Archive for Feeding

9 Healthy Snacking Tips for Children

Good nutrition choices at an early age help children grow, develop, and succeed!

Back when I was in Texas, I volunteered with the local Junior League as the Chair of Community Projects (or something like that, can’t remember my exact title).

The AJLI initiated “Kids in the Kitchen” that year and I put together an event where we made snacks with kids and passed out information and freebies. We got tons of great information from various organizations and I will be posting a list of some helpful websites when I have a chance to verify they are all still working.

Here are the tips for healthy eating for pre-school and school-aged children I put together for the even.

Healthy Snacking Tips for Kids

When you make healthy food choices, you have more energy for school, sports, and other fun activities. Here are some guidelines to start making healthier choices now!

  • Count Nutrients, Not Calories: Calories are our fuel. You do not want to starve your body of calories. Fill your body with the healthiest fuel available.
  • Follow the Rainbow: Fresh foods in a variety of colors ensure that you are getting a range of nutrients.
  • Shape Up: Cookie cutters make healthy foods more fun.
  • Your serve: Pay attention to serving sizes. Most foods can be part of a healthy diet in small amounts.
  • Spice it Up: Use cinnamon and other spices or lime instead of salt.
  • Naturally Sweet: Sugars and heavy syrups are empty calories. Fruits, including dried fruits, are sweet and nutritious.
  • Shake it Up: Prepare foods with a variety of shapes, colors and textures to appeal to all of your senses. Good conversation helps too! When we enjoy our food, we feel full.
  • Pint-sized: Cut food into kid sizes to encourage enjoyment of healthy foods.
  • Get Fresh: Purchase fresh foods instead of processed or frozen foods. A food sealer can preserve fresh foods. Even better, shop local produce to support nearby farms, promote eco-friendly practices, and get involved in food selection. If you cannot get fresh foods, frozen vegetables and fruits, without syrup or added ingredients, are closer to fresh than canned.

Super Dad’s Up To His Tricks

Super Dad has some cool tricks…what I guess you could call parent hacks.

Baby Diva hates when we try to clean her face (hey, why mess with perfection…even if it is covered in sweet potatoes and pears?). So, Super Dad touches his own face on the spot he plans to clean and names it (“cheek, cheek, cheek”) and then wipes that part of her face. I don’t know if she gets distracted, is amused, or curious…but it works long enough for us to get her cleaning with a minimum of fuss.

When we first introduced finger foods, Baby Diva would grab the food, but would squish it in her hands and drop it before she ever got it to her mouth. So, Super Dad would pretend to feed the morsel to her…and then quickly pull it away a little. Baby Diva would usually try to lean in twice or three times and then would get fed up, grab the bite, and immediately stuff it in her mouth. After a week or two of this, we don’t even need the trick any more.

Anyone need these tricks or have tricks up their own sleeves?

Prunes for Dessert

Now that Baby Diva is eating solid food, I have to make sure she gets her prunes. Why is it that babies have so much in common with the elderly?

While serving Baby Diva her prunes, I sing her this song I made up. The verses change and new ones are added almost daily. In any iteration, this song is proof that when Baby Diva is a teenager, she will pretend not to know me. And I will now share a version with you:

I’d like a bunch
of prunes to munch.
I have a hunch
that there’s prunes for lunch.

Chorus:
Prunes for dessert
Prunes for dessert
Prunes for dessert
So my poo does not hurt

Prunes, oh boy!
I am not coy
Prunes are a toy
I fling with joy.

Prunes that I eat
Prunes that are sweet
Prunes that I share
With babies I meet

Oh, did you know?
Go tell your beau
Prunes help you go
when things move too slow

I eat purple goo
Then I go to the loo
What do you do?
When you have to poo?

Thank you my guest
at this prune-fest
Prunes are the best
now that’s off my chest

Prunes for dessert
Prunes for dessert
Prunes for dessert
So my butt does not hurt

— Lyrics by Mama Luxe
Dedicated to Baby Diva, Fairy Godmother, da Godfadda and infants and parents everywhere.

Strikebreaker

I hesitate to say anything (my family is 75% East European, it is just the way we are), but I think we can officially consider this nursing strike broken.

Yesterday, Baby Diva nursed all day except before breakfast. Today, she nursed before her breakfast and before her lunch.

I think this is going to have to be filed under “Motherhood Mysteries” (in fact, that sounds like a good new post category) and “Goodness, I Hope that Never Happens Again.”

Baby Diva is as happy as ever, erupting in uncontrollable giggles at the drop of a hat (literally, she likes it if you drop stuff…funny kid).

In fact, she seemed fine the whole time. I just mixed my milk in with her food so she would stay nourished and hydrated. I was the one who felt worried, rejected and engorged.

Maybe now I will manage to get some work done and possibly even post about something other than breastfeeding.

Nursing Strike–Day 1

Sigh. Baby Diva is having her first, and hopefully last, nursing strike. She’s always been a champion nurser and she’s a champion eater. I guess I have been spoiled.

When she was teeny tiny, she hated a bottle. Even the nurses in the hospital (when she had the heart operation) couldn’t get her to take one after she regained her strength.

So, she was pretty much exclusively breastfed until she was six and half months. Now, all of a sudden, she wants a bottle instead of me.

Otherwise, she has been doing fine–eating well, just suddenly no nursing. I tried feeding her when she woke up, when she was about to nap, before lunch, after lunch…nothing worked. I’m hoping this will be over by tomorrow.

So, someone, please…give me advice on nursing strikes or make me laugh.

Cinnamon Girl

Baby Diva is a spice girl…she now enjoys cinnamon in her sweet potatoes and ginger in her green beans.

Why does this excite me? Has the bar really gotten that low, or is this really a milestone of significant proportions.

I guess I am happy that she is enjoying eating. Eating is one of life’s great pleasures. People who really take the time to enjoy good food are the kind of people I like. They savor life like they savor each bite.

There’s the convenience factor–Super Dad and I like our cuisine spicy.

I’m not trying to turn Baby Diva into a foodie (like in this NYTimes Article)…best not to encourage habits I do not have the resources to support. Although, if she decides that interests her, there is no shortage of children’s cooking class options in NYC.

However, spices do evoke the exotic. Sometimes it is fun to imagine all of the adventurous possibilities open to Baby Diva–nothing is off the table for her. Her love of spices could lead her to be an archaeologist, an international businesswoman, a food critic!

As Super Dad remarked, “I don’t think I had ginger, except ginger ale, until I was twenty.”

Of course, I know she may still go through picky phases, but for now it is just so much fun introducing her to yummy new options.

Baby Diva as Jackson Pollock: Starting Solid Foods

Baby Diva has been trying to start solids on her own for about a month now. This has made it increasingly difficult for me to maintain the mommy machine. Mealtime goes something like this (translated from baby and paraphrased):

I don’t wanna sit in the baby seat. (squirm, squirm, fuss, fuss) I don’t wanna! No I don’t wanna sit in the high chair either (slouch, squirm, fuss). I wanna sit with Mommy! Yay!!! Ooo…lookie…Mommy seems to enjoy the food. I want some! Gimmie! Hmmm…can’t reach the food, how about a knife? Hey, give that back…

By this point Baby Diva is safe and all choking hazards food and weapons cutlery have been safely pried from her grasp…but I can’t reach anything, either.

We delayed solids until six months based on the APA’s guidance. Then, we traveled out of town a week after six months. FINALLY, with baby Diva almost six and half months’ old, she got her first taste of solids: Sweet Potato!!! She grabbed the spoon and dug right in.

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