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My Guest Post on Real Food RN: Foods for Babies and Young Children That Are Critical for Their Development

My Guest Post on Real Food RN: Foods for Babies and Young Children That Are Critical for Their Development

Most Nutrient Dense Foods for Babies and Children

Check out my guest blog on Real Food RN’s blog about the top foods for babies & young children that are critical for their development. It was so fun to work with Kate on this!

 

Getting kids real, NUTRIENT DENSE food is my absolute passion, and I wake up every day looking for more ideas to share with others to make it so our little ones can thrive AND enjoy delicious food!

Enjoy!

Baby Salmon Burgers (Weston A Price/Paleo Toddler Finger Foods)

Baby Salmon Burgers (Weston A Price/Paleo Toddler Finger Foods)

Special Baby Bear Bites

Of all the recipes I have made thus far, this one has a special place in my heart. When my son’s daycare told me that I should switch from purees to finger foods once he got teeth, I honestly panicked a little.

First of all, I had made batches of purees that I still had in my deep freezer, and how was I going to slip in all the sacred foods to his diet like with the purees? It was so easy to mix in healthy fats and collagen with the purees. Now, I needed a new plan and new recipes. Plus, I needed to use up the purees. Thus, my baby burgers were created.

I love this bites because they are such a great way to get salmon into Noah. He loves salmon, and it is so rich in omega 3s, iodine, vitamin D, and protein.

Watch Noah and I make the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb salmon
  • 1 cup cauliflower (steamed)
  • 2 TBSP parsley
  • 2 pastured eggs (if your child has a sensitivity to egg whites you can use 4 yolks) or two gelatin eggs*
  • 3 TBSP preservative-free mayo
  • 3 TSBP coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic power
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

Directions

  1. Chop and steam cauliflower. Once, the water is boiling in the steamer, let it steam for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Cook salmon in oven at 350◦F for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower and salmon to blend, and pulse.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender, and mix.
  5. Scoop mixture into a piping bag or a plastic storage bag, and cut the tip off one of the bottom corners.
  6. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.
  7. Pipe little patties that are the size between and dime and a nickel on the mat.
  8. Bake the patties for 5-10 minutes at 350◦F. When, they come out of oven, they should feel like they are set and will stay together. They may also have gained a slightly golden color.
  9. Let the patties cool at room temperature, and then, place the baking pan with the patties still on it into the freezer. This allows the patties to individually freeze so they won’t stick together.
  10. Once frozen, place the patties into a storage bag, label with the date and description, and place back in the freezer.

*To Make Gelatin Egg

You may choose to use collagen eggs instead of chicken eggs in the case that your child has an egg allergy or sensitivity. Collagen is also a great source of protein to build strong bones, hair, skin, and nails. Plus, it has gut healing properties.

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP pasture-raised gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Dissolve gelatin into the water.
  2. Let sit or bloom for 5 minutes.

 

Baby Beef and Liver Burgers (Weston A Price/Paleo Toddler Finger Foods)

Baby Beef and Liver Burgers (Weston A Price/Paleo Toddler Finger Foods)

Baby Bear Bites

Liver is so rich in nutrients. It is rich in vitamin A, choline, folate, vitamin C, and iron, Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking babies don’t need as much of certain nutrients because they are smaller, but kids need nutrient density EVEN MORE than adults because they are growing so much.

However, not everyone is such a huge fan of the taste. I wanted to find ways to sneak in liver to Noah’s diet. I wanted to find a way that he would realistically eat it. So, I created recipes like these bites to hide it.

Watch Noah and I make the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb grass-fed beef
  • 1/4 lb grass-fed burgers
  • 1 cup sweet potato
  • 2 pasture-raised eggs or 2 gelatin eggs*

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Put liver in blender, and puree.
  3. Peel, and dice your sweet potato. Steam it for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the ingredients to the blend, and puree until fairly smooth.
  5. Scoop mixture into a piping bag or a plastic storage bag and cut the tip off one of the bottom corners.
  6. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.
  7. Pipe little patties that are the size between and dime and a nickel on the mat.
  8. Bake the patties for 5-10 minutes at 350 F.
  9. Let the patties cool at room temperature, and then, place the baking pan with the patties still on it into the freezer. This allows the patties to individually freeze so they won’t stick together.
  10. Once frozen, place the patties into a storage bag, label with the date and description, and place back in the freezer.

*To Make Gelatin Egg

You may choose to use collagen eggs instead of chicken eggs in the case that your child has an egg allergy or sensitivity. Collagen is also a great source of protein to build strong bones, hair, skin, and nails. Plus, it has gut healing properties.

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP pasture-raised gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Dissolve gelatin into the water.
  2. Let sit or bloom for 5 minutes.
Baby Tuna Patties (Weston A Price/Paleo Toddler Finger Foods)

Baby Tuna Patties (Weston A Price/Paleo Toddler Finger Foods)

Seafood Baby Bear Bites

My boy loves seafood! So, I had to make varieties of my baby burgers to make sure he was getting an array of nutrients. Tuna is a great source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin D, phosphorus, and iodine.

tunapattie

Ingredients

  • 2-6 oz cans sustainable tuna (packed in water)
  • 2 TBSP preservative-free mayo (I use Primal Kitchen)
  • 2 pasture-raised eggs or two gelatin eggs*
  • 3/4 cup cauliflower
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Boil a pot of water on the stove.
  2. Chop the cauliflower off the stalk into large chunks.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the cauliflower to the pot.
  4. Boil the cauliflower for 5- 10 minutes. It is done when you can easily stick a fork into one of the pieces.
  5. Drain cauliflower and add it to the food processor. Process in food processor until it is a rice consistency. This should be about 20-30 pulses.
  6. Open tuna cans and drain excess liquid.
  7. Add tuna, mayo, eggs, salt and pepper to the food processor, and pulse until blended.
  8. Place mixture into a large Ziploc bag and snip one of the bottom ends. The cut should be about a 1/2 long.
  9. Pipe small patties onto a lined baking sheet.You can either line your pan with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper. As you pipe out little patties, you will probably need to use your finger to separate the patty from the rest of the mixture still left in the bag. Each patty should end up being between 1/2 to 1 tsp big.
  10. Bake at 350◦F for 10 minutes.

*To Make Gelatin Egg

You may choose to use collagen eggs instead of chicken eggs in the case that your child has an egg allergy or sensitivity. Collagen is also a great source of protein to build strong bones, hair, skin, and nails. Plus, it has gut healing properties.

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP pasture-raised gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Dissolve gelatin into the water.
  2. Let sit or bloom for 5 minutes.
Interview with Dr. Kellyann Petrucci about Healthy Eating for Kids

Interview with Dr. Kellyann Petrucci about Healthy Eating for Kids

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing naturopathic doctor and celebrity nutritionist, Dr. Kellyann Petrucci about healthy eating for kids. She is the author of Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet and Paleo Cookbook for Dummies. Check her out at drkellyann.com!

She has amazing knowledge of nutrition and functional medicine. Plus, her and I share the same passion for healthy kids. It is the REASON and WHY that we both do what we do.

The Interview

In our interview, we chat about meal planning strategies, best foods for babies, and she was even so kind enough to say such sweet things about Mama Bear Naturals baby and toddler food products.

Check it out!

  1. Why do you think bone broth should be in the diet of babies and children?

Bone broth supplies young children with gelatin, which helps to build a healthy gut, and it loads them with anti-inflammatory nutrients like glycine, glucosamine, and chondroitin. It’s also a good source of minerals like magnesium, and it’s rich in the building blocks of collagen—the “glue” that helps build strong skin, bones, and connective tissue.

One caution, however: Home-made bone broth may contain levels of certain nutrients, such as iron and vitamin A, that are too high for infants. So if you’re going to feed broth to a baby or young toddler, I suggest buying a broth that’s especially designed for them.

2. What would be your top recommendations for foods for babies and children? Also, why are these foods best for children? What benefits would foods like wild-caught salmon, grass-fed butter, egg yolks, and grass-fed liver provide for children?

My biggest recommendation is to focus on quality pastured proteins, fresh vegetables, and healthy fats (which are so crucial for early development). I recommend pastured and wild-caught proteins because they come from healthy animals eating a natural diet—and that translates into greater nutritional value.

 

  1. What are the top nutrients for growing children?

I tend to think less in terms of individual nutrients and more in terms of nutrient-dense foods. For instance, pastured beef contains crucial nutrients like iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Fresh vegetables contain a host of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that work hand-in-hand. Pastured eggs are loaded with choline, B vitamins, vitamin D, and minerals. Clarified butter is rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K. Pastured liver, of course, is a powerhouse of nutrients. When children get foods like these, you’re supplying them with all of the nutrients they need in the correct proportions.

  1. Looking at www.mama-bear-naturals.com, do you see any benefits to these foods compared to the current baby foods on the market?

Absolutely. I love the emphasis on high-quality proteins, organic vegetables, and healthy fats like coconut. And I love that these foods are free from additives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. This is the pure, beautiful food that children should be eating.

  1. In your practice, what impact have you seen in regards to gut health and childhood development?

Kids with sick guts are more likely to have illnesses, behavior problems, sleep issues, learning problems, and obesity. Healing their gut can dramatically improve their physical and their emotional health, as well as their academic performance.

  1. What are your top tips for cooking healthy meals for busy families?

I’m a huge fan of batch cooking. Once every week or two, I schedule an afternoon in the kitchen and cook like crazy. I’ll boil a dozen eggs, brown several pounds of hamburger, and maybe roast one or two chickens and freeze the meat. In addition, I’ll wash veggies for salads and freeze packets of veggies and fruits so I can grab them fast to make protein shakes.

And that’s another tip: Make shakes, not just for breakfast but sometimes for lunch or dinner. All you need is a high-quality pastured protein, a little bit of fat (I like to add some avocado or some coconut milk), some berries and greens, and maybe a little monk fruit or stevia. It’s quick, easy, and nutritious, and the cleanup is a breeze.

  1. Do you have any recommendations for how to get kids to eat liver?

One trick is to grind it up, mix it with ground beef and spices, and make burgers out of it. What kid doesn’t like a burger? Add a little bit of liver at first, and up it gradually to see how much you can get away with.

  1. For those that don’t want to drink bone broth, what are other ways that they can incorporate it into their diet, especially for picky eaters?

Simple! You can sneak it into soups, stews, and chili, or cook veggies in it.

  1. What are your top snack recommendations for kids on the go?

I’m big on coconut chips, dark chocolate, blueberries, high-quality beef jerky, and non-grain trail mixes like my Tropical Trail Mix.

  1. What are the top 3 switches families should make to get their kids onto a healthier diet?

First, start cooking again! Simply switching from processed foods to home-cooked foods will have a dramatic impact on your kids’ diets. And get your children involved in cooking, because kids who become confident cooks won’t be dependent on junk food for the rest of their lives.

Second, limit or completely eliminate sugar, grains, highly processed seed oils, foods with artificial colors and flavors, and soy “Frankenfoods.” All of these put your kids at risk for serious health problems including obesity and diabetes.

Third, make sure your kids get plenty of high-quality protein AND plenty of good fats like coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk, avocados, avocado oil, fatty fish, olives, olive oil, ghee, and nuts. The worst thing “experts” ever did was to demonize healthy fats, which are absolutely crucial to staying slim and healthy.

  1. What are families biggest struggles in eating a real food diet, and what are your recommendations?

I know that one struggle is money. When that’s an issue, I tell people to look for the least expensive high-quality proteins—for instance, pastured eggs, pastured chicken legs (save the bones for broth!), and hamburger from pastured cows. Also, shopping at farmer’s markets or big-box stores is a great way to get organic fruits and vegetables at a lower price. You can also save money by buying less-polluted fruits and veggies in non-organic versions. The Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” lists can help you make the best choices.

Also, getting kids to like healthy foods can be a challenge if they’re used to junk food. The good news is that while they may kick and scream at first, most of them eventually learn to appreciate the taste of good food and stop craving the junk. Many parents find that the “two bites” rule works well—that is, requiring a child to eat two bites of a new healthy food at first. Of course, your best bet is to introduce children early on to healthy foods—like your Mama Bear Naturals meals—so they appreciate good food from the start!

Finger Foods and Toddler Meals

Finger Foods and Toddler Meals

In the toddler years, start trying foods in different forms and in different dishes, Some examples include veggie or meat patties, cubed proteins, veggies in sauces, and mashed side dishes. You may find introducing certain proteins in burger forms or different sauces made from veggies to be easier transitions to new foods. In this toddler stage, have some fun, help your child explore new foods, and feel comfortable treating your child to healthy

Indulgences. Below provides a general outline of how your child’s food should look throughout the day. As a toddler, they will continue to eat more due to growth, mobility, and less reliance on breast milk or milk for calories. This plan accounts for a breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2 snacks, and optional treats for special occasions.

Breakfast

  • Focus on fat and protein to fuel their brain.
  • Carbohydrates should not be the focus of breakfast
  • If you want to make healthy waffles, pancakes, or fruit options, I would suggest those for the weekends as special breakfasts

Morning Snack

  • Should contain protein and fat to keep their blood glucose stable and minds focused

Lunch

  • Finger foods in the forms of patties, nuggets, diced pieces of food, or tots
  • Focus on protein, fat, and include healthy carbohydrates from vegetables and fruit

Afternoon Snack

  • Carbohydrates with fat and protein to keep their energy up

Dinner

  • Healthy protein, vegetable, carbohydrate, and fat

Treat

If your child still feels hungry or you are celebrating a special day, have some quick, healthy treat options as well.

Try some banana ice cream or chocolate fudge.  

Read Labels

If you are going to buy prepackaged food, make sure to read the labels. For example, many nut butters (even natural and organic ones) contain sugar. Also, granola bars are loaded with sugar and processed ingredients, even the ones that have claims about “natural” or healthy. A great granola bar option for kids would be a Larabar.

Quick, Easy Recipes

Here is a great breakfast:

Banana Collagen Pancakes: These pancakes are packed with protein, and kids gobble them up! Check out the recipe, or watch how to make them!

One fun side option to get some veggies and fruits into your child is this Carri-be-green smoothie. It contains spinach, pineapple, mango, banana, and protein. Check out the recipe, here, or watch it get made!

Want more information or some one-on-one help?

Contact me at chelsea@mama-bear-naturals.com or check me out on my blog, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Want natural, organic, nutrient dense baby and toddler food, shop at Mama Bear Naturals, or check out my E-book!

Want the recipes to the foods you have seen in these blogs? Subscribe to my mailing list!

Best, Most Nutrient Dense Foods for Babies

Best, Most Nutrient Dense Foods for Babies

It’s confusing to know what foods to start your baby on! It’s always important to check with your doctor, but the latest research shows that starting allergenic foods before age one actually prevents allergies. Ultimately, the best foods for babies should be the same as the foods that are best for us. Babies grow rapidly, and so, even though they are small, their need for nutritious food is very high. The most nutrient dense foods will help them grow into strong, smart, healthy, happy babies.

Well, here are my top recommendations for baby food and reasons why they are. Hint: It all comes down to nutrient density.

Vegetables are always a great start! Carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, and cauliflower are great starts. These can be mixed with some healthy fats to make them delicious! These vegetables are also nutrient dense. The sweet root vegetables (carrots, sweet potato) contain beta-carotenes, and the cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli) contain magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamin C.

Egg Yolks have been a common weaning food from many traditional cultures. They are rich in vitamins A and D that support the nervous system, eyes, and bone health. Plus, eggs contain choline and healthy fats that boost brain development. Check out this avocado and egg yolk puree to try with your baby!

Grass-fed Butter or ghee is a common weaning food in ancestral cultures and in India. In India, traditional wisdom tells them that babies need these healthy fats to develop large brains. So, until age 2, they mix lots of butter or ghee into their baby’s food to promote smart children. Our brains contain 60% saturated fat. So, we do need healthy sources of these fats, especially when growing. Finally, grass-fed butter contains vitamins A, D, and K2 for strong bones, proper growth, and nervous system function.

Grass-fed meats and wild-caught seafood offer critical nutrients to your baby aside from protein. Specifically, wild-caught salmon contains omega 3s that promote brain development.

To Help Prevent Picky Eaters

To help develop your child’s palate, wait to do sweet foods even fruits until after their first birthday. This is a common practice in France to help their children grow accustomed to a wide variety of foods and not have a strong preference for sweet foods. These tastes need to be developed early, or it becomes a serious STRUGGLE later on. Trust me.

However, this is not to say that your child will like everything you serve on the first try. Do not give up though! It can take seven tries to develop a taste for something. So, try to introduce a food at least that many times. You can retry it every few days, or see if mixing it with other foods helps them get accustomed to it. For example, when I fed my son salmon, I mixed it with sweet potatoes to lessen the strong fishy taste. Overtime, he developed a taste for fish, and now, it is his favorite food!

Want more information or some one-on-one help? Contact me at chelsea@mama-bear-naturals.com or check me out on my blog, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Want natural, organic, nutrient dense baby and toddler food, shop at Mama Bear Naturals, or check out my E-book!

Want the recipes to the foods you have seen in these blogs? Subscribe to my mailing list!

Buttered Vegetables with Collagen Puree (Paleo/Weston A Price First Baby Foods)

Buttered Vegetables with Collagen Puree (Paleo/Weston A Price First Baby Foods)

Butter makes everything better!

Especially for a baby’s first tastes, butter helps them find vegetables much more acceptable. My son loved cauliflower pureed with butter, and now, plain cauliflower is one of his favorite finger foods. Vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, and butter provides healthy saturated fats for their growing brains along with vitamin D. The collagen in this recipe is key. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, helping to grow our bone, skin, teeth, hair and nails. Children need high quantities of collagen to ensure proper growth. Plus, it is the easiest form of protein to digest. A study also showed that glycine in the evening can improve sleep quality. So, this meal would be a great dinner because a good night’s sleep for baby is a good night’s sleep for the parents too!

Watch me make the recipe!

Ingredients

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  • 1 lb vegetables (cauliflower, daikon radish, parsnips, broccoli, green beans, peas, etc.)
  • 8 scoops grass-fed collagen powder
  • 8 TBSP grass-fed butter

Directions

1. Cut the vegetable of choice off the stalk (if applicable). Cube your vegetable into 1/2 inch pieces.

2. In boiling water, steam or boil the vegetables for 7 minutes.

3. Add the vegetables to the blender, and blend for 30 seconds.

4. Then, add the butter and collagen, and blend again until smooth.

5. Spoon about a 1/2 cup or 4 oz of the food into a breast milk bag. Flatten the bag, label with the date and description, and freeze. Repeat this process until all of the batch is stored.

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Avocado and Egg Yolks (Paleo/Weston A Price First Baby Foods)

Avocado and Egg Yolks (Paleo/Weston A Price First Baby Foods)

Egg-cellent First Foods

One common guideline when starting solid foods is to start with one for a few days and then introduce another food a few days later. With this strategy, in the case of an allergic reaction, parents can pinpoint the source directly. I deviated from this recommendation to provide nutrient density at the same time as acceptability of the food. I really wanted to start with egg yolks as a first food because of the healthy fats, cholesterol, and choline that it provided. However, in my research, The Weston A. Price Foundation noted that some children struggle with the egg yolk by itself. Plus, the yolk is very runny and harder to keep on a spoon than other solids. So, I decided to combine it with a widely accepted first food, avocado, that contains healthy monounsaturated fats, along with vitamins like Vitamin E, minerals like magnesium and potassium, and fiber. I felt that even by introducing two foods at first instead of one, it would be easy to determine which one caused a reaction in the case that it happened.

Watch me make the recipe!

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 pasture-raised egg yolk
  • Suggested additions: pinch of Himalayan sea salt, kelp flakes, infant probiotic, and cod liver oil (note: if you add some coconut oil as well it masks the taste of the cod liver oil)

Directions

1. Boil 1-2 cups of water.

2. Crack the egg, and separate the egg white from yolk. Store the egg white in the refrigerator for later.

3. Gently drop the egg yolk into the water. You can get your hand close to the water with the egg yolk, or you can place the yolk on a spoon and drop the spoon with the egg yolk on it into the water.

4. Boil the yolk for about 1 minute. It should still be runny but cooked.

5. Mash up the avocado in a bowl.

6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the yolk from the water.

7. Place the yolk in the bowl along with the avocado. Mix the ingredients together with a fork, and add any of the suggested additions that you would like.

Need more healthy kid ideas, check out my E-book: https://functional-foodie-nutrition.com/products/

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