May 172014
 

Feeding baby is about more than just baby food

If you are a fan of Super Baby Food you know that feeding your baby and toddler is not simply for nutrition but also for supporting development, learning, and bonding with Mom and Dad.  In addition to the signs of readiness that must be present to begin “solid” food, there are some additional “fun” guidelines for when you get started feeding solid foods, too.  One of my favorites, “Do Play with Your Food,’ allows parents and caregivers to “let go” a bit at feeding time allowing baby to develop, explore, and discover on his own in addition to adding to his nutrition.  In this post, I elaborate on the “Do Play With Your Food” directive  AND include a fun recipe that illustrates the point – “Canoes for Riding the Rapids” featuring banana, tofu, ground seeds, and wheat germ.

DO Play with Your Food

Babies are messy eaters. It is perfectly normal for a baby to dip his fingers into bowls of food, suck his fingers and fist, squeeze and smear food onto his face and the tray with his palm and fingers, mash it into his hair, spit it out or let it drool down his chin, blow it at you or on the wall, throw it on the floor along with cups and bowls, and spill his drinks. Be assured that to everything, there is a learning purpose. Your baby is not doing these things to provoke you—he is experimenting and learning about his environment and the texture and feel of his food. She explores her food just as she explores her toys. Restrain your impulse to be neat and encourage self-feeding. Your baby doesn’t need Miss Manners’ approval.

The right recipe can make eating and learning fun

Try this recipe for your older baby (>1 year) or toddler and watch as he discovers and learns all while eating great food!

Canoes for Riding the Rapids

A slightly curved, shorter banana is good for this recipe. Wash the outside of a banana. Make a vertical slit down one side of the unpeeled banana leaving about 1⁄2 inch uncut at each end. If the banana is curved, make the slit on the “upside” so that it’s shaped like a canoe. Open slit and carefully scoop out the flesh.

Fork-mash half of the banana and mix with 1⁄2 cup of mashed tofu, 2 tablespoons of ground seeds, 1 tablespoon of wheat germ, and honey to taste. Spread banana peel open gently and make bottom of canoe flat by pressing with fingers so that it will be stable, being careful not to rip ends.

Return mixture to inside of banana. You can trim around the slit with a sharp knife to make the opening wider.

Use the other half of the banana flesh to shape fish and rocks, roll in wheat germ, and place them around the canoe. These “dangerous” rocks must be avoided to prevent the canoe from breaking apart.

Make oars out of carrot or celery sticks.

Please feel free to add your own recipes that allow baby to play with his food!

Apr 302014
 

organic yogurt with blueberryProbiotics for Beginning Eaters

Yogurt with Active Cultures

When it comes to yogurt, some experts recommend waiting until babies are 8 months old, others say yogurt is OK to introduce as early as 6 months. Ask your pediatrician for his opinion before you start feeding your baby yogurt.

When you do decide to begin yogurt as part of your baby’s diet, be sure to select yogurt with live probiotics by looking for words like “active yogurt cultures” or “healthy live bacteria cultures” on the label. Probiotics are absolutely necessary for a healthy immune system. These healthy, good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in your body in check. If the bad bacteria overtakes the good, all types of infections may occur, including the fungal infections thrush and candida.

The first probiotics in baby’s intestines come from mom’s vagina during birth or bacteria in the operating room during a cesarian section. Then baby gets additional probiotics from mom’s breast milk, formula, and the environment.

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Plain Organic Yogurt

Read the ingredients list on the label to make sure it is plain yogurt. Babies need fats, so buy the whole fat or low-fat varieties and not the non-fat type. You could also make your own yogurt by hand.  I have detailed instructions on how to make your own yogurt in the new edition of Super Baby Food.  A quick set of yogurt making instructions as well as pictures can be found on the TheFrugalGirl blog.

Greek yogurt is another choice.  It is thicker than regular yogurt and more appropriate for a Stage 2 eater. Before the advent of Greek yogurt, manufacturers would strain the whey from regular yogurt to make “yogurt cheese,” which is similar to Greek yogurt.

Yogurt – Flavor Your Own

Much of the “fruit” yogurt in supermarkets have gobs of unhealthy sugar and flavors added to them, even the yogurts that have healthy-looking pictures of fruit on their containers.

Ignore everything on the carton except the nutrition facts panel and the ingredients list, and this goes for all foods in packages at all stores, even health food stores. Flavor plain yogurt with the age-appropriate real fruit and veggies you freeze using the baby food freeze cube method.

TIP: Yogurt (and other light colored food) is a great food to have fun mixing food colors into, and I do mean food coloring, like the liquid from canned beets, turmeric, frozen berry juices. Let your child mix them together into yogurt for fun new colors and for learning color combinations.

Other Probiotics Food Choices

Examples of other foods that contain probiotics are kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods. All these foods in the supermarket might be fakes–they can contain only dead bacteria–including baby yogurts that are shelf stable. Buy only the foods that indicate that their probiotics are still alive and kicking, with your doc’s approval.

Apr 152014
 

beet root baby foodBeet Baby Food

Purple beets have such a lovely spring color.  I thought it would be nice to do an informative post on beet baby food – How to select the beets, how to prepare them, how to store them and why they are so gosh darn good for your baby.

How old to feed baby beets and why are beets so good for baby

The prevailing wisdom tell us baby must be 8- 10 months months old to eat cooked beats.  I say keep it safe and use the nine month mark as your guide.  Raw and grated beets, a bit more rare to feed baby, is for the 10-11 month old. Although beets are not one of EWG’s dirty dozen, there is a nitrate issue with beets.  By 9 month’s old however, that nitrate  risk is no longer an issue.  Beets are so darn healthy for baby (and you too!) because they contain calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and high fiber.  With such a great nutrition report card, I know you are excited to get started feeding beets to your baby.

The ins and outs of feeding your baby beets

Grated beets can be fed to your baby raw. Cooked beets are tasty and very colorful. They can be used as a decorative touch or even a food coloring in baby’s food. Beets do stain, so use a good bib when feeding your baby beets. Beet stains are impossible to get out of cloth, plastic surfaces and wood. Stool alert: Be aware that several hours after your baby eats beets, her stool will be quite red in color.

Choosing and Storing Beets 

Equivalents: 6 medium beets = 1 pound = 2 cups sliced.

In season: Available year round; peak June through October.

Choosing: Beets are sold with or without their green tops. The tops, called “beet greens,” should be fresh-looking, thin-ribbed, and deep green, with no brown or red edges, and with no trace of slime. If they are a little wilted, the flavor of the red root should not be affected because the greens rapidly deteriorate while the root remains good. Beet greens are edible.

Beets without their greens should have at least 1⁄2 inch of stem left on top and their bottom roots should be at least two inches long. The bulbous root should have a lush, deep red color and smooth, firm skin with no cuts or soft spots. Roots should have no scaly areas or circles on the top and they should be a nice round shape, not elongated.

Buy small to medium-sized beets, as large beets tend to be tough with inedible, woody cores.

Storing: As with other root vegetables, immediately remove the greens so that they do not pull moisture from the root. Leave an inch or two of stem on the root, or it will bleed during cooking. Store beets in the refrigerator wrapped in organic, bleach-free wax paper and then in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.

Preparing and cooking beets for baby food preparation

Preparation for cooking: Scrub well under cold-running water.

Steam: Wonderful for holding in nutrients but you need the time, it takes about 60 minutes!

Boil: Simmer whole beets for two hours. Peels will easily come off and juices will be better retained in whole beets.

Bake: Wash thoroughly, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 90 minutes to two hours—the larger the beets, the longer the baking time.

Peel and purée: After cooking beets, remove stems. If you wish, slip off peels under cold running water before puréeing.

Freezing: Use the Baby Food Cube Method or Tray-Freeze Method, and keep for up to 2 months.  Remember to store in a stainless steel ice cube tray and then store in a organic waxed paper lined plastic freezer bag.

For even more information, take a peek at Super Baby Food, 3rd edition. It includes a complete alphabetical list of fruits and vegetables with same information included as shown above!

 

Amara Organic Dried Baby Food Apple and Banana Giveaway *Closed*

 baby's first foods, giveaway, Moms Want to Know About, organic baby food  Comments Off on Amara Organic Dried Baby Food Apple and Banana Giveaway *Closed*
Mar 132014
 

This Giveaway is Closed..Winners shown below.  Thanks for participating!

I am so lucky to be exposed to some terrific baby food products because of the writing of Super Baby Food.   One of those great products is Amara, an organic dried baby food product.  Busy moms are always looking for ways to feed on the go when necessary – for day trips or traveling or simply when in a pinch.  Amara organic food pouches are a convenient, clever way to feed baby organic food.  With this giveaway, Amara is offering five winners their apple and  banana baby food pouches.

Amara dried organic food is easy to prepare. Amara tells us, “Simply add breast milk, formula, or water and it’s ready for your baby to eat! Our lightweight pouch slips into your pocket or purse and is the perfect way to guarantee a wholesome meal for your baby without the hassle.”

You can learn more about Amara and the products they offer at their baby food link.

The Amara  giveaway will reward five winners each with both a banana and an apple serving. Giveaway begins today and ends March 20th at midnight…tell all your friends!  Winners must live in US  or Canada to be eligible to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 182012
 

In a recent blog post, Ruth answered a question about feeding raw parsley to baby where she mentioned phytonutrients.  When it comes to phytonutrients (organic components of plants…thought to promote human health – thanks for the definition, WebMD!), which get destroyed during cooking, she mentions that it is better to use raw or steamed greens. Always remember to check the age-appropriateness of raw foods for your baby, though.  As Ruth mentioned with parsley – no raw parsley until baby is 9 months old!

Phytonutrients are the big thing now that have been discovered and proven in studies to really be good for you, although not all are “essential” for life. They are the plant nutrients that you may have been hearing about – lutein, lycopene, etc.. The supplement manufactures have jumped in head first and there are now lots of pills with phytonutrients, but don’t use the supplements. Use real whole food, which will have the entire realm of related phytonutrients in the proper proportions.

There’s lots of info on the net, but use only trusted sites that use scientifically proven info. Here’s a page you can trust: http://www.ars.usda.gov/aboutus/docs.htm?docid=4142   You are sure to hear more about phytonutrients from us in the near future!

 

Mar 072012
 

We love when Moms ask Ruth questions because (1) the questions are always so great and (2) we feel that that for every question asked, thousands of other parents have the same question and will have their question answered! A mom recently asked the following question to Ruth about parsley.

Moms asks:

Hi Ruth. My son is almost 8 mos. old. I’m reading your chapter (in Super Baby Food) about what to feed at 8mos and love the idea of throwing some cooked parsley in the mix, but I’m confused. You say that at 8 months they should only eat cooked parsley, but you also say that cooked parsley tastes bitter. Do you think the cooked parsley mixed with something sweet, like sweet potato will mask the bitterness?
Or should I wait until he can eat it raw? Thanks.

Ruth says:

Absolutely you could mix the cooked parsley in with sweet potatoes and other things he likes to decrease bitterness. However, he can eat it raw soon (by 9 months) but you have to be careful to wash it thoroughly, as with all raw produce, because his little immune system is still immature. I wouldn’t use a microwave – steam it instead.

Here is more interesting information:

Within the last few weeks I read where microwave ovens destroy more of some phytonutrients than steaming. Organic produce is best and is definitely worth the extra dollars in my opinion because babies don’t eat too much and pesticides get concentrated in their little bodies since they eat lots of food for their little sizes.  Make sure it has the certified organic symbol.

I’m finding out that raw parsley is up there with kale, maybe even better, and you know how I adore kale if you read my section in Super Baby Food on Super Greens. 🙂 AND now the AAP says spices (super sources of phytonutrients) are OK for babies starting around 6 months. Don’t use imported spices which may contain heavy metals. Frontier is a nice organic brand you can trust.

Jan 282012
 

Dr Greene.com recently asked Ruth to be a special guest perspectives blogger on their informational website.  Ruth was more than happy to provide 5 terrific blog posts sharing all kinds of great, detailed information on finger foods and tips for getting started with finger foods for babies and toddlers. In case you missed it, here is a description and a link to each fantastic blog post.

Finger Foods: What They Are And Why They Are Important To Your Baby’s Diet

Getting Started With Finger Foods

Finger Food Ideas For Baby and Toddler: Fruits, Whole Grains, and Vegetables

Baby and Toddler Finger Food Ideas Galore: Proteins, Dairy, Omega 3 Healthy Fats

Baby and Toddler Finger Food Ideas Galore: Seeds and Dips

Super Baby Food is happy to be a part of the Dr. Greene team! Be sure to check out some of the other terrific information on Dr. Greene’s website.

Aug 052011
 

A Mom Asks:

I am just beginning to feed my second child solid foods using your Super Baby Food book as a guide. Our CSA share this week included “vitamin greens” and I am wondering if they can be prepared as other greens and fed to my son when he is old enough for cooked greens. I also wonder about “bok choy”.  Thank you for your help, and for writing such an excellent resource for parents.

Ruth Says:

Vitamin greens (I don’t why they call them that since all green leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamins) and bok choy should be introduced to your baby just as any other veggies.  Use the 4-day wait rule.

Cook as you would kale.  Thanks for writing!

Jul 172011
 

Super Baby Food proudly presents three fantastic Ebooks available today on SuperBabyFood.com (and other online outlets) providing you with Super Baby Food tips on three very important topics:

Super Baby Food Quick Smart Guide ebookQuick Start Guide to Feeding Your Super Baby

Starting solids is an important time for parents and baby.  Find the answers to these and many other “starting solids” questions:

-How old should baby be to start solids?
-What exactly should I feed my baby?
-How can I keep my little guy safe when feeding?
-Is preparing my own baby food practical, inexpensive?

Super Baby Food Travel With Your Baby ebookTraveling & Restaurants with Your Super Baby

Every parent needs a break from homebase but the thought of venturing out with a baby can be daunting!  These Ebook tips can help you succeed!

-Packing your little one’s bag including a Master Pack List
-Tips for traveling around the corner and around the globe.
-Dining with your little one at a restaurant with ease!
-Smart helps to properly research your trip to insure a “family-friendly” trip


Super Baby Food Going Green ebookGoing Green for Your Super Baby

Going Green isn’t just fashion, it’s necessary – for you, your home, and for your baby.  This informative Ebook provides tips and information for every parent to “Go Green.”  Here is a preview of just a few of the topics covered:

-Why Organics is the way to go.
-Buying organic food – the how, the where, and the why
-Household cleaning products that are good for the  environment, too.
-Toys can be organic – here’s how.

To download your Super Baby Food Ebooks today, visit the Super Baby Food website today!