tomorrow. Delayed gratification is something all of us need to become better at, including our children. If they throw tantrums, try not to give in easily :-)

6) Do not hand over the whole packet
Eating directly from the packet is a strict no-no. I always cut open a pack of biscuits/chips and give her a few pieces in a small bowl. This way, I can monitor the intake and ensure she doesn't gobble up the entire pack.

7) No junk when unwell
This is a strict rule we follow at home and D also understands that well. When she has cold/cough, we don't let her eat any candies, chocolates, pastries or ice creams. We tell her that she will get to eat them once her cold stops. She advises the same to her toys during her pretend-play sessions ;-)

8) Talk to your extended family members / Control the onslaught
Gone are the grandparents who will pamper the grandkids with homemade healthy laddoos and snacks. With easy availability and variety of packaged food, children end up with a lot of gifts from grandparents and other relatives whenever they visit us (or we visit them).  It's no more a single bar of chocolate but 5 big bars of different variety :-) I used to get so angry and irritated earlier when the bounty of these packs arrive as gift for D. No amount of convincing grandparents with logic or reasoning would help when the comments were as below:
"All her milk teeth are going to fall anyway. So why bother about tooth decay?"
"She will put on good bit of weight if she eats a lot of milk chocolates and pastries. Give her chocolates everyday"

Nowadays, I promptly collect the packs from D's hands and hide them in a "secret" cupboard which D doesn't have access yet (dreading the day when she figures out this spot ;-) ). I let her eat only one or half a bar of chocolate in a day.

9) Stock up on healthier alternatives
Children's appetite are small and they do like to munch on something in between meals. Have plenty of healthy alternatives stocked up such as dry fruits, nuts, chikki bars, roasted peanuts and fruits. Always have cucumbers and carrots handy so you can quickly cut some sticks and serve.

10) Set an example
Last but not the least, be the example for your child. Stop eating packaged food yourself or if you MUST, eat them when they are not around :-)

Hope this helps. Is there anything more that you'd like to add? Please share in the comments below.

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