Wednesday, July 29, 2009

frozen bananas and pistachios

We've been enjoying frozen bananas as summer snacks. I freeze them peeled in a baggie (they need to be ripe, but not overly ripe as they get brown and slimy...) She enjoys letting them thaw a little and then using one of her Ikea knives to cut them into pieces. You could mash them for kids new to finger foods. they gat a creamy consistency like ice-cream almost. We continue to enjoy frozen blueberries and are looking forward to trying frozen grapes. (Remember that nuts and grapes and blueberries are not appropriate for very small children unless prepared properly for their skill level-ie grapes quartered...) 

M hasn't taken to nuts very quickly which is sad as they are such a wholesome treat to add to snacks with protein and good fats. (Remember every snack and meal should offer fat, protein and carb.) We bought a massive bag of pistachios from Sams Club and have offered them over several days. Today she rejoiced that she could crack them open and ate several without comment. Pistachios are a great nut for "picky" kids. The act of opening them makes them "fun," and for kids who like saltier things, its a great intro to nuts. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

princess invasion

My daughter is fascinated by The Princesses these days. I fought it as long as I could, but I figured that, like dessert if you make too big a deal about it, it becomes an obsession. So, we have the princess dress, watched the Little Mermaid (whose eyes are wider than her waist...) and I bought an "Only Hearts" doll from Target to try to hold off the Barbies a little while longer. I've read the studies that show that even 4 year-olds compare themselves negatively to Barbie and feel bad about their bodies. I also bought a rocket-launcher, a football and took her camping... Like with feeding, I have to hope that giving her a good base at home will help her navigate a world of "unhealthy" messages.

My friend forwarded me this image, and here's the link for fun pics of fallen princesses for any of you moms out there who are swimming in princesses! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Composting, does it have to be so hard?

It's one task I truly hate (even more than cleaning cat-litter boxes...)
First there is the crock on the counter-top for scraps that-though odorless when shut-emits the moldy smell every time I open the lid. Then, it's one more thing to deal with. I take it out, climb through hostas, take off the lid which has been chewed on by squirrels (?) then dump in the scraps and liquid. I have to then stir it, being careful not to scrape my knuckles... In short, I hate it. I think I may have some useful compost next spring-after two seasons of composting in our northern climes. I wish I had shelled out $300 for a tumbler, but this one was $35 from our local community center.

Its one of those things that I don't like doing, but I feel guilty if I don't, like washing and re-using plastic sandwich bags...
Here is an article about counter-top worm compost. Sounds good (except for the great worm escape part) but I'm not rushing out... 
Does anyone use worm composting? 
What are things you hate to do, but do out of guilt? Nutritional? (Home-made organic baby food?) Environmental?

Friday, July 17, 2009

prep when you can

Anything you can get done before the "witching hour" as my neighbor and mom-of-three calls 4-6 pm roughly, is a big help.
I work a lot from home, so I can chop potatoes while I'm waiting for my afternoon coffee to brew (cut the potatoes up small so they cook more quickly, buy organic with thin skin so you don't even have to peel them to make mashed potatoes...) or I can wash lettuce while I'm making lunch.
I put the chopped potatoes, or washed and chopped asparagus, broccoli etc into the pan with water and lid into the fridge, and then take the whole thing out and put it straight onto the stove when its time to cook. When my daughter was at home full-time, I also prepped food at the kitchen table while she sat and ate her snack. We chatted happily while I peeled and chopped carrots etc. Can you take the fish out of the freezer to thaw for dinner before work? Can you pop some ingredients into a crock pot? (Maybe make a roast with a 2 or 3 ingredient sauce and have some quick microwavable sides for when you get home?) 
In other words, if you can break meal prep down into tasks and get some of them out of the way in advance, you can stay at the park that extra five minutes on the way home from daycare or summer camp...
What tricks do you use? Remember my frozen onion trick?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

online forum

See this MinnMoms discussion board for topics ranging from picky eating, body-image, bringing back "banished foods," to Sensory Integration issues. Its linked with the Pioneer Press, and I had lots of fun dealing with tough questions! Post your comments!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

local TV spot "5 Feeding Myths"

I got up at 4:30 this morning to spread the word about the healthy feeding relationship and was back home in time for a family breakfast! See KARE 11 for the article. If I can figure out how to get a video link up I will. Topic is "5 Feeding Myths."

Monday, July 13, 2009

"kid-friendly" food

This kind of picture makes me wary. One cherry for the nose, a single grape cut in half for eyes. A truly picky eater would not be tricked into eating healthy by a smiley face, and a child is not learning to grow up and eat the foods you eat if you're running around making clown faces or ants on a log. Don't get me wrong, its OK to have fun with food. Decorate birthday cupcakes like lady-bugs, see who can crunch the loudest, have the pinkest tongue from your beet salad...
Making food entertaining to get a kid to eat one grape is not the way to instill a true love of variety. And you're working too hard if you have to make every meal into a piece of art to "get a piece of fruit" into your kid. Its pressure, and it slows down the process of learning to love new foods.How about a big bowl of grapes out of the fridge, or cherries in season (watch pits for younger kids...) 
What happened at our house this weekend.
Recently M had some rice-krispie from a restaurant lunch she had saved for snack. She was pestering me before snack. "I can eat it all, right Mom?" I replied "we'll see, we have lots of great stuff." No fight (remember, don't get sucked-in!) As we sat down to luscious red watermelon with its gorgeous green rind, she got to choose slices instead of chunks and barely touched her rice-krispie treat. It was a pleasant snack. Several points: demistify dessert, honor whole foods and variety, enjoy the amazing variety of fruits and vegetables, have fruits and vegetables on hand and offer them often, don't fight or negotiate of bargain. Do it again and again.

Remark about how beautiful and red cherries are on their own, dip them in yogurt, or make a sauce to top ice-cream for dessert. Good food is brilliant and amazing on its own. 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

fruity yogurt, save money and plastic

I enjoy getting vanilla yogurt in large containers. I can put some in a tupperware for M's lunch box, and the whole family can enjoy yogurt fixed the way they want it-plain, with cut-up strawberries, or my favorite- frozen mixed berries. I mix the berries with the yogurt (I let M do this yesterday as the berries were thawed and looked neat to mix.) I also add walnuts to mine, but the rest of the family doesn't. It's great with breakfast with maybe a scrambled egg on the side with toast, or as dessert.

Buying the large container also saves the little plastic cups and saves money. 
What do you like with your yogurt? 

Monday, July 6, 2009

spreading the word...

I did my first radio interview yesterday... 
Part of my mission is to spread the word about healthy feeding, so there will hopefully be more media coming up. 

We touched on many topics including how breast-feeding difficulties can effect feeding, trust in the feeding relationship, how to present new foods, "forbidden foods" and more...

 It was fun but tough to try to distill a message onto a radio format. Let me know what you think. (My interview starts about 10 minutes in.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

So according to the latest study and front page news, Minnesota’s kids are the least fat in America, but still its time to panic? All that concern and worry may be bad for your kids’ health.

Here are a few facts:

Most children (until the age of about 12 or 13) even with BMI over 95% will not become obese adults.

5 pounds might take a child from “normal” weight to “obese” on the charts. Bianca, pictured above is "overweight" according to BMI chart labels. 

The American Heart Association states that BMI is not a good predictor of health.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force reviewed 50 years of studies and found no evidence that traditional screening and intervening for childhood obesity works.

By relying on BMI alone, we miss the picture and make the problem worse. Healthy kids are often  mislabeled. “Normal” weight kids who watch 8 hours of TV a day and eat a brownie and Diet Coke for breakfast are ignored.

 Is there a problem? Sure there is. The rates of childhood obesity have increased, many children are malnourished, two-thirds of teenagers are dieting and end up heavier because of it.  Parents who worry about their children’s weight are more likely to restrict and control and have bigger kids-the very outcome they were trying to prevent.

 Feeding Dynamics is the missing piece

The Director for the Center for Childhood Obesity Research says we need to focus on “child-feeding practices” but this is largely ignored. As a physician, now feeding coach, I believe that how we feed is the missing piece.

We need to focus on healthy behaviors for everyone. Kids need to be fed with structure and love in a pleasant setting with a positive attitude about a wide variety of foods. We don’t need first-graders counting fat grams, or feeling shameful when they enjoy a treat. Children should not graze all day, and they should enjoy family meals with the TV off. Children should not diet or aim to lose weight. Let’s bring joy, common sense and balance back to the family table and turn our backs on the misguided hysteria and strategies that have failed for the last thirty years.

Friday, July 3, 2009

the package and the reality, Trader Joes rice...

So Trader Joe's finally opened near us after months of driving past it and watching the building process. I'd heard so much hype that I went in with M after camp one day. It was convenient because I forgot to pack her snack. We started on a banana and sipped a yogurt smoothie while we made our way through the crowded store. (Yes, I was one of those moms who let her kid eat "pre-purchase," but they  do sell bananas by the piece. 19 cents each...)
Anyway, we got their "vegetable" fried rice and noted that there were far fewer veggies in my bowl versus on the package. M declared it delicious however, so we might get it again but will have to make veggies or serve fruit on the side...

I prefer their Spanikopita to Whole Foods, mostly because it comes in its own foil tray which makes for easy  clean-up. 

Overall, not so wowed that I'll brave the traffic, complete with 2 cops, to go back, but will go back when I have more time to look at other things. My mom says her local TJs  has "Heppenheim" white wine for $6.99 which is from my mom's home town in Germany where her family belonged to the wine co-op. (Families bring their grapes in and get a share.) I tried it many years ago and thought it was good, and how cool to have a personal connection!

Do any of you have Trader Joe products you enjoy?