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Let's Talk Babies!

Family Meal Time

Walking through the grocery store pushing a shopping cart, trying to remember all the things on your list that you forgot to bring with you and trying to stay on budget all while wrangling your children can make for a chaotic grocery shopping experience.  It can be easy to skip over the healthy stuff and just grab what is quick and easy.  We all want to eat more healthy foods, give our children healthy snack options and cook healthy, flavorful meals, but it isn’t always easy to focused on that while being tempted by so many unhealthy, yummy alternatives at the grocery store.

There are a few tricks to navigating the grocery store so that you stay on task (buying healthy foods for your family):

  • Always make a list.  Determine what meals you will prepare before hand so you know what ingredients to buy and so you won’t be tempted by easy, prepared foods.
  • Shop on a full stomach.  It is a lot easier to be tempted by unhealthy food options when your stomach is growling.
  • Know what the healthy options are in each section of the store.
    • Breads: look for whole wheat or whole grain options.  Also look for breads that offer lots of fiber.
    • Pastas, cereals and rice: look for whole grain options, and options that are lower in sugar.
    • Produce:  you can’t go wrong in this section.  Be generous and fill your cart with lots of fruits and veggies.
    • Dairy: looks for low fat options such as skim or 1% for milk, yogurt and cheeses.
    • Meat: look for lean poultry and fish.  Limit your red meats and when you do purchase red meats opt for lean cuts.
    • Snacks: Limit the processed snacks you purchase.  Look for baked options and light popcorn.
  • Try to buy for the full week or two weeks so you can avoid additional trips to the store.  You are more likely to purchase extra, unhealthy items the more often you are at the store.

The key is to know what you want before you get there, filling your cart with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy so there isn’t much room for unhealthy sugary or salty snacks.  I always forget to make a list, but when I do I find a make much better food choices and am much less likely to have to go back to the store again for stuff I forgot.

What tricks do you use to navigate the grocery store so that you are making healthy choices?

The weather here in St. Louis has been absolutely gorgeous this spring.  We’ve had this incredible stretch of warm, sunny weather that just makes you want to be outside.   Who are we to argue with Mother Nature, if she wants us to be outside, we will be outside!!  Pretty much every day we have enjoyed at least some time outside.  We’ll either go to the park, the zoo, go for a walk after dinner, or just simply play outside for a little bit before bedtime.  Maya has been just loving it, and so have Lorne and I.

One things I’ve always loved to do is go sit some where pretty and have a picnic.  When the weather gets gorgeous like this I just can’t resist the urge to pack up our lunch or our dinner and head outside to enjoy it.  Last week we went on our first picnic of the year.  I packed up our dinner and as soon as Lorne got home from work we headed to the park just down the street, laid out our picnic blanket and enjoyed a beautiful evening together.

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Maya LOVED it and has been asking to go on another picnic ever since.  So, yesterday I decided we’d have a picnic lunch.  We ate Maya’s favorite lunch, bagels and fruit.  She ate, ran around, ate some more.  It was just an all around good time.

Ahhh, gotta love picnic season :)

It is a big step in the transition from baby to toddler, giving up those jars of baby food for some healthy grown-up food. For some babies it will be a breeze, for others a challenge. Either way it can be a lot of fun for you and your little one. You’ll know from the baby foods your child liked what they are partial to. Start with some tried and true favorites to get the ball rolling. You may also find that something your baby didn’t care for in baby food form is a hit when it comes to the real thing.

Most pediatricians recommend that you begin to transition your baby from jarred (or homemade) baby food to table foods around 9 months. The goal is to have your baby mostly eating table foods rather than baby foods by the time they hit their first birthday. Talk to your pediatrician to find out what they recommend and what will be best for your child.

We are in the process of making this transition with our daughter. She’ll be 11 months old in a couple of days. At this point she really wants nothing to do with jarred baby food so most everything she gets is table food. She’s quite picky though so it has been a bit of a challenge.

Here are a few tips on “grown-up” foods that are great first table foods.

  • Fresh fruit. Peeled and cut up into small pieces fresh fruit makes a great first table food. With crispier fruits like apples and pears you will probably need to steam them a bit to make them a little easier for your child to handle. At this age the only fruit that is usually off limits are strawberries (most pediatricians recommend steering clear of strawberries until after their first birthday).
  • Vegetables. Steamed and cut up into small pieces vegetables are a big hit with a lot of kids. Some good things to try include mashed regular or sweet potatoes, sweet potato french fries just baked in the oven, steamed broccoli or green beans. This is where you may find some things that weren’t a big hit as purees are all of a sudden all the rage with your little one.
  • Lean meat. Some good lean meats to try are chicken and turkey. Really you can probably cut up a few pieces of whatever you are eating and let your little try it. You’ll want to make sure the pieces are pretty small as meat will be a lot harder to eat than soft fruits and vegetables.
  • Toast, waffles, pancakes, bagels, pasta, you name the carbohydrate. These will probably be big hits at first as the flavors won’t be too over powering.
  • Dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, dried cranberries, or dried berries.
  • Soup. You can get a pretty balanced meal in one bowl of soup if you choose a kind that includes noodles or rice, vegetables and meat.

Experiment with what works for your child. It is important to make sure your child is eating a healthy, balanced diet. Usually you can just let your child eat whatever the rest of the family is eating, as long as it is healthy.

Talk to your pediatrician if you have questions about foods you should steer clear of and what sort of time table they would recommend for your child.