Tag: solid foods (page 1 of 2)

Nutrition in a Nutshell for Your Sprout: Children (5 Years+)

Blog Post 3.14.15 Nutrition Nutshell ChildChild Nutrition (5 Years and Up)

So back in my public health days, I worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s department of Child and Adolescent Health. Much of my work was dedicated to creating an educational program that supported healthy diets and physical activity of pre-school and school-aged children. I spent hundreds of hours designing a program and performing bill analyses that were written to improve overweight and obesity in the LA Unified School District. So, for a portion of my early adulthood, this topic was my jam


The diet of a 5-year old (and up) is very similar to what our diets, as adults, should resemble: healthy and lean meats, half of the plate consisting of a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains (not refined white flour that has been stripped of its healthy fiber), etc. It’s hard enough for us to follow, but it is of paramount importance for us to get our kids off on the right foot in these early years. 

If you missed previous Nutrition in a Nutshell posts, click the links below

Nutrition in a Nutshell For Your Sprout: Infancy

Nutrition in a Nutshell For Your Sprout: Toddler & Pre-schooler

So, what should be the focus for these (still) growing sprouts? Here’s a summary:1-9 Continue reading

Nutrition in a Nutshell for Your Sprout: Toddler & Preschooler

Blog Post 3.7.15 Toddler and Preschool Nutrition

This Week’s Sproutings Saturday is featuring nutrition pointers and guidelines for Toddlers and Preschoolers. If you missed “Nutrition in a Nutshell for Your Sprout: Infancy,” be sure to check it out!

Quick Clicks:

1 Year Old

2 Year Old

3 Year Old

General Pre-School/Toddler Nutrition Guidelines (2-5 Years) Includes calorie requirements for each age

Iron-Deficiency Anemia in Toddlers

Toddler Nutrition (1 Year Old) Continue reading

Nutrition in a Nutshell for Your Sprout: Infancy

Part 1 Infant Nutrition.1Sorry for the delay in posting this week, I caught a legit real cold for the first time in about 2.5 years and luckily it came on a Friday, which meant Jeff was able to let me off the hook for baby duties. However, this also meant that I wasn’t going to be able to publish a Sproutings Saturday post. The sinus pressure was way too uncomfortable (along with feeling like my head was unattached from my body) for me to write a real post and it wasn’t nearly at the point where I was comfortable publishing it. 

(Quick Jump Links)

Part 2: Nutrition in a Nutshell – Toddler and Pre-Schooler

Part 3: Nutrition in a Nutshell – Children 5 years and Older

About this Post

As a little intro, I wanted to write this post because 1) it was a topic that a couple of my readers suggested, and 2) it really makes me cringe to read all of the bad advice some moms give to other moms on the topic of infant nutrition. I feel like I can justifiably say that this is “bad advice,” because I got my Bachelor’s in Science in Dietetics (nutrition, to the rest of the population) and focused a lot of my undergraduate projects on Maternal, Infant, and Child Nutrition (heck, I even chose my Master’s focus on Maternal and Child Nutrition when I started at UCLA). I’m not saying that I remember everything I learned in college about every phase of infant and child nutrition, but it’s the basis from which I stem off and do my own investigating and writing. 

This series of posts will be divided into: Infancy, Toddler & Pre-School Age, and Child Nutrition 5 & Up because: 1) It’ll take me a substantial amount of time to cover nutrition for infancy through 5 and up – there is an overwhelming amount of information on nutrition for each group; and 2) It’ll be easier for you guys to click to whichever post is more relevant for you when you read it.  Continue reading

What’s She Doing Wednesday: “Little Toddles”

WSDW 2.4.15 Little Toddles“Little Toddles.” That’s Jeff’s new nickname for Jia, along with “Boogie-Boo” because she is always dancing or boogying. :) 

  • Says “Up” when she goes up the stairs and when she is standing up after a diaper change on the table, mimicking the word “diaper” pretty well, too. 
  • Says “Shoes” uh oh, this could be a problem haha… Saying “Mei-Mei” is getting better. When she sees Mei Mei enter the room, she actually says her name. 
  • She excitedly digs into her toy box and can spend a while just sifting through it. 
  • Can feed her Chomp and Count Dino toy (can’t quite push the food far enough into his mouth to the point where he recognizes the food, but she understands where the Dino’s mouth is and tries to feed him)
  • Free stands for longer lengths of time while holding something, does this more frequently nowadays. If she doesn’t realize you’re not holding onto her she stands for a decent length of time. 
  • Throws tantrums and pieces of food when she gets frustrated. 
  • She’s VERY vocal, I love hearing her voice. She vocalizes all the time, especially when she reaches to try to get something, it’s like she’s talking her way through it. It’s so endearing, I love it.
  • Points meaningfully at items that she wants. For example, when she’s eating she points to her sip cup because she’s thirsty. 
  • Loves pears (this is good, because even if she loved a bunch of vegetables, meat, and all sorts of fruit when it was pureed, if you’ve been keeping up with these WSDW posts, you’ll know that it’s a gamble on what she wants now), ZUCCHINI (I chopped into small pieces, put on the stove in a pan with olive oil, sprinkled with thyme and cinnamon… it worked. And it was better-received when it had been refrigerated!), and (de-skinned) mandarin oranges but *sigh* she may be tired of deli turkey! What now?! That was my old faithful backup meal that I knew she would take. Well that was a good three week run. 
  • Her feet are ticklish! So cute watching her smile and pull back her feet when I tickle her. She’s especially ticklish in the bathtub haha! 

Continue reading

What’s She Doing Wednesday: Busy Bee

WSDW Busy Bee 2Oh boy, I remember when I thought having a newborn was tiring, then it got busier. Then I thought having a 5 month old was tiring, with her eating solids and moving around some. Fast forward to now and she’s crawling super fast, and before I know it, her hands are splashing water in the dog’s water bowl! 

Here’s what she has been up to: 

  • Loves closing doors, even if it hits her in the face as she closes it. Thankfully not quite reaching the doorknob yet. 
  • The dog’s food bowls are great cymbals to bang together to make very loud music and now so are the 6″ baking pans I bought for her birthday cake.
  • My singing “Locked out of Heaven” by Bruno  Mars keeps her entertained during diaper changes (some of the time). “Oh yea yea! Oh yea yea yea yea…!” and she tries to mimic me, haha.
  • She loves smoked gouda cheese!
  • Scrambled egg yolk with whole milk yogurt and a tiny sprinkle of cheese is our new breakfast! She loves scrambled egg yolk! (I’m staying away from egg white just in case of an allergic reaction)
  • YES to Trader Joe’s Chicken Chardonnay Apple Sausage boiled, then cooled in the fridge was a success two days in a row! Whew.
  • Other than that, we still only like deli turkey.
  • Loves cooked sweet peas and corn, thankfully, since she doesn’t eat my fun sautéed veggies in herbs and spices, haha..
  • Does not like any yummy creative pancakes or snacks that I’ve made now, like those yummy zucchini spinach and apple pancakes or broccoli cheddar bites. Sigh. 
  • Loves Happy Baby Teething Wafers! We tried Plum Organics teething crackers but the texture isn’t as preferable. Loves her purple carrot and blueberry wafers, though. I’ll have to try peanut butter on these wafers because she doesn’t like PB on crackers or toast. 
  • Definitely doing only 1 nap per day, still sleeping 11 or 12 hours through the night. (Visit this post here for sleep training tips) She’s completely happy to be awake and playing up until about 6:15ish, so I think we are in her 1 nap routine. 
  • We have to either take the pugs outside while Jia eats or put them behind the baby gates away from the kitchen, because generous little Jia wants to share her food as soon as she sees hungry looking faces look up at her from her high-chair. 
  • She’s much better at playing independently, now that she is a crawling expert. Basically the entire room is full of entertainment and mischief, so now I can actually run upstairs to the bathroom, go downstairs and throw a load of laundry in the washer and dryer, pack up for an outing, etc. while she happily plays and explores. It warms my heart instantly, though, when I see she misses me and speed-crawls over to me so I can pick her up for nuzzles and cuddles. Mmmm…
  • She can flub her lips. You know, when you take your index finger and you move it up and down across your lips and you can make funny noises that go, “blublublublub” She gets a kick out of this now. 
  • She knows how to sniff something. I would take her feet, sniff them and go “pew!” and she would laugh. Now, she leans forward and curiously sniffs whatever I put in front of her face. This may or not be my toes. 

By the way, I can’t believe there are this many things to write in just a 7 day span since the last post!

Mom thoughts:  Continue reading

What’s She Doing Wednesday: My Little Chatterbox

WSDW1.21cover photoIn the past week, this is what Jia has been up to:

  • She now knows how to say her name (through mimicry). It sounds more like “Zshee-ya” but we’re working on it!
  • She eats yogurt now! Yay! It took us about 5 attempts, and the success came from her eyeing me enjoying my regular yogurt. I would give her TEENSY tastes of my yogurt (like the size of a grain of rice) and then my mother-in-law came up with the idea to have her try her plain yogurt in between tastes of mine. No scrunched up face, nothing! She flat out started sucking it down without needing to try mine again! Win!
  • Mimics lots of word sounds and faces, still amused by sticking out tongues. 😛 
  • Stands alone for anywhere from a few seconds to 20 seconds and once she realizes she’s doing it, she sloooooowly squats back to a seated position.
  • She’s starting to subtly learn right from wrong by doing “bad” things slowly. For example – I think it’s so adorable – when she has found, say, a Christmas tree needle (yes because there are still hundreds of them hiding away in the crevice between the carpet and wall), I’ll say “Jia, whatcha doing??” and she’ll look at me, and put it up for me to see so I can take it. But she has had it in her hand for a long time, so that I can “catch her.”
  • Has learned how a rocking chair works. She shook the rocking chair and watched it move Mei Mei who was seated on it. She was belly laughing over this!
  • Doors open and close, and she really likes closing them and giggles when we say “Open!” “Close!”
  • Look away from the hungry beast! Looking away from Jia helps her concentrate on eating. This is counterintuitive, but it’s something I think a lot of us moms are learning as our kids enter this similar phase in life – if you stare at them and hand-feed each bite to a toddler who refuses to look in your direction and open their mouths, they (maybe) won’t eat. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But, as of late, if I am looking at this computer as she’s seated in front of her new food, I see out of the corner of my eye a daughter who is devouring her zucchini/spinach/apple pancakes. (recipe below) That being said…
  • She knows what we mean when we sayIn your mouth,” when she threatens to drop the food morsel on the floor. Does she always follow? Well, “60% of the time it works every time…”

Continue reading

Spice Up Your Sprout’s Meals!

Blog Post Spice Up Your SproutI’ve gotten questions from a couple of moms asking when it’s safe to add herbs and spices to their infant’s foods, which ones are baby-friendly, and if/how adding herbs and spices can make a positive influence on their babys’ food preferences down the line. I was actually pretty curious about this myself, since it’s challenging (at least for me) to be super creative when I cook Jia’s meals and have been tempted to toss in some seasonings. It can be especially hard if you’re not really skilled in the kitchen, to stray away from the norm, the routine, your repertoire. 

As I was conducting my research for this topic, I actually couldn’t find any resources from the American Academy of Pediatrics or any empirical research saying that incorporating herbs and spices weren’t recommended for babies and at what definitive age to begin introducing them. I am taking this to mean that since there’s no formal policy or recommendation against herbs and spices being introduced, then it’s not of great concern. What I did find was encouraging – the AAP recommended that in place of salt, parents should be encouraged to cook with herbs, spices, and lemon juice. So there ya go, the AAP says herbs and spices should be used! 

In researching, what I found interesting is that many other cultures actually start adding spices to infants’ diets as soon as they begin solid foods (South Asian, South American, East Asian, etc). This includes spicy seasonings, too. 

In the US; however, we are so overly conservative about adding herbs and spices into baby’s diet, that our babies are often stuck eating bland foods until they are toddlers. Get creative, mom (& dad!)

Though it’s up for debate on whether or not spicy seasonings should be added to baby’s diet (see first bullet below), one thing is pretty clear – parents are introducing a variety of flavors into their babies’ diets so that they are exposed to a wide range of tastes, which can positively influence preferences down the line. This translates to a less picky eater!

Through my research on this topic, I found some main pointers for when you are beginning to spice up your baby’s food:

  • Wait until your baby has reached about 6-8 months old to introduce herbs and spices. This is actually more or less up to you, mainly because you want to sort out any intolerances, sensitivities, and preferences in foods. In an article from Live Science, Dr. Anca Safta, a Pediatric Gastroenterologist recommends that the aromatic spices (cinnamon, cardamom, dill, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger) should be introduced first. She says that this is because the flavor of “hot” is not necessarily a taste, but an activation of pain receptors. This can lead to intestinal upset, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Because of a baby’s maturing gastric system, she recommends these be delayed a bit longer. Conversely, Dr. Stephen Borowitz, University of Virginia’s Professor of Pediatrics says that a baby’s digestive system is normal at birth and that spicy foods needn’t be avoided and that using such spices is both “reasonable and appropriate.” Pediatric and Adolescent Dietitian for the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Vanessa Kane-Alves RD says, “there is no list of spices to avoid.”  However you interpret the many views on the use of herbs and spices for your baby’s food, remember to: 
  • Keep with the 4-day rule! After introducing one type of spice, continue to do so for 4 days before introducing a new spice, so that an herb or spice can more easily be identified as the culprit of a sensitivity. 
  • Breastfeeding (and pumping) mamas rest assured! Herbs and spices are transmitted through breastmilk, so your little one is already being exposed to a variety of flavors as long as you are. And, if you are still breastfeeding by 6 months, good for you! Keep going! Remember, the World Health Organization recommends to breastfeed up to 2 years old and continue as long as possible. 

Fresh or dried, here’s a list of some baby-friendly herbs and spices to get started: Continue reading

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