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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!

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

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

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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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Autumn Vegetable and Chicken Dinner Puree (Stage III Paleo/Weston A Price Baby Food)

Autumn Vegetable and Chicken Dinner Puree (Stage III Paleo/Weston A Price Baby Food)

Starting Stage III Baby Foods

Once you start the third stage of baby foods, the food will change to even chunkier baby food purees. To start this stage, you may want your baby to have a few teeth, and they may have started crawling as well.

For this stage, you can make many of the homemade baby food recipes you have been without blending them as much. You may also want to start to put a few pieces of veggies on your baby’s highchair tray to allow them to practice their pincer grasp and self feeding.

Tip: Choose the foods that they practice picking-up as the least expensive foods on the plate. I didn’t want my son dumping pricier pieces of grass-fed, organic meat or wild-caught fish onto the floor or into his lap if I could help it!

Autumn Vegetable and Chicken Dinner Recipe

When creating my baby food recipes, I looked at what the market was selling, and therefore, what modern babies were eating. So, I created a few homemade copycat versions of popular stage III baby foods from a certain big name baby food company. This version of the Stage III baby food puree is easy to make at home and allows you to choose the quality of your ingredients. Plus, it will have retained more of the nutrients since it didn’t go through any high heat processing.

Your child will get great protein from the chicken, and magnesium from the cauliflower. The sweet potatoes and carrots are rich in the precursor to vitamin A. Parsnips are a slightly sweet root vegetable that are somewhere between a carrot and a potato in taste and are rich in vitamin C. Finally, the butter contains healthy fats that aid in the absorption of vitamin A and contains vitamin D.

autumnvegetablechickendinner

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasture-raised chicken thighs
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup parsnips
  • 1 cup cauliflower
  • 1 cup sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 TBSP grass-fed butter or ghee (for cooking)
Note: Try to get all natural, organic ingredients if you can.

Directions:

1. Dice up the carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, and sweet potato. Try to make each piece about a 1/2 inch.

2. Melt 2 TBSP of butter in a pan on medium heat. Dice the onion, and add to the pan.

3. Cube the chicken (1/2 inch – 1 inch pieces), and cook chicken with the onion in a pan on medium heat. Add the parsley, salt, rosemary, and thyme. Pull off the heat once the meat is cooked through and the onions are golden.

4. While the meat is cooking, steam the carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, and sweet potato for 10 minutes. Remove from the steamer once softened.

4. Once everything is cooked, add the meat, veggies, and fat to the blender. Chop in the food processor until the mixture is a chunky puree.

 

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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

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

Pureed vegetables is a classic first baby food, and vegetables are nutritious foods with several vitamins and minerals. The nutrients vary depending on the vegetable so rotating a variety of them is key. However, they are not the most nutrient dense foods and are not calorie dense. When I think of optimal nutrient density, I think about the building blocks for the ideal human form. The most abundant protein in our body is collagen, and babies need a ton as they are growing their bones, teeth, skin, hair, and nails. Collagen is an easy form of protein to digest and absorb. It is even termed “animal starch” because it is so quickly digested. So, this is a great option for a baby’s digestion, especially in the evening.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb vegetables (cauliflower, daikon radish, parsnips, broccoli, green beans, peas, etc.)
  • 8 scoops grass-fed collagen powder
  • 2-4 TBSP grass-fed butter

Directions:

1. Cut the vegetable of choice off the stalk and cube (if applicable).

2. In boiling water, steam or boil the veggie for 10 minutes.

3. Add the veggie 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 breastmilk bag. Flatten the bag, label with the date and description, and freeze.

 

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Chocolate Avocado Pudding for Kids (and adults)

Chocolate Avocado Pudding for Kids (and adults)

Kids (and adults) need treats! It’s is easy to just run to the store for ice cream, but healthy, delicious treats can be easy to make too. This chocolate avocado pudding provides nutrients from all of the ingredients and tastes like a rich brownie pudding.

The avocado is rich in Vitamin E and fiber, while the cocoa provides magnesium and healthy fats. Dates contain iron, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and folate. Dates are one of my favorite sweeteners for desserts due to their nutritional benefits, and their natural sugars provide great energy without spiking blood sugar in the same way as refined sugar. Raw honey is rich in enzymes and supports melatonin production. So, this treat is great to have before bed to improve sleep. Coconut milk provides healthy fats, and collagen is great protein to build and maintain our bones, skin, hair, and teeth.

chocolateavocadopudding

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Ingredients:

Directions:

1.  Add avocado, dates, and coconut milk to blender, and blend until smooth. Make sure the dates are completely broken up.

2. Add cocoa, honey, vanilla, and collagen and blend until smooth. If necessary, scrap down the sides and quickly blend again to incorporate everything.

3. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Broccoli and Bacon Tots (Weston A Price/Paleo Toddler Finger Foods)

Broccoli and Bacon Tots (Weston A Price/Paleo Toddler Finger Foods)

Bacon makes everything better! Vegetables just taste better with a little fat on them, and the fat helps to increase the vitamin and mineral absorption.

However, bacon is one of those foods that you really need to be careful with your source. You will want to find a brand that is first and foremost free of preservatives like nitrites and nitrates as well as sugar-free. Ideally, the pork would also be pasture -raised. I like the Pederson’s Farm brand that I found at Fresh Thyme, and my family thought it was delicious. Their packages are marked as “Whole30 approved”, which was very helpful in knowing it was a clean product. There are other brands that are simply sweetened with honey, which is another good option.

My son, Noah, has always been a great eater and eats vegetables well on their own without added ingredients. However, I wanted a recipe to mix in some healthy fats with veggies such as raw grass-fed cheddar cheese and eggs or “sacred foods” as Dr. Weston A. Price calls them.

These are high in fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2. Plus, I think it is important to continually introduce children to new food combinations to expand their taste buds. These make a great snack or side, for adventurous or picky eaters. When he started finger foods, this was a great one because he could easily pick them up and eat them.

broccolitots

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 2 pasture raised eggs
  • 1/4 cup pastured pork, sugar-free bacon
  • 1/3 cup raw grass-fed cheese
  • 2 TBSP parsley
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400◦F.

2. Chop broccoli and steam for 5 minutes.

3. Add broccoli to food processor and pulse a few times.

4. Dump broccoli onto a paper towel and squeeze out some of the excess water.

5. Pour the broccoli back into a bowl. Then, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix. The broccoli should still be chunky.

6. Scoop heaping tablespoons into mini muffin tins.

7. Bake for 20 minutes.

 

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Strawberry Chia Jam (Weston A Price/Paleo Jam)

Strawberry Chia Jam (Weston A Price/Paleo Jam)

Kids love jelly, and we can’t blame them! It’s sweet and goes great with nut butter. However, there is an easy way to make your own without knowledge of canning or taking a ton of time. I love to make a batch of this healthy lunch option for kid sandwiches or top yogurt, crackers, or pancakes for a quick, nutritious snack.

strawberrychiajam

Strawberry Chia Jam

Ingredients

  • 3 cups strawberries
  • 4 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds

Directions

1.Cut the tops of the strawberries, and dice them.

2. Place strawberries and honey in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Mash the strawberries with a potato masher if you want a chunky jam, or blend the mixture if you like a smooth consistency.

5. Mix in the chia seeds, and cook the mixture for another 15 minutes on low to thicken.

 

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Healthy Kid Breakfast Recipe: Banana Collagen Pancakes

Healthy Kid Breakfast Recipe: Banana Collagen Pancakes

bananapancakesOnce Noah started finger foods, I had to get more creative with incorporating some nutritious, building block foods into his diet. For butter and collagen, it was easy to just mix those into a puree, which he can’t feed to himself. So, I started thinking about how I could incorporate those ingredients into a cooked or formed product.

One morning, I decided to make some pancakes for him as a fun Sunday breakfast and created this homemade recipe that I am very happy with. I whipped the pancakes well in the blender, and that helped the collagen make a sturdy pancake. I slathered each one with grass-fed butter to make sure he was getting the essential fat in his diet. He loved them and ate 6 “dollar size” pancakes!

This is also a great, healthy snack idea to send for your kids since it is a great mix of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fat. For my son, I cut them up into small triangles, and he eats them as his morning snack instead of the graham crackers they offer at the school. This is a great fuel for kids who participate in sports as well and who need a pre- or post- workout fuel.

Banana Collagen Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pasture-raised eggs
  • 1 bananacookingpancakes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP collagen peptides
  • grass-fed butter (for greasing skillet and topping)

Note: Try and get natural, organic ingredients if you can.

Directions:

  1. Heat your skillet to medium or 350◦F.
  2. Peel the banana and place it in the blender.
  3. Crack the eggs, and add them to the blender.
  4. Blend the banana and eggs together. Then, add in the cinnamon and collagen.
  5. Blend for 1-2 minutes so the collagen has time to whip air into the pancakes. (This makes them fluffy like pancakes that have leaveners and grains. )
  6. Coat your skillet in butter, ghee or coconut oil.
  7. Pour your batter slowly into little circles onto the skillet. I make these 3-4 inch pancakes because that makes them easier to flip.
  8. As you cook the rest of the batch, you can keep the pancakes warm in an oven set on the lowest setting.
  9. Serve them topped with grass-fed butter, honey, maple syrup or nut butter.

 

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

 

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