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Posts from the ‘Kids’ Category

In Season: Corn

While summer barbecues will soon give way to cozy winter meals, corn is still at its peak flavor!

Corn may have a bad rap from the term high fructose corn syrup, but the on-the-cob version boasts many nutritional benefits. It’s high in antioxidant carotenoids (from its yellow color), is a good source of fiber to help keep your gut healthy and provides the vitamins Niacin and B6 and the minerals phosphorus (important for your bones and teeth and to make proteins for cell repair and growth) and manganese (important for enzyme function and protein production).

When shopping, choose corn with tight, bright green husks and instead of pulling back the silk to check the ends of the cob, simply squeeze the ear from top to bottom to see if the kernels are consistent. I’ve found that most ears are delicious regardless of whether the kernels go all the way to the very end.

There is no comparison between summer corn and what is sold on the cob in the winter, so freezer action is key! I read that to freeze corn on the cob, blanch it for 5 minutes and then seal it in a plastic freezer bag. If you only want the kernels, cut them off 3/4 of the way down towards the middle of the cob. While cobs will stay frozen for one year, the kernels will only last for 2-3 months.

One of my favorite ways to cook corn is to leave it in the husk and bake it for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you don’t have that much time then boil or steam the husked cobs for 3-5 minutes.

Do you have young helpers at home? Peeling the husk off the corn is an easy way to get them involved in preparing dinner! As I’ve said before, the more kids are involved in preparing their meals the more likely they are to try new foods. And, in this case, it gives you time to focus on the rest of the meal.

No Eggs? No Problem

As food allergies become more commonplace it should come as no surprise that one day you may have to prepare a meal or snack for someone who has one. If that allergy is to egg whites the substitution is simple.

Flax Egg Recipe (makes the equivalent of one egg):

1. Start with whole flax seeds and grind them as needed, or buy pre-ground flax meal

2. Whisk 3 Tablespoons of water into 1 Tablespoon of ground flax meal

3. Let the mixture sit until it becomes the consistency of an egg white, usually within 10-15 minutes

Use the flax egg the same way you would use a regular egg in pancakes, meatloaf, meatballs or even muffins and brownies. The flax adds a a slightly nutty flavor and gives your meal an added benefit of fiber and healthy omega-3 fats.

Ground flax seed can be found in most grocery stores, and once opened can be kept tightly sealed in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Recipe of the Week: Apple Spice Bread

Before all talk turns to pumpkin, I want to share this quick Apple Spice Bread recipe. I recommend adding two apples and maybe a little extra spice. It’s simple to prepare and you probably have everything you need already in your pantry.

Kids can help too! Have them chop the apple (if they’re old enough), measure and/or pour the ingredients in the bowl and help mix it all together.

 

Mind Your Peas and Cues

You’ve gotten the go-ahead from the pediatrician and now it’s time to eat! First meals can be both fun and stressful for all involved. As a parent you may be concerned about how much your child is eating, but it’s important to let your child make the decision because they know when they’re full. It’s up to you, the parent, to provide healthy, nutritious foods. Below are tips to know when to keep the meal going and when to call it quits.

 

I’m hungry! Signs your baby wants to keep eating:

  • He or she opens mouth for the next spoonful
  • He or she leans towards the spoon when it’s brought to the mouth
  • He or she looks at you expectantly and voices satisfaction

 

I’m full! When the meal is over your baby may:

  • Purse his or her lips
  • Turn his or her head away
  • Shake his or her head ‘no’
  • Lean backwards

One thing to remember – be patient and don’t get frustrated. Your baby may only be hungry for a few bites of food and that’s ok! If your child doesn’t like a food, offer it a few more times with other familiar foods. If he or she still rejects it try again in a few weeks. Babies may not like certain foods just like adults. Most of all, enjoy these early messy meals and begin to build a strong foundation for your baby to have a healthy relationship with food in the future.

 

Tips for Breastfeeding Success

Having a newborn is amazing and overwhelming all at once. With an every-three-hour round the clock schedule of eating, changing and sleeping (for the baby), even a small issue can feel like a big one. With the popularity of breastfeeding, and all of the media messages and random people on the street telling you that you must do it, and having mommy guilt if you don’t, a less than smooth start to nursing can make any new mom frustrated. But, with a positive attitude and a little perseverance, soon you’ll be telling new moms your tips for success!

1. Keep your eye on the prize and understand the benefits. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It is easy to digest and changes from feed to feed to provide exactly what your baby needs. Benefits include fewer ear infections, respiratory infections, stomach viruses and allergic reactions.

Pumping and bottle feeding is an excellent option too. Monitor your baby’s feeding cues and if he or she wants to stop eating (won’t latch, turns his or her head away and/or cries if you try to give him or her more) don’t force it. Babies know when they’re full and forcing them to eat more may lead to overweight children because they won’t understand what it means to be “full” and stop eating.

2. Find a support system. This can be your partner, best friend, mom, lactation consultant, a moms group, anyone. Many women quit breastfeeding within the first 10 days due to pain, frustration, exhaustion and just sheer annoyance of having your baby on your breast for up to 8 hours per day (while you’re in pain, frustrated and exhausted). But you and your baby learn more about each other and nursing everyday and then all of a sudden you’re a pro. Talk to your support system and keep nursing.

3. Take a breastfeeding class. Before you have the baby it’s useful to know what to expect. It’s also good to take a class with your baby in the hospital to receive more personalized advice.

4. Make your intentions clear to the nurses in the hospital that you are going to breastfeed. Even if you don’t have your baby in the room every hour of your stay the hospital staff should bring him or her to you when it’s time to eat.

5. Get help. Call a lactation consultant within the first week if nursing isn’t as easy as you anticipated.  A lactation consultant can answer all of your questions regarding latch, pain and whether or not your baby is getting enough milk. Call La Leche League, the hospital, your doctor or someone from your support group for a referral.

6. Stick with it. The longer you breastfeed the easier it gets. While it is natural, it’s also something that you and your baby need to learn how to do.

But ultimately, decide if breastfeeding is the right choice for you. With formula as a close runner up to breast milk it’s important that you’re happy with your decision of how to feed your baby, whatever that may be. Babies respond to your emotions and should find feeding an enjoyable, bonding experience. If you’re happy at mealtime they will be too, and ultimately a good relationship with your baby is the most important thing.