Please note, this post is not intended to promote formula feeding over breast feeding. It is intended to help babies be fed in the wake of COVID-19. Please be kind and limit comments.
We all know breast feeding / breast milk is best, but in some cases it is not possible to provide this "liquid gold" for a plethora of reasons. Formulas can step-in to provide nutrition for a growing human, but what happens when the formula is not available? Due to frightened Americans buying formula in bulk, families are struggling to find formula to feed their infants. I understand the fear and current state-of-mind of the populous, but what we are not helping the situation and limiting some families abilities to find the food they need to feed their baby.
I have heard many stories of mothers crying in the middle of the store because this is their (insert number here) store they have been to and cannot find the formula they need. Some mothers are even considering making their own formula, which is completely unsafe.
If you happen to be in this situation, here are some steps you can take:
If your child is between 4-6 months, has good head control, lost their tongue thrust, and is showing an interest in your foods, it might be time to start trying solid foods with approval from your pediatrician. Although infants derive most of their nutrition from breast milk or formula up until the age of one, eating solids will eventually lesson the amount of formula you will need to give.
This time of year can be very stressful for most, but even more so for the selective / picky eater. Why? Well, it is the time of year, filled with large holiday meals, lots of family, and expectations. I know it may be hard to believe your child(ren) are not looking forward to sitting down at the family table for an amazing feast. Most children are more excited about the "party" and not really interested trying grandma’s famous holiday stuffing, especially the selective / picky eaters.
With this being said, the holiday meal is not the time to expect your child to eat or try new foods. This does not mean you should not involve your child in the process. Make the holidays more about the experience rather than the actual food as for picky eaters, this can cause undue stress and anxiety around the whole process. Here are some tips I tell my clients on ways to improve the experience of the holidays for their child:
Its's strawberry season and they are delicious! After picking some strawberries at a farm this past week (a great activity for a sensory and picker eater), I decided to attempt making my own bars. I often struggle to find a healthy bar for my son that he likes, and that I approve of as they either have too many ingredients, too much sugar, or too many large nut pieces (@RXBARS). Because of this, I decided to try it myself and the results on the first attempt were amazing (and delicious). I chose strawberries as my fruit as they are in season now, but you could substitute another fruit. Click here to check out my recipe.
I often find myself referring to this word often, but what exactly does this mean? Self-care has been around since Ancient Greek times as a way to make people honest citizens who were likely to care for others. Today, self-care can be defined as an activity that we do with purpose to our self, to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. This can take many forms, as self-care is individualized to our needs. What works for my mental and physical well-being may not work for you, and vice versa. I am actually quite happy that this term is so popular as we often neglect our own well-being for the sake of others. I did not realize this until I became a Mom, as I am always putting my family’s needs before myself, which isn't exactly the best thing to do! When I do this, I am often tired, irritable, and not the best person I can be. I know in order to support my family, I need to be well! Being well in all areas of life make us better partners, parents, and human beings.
So ask yourself, what do I enjoy for self-care? Is it: 5 minutes of meditation during the day; getting your nails done; walking/hiking outdoors; or simply yoga. Whatever it may be, don't feel guilty about doing it as it helps you in the long run with your overall wellness. Personally, yoga, any type of fitness class / activity, and getting outdoors are what helps me refocus and grounds me.
If you also enjoy yoga and getting away to renew and rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul, there are wonderful yoga retreats that offer a chance to reconnect with yourself. Attached is an example of a great retreat that will help you reconnect with you!
Most of the kids I work with do not like to eat veggies and unfortunately this includes my son. Luckily the keto diet trend has produced a lot of convenient items made from veggies, one of my favorites being pre-made cauliflower and beet crusts!! Now, technically these pre-made crusts are a little high in carb for the low-carb / keto followers, but they work great for adding veggies into your child's diet without having to labor over making the crust from scratch. Tonight we tried the 365 cauliflower crust from whole foods. I loaded it with steamed (and then shredded) Brussels sprouts, chopped crisp bacon, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and oil, and then topped with some shredded Gouda cheese. My little one gobbled it up!
As a dietitian, I am asked almost daily about probiotics these days since the gut microbiome and gut-brain axis are hot topics this year. Pre and probiotics play an important role, but there is still a lot more to learn. We know that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, with some fermented foods ensures optimal gut health (no surprises there), but what we do not know is the effect of over supplementation on healthy individuals. Probiotics have been studied in various conditions and diseases and have shown positive outcomes as therapeutic interventions for some, but it remains strain and dose specific. Because of the high interest and mass marketing of probiotics, I have been working on a webinar about what the current research states about probioic use and which products can be beneficial (more to come on this later.) For know, here is what to look for when selecting a probiotic.
A nice easy "go to" breakfast for our go-go little man are these PB Balls. These delicious bites are about 120 calories and 5g protein, with 3 g of fiber and a nice dose of omega-3 fatty acids per ball (depending on size), and are intended for the child who needs a higher calorie healthy snacks.
To make this healthy snack click here.
In an effort to increase plant-based proteins into our diet, I have been on a search for a great vegetarian burger. After a few successful attempts, and some complete failures, I have found the best black bean burger recipe and I paired it with some butternut squash fries (my new favorite vegetable). Check out the recipe here. There will be more to come on the amazing butternut squash.
It has been awhile since I have posted, and over these past few years, a lot has happened in my life. I have struggled with infertility, had a child, lost a parent, moved to Oregon, and found new passions in my life. During this hiatus, I have also worked on my own personal development as a human being (emotional and physical.) It's amazing how having a child can motivate you to be your best in every aspect of life. All of this growth has changed my perspective and attitude, and has allowed me to experience new things in order to help others. In the upcoming months, I will be spotlighting a new topic that I have personally dealt with or are currently working on. I will be shedding light on these subjects with science and personal truths that will hopefully help you along your journey.
With that said, let's get started!
You may have heard about the new book by Eve Schaub called, “Year of No Sugar”. I have not had the opportunity to review this book yet, but have read several reviews about the content. This article is not intended to review this book, but to spark a challenge about how much “added” sugar is actually in your current diet. I am not focusing on certain types of sugars (i.e. fructose) that were omitted in Schaub book, but just any type of added sugar.
So what is added sugar? “Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk and fruits.”1 I feel I eat pretty healthy, and do indulge every so often, but I have noticed there are some unnecessary added sugars in my diet.
Why should someone care about this? Added sugars are unnecessary empty calories that are typically stored as fat. They have also been linked to increased cardiovascular disease risk, weight gain, obesity, and can increase risk of diabetes. Sugar can also affect our mood and can cause act as an addiction as injection of it can trigger the release of chemicals such as serotonin, opioids and dopamine. Over time, people can develop a tolerance for sugar, meaning they need more sugar for a feel-good "fix”. This can cause a downward spiral in our overall health.
I could go on as the reasons to limit added sugar are plentifully, but for the sake of time, let’s get started! I am taking a 30 day no added sugar challenge and I challenge you the reader, to do the same.
To help you along the way, I am including a list of items and ingredients to look for to avoid added sugar in your challenge. Typical products you want to be wary of are:
Just cutting out added sugars is a challenge in itself, but if you want to make it a super-challenge, try cutting out all artificial sweeteners as well!! Your health and sweet tooth may thank you!
I love to share my knowledge about nutrition and wellness. Please feel free to contact me for topic requests.