Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Three Superfoods Every Baby Should Eat

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

While some mothers choose to avoid solids for the entire first year, others prefer to start sooner. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most babies can start solids by 6 months, around the time babies begin to be much more active.

When you decide your baby is ready to begin solids, consider introducing some nutritionally dense superfoods instead of the traditional grain-based baby cereal. Babies produce plenty of functional enzymes and digestive juices that help them digest proteins and fats, making these fatty, protein-rich foods perfect first foods.

Introduce only one food at a time, and wait at least four days before introducing another food to rule out the possibility of a negative reaction. Always check with your pediatrician before beginning new foods.

Three Superfoods Every Baby Should EatEgg Yolks. Pediatricians warn us to stay away from egg whites, which may cause an allergic reaction, but the yolk is a nutritional powerhouse. Yolks from pasture-raised hens provide much-needed fat and cholesterol for proper brain and nervous system development, as well as choline, amino acids and vitamin A. Simply boil an egg for about 4 minutes so the yolk is soft but not runny, discard the white and serve with a small amount of unrefined sea salt.

Liver. Pastured, organic, poultry liver is extremely high in vitamin A, which is an important nutrient for developing babies. It also happens to be one of the best sources of usable iron along with vitamin B12 and other nutrients such as choline and cholesterol, which are important for healthy brain development. Start by shredding about a teaspoon of frozen liver (freezing for at least 14 days helps destroy any harmful microbes) onto an egg yolk. Beginning at six months you can serve baby cooked, pureed liver.

Salmon Roe. These nutrient-dense little eggs have some of the highest levels of omega 3s, almost 3.5 times the amount typically found in salmon. In addition to the brain-boosting fats, salmon roe is rich in antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins along with zinc and iodine. Try serving by themselves or incorporated into a soft-boiled egg yolk.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Baby’s First Foods

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Introducing solid foods is a big step for new moms and can be quite confusing. Here are some common questions new moms may have about introducing solids.

Is my baby ready for solid foods?

first food

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for baby during the first six months of life. Below are a few milestones your baby should reach before starting solid food:

  • Baby can sit in high chair with good head control
  • Baby watches you eat, reaches for your food and seems eager to be fed
  • If you offer a spoon of food and baby pushes it out of its mouth; he may not have the ability to move it to the back of his mouth to swallow. If this happens- try to dilute food with breast milk or water or wait a week or two and try again.

Sounds like my baby is ready. What should I feed them first?

Traditionally single-grain cereals are introduced first; however there is no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order is advantageous for baby. This website has tons of great recipes, nutrition information and pointers on how to prepare homemade baby food.

Are there any foods I should avoid?

What to Expect has a great list of food to avoid. This includes nuts, egg whites, honey, cow’s milk, wheat, juice, shellfish, strawberries and chocolate. These foods can be introduced later, please check with your pediatrician for when these can be safely introduced.

What were your babies’ first foods?

With my first we attempted organic brown rice cereal right at six months. This did not go well; she hated it. We went back to breast milk for few weeks and tried sweet potatoes next time she had solids. Our second was 7.5 months before we gave him solid food and he started with homemade sweet potatoes.

How do you make sweet potatoes for your baby?

Preheat oven to 400* F. Wash and poke holes in sweet potatoes and wrap in foil; bake in oven until soft (30-60 minutes). Puree in blender mixed with water or breast milk for desired consistency. Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen put into Ziploc bags to store in freezer until ready to eat. Thaw and serve.

What was your baby’s first food? What would you do differently with your next child?

Kristen Beggs is a mom of two who enjoyed watching her babies take their first bite. 

 

Green Smoothies for Mom Superpowers

Monday, March 17th, 2014

When you have a baby at home, can be hard to get a good, nutritious breakfast—or any kind of meal. And if you have more than one child, you may spend a good deal of your day in the car. But you don’t have to sacrifice your health or your sanity to get a quality meal in your busy day. Smoothies are quick, portable, and super healthy, and green smoothies pack a powerful punch of fiber, vitamins, minerals and energy. And what mom can’t use more of that?

Great Green Smoothies

Here’s how to make the perfect (quick!) green smoothie:

Choose your greens. Some of my favorites for smoothies are kale and spinach, but you can use any other one you like to change the flavor profile. Collards and beet greens have a more robust taste and a handful of parsley is a great choice for added energy and brings some brightness to the smoothie.

Pick a base. This can take your smoothie from light, airy and tropical, to rich and creamy. For more of a cleansing smoothie I like to go with a mixture of coconut water and aloe vera juice. Adding almond or coconut milk makes a thicker, richer smoothie.

Find your Fruit. Frozen bananas, mangoes and cherries are great for adding sweetness and depth. Citrus fruits such as grapefruit, limes, and oranges create lighter, more refreshing flavors. Berries are great for creating classic combinations such as banana strawberry.

Add more veggies. A green smoothie doesn’t have to stop with one green ingredient. You can add as many veggies as you’d like. Carrots, cucumbers and beets are great choices to boost your vitamin content.

Sprinkle in some extras. Smoothies are a great way to sneak in some superfoods. Blackstrap molasses adds some iron and calcium, fresh ginger is a refreshing immune booster, and seeds such as hemp, flax and chia add fiber, a little protein and a lot of nutrition. You can even try adding some green powder made of dried greens and fruits for even more of a boost.

Choose a fat and/or protein. Many of the vitamins in veggies are fat-soluble which means they need to be taken with some fat to be absorbed by the body. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats around, but other fats such as avocado and flax oil, nut butters or seeds work just as well. A high-quality protein powder can also help turn a smoothie from a snack into a delicious balanced meal.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Sun Safety for Babies

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Babies love being outdoors, and it’s great for them. Being outdoors can help regulate their circadian rhythms, boots vitamin D levels, and can even help you avoid illness since UV rays kill bacteria. However, you have to be much more careful with their delicate skin than you do with your own. How can you make sure baby gets lots of natural vitamin D without getting sun damage?

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests sun avoidance for babies under 6 months old. This is partly due to the unknown safety of sunscreen on babies this age and also their immobility.  It is easy to keep this age baby in the shade. You can also put your baby in a brimmed hat and protective clothing. For older babies and children, The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a comprehensive sun protection approach, which includes avoiding peak sun exposure, wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen.

Sun Safety for Babies

Avoid Peak Sun Exposure

Avoiding peak exposure basically means keeping your kids out of the sun during the middle of the day. We usually try to get outside early in the morning and after lunch and naps. This type of schedule helps us avoid peak sun time.  Middle of the day activities could be inside play at home or a trip to the library.

Wear Protective Clothing

Wearing protective clothing can be a little more challenging if it is hot outside, but it can be done.  We try to wear lightweight long-sleeved clothing, brimmed hats and sunglasses. Our kids love sunglasses; they love to be like mom and dad and look and feel fashionable. If we are going to the pool during peak sun hours, I also make sure my kids wear rash-guard swimsuits to cover up more skin.

Use Sunscreen

I will be totally honest with you: I hate sunscreen! I have hated it my entire life. I think it is the feel or smell of it.  If we are out in peak sun or out for a long time, I try to get sunscreen on my kids. I like Californial Baby Super Sensitive SPF 30+. This is good for sensitive skin and does not contain any chemicals. Another even more natural option is to make your own sunscreen; I have a few friends that do this. EWG is a great resource for finding safe products for children. Their rating systems spell out what exactly is in each product and why it’s harmful, and they come out with a new list of top picks each summer.

Warm days can be lots of fun, but make sure you take the necessary steps to make sun play fun and not end up with sunburns.

Kristen Beggs is a mom of two outdoor loving kids who tries to keep them safe in the sun.

How to Make Healthy, Homemade Teething Biscuits

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Healthy Homemade Teething BiscuitsTeething biscuits are quintessential teething tools: they’re quick and easy, most babies love them, and they temporarily relieve teething pain. As convenient as store bought teething biscuits are, many of them are loaded with corn syrup, soybean oil, refined flour and other potential allergens.

You can easily make healthy teething biscuits at home. When you find a perfect combination that your baby likes you can double or triple the recipe and freeze the uncooked biscuits to make whenever you need them. Or, you can freeze them cooked and give them to your baby cold for extra teething relief.

Here is a recipe that avoids common allergens and lets you mix and match different flavor profiles to find your favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
  • 1 cup of your favorite fruit or veggie puree (bananas, pumpkin, butternut squash, applesauce, pears)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients and then add in fruit/veggie puree, vanilla and brown rice syrup.
  3. Shape into rectangles and cook for about 30 minutes flipping them over half way through.
  4. They will continue to harden after you remove them from the oven.

If you want to avoid giving your baby grains you can opt for a paleo teething biscuit. However, paleo teething biscuits recipes tend to be made with almond flour and eggs. If you decide to go with a paleo option make sure to double check with your pediatrician since it is usually not recommended to introduce nuts during the first 12 months.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.