Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baby's First Year of Nutrition + Baby Food Maker Review + GIVEAWAY

 ~~~~~~~~THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED~~~~~~~~

Lyla @ 1 year enjoying mealtime

Since this blog is about sharing my knowledge based on my experiences and education, I feel obliged to share my experiences as a new mother specifically in providing wholesome nutrition for my daughter.  Lyla, now 18 months old, is a good eater in general.  I don’t know if that can be attributed to nature or nurture but I feel as if I’m doing something right.  On my journey to attaining my RD (Registered Dietitian status), I was exposed to child nutrition and when I worked in the hospital, I covered the Pediatric unit on occasion.  However, it wasn’t until I had my own child and was thrown into a “sink or swim” mentality, that I really got the hang of feeding a child. 

Nursing had its challenges but was an overall success.  I was able to do it for 7 months which seemed like a really long time- maybe next time I’ll attempt the recommended year but I highly doubt that’ll happen.  Yes breastfeeding is an amazing bonding experience, you save a lot of money, and you know you’re baby is getting great nutrition and antibodies, but it has its drawbacks.  It was hard being the only one who could feed my baby plus I didn’t love being ostracized to the nursery or a discrete corner of the room to nurse .  When I returned to work, I found it challenging to keep up with my workload with my two 20 minute pumping breaks.  And if we were lucky to get a baby-free night out, I had to feed her the second before we left and we had three hours max to enjoy ourselves before she needed to eat again.  In short, I felt like a slave to nursing so I traded in my pump for formula at 7 months to get my freedom back.  This is why I highly doubt I’ll be able to nurse for a full year next time.

Lyla @ 5 months trying rice cereal
When Lyla started on solids around 5 months, it was very exciting.  Well, as exciting as rice cereal mixed with breast milk can be.  It wasn’t until she started on pureed fruits and veggies that I really got into it.  I tried all the jarred flavors out there- my favorite brand being Earth’s Best.  They have such creative blends- broccoli zucchini, apple sweet potato, and carrot tomato.  I experimented with homemade blends too using a steamer and my blender.  One time I blended peas, avocado, and ricotta cheese and Lyla loved it!  I tried so hard to expose her to unique blends and added spices to help develop her palette.  I guess it worked because she is not your average toddler in regards to eating.  Some of her favorites are beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, salmon, and all types of cheese.  I was persistent and implemented the “try it 10 times” theory.  Usually, she liked foods the first time but brussels sprouts took a while.  Since they’re my favorite vegetable, she had to like them too!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Maple Butternut Squash Kugel: Recipe Redux

Maple Butternut Squash Kugel

This month's theme for The Recipe Redux is "Stick with Maple Honey Sweetness" and it's all about using maple or honey to naturally sweeten your foods.  One of the first things I look for on the nutrition facts label is Total Sugars.  The second thing I check is the ingredients for the source of sugars.  Companies try to make their products sounds healthier by putting things like rice syrup, maltodextrin, and barley malt in the ingredients.  These are just different names for sugar and too much of it will make your waist size grow.  Click here for more names of sugar.  For more info on artificial sweeteners, visit here.  

Honey and maple syrup, as long as they're the good quality stuff, are natural sweeteners.  Pancake syrup is mostly high fructose corn syrup and is the farthest thing from a natural sweetener.  Here's a comparison of calories per Tablespoon:
Calories (Per Tbsp)
Table Sugar
Maple Syrup

Since honey and maple are naturally sweeter than table sugar, you need to use less of them in a recipe.  While sugar only contains calories, honey and maple also have a small amount of nutrients.  I more often use honey as a sugar substitute so I decided to try maple for a change.  I also felt that the maple flavors would better compliment the squash dish than honey.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

National Nutrition Month + Homemade Veggie Pizza

March is here and that means it's National Nutrition Month.  This year's theme is "Get Your Plate in Shape" and focuses on the importance of making healthy, informed food choices while practicing good eating and physical activity habits.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic's website has some amazing resources for nutrition month.  Check out their salad bar and smart snacking guides.

To me, "Get Your Plate in Shape" is all about balancing your diet to include all the healthy food groups.  You want to see more vegetables on your plate and less greasy foods.  It's crucial to get enough whole grains and low fat dairy products in your diet too.  My husband and I sit down every Sunday, plan our weekly menu, and hit the supermarket to make sure we have all the ingredients on hand.  I find it much more efficient to go to the store with a shopping list versus wandering the aisles and hoping a week's worth of meals pop into my head.  And yes, there are weeks where we don't have time to plan ahead so we usually wind up eating more convenience foods than I would like.  You don't have to be perfect,  just give it your best shot.

Plus, menu planning doesn't have to be exact.  To make it quick, only write down the main ingredients i.e. chicken, rice, and broccoli.  You can figure out the culinary details once you have those ingredients.  The biggest obstacle is having the right foods on hand. 

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