Developing your child’s palate: 7 do’s and don’ts

When it is time for your child to start trying new foods you may be wondering what happens beyond air puffed snacks and rice cereal. You’ll Google, you’ll read, and you’ll likely get a ton of unsolicited advice from people about what your child should be eating and how much. It’s important to recognize that all children are unique and what works for one child may certainly not work for another. That being said I’ve developed some helpful “do’s and don’ts” that I believe can help children explore food in a way that’s healthy, exciting, and what it should be—an experience. IMG_8548

Recommended Do’s & Don’ts:
  1. Do test for allergy or intolerance. Keep a journal in your kitchen when your baby first starts trying solids. Write down the date that they try a new food and do that for roughly 3-4 days. Offer a little each day into your child’s mouth, even if they don’t scarf it down. Allow for them to get that exposure and then watch for any signs of allergy or intolerance such as rash or upset stomach. It’s important to speak with your pediatrician about when to introduce common allergy foods such as eggs and peanuts as some foods may cause serious reactions. Also important, no honey for babies before age 1.DSC04357
  2. Don’t assume your child won’t like something. I think this is the biggest mistake we can make as parents. Just because YOU don’t like something doesn’t mean your child won’t like it. Allow them to figure that out for themselves. For example, a super nutritious food like broccoli may not be your thing but your kid may enjoy it! Don’t turn them off to something just because it’s not your favorite.
  3. Do say “Ok” when your child wants to try something new. I’ve gotten plenty of funny looks when my son eats seaweed paper or pickled ginger. The thing is, he wanted to try it and I said “ok”. The truth is, why not? We must allow children to explore taste and flavor just as they do through play. It is part of the human experience!
  4. Do offer things multiple times in different varieties. All too often parents assume that after one failed attempt it’s over for that new food. A wrinkled face and spitting out food followed by a “yuck” shouldn’t mean that that food is out forever; try cooking the food a different way and offering it again a few days later.
  5. Don’t OVER glorify goodies and treats. We’ve made such a big deal about cake and ice cream that it’s become this magical meal in the eyes of many children. Of course, you would be hard pressed to find a human being on this planet who doesn’t love a decadent desert but it’s important to set healthy habits regarding dessert when children are young. If we treat these things as the ultimate reward then they may start think they “need” this food as part of their normal diet. With childhood obesity rates on the rise, this is something absolutely within our control. It’s our job as parents to teach our children about how we can enjoy treats from time to time and that a healthy diet involves balance and awareness of the power of food (both good and bad). Even better, we are fortunate that there are company’s creating healthier snacks and cookies that parents can feel good about. IMG_5625
  6. Do talk about healthy foods from the start. This is a fun one! Talk about the amazing properties of food with your kiddos. This can be a great way for you to enhance your own knowledge of the nutritious benefits of different foods and their incredible properties. I’m not saying you need to get super scientific here but simply share the information with your toddlers. It will stick and it’s never too early to help them appreciate the healing powers of nutritious cuisine.
  7. Lastly, Do get creative. From teething to tummy aches, there will be some times where your munchkin is just not in the mood and peanut butter crackers are all that he or she may want. Recognize that as frustrating as this is, it likely a temporary phase and you’ll have to work around it. A great way to do this is to use other foods as a vehicle for superfoods. For example, you can get a lot of fruits and veggies into a power packed smoothie or oatmeal bowl. Chat with other moms for support, they’ll be your best bet for finding great tips for sneaking in broccoli and kale when the little one is suddenly boycotting dinner!IMG_7686

Farmers Market Lovin’

Are you missing out on the glory that is The FARMERS MARKET?!

I was spoiled rotten while living in Ithaca, NY where the farmers market is totally UNREAL. Luckily, in my new spot of Bronxville I’ve been able to hit up the farmers market on a few Saturdays and have been pleasantly surprised to find some great people, produce, and postivitiy! Yeah baby!

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If I sound overly enthused about this it’s because I am. The farmers market is a wonderful place and it’s more than what we often think. While I absolutely love to pick up fresh berries and dark leafy greens, it’s also a fantastic place to find unique items and gifts. During my last two trips I picked up awesome homemade spicy tomato chutney by Bombay Emerald Chutney Company, raw coconut graham crackers by Healing Home Foods, and an incredible spicy habanero ketchup by NY Chup. I’m dying to get back for some of the homemade kombucha that caught my eye as I was leaving.

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RomeopopsicleIt is a great place to take the kiddos because there are samples galore! Here’s my son enjoying a dairy-free avocado lime popsicle. It got ALL OVER HIM and the stroller but he was so happy I just let it go. The sun was shining and he was enjoying a health conscious treat so I was a happy mama bear.

Have you tried your local farmers market? Hit up a google search and find the closest one near you. Check out my youtube video below where I chat more about this awesome way to spend a weekend day.

 

Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

Lactation Cookies by Laura Lea Bryant, Chef.

Cookies4Hi friends! Holistic Chef Laura Lea Bryant comin’ atcha, but you can also think of me as MindBodyBespoke’s biggest fan! Frances is one of my dearest friends in the world, and she radiates beauty, positive energy and wisdom in everything she does. You are lucky to have made your way to her website! Today, I’m honored to share a recipe that I created with one of the MindBodyBespoke focuses in mind, helping pregnant and new mothers navigate their changing bodies and to nourish their babies, naturally.

By no means am I an expert in this field, but I know that breastfeeding and producing milk is an epic challenge for many new mamas. A healthy and steady milk supply has countless benefits for mother and child. For a baby, quality breastmilk is an irreplaceable source of nutrients, immune system building/disease prevention and it helps with digestion. For mamas, breastfeeding has been showing to diminish postpartum depression, aid in weight loss, reduce risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis and of course, allow for invaluable bonding time.

Nutrition plays a critical role in lactation and proper breastfeeding. One ingredient in particular, Brewer’s Yeast, has been showing to increase milk supply and help with post-baby blues. Brewer’s Yeast is a nutrient-rich fungus that is generally tolerated well by babies. In this recipe, Brewer’s Yeast combines with flax meal and oats, two others ingredients shown to help with lactation. The result? These amazingly delicious cookies! Don’t be fooled by the word “cookie”—these little nuggets of nutrition are healthy enough to eat for breakfast or a snack. For busy moms, grab-and-go food items are clutch, and a little chocolate never hurt! You might notice a slightly malty taste from the yeast, and I personally love it. When buying ingredients for these cookies (and always), look for the freshest and best quality you can find. It makes a difference!

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Make these cookies for yourself or someone you love who is a new mama, and hopefully they will help physically and emotionally with all of the change that takes place when beautiful new life enters the picture.

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Lactation Cookies       Yield: Approximately 16 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted grassfed butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsalted unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 cups oats
  • 2 tbsp Brewers yeast
  • 1/4 tsp ground sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Procedure:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter, sugar and peanut butter until smooth. Add chia, egg and vanilla and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine spelt flour, oats, yeast and sea salt. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to incorporate. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop dough into 1 1/2 inch balls into baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between.

Bake cookies for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, let cool for 5 minutes before eating.

LLBLaura Lea is a Certified Holistic Chef in Nashville, TN with a recipe development and teaching business called Laura Lea Balanced. She focuses on simple, budget and family-friendly recipes that are healthier versions of classic favorites. You can visit her website at llbalanced.com !

3-2-1 Takeoff!

MBB_Logo_FinalI am so excited to publish the first post on my new website, MindBodyBespoke.com! If you are reading this, chances are you’ve already been following me on Instagram and have witnessed the incredible traction and excitement that has been brewing with Mind Body Bespoke. Thank you for your support! I’m going to use this post to tell you a little bit about how Mind Body Bespoke has come to be.

If you know me personally, you know that I tend to be a bit hyper active when it comes to physical activity. I’m not great at sitting still or laying around. On the beach, forget it! I’ll be throwing the football, jumping into swells, and trying to convince ANYONE to play Pro Kadima with me. A couple of rainy days stuck in the house and it’s not pretty…. I’ve always been this way! As a child I was incredibly active. I grew up in Southeast Asia prior to moving back to the United States in 1998 and living in the tropics allowed for me to spend countless hours outside doing what kids to do best, play! IMG_0154This love for physical activity has deep roots in my soul, it is a part of me to need to move, to feel strong and able, and to enjoy PLAY. This love for movement is what led me to pursue a career in Physical Education. While teaching levels K-10 as well as serving as a coach on various sports teams, I was able to share my passion with children and young adults. I lived and breathed all things physical education. I felt strongly about busting negative PE memories and tried desperately to squash stereotypes of inconsiderate “gym” teachers. I wanted my students to feel the joy of movement, the excitement of trying something new, and the pride of doing something you thought you couldn’t. When a student said, “I can’t”, I said, “You can.” Encouragement and empowerment has always be my strong suit. I BELIEVE in people.

For seven years I taught physical education classes and health education courses. During this time, I dove further into my interest of “health” as a discipline. I read books and articles, attended workshops, and conversed with others in the field. I applied fitness and diet trends to my own life, wanting to see if claims were legitimate and what was was just hype. I was living and breathing all things health and wellness, and it felt good, it felt like my calling. It was natural. It was RIGHT.

Well, life happens, no literally – LIFE HAPPENS. I became pregnant in theIMG_2014 spring of 2013 with my son. My husband and I moved out of New York City to Ithaca, NY where he attended Cornell University’s Johnson School to get his MBA. For the first time in my life I was to gain weight on purpose! My body was about to go through some pretty serious changes – I was excited but of course nervous. Naturally, my response was to immerse myself in pregnancy health and fitness. I read MORE books and articles. I committed to regular prenatal yoga. I ate well and exercised regularly. In a nutshell, I was still me, just with a little bun in the oven! I enjoyed my pregnancy and felt committed to taking care of myself. After all, it was my duty. A family friend said something that stuck with me, “ You are a mother the moment you get pregnant.” That was cemented into my brain. Everything I did was going to directly affect another person’s life….my baby’s life. That was incredibly motivating for me to stick to my healthy ways. In addition, I can say with absolute certainty that having a fit pregnancy had everything to do with my ability to “bounce back” after my son’s birth. Nothing felt new or overwhelming, I didn’t need to commit to some crazy diet or intensely focus on weight loss. I had the habits and just kept them going (of course with patience and a little more ooomph!).

Months began to pass. Months of pure JOY sprinkled with sleep deprivation and spit up. During this time I received a lot of feedback and questions about my pregnancy and my new life as a #fitmama. I loved sharing my tips with other women! And after my sons first birthday, I realized that I was really missing what I loved about teaching physical education — motivating and inspiring others to live a healthy and active life. With the launch of my Instagram and the positive feedback that followed, I quickly realized there was no turning back, Mind Body Bespoke, my wellness coaching business was born.

So grab your green juice, coffee, coconut water or heck, cocktail (!), and have a toast with me to kicking off the launch of my new site, MindBodyBespoke.com, the place where you will always find positivity and support, education, and motivation for your wellness journey.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Frances  

Check out my official launch video here!