INTRODUCING YOUR BABY TO SOLIDS

Weaning is a really exciting time for both mother and baby.

After 6 months your baby’s nutritional needs cannot be adequately catered for with just breast milk or formula.

That is why a careful choice  of first foods is important

Your little bubba at 6 months is  ready to be introduced to solid foods….gradually.

Breast milk should still remain the main source of nourishment for your baby but she needs some extra nutrients which is why t is very important to make informed choices on what the best foods for weaning your baby are.

You will find a lot of   ready made baby food,ignore them.

Jar of ready to eat baby food
Jar of ready to eat baby food

Nature provides some of the best foods for baby,remember too that you are also setting the foundation for  future food choices.

Always follow the lead pattern of your child when it comes to introducing solids to your baby,introduce a  teaspoon or two of just one kind of food at a time.

Sauteing  or steaming your baby food are the best methods when it comes to preparing your baby’s food.

Here is a guide on foods that are perfect starter foods for your baby.

Cereals

When introducing cereals to a baby when introducing baby porridge always make sure it is of a thin consistency and should be mixed with your breast milk/formula as cereals do tend to be pretty bland.

Cooked green baby bananas not the matoke variety are also a very common and easily accessible first food for babies within the east African region.

Because they are low in calories ,once cooked puree them and add some breast milk till you have a thin consistency your baby can swallow.

With time you can mix your bananas with vegetables like pumpkin ,peas,carrots in order to increase their nutritional value.

There is no need to add any sweeteners to your baby’s cereal at this point.

 

Fruit

This should be added when baby is already used to solids,most babies take to fruits like fish to water.

Fruits like pawpaw,bananas which should be really ripe then mashed  with a  fork and some breast milk/formula added to thin it out,also do try avocado.

Stay away from citrus fruits till your baby is one year.

Other fruits like apples and pears  can be introduced after 8 months need to be steamed to make it easier for your baby digest them.

 

Vegetables

Peas,pumpkin,carrots and even sweet potatoes are a great source of nourishment for baby during the  first months.

Cook then then strain or blend making sure you add milk to ensure your baby is able to swallow them.

stay away from strong tasting vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli till a little later when your baby has formed a consistent eating pattern.

Watch the  stool pattern of your baby  when you start them on vegetables and in case of any loose bowel movements or mucus in their stool omit it and try again after a month.

For further assistance i  can be reached  here.

NUTRITION IN YOUR 3RD TRIMESTER

Finally it is week 28 and you have kicked into your third trimester.

What do you eat….?

Food guide during pregnancy....
Food guide during pregnancy….

Find out if you have been eating well during your first and second trimesters.

First let us get to understand what happens during this time.

Your body is storing fat to help in your body’s growth as well as for production of breast milk.

Your baby during this trimester will gain a layer of sub cutaneous fat giving them a chubby appearance.

It is important to continue with your intake of healthy and nutritious food as both you and baby need it.

Because your uterus is pressing on your stomach,you may find you feel fuller sooner,scatter your meals through out the day and have smaller portions .

Ensure you are covering all your nutrition basics that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy.

Your 5 nutritional needs that should be covered in all your meals are protein,calcium,folate,fiber and fat  which is not only an energy source but a transport medium for vitamins  A,D,E  and K.

 

 

NUTRITION IN YOUR 2ND TRIMESTER

pregnancy inspiration...
pregnancy inspiration…

Amazing things happen to your body body in your second trimester which covers week 13-week 28.

Read more on pre – pregnancy nutrition and your first trimester here and here.
Your blood flow will increase by at least 50 % ,that is why you need extra iron.
The 300 extra calories you need daily……that is for the rapid growth  spurt you and your baby are in.

Baby will be be four times bigger than they were when your first trimester ended.

You need to amp up not only your calorie  intake but to also ensure you increase the amount of protein,iron,folate and calcium to cater for the extra nutritional needs your body demands.

And the constipation and heart burn that characterizes this period…..well it is because the pregnancy hormone progesterone  has slowed down your digestive system.

By ensuring your meals are smaller,snacking on healthy foods when you are hungry and making sure you take your  water between your meals rather than with your meals your digestive system should be pretty happy.

To ensure you are meeting your daily nutritional requirements during this time,your meals should be composed of foods from all food groups,make your plate a colorful one.

During your snack time,eat healthy foods like fruits,vegetable sticks with your yogurt,nuts and seeds or carry a healthy sandwich with you to work.

EGG FREE PUMPKIN CUPCAKES

My son and eggs do not mix well.

After planting 2 seeds of pumpkin  that months later brought fourth 8 really huge  pumpkins,i was left twiddling my thumbs on what to do with the rest of them .

Then i had one of  those now of my now rare light bulb moments……i decided to try my hand at making cupcakes packed with lots of vitamin  A and flavor to boot that he would not react to. what

I tinkered with a carrot cake  recipe i had and i replaced the butter  with sunflower oil which gives them a crumbly crust but a very moist inside……yummy.

Here is the recipe……

Photo credits:Broccoli Crazy!
Photo credits:Broccoli Crazy!

Ingredients

150 grammes cooked pumpkin well mashed

150 grammes flour

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup sun flower oil

3 tablespoons grated white chocolate

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence

 

Instructions

1. Pre- heat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Line a 12  section cupcake tray with liners.

2.In a medium sized bowl  sized bowl sift your ingredients,add your wet ingredients and using a hand mixer with whisk attachment,mix for 2-3 minutes till  combined.

3.Using an ice cream scoop,spoon  mixture into cupcake liners.It should be enough for all 12 of them.

4.Pop into the oven for 25- 30 minutes,you will know they are done when toothpick  inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with moist crumbs.

5.Remove from the oven,leave to cool for 15 minutes then remove them from tray and serve.

Can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Photo credits:Broccoli Crazy!

 

NUTRITION DURING YOUR FIRST TRIMESTER (Part 2 of Pregnancy and Nutrition)

Did you know when you are  pregnant your baby feeds off your nutrient bank?

That the baby is like a little parasite that feeds off your nutrient stores .

Instead of eating for two ensure you are eating from all the food groups and meeting your daily calorie requirements.

During the  first trimester,your body is undergoing numerous changes and it is also a time when the baby growth is at its most rapid.

There is a lot of cell multiplication and many vital tissues and organs are formed during this time.

A good idea is to ensure you are very familiar with the food groups and ensure each meal you take has all the food groups in it.

The 5 basic food groups are:

1.Grains

2.Vegetables

3.Fruits

4.Milk

5.Meat and beans.

 

Important nutrients during the first trimester are:

Protein

The rapid growth and cell multiplication needs proteins which are the body’s building blocks.

These can me met by eating a variety of foods like  broccoli,cauliflower,avocado,cabbage’chick peas,lentils as well as proteins from animal sources like chicken and beef.

Vitamins

In order for the  body to make use of these increased intake of protein you need your fruits and vegetables

 

Folic acid

A very critical nutrient as it plays a role in brain and spinal cord development,formation of DNA as well as in tissue and cell development.

Rich sources of folic acid include green vegetables like spinach,kales,whole grains.

This nutrient is so important that women who are even thinking of becoming pregnant are advised to ensure they are meeting their daily intake of this nutrient.

Iron

A nutrient critical in  building up of hemoglobin the blood component that carries oxygen.

A pregnant woman has an increased need for oxygen because of the increased blood volume and to help her baby’s iron stores.

Babies are actually born with stores of iron that can last 4-6 months.

Dry beans,meat,oatmeal,kales,spinach ,broccoli and even pumpkin seeds.

Get part 1 of Nutrition in pregnancy here.

 

NUTRITION AND PREGNANCY-Part 1

It takes two to make a baby………

Photo credits as above.....
Photo credits as above…..

Bringing a  baby to life is a miracle…..

The Merriam-webster dictionary definition of a miracle is an  extremely outstanding or unusual event,thing or accomplishment.

In matters pregnancy it is very important for prospective parents to ensure they are in the best of health prior to conception.

Two risk factors that may affect your chances of pregnancy are.

1.Smoking

Indirect or direct cigarette smoke inhalation does directly affect your chances of pregnancy.

If either you or your partner smoke you need to kick the habit before you start trying out for a baby.

Smoking during pregnancy affects your baby as the cigarette smoke contains dangerous chemicals that cross the placenta  directly from your blood stream into the baby’s.

These chemicals affect your baby’s development as well as increase their chances of infections and disease .

2.Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the worlds most liberally abused drug and an increasing number of women who are of child bearing age are getting caught up in the misuse of alcohol.

It is a very wise choice to keep your intake of alcohol to the bare minimum if you are thinking of becoming pregnant  or have been trying to get pregnant.

In this case bare minimum means not more than 2 glasses  of wine in a week ,if beer  is your choice of drink not more than 2 bottles in a week.

It is even better to keep off alcohol completely

 

A couple that is in good physical health  should be able to achieve a healthy pregnancy ,any concerns should be raised with your health care provider.

TURMERIC FLAVORED MASHED POTATOES

I love the earthy smell of turmeric and the fact that my star sign is Virgo may have something to do with it.

Virgos are said to be very health conscious and are known to have very refined palates,this may explain my obsession with preparing food well.

I love potatoes a lot and my kids seem to have taken after me,they eat potatoes in all their forms,fried,baked,roasted and they especially love mashed potatoes.

Yesterday i decided to indulge them with their favorite food but this time i would add some turmeric and it worked like a charm…they cleaned their plates.

You can read about turmeric benefits and why for me it defines Indian cuisine for me.

Hello food  delivers traditional Indian food that contains spices like turmeric ,try their amazing food and see why turmeric is such a definitive spice for this culinary style.

This recipe could be tried with baby potatoes ,just make sure you thoroughly clean them without bruising the skin and boil them as is,without peeling .

Ingredients

1 kilo of Irish potatoes,washed peeled.

1 small red onion,chopped.

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 cup frozen peas

salt and ground black pepper to taste.

METHOD

1.In a mediums sized saucepan add,1 and a half tablespoons of vegetable oil then add your chopped red onion and saute on low heat till soft.

2.Add the turmeric to the onions and stir,let cook for 2 minutes then add your  potatoes,stir the potatoes till they are coated in the oil,onions and turmeric.you get lovely looking turmeric kissed potatoes.

3.Add salt to taste and black pepper,stir ,let cook for a minute.

4.Add enough water to cover the potatoes then cover the saucepan with a lid ,bring to boil and let simmer for 15,add your frozen peas,then let boil for a further 5 minutes to cook the peas.The potatoes are ready when a fork easily passes through .

5.Remove from heat and drain the potatoes reserving a cup of the liquid.

6.Using the back of a wooden spoon mash your potatoes till smooth,then serve.

We had the mashed potatoes  with a beef stew that had blanched broccoli.

Buon appetito!

ZUCCHINI…..Little Pumpkin

My 6 month old baby loves Zucchini !

She practically smacks her lips with delight when she is having them with her favorite food so far…mashed green bananas.

So much does she seem to enjoy them that  i had to buy the seeds and plant some in my kitchen garden.

Zucca is the Italian name for pumpkin and zucchini is the dimuntive form of that…which means little pumpkin.

The zucchini comes in both green and yellow varieties,though in Kenya we only seem to grow the green zucchini/courgette.

It is a vegetable that is very versatile and can be cooked in all manner of ways .You can grill,fry,add it to stews,stuff and even deep fry it.

I will be posting zucchini a recipe for zucchini pancakes soon.

Practically everything this plant has is edible,from the flowers ,leaves and the fruit itself.

The leaves are cooked in the same way you would pumpkin leaves,while the flowers can be dipped in a light batter of flour and eggs and deep fried or stuffed with precooked rice,diced vegetables,meats and also deep fried.

The zucchini fruit is rich in folate,a B vitamin that the body does not store and whose intake is needed daily for the synthesis of DNA and RNA.

Folate intake is especially important for pregnant mothers because it helps prevent neural birth defects like spina bifida.

Zucchini are also rich in potassium,Vitamin A and scant amounts of manganese .

So next time you go shopping do not dare pass these delightful little pumpkins.

Here is a picture i took of grated zucchini and carrots that use to thicken my stews…it does look lovely not to mention all the added nutritional benefits of two of my favorite vegetables.

Image

BUTTER,BUTTER,BUTTER

Better English was an English grammar book we used in class 3  ..the year 19 something and it had some tongue twisters.

My favourite  at the time wa all about  Betty Botter and her butter.

It went something like this….

Butter..photo courtesy pinterest.com

 

Betty Botter bought some butter,
“But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter –
That would make my batter better.”
So she bought a bit of butter,
Better than her bitter butter,
And she baked it in her batter,
And the batter was not bitter.
So ’twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

Maybe this obsession with Betty may explain my love for butter despite what health experts say that its bad for your arteries.

I don’t use it everyday  because like all good things moderation is key  but when I  do..

It is great especially when working with wheat and for popcorn,gives popped corn  a really nice buttery taste.

And for toasted bread ,especially when you want to make garlic bread…..scrumptious.

In terms of nutritional value;a gramme of butter gives you about 7 calories .

It is rich in vitamins A and E,Riboflavin which is also known as B12 an is important for body growth and in red cell production,it also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.

It is also rich in minerals great for your bones and teeth  like calcium,phosphorus and potassium while also containing a good amount of sodium and small amounts of fluoride,zinc and magnesium.

The Kenyan dairy market has only two types of butter ;salted and unsalted butter.

Salted butter has a longer shelf life than unsalted.

If you intend to use butter in your cooking use the unsalted one.

When using butter for any recipe scoop as much as the recipe needs  and refrigerate the rest.

When  making bread,cookies,cake,flat bread/ chapati or any product that calls for rubbing  butter into the flour  make sure it’s at room temperature before adding it to your flour.The exception would be in certain  pastry recipes where it may call for using cold butter.

If you are not going to be using the butter too quickly freeze it as this will help it keep for longer.

When using butter for frying,never heat it over high heat as t burns very easily,moderately low heat is best.

When using butter with other oils like sunflower oil,first heat the pan add the oil then add your butter .

Butter can also be added to soups to give them a glossy silky smooth texture.

Here is how to make coriander or dhania butter that you can use on toasted bread/crostini.Only make as much as you can use at a time.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter at room temperature

1 finely chopped tablespoon of coriander

Method

In a small bowl using a fork thoroughly mix the butter and coriander together .

Spread it on fresh slices of bread and toast .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OATS

Oats have been cultivated for about 2000 years which is pretty young in grain years.

They were  a weed beforethey were domesticated.

They became very popular in Scotland and Ireland  as a food before their use spread to the rest of the world,interestingly in England oats were given to …livestock!

I was looking up ideas to help with breastfeeding when someone mentioned oats boost breast milk production and i decided to do some more research on their health benefits, to humans ofcourse.

Oats are great for breastfeeding moms as they boost milk production but they are also an awesome cereal for anyone looking to eat and live a healthier  life.

Immediately I went and got myself a pack of quick cooking oats which you can find in any supermarket

Here are the ones i got.

The oats…..

Cooking oatmeal porridge is fairly easy  and the pack I got had a recipe on its side ,after  modifying it to make a small bowl of oatmeal porridge, Emma was one well fed baby.

Read  some more about  the  benefits of oats here.

 

Oatmeal porridge

Ingredients

5  heaped tablespoonsfuls  of oatmeal(1/3 of a cup)

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

some milk/cream

sugar/honey to taste

Method

1.In a small saucepan on medium high heat  bring the cup of water to boil then add the quarter teaspoon of salt.

2.Once the water comes to a  boil add the oats and stir then let simmer for 5 minutes  on medium low heat.

3.Remove from heat and cover for a further 5 minutes then add cream or milk  and honey/sugar to taste.

Alternatively slices of fruits like bananas,a tablespoon of some dried fruits would be great too.

Bon appetito!

.