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Choking and Baby Led Weaning

Choking and Baby Led Weaning (BLW): What does the most recent research say?

 

 

Last week during one of my webinars about BLW, a registered dietitian harshly interrupted me to voice her concerns about choking. She told me that what I’m saying is very scary and I should take my videos down. She said that my babies are cute and all but I should temper my enthusiasm about BLW. I’m sure this dietitian isn’t the only one to be scared about choking. That’s why I wrote up this blog post that addresses why babies who do BLW safely are not more at risk of choking compared to babies who eat jarred baby food, using the most recent research. I would like to thank Gill Rapley and dietetics intern Natalie Quathamer for their support and assistance in addressing this.

 

Choking: the main concern

When it comes to Baby Led Weaning, both parents and healthcare professionals find the risk of choking as a major concern. This is a very fair concern, as a baby’s first bite is a brand new experience of mastering chewing, swallowing and breathing all together for the first time, putting them at an overall higher risk of choking. To help quantify the current state of the issue, more than 12,000 children from age 0-14 have a non-fatal choking incident attributable to food in the US each year, as found by Chapin et al. in 2013 (1). No parent wants their child to choke, and as a professional it is your duty to protect the wellbeing of your clients. Unsurprisingly, choking is reported again and again as the #1 fear with regards to BLW in studies such as that by D’Andrea et al. in 2016 (2). That’s why I will spend a considerable amount of time addressing this very warranted concern.

 

What’s my objective with this post?

The goal here today is to focus on making you feel more comfortable with the fact that BLW babies are not more at risk of choking than babies fed with traditional spoon-fed approaches, using the most recent science.

 

What about baby’s motor skills?

First, let’s take a look at the average feeding timeline for a baby, to better understand the physiology of feeding. As many seminal studies, such as that by Woolridge in 1986 (3) have seen, at birth babies are able to feed themselves on their own. Physiologically, they have the innate reflex to suckle at the breast. Babies know when to feed, how to feed, when to stop and at what pace. Once they hit 1 ½ or 2 years old, we can again assume that most babies can feed themselves without help. This leaves a gap, starting at around six months, where we assume we have to feed babies with a spoon. However, babies do not lose their ability to self-regulate on when to feed, when to stop and at what pace, but are simply developing new physiological traits that change how and what they eat. These motor skill changes that develop around 6 months, like coordinating the grabbing and bringing of big objects like toys to their mouth and being able to sit upright with minimal help, make self-feeding a reasonable endeavour for most healthy infants at this time, as indicated in a literature review done by Cameron, Heath and Taylor in 2012 (4).

 

Traditionally speaking, we don’t tend to respect these new developmental milestones which can be a problem. Babies are then subject to being fed, at someone else’s pace and on someone else’s schedule, which has the power to lead to unexpected bites, overconsumption and a more stressful feeding environment.

 

What about oral motor skills?

So babies can maintain the correct position and bring food to their mouth, but what about oral motor skills? Well in their 2017 study, Cameron, Heath and Taylor (4) continue by noting that infants are able to handle foods that are soft in texture at 6 months by “munching” which is using up and down jaw movements to mash the food and eventually form a bolus. With this linear practice of munching, biting and chewing with age, babies get to apply and tweak their oral motor skills as they come in, rather than waiting in a spoon-feeding approach. This may have the power to prevent possible feeding difficulties in the future as well as choking episodes, since they have already developed, tested and fine-tuned their skills.

 

The gag reflex

I want to touch briefly on gagging, the protective reflex that helps prevent choking. Babies at six months of age have a gag reflex that is triggered at a much more frontal place in their mouth, as indicated by Rapley in 2011 (5). A possible benefit of BLW is that since only large pieces of food are offered at a time when the gag reflex is at the front of the mouth, this may help keep only well-masticated food to the back. It is important to note that BLW babies may gag more than their spoon-fed counterparts, as seen in the BLISS study by Taylor et.al in 2017 (6). However, by 8 months of age when these babies had a better grasp on self-feeding, they began to gag less than the control group.

 

Safety of jarred foods

Another consideration is the question of whether purees themselves are easy to eat, particularly once the ability to chew has developed. As noted in the thesis by Delaney in 2010 (7), for babies who can chew, purees are actually not that easy to manage, as the puree spreads throughout the mouth with chewing action and is very difficult to gather in a bolus.

 

What does the most recent science say?

Let’s finally get down to the nitty-gritty: what exactly does the newest science have to say specifically about BLW and choking risk? The best evidence to refute the idea that BLW leads to a higher choking risk is again the ongoing BLISS study by Taylor et.al in 2017 (6). This was a 2 year long Randomized Control Trial (RCT), where a control group of spoon fed babies were compared with a group of babies fed using the BLISS method, which is a combination of regular BLW techniques with extra instruction (such as choking prevention and offering high iron foods). Overall, the study found that that there was no difference in the number of babies who choked between the groups. Not only that, but it found no evidence of growth faltering or risk of iron deficiency in BLISS babies.

 

Another RCT by Fangupo et.al in 2016 (8) also showed that infants are not more at risk of choking following a BLW approach than spoon-fed. Better though still, is an editorial in the journal JAMA pediatrics, by Lakshman, Clifton and Ong in 2017 (9). This study pronounces BLW as a safe and effective intervention; no difference in energy intake, growth faltering or iron deficiency were noted, and no more choking incidents than in traditional spoon feeding. They even go so far as to suggest it may be recommended. It is important as purveyors of accurate science to look at all sides of the research. Another study from New Zealand by Morison et.al in 2016 (10), did indicate a possibly higher choking risk with a BLW-style approach. However, this study did not adequately define BLW; parents simply chose if they thought themselves to belong in the BLW group or the traditional feeding group, making the results difficult to state in a conclusive manner. An important take-away from this study was that education regarding inappropriate foods for infants, whether doing BLW or spoon-feeding, continues to be low. This further promotes the role of the dietitian during the infant feeding process, regardless of the approach.

 

What is the takeaway?

In summary, we need to remember that choking is a multifactorial issue; posture, chewing abilities, and distractions all need to be accounted for. However, with a dietitian-led BLW approach, babies are focused on their food, able to eat at their own pace, are under no pressure and most importantly, are not at a higher risk of choking than with purees.

 

How can we make sure BLW is being done safely?

  1. Make sure the baby is sitting upright while eating (none of those lying back bouncy chairs or high chairs that aren’t at 90˚).
  2. Limit distractions: no TV, IPad, cell phone or big crowds for the first few weeks so baby is not overwhelmed and can focus
  3. Make sure the baby is ready to feed him/herself on their own. Don’t start too early
  4. Do not feed the baby by putting foods into their mouth. You can lodge the food further down and actually cause choking by doing this
  5. Offer appropriate foods that they can easily grab and are soft enough to handle.
  6. Sign up for my BLW Online Course today or sign up to an in-person BLW workshop given by a member of my International Baby Led Weaning Network of Registered Dietitians.

References

  1. Chapin, M. M., et al. (2013). “Nonfatal Choking on Food Among Children 14 Years or Younger in the United States, 2001–2009.” Pediatrics 132(2): 275-281.
  2. D’Andrea, E, KIELYN JENKINS, MARIA MATHEWS, BARBARA ROEBOTHAN (2016). Baby-led Weaning: A Preliminary Investigation. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research
  3. Woolridge, M. W. (1986). “The ‘anatomy’ of infant sucking.” Midwifery 2(4): 164-171.
  4. Cameron, S. L., Heath, A-L. M., & Taylor, R. W. (2012). Healthcare professionals’ and mothers’ knowledge of, attitudes to and experiences with, Baby-Led Weaning: a content analysis study. BMJ Open, 2 (6), 1-9. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012001542
  5. Rapley, G. (2011). Transitioning to solid foods at the baby’s own pace. Community Practitioner, Jun;84(6):20-3.
  6. Taylor, R.W., Williams, S.M., Fangupo, L.J., Wheeler, B.J., Daniels, L., Fleming, E.A., McArthur, J., Morison, B., Erickson, L.W., Davies, R.S., Bacchus, S., Cameron, S.L. and Heath, A-L. M. (2017) ‘Effect of a baby-led approach to complementary feeding on infant growth and overweight: A randomised clinical trial’, JAMA Pediatrics, 171(9): 838-846.
  7. Delaney, A.L. (2010) Oral-motor Movement Patterns in Feeding Development. Ph.D. (Communicative Disorders). University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  8. Fangupo, L. J., Heath, A-L. M., Williams, S. M., Erickson, L. W., Morison, B. J., Fleming, E. A.,…Taylor, R. W. (2016). A Baby-Led Approach to Eating Solids and Risk of Choking. Pediatrics, 138 (4), 1-8. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-0772
  9. Lakshman, R.; Clifton, E.A. and Ong, K.K. (2017) ‘Baby-led weaning – safe and effective but not preventive of obesity’, JAMA Pediatrics, 171(9): 832-833
  10. Morison, B. J., Taylor, R. W., Haszard, J. J., Schramm, C. J., Erickson, L. W., Fangupo L. J.,…Heath, A-L. M. (2016). How different are baby-led weaning and conventional complementary feeding? A cross-sectional study of infants aged 6–8 months. BMJ Open, 6 (5), 1-11. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015010665
asparagus, barbecue, babies, baby, blw, baby led weaning, whole foods, bbq

Can babies eat foods grilled on the barbecue?

Can babies eat foods grilled on the barbecue?

 

It’s getting hot outside and it’s time to light the barbecue. You might be wondering if babies can eat food grilled on the barbecue. The question is: are barbecuing and Baby Led Weaning (BLW) compatible?

 

The answer is yes, starting at around 6 months old. You do want to make sure you do it safely (as with everything else) because research shows that cooking meat, poultry and fish at high temperatures may increase you and your baby’s risk of cancer.

 

Here are a few tips from the cancer.ca website:

 

  • Marinate meat, poultry and fish before cooking. Studies have shown that marinating these foods can prevent the formation of cancer-causing chemicals.
  • When barbecuing, choose lean cuts of meat, poultry and seafood over higher-fat meats. Trim off visible fat. This will reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that develop from the smoke created by burning fat.
  • Barbecue slowly and keep the food away from the hot coals so that flames are less likely to engulf the food to prevent charring.
  • Try grilling vegetables, veggie burgers and fruit slices. Most experts agree that plant-based foods do not form the cancer-causing substances when cooked at high heat.

 

Foods grilled on the barbecue are great for babies because they maintain their shape yet babies can easily bite into them. Asparagus are delicious this time of year. Why not try barbecued asparagus? Here is a 6-month old enjoying asparagus on the barbecue:

 

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Even grilled mushrooms are totally appropriate for babies:

 

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If your baby just sucks on a strip of meat without actually eating any, he or she is still getting some iron. It could also occupy a baby for quite some time!

 

Here are some free barbecue recipes that you can try for your baby:

 

Chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce (includes a cooking demo video)

 

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Simple burgers for babies (feel free to cook these on the barbecue)

 

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Grilled lamb chops for babies

 

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Minty Lamb Meatballs

 

The mouthwatering final product! BLW

 

For more Baby Led Weaning (BLW) recipes for babies, GET YOUR FREE COOKBOOK FOR BABIES HERE.

 

What will you grill on the barbecue this weekend?

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Thai Salmon Bites

Thai Salmon Bites

 

There is no need to wait until your baby is 12 months to offer him/her fish. In fact, it’s a good idea to offer fish to babies from 6 to 12 months because it’s packed with good fats, iron and zinc. The problem with fish is that it usually doesn’t hold together very well. It’s dry and falls apart easily when babies handle it.

 

I created this recipe with fish that actually holds together. The trick? Cut up the fish into bite-sized pieces while it’s still semi-frozen BEFORE baking it.

 

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To prepare the recipe, I cut the skinless salmon into squares. Then, I marinated the fish in a delicious mixture of oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, pepper, lime zest, ginger, coconut and cumin. Then, I baked them in the oven for 6 minutes.

 

These can be served as a fancy appetizer or as the main course along with some zesty roasted cauliflower. They’re 100% juicy and they actually hold together.

 

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Thai Salmon Bites recipe

 

450g salmon, boneless, skinless

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon or lime juice

1 tsp (5 ml) garlic powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper

1 tsp (5 ml) lemon or lime zest

1 tsp (5 ml) ground ginger

1 tbsp (15 ml) coconut, shredded, unsweetened

½ tsp (2.5 ml) cumin

 

 

Place salmon in the freezer for about 20 minutes until semi frozen. In a medium bowl, add the rest of the ingredients. Remove salmon from the freezer and cut salmon into 3 cm (1 inch) squares. Than, add the salmon to the bowl and cover on all sides. Let marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C) and place salmon bites onto a covered baking sheet. Finally, bake for 6 minutes or until fully cooked. Let cool and offer to your baby. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Cannot be frozen.

 

How often do you eat fish?

 

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Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

 

Want to try a different take on the “classic” banana pancake? Try my Baby Led Weaning-friendly apple cinnamon pancakes. This is the perfect recipe to add to your breakfast rotation.


In my household, banana-egg pancakes are a staple of our breakfast rotation. Why? Because they are simple and made with wholesome and nutritious ingredients. Eggs in particular are loaded with nutrients which babies need. Add some almond butter and apples to the mix, and your baby is in for a delicious, no sugar or salt added, grain-free treat.

 

This recipe couldn’t be any more simple to make. First, I mashed my bananas in a large bowl.

 

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Next, I grated the apple. As seen in this picture, you can leave the skin on the apple. It’s faster and the skin adds fibre to the pancakes.

 

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After that, I added the rest of the ingredients.

 

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I gave the ingredients a good stir until they were well combined. Then, I poured about ⅛ cup spoonfuls of batter onto a preheated pan. Once the pancakes started to bubble, I flipped them gently with a spatula. Please note that these pancakes do not have the same texture as pancakes made with wheat flour. Finally, I let them cool on a wire rack and enjoyed them immediately.

 

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Apple Cinnamon Pancakes Recipe

Makes 12 small pancakes

 

2 bananas, ripe, mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup apple, grated (1 small apple or 1/2 medium apple)
2 tbsp (30 ml) almond butter, softened (or any other nut/seed butter)
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) nutmeg
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla
1-2 tbsp (15-30 ml) cooking fat (coconut oil or unsalted butter)


In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add all other ingredients and stir until well combined.

Melt the cooking fat in a skillet over low-medium heat. Carefully pour the batter into the pan, using approximately ⅛ cup for each pancake. Flip the pancake to cook the other side. Allow to cool before serving to your baby. Pancakes can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 6 months. To reheat, place pancakes in the oven on a lined baking sheet at 350°F (175°C) until warm.

 

Did you baby enjoy these apple-cinnamon pancakes?

 

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Chicken Satay with Creamy Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Creamy Peanut Sauce (for babies 6 months and up)

 

Barbecue season has arrived! Time to light the barbecue and celebrate warm weather. Today I will show you how to prepare my newest recipe: chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce. Since a number of you asked me for more meat recipes, I thought I would create another one that can be cooked on the grill. Thank you Chanel, Joannie, Jacinthe, Sabrina, Anne-Marie, Melissa, Stephanie, Carolane, Marie-Michelle, Catherine and Noémie for asking!

 

If you’re looking for more recipes just like this one, my Baby Led Weaning Recipe eBook is now available in PDF format. Each recipe featuring real foods was created by me, a registered dietitian. Check it out! Now, back to the Chicken Satay recipe. Here’s a video of how I prepared the chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce:

 

 

This mouth-watering dish is totally appropriate for babies 6 months and up and all members of the family. I used the following ingredients for the marinade: coconut milk, fresh ginger, garlic, curry powder and lime juice.

 

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I used chicken thighs because they are so much more tender than chicken breasts. It’s partly because of the fresh ginger breaking down the meat fiber and the fact that thighs contain more fat. This chicken satay practically melts in your mouth. I used this container to mix the ingredients:

 

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Then, I added the marinade ingredients to the container and added the chicken to it to marinate 30 minutes. Afterwards, I grilled the chicken on the barbecue.

 

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I served the chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce which is also easy to prepare. All I did was whisk some peanut butter, lime juice, coconut milk, warm water, fresh ginger and garlic powder together in a bowl and it was ready.

 

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Sooooo creamy!

 

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Note: if you’re using bamboo or wooden skewers, let them soak in water for at least 15 minutes before using them so they don’t burn. Here is the final product:

 

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Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce Recipe (6 months and up)

 

½ cup (125 ml) coconut milk

1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 ml) curry powder

Juice of ½ a lime

4 chicken thighs (400 g), cut into pieces about 2 inches (5 cm) by 1 inch (2,5 cm)

 

In a medium container, add coconut milk, ginger, garlic curry powder and lime juice. Stir. Add chicken strips and coat with the marinade. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or overnight for best flavour). Preheat barbecue to highest heat. Thread chicken strips onto skewers lengthwise and cook without turning them. When the chicken doesn’t stick to the grill anymore, turn the skewers and cook another 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Let cool and serve dipped in creamy peanut sauce (recipe below).

 

*Can also be made in the oven on a covered baking sheet at 400F (200C) for 10 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other.

 

Creamy Peanut Sauce Recipe

 

2 tbsp (30 ml) natural peanut butter

Juice of ½ a lime

2 tbsp (30 m) coconut milk

2 tbsp warm water

1 tsp (5ml) fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp (5 ml) garlic powder

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Serve with chicken satay.

 

What’s your favourite food to cook on the barbecue?

 

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No-Bake Breakfast Balls

No-Bake Breakfast Balls

 

Pressed for time? Try these no-bake breakfast balls. They’re made with all natural ingredients and come together in just 10 minutes.

 

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These no-bake breakfast balls are the perfect thing to have on hand for a quick BLW breakfast or to-go snack. With no refined sugar, salt, eggs, gluten or dairy, these balls are 100% delicious.

 

 

They’re convenient, nutritious, delicious, and are the perfect size for little ones to hold on to. These little balls load whole, nutritious foods like oats, fruit, dates and coconut. As an added bonus, they’re made without any added sugar and free of all major allergens. Did I mention that they only take 10 minutes to make? Try these no-bake breakfast balls today. They’re so tasty that you won’t just be giving them to your baby – you’ll be enjoying them too!

 

These no-bake breakfast balls couldn’t be any easier to make. First, I took some cherries out of the freezer and let them thaw slightly. You can use other types of frozen fruit like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries.

 

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And I mashed them up.

 

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Then I added the oats, dates, shredded coconut and coconut oil.

 

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I gave the ingredients a good stir and rolled the mixture into balls about the size of a ping-pong ball. That’s all!

 

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Look at this 9 month old baby loving them!

 

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No-Bake Breakfast Balls 

Makes 10 balls

 

½ cup (125 ml) frozen fruit, defrosted, mashed (cherries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries)

1 cup (250 ml) oats

1/2 cup (125 ml) soft and sticky Medjool or Deglett dates, pitted, chopped (about 3 large dates)

⅓ cup (80 ml) coconut, shredded, unsweetened

1 tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil, melted

 

To a medium bowl, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Roll into ping-pong sized balls. Offer one to your baby. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months.

 

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Where do you plan on bringing these along?

 

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Inspired by Healthy Little Foodies

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Zesty Roasted Cauliflower

 

Zesty Roasted Cauliflower

 

In a rut of roasted sweet potatoes and carrot sticks? Cauliflower is an extremely versatile vegetable, and is loaded with good-for-baby nutrients like calcium, folate, and vitamins A & C. Vegetables high in vitamin C, like cauliflower, help your baby better absorb iron – something babies need a lot of. So try this delicious take on cauliflower – it’s sure to become a family favorite!

 

This recipe couldn’t be any easier. First, I cut the cauliflower into florets about the size of an adult pinky finger. Notice my finger on the left of the picture:

 

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Then I sprinkled the florets with the garlic, oil, pepper, cumin, and chili powder on a lined pan:

 

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Then, I tossed until the florets were well coated. I roasted it for half an hour, until the florets were golden brown. Meanwhile, I washed and dried the cilantro, and zested and juiced a lime.

 

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After removing the florets from the oven I immediately added the juice, cilantro, and zest, and tossed to combine. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of this perfectly caramelized vegetable:

 

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Isn’t it beautiful?

 

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We enjoyed these with my Southwestern Black Bean Burgers.

 

Zesty Roasted Cauliflower

Yield: Approximately 6 cups

 

1 head of cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

2 tsp (10 ml) cumin

½  tsp (2.5 ml) chili powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime

 

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut cauliflower into pieces approximately the size of an adult pinky. Place cauliflower individually on the baking sheet, cut side down. Sprinkle garlic, olive oil, cumin, chili powder and pepper onto cauliflower, toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes. Add the lime juice, zest, and cilantro. Allow to cool and serve to your baby. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

What’s your go-to veggie?

 

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Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

 

Beans are difficult to offer to babies because they’re small, hard, and round. But I have the solution: these baby-friendly southwest black bean burgers! This burger is something the whole family will enjoy and is perfect for baby led weaning (BLW). These burgers are loaded with iron, protein, and an alphabet of vitamins – exactly what your little one needs.

 

This recipe is so simple to make. It has 3 main ingredients: black beans, sweet potatoes and onions.

 

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First, I cut the sweet potatoes in half, and baked themMeanwhile, I mashed the black beans until they were nice and smooth, no lumps.

 

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I also diced up an onion.

 

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Once the potatoes were cooled, I removed the skins, and mashed them up. Then I added all the ingredients to a single bowl, and shaped them into burgers about 3 inches in diameter. I used Ricardo’s burger press because I love how it shapes the burgers.


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I baked the black bean burgers in the oven for 25 minutes. Then, I flipped them very carefully. They will be soft (that’s normal). After that, I baked them for another 30 minutes.

 

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We enjoyed these burgers with some avocado, extra raw onion and a slather of BBQ sauce. For baby, you can just give them a burger and some avocado.

 

Southwestern Black Bean Burger Recipe

Yield: 10 mini burgers

 

2 cups (500 ml) sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes)

1 cup (250 ml) black beans, unsalted, cooked, rinsed and well drained 

½ cup (125 ml) onion, diced (1 small onion)

2 tsp (10 ml) cumin

2 tsp (10 ml) chili powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) paprika

1 tsp (5 ml) oregano

1 tsp (5 ml) garlic powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scrub sweet potatoes under water with a brush. Cut potatoes in half and place on a lined baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mash black black beans until smooth, and dice the onion. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and let cool. Peel and mash sweet potatoes.
  3. To a large bowl, add all ingredients and stir until combined. Shape mixture into 3 inch (7.5 cm) diameter patties and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Flip the burgers very carefully. They will be soft (that’s normal).
  5. Bake for another 30 minutes.  Allow to cool and serve to your baby. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Inspired by Minimalist Baker

 

How did your family enjoy these black bean burgers?

 

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Why you should give sauerkraut to your baby

What’s with all the hype around lacto-fermented vegetables like sauerkraut? What are they, why should your baby eat them and where can you find them?

 

What are lacto-fermented vegetables?

 

Lacto-fermented vegetables (or simply “fermented veggies”) include foods like sauerkraut, pickles and pickled seasonal vegetables. They contain a healthy dose of gut-friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics. Regular consumption of these good bacteria is beneficial to your baby’s health.

 

Why are fermented vegetables good for babies?

 

Fermented vegetables help with digestion and provide a healthy boost to the immune system, improving all-around gut function [1]. Foods like sauerkraut and fermented vegetables have even been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers [1]. For babies in particular, fermented foods might be beneficial in helping with digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, or gas [2].

 

Aren’t fermented vegetables too salty for babies?

 

While fermented veggies like sauerkraut offer a wide range of health benefits to your baby, it’s important to keep in mind that they’re quite salty. While sodium is a required nutrient for babies, too much of it is not a good thing. Keeping this in mind, if you’re offering small amounts of fermented foods to your baby – like 1 pickled carrot spear, or 1 tablespoon of sauerkraut – the benefits of including them in your baby’s diet is worth the extra salt.  

 

Here is a six-month old enjoying a fistful of sauerkraut:

 

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Here she is chomping down on a fermented carrot. It’s the perfect texture for her where she can easily grab it and it’s soft enough to take bites from:

 

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Here she is about to enjoy lacto-fermented turnips (right) and sauerkraut (left):

 

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Where can I find fermented vegetables?

 

One of my favorite store-bought brands of fermented foods is Tout Cru. They are a Montreal-based company that I absolutely love. I really believe in Pedro and Rachel’s mission. They make a wide range of fermented foods including kimchi, sauerkraut and seasonal fermented vegetables which are all so delicious. Check out their website to find out where you can purchase some near you! 

 

References:

  1. Parvez S, Malik KA, Ah Kang S, Kim HY. Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. Journal of applied microbiology. 2006 Jun 1;100(6):1171-85.
  2. Marchand V. Using probiotics in the paediatric population. Paediatrics & child health. 2012 Dec;17(10):575.

 

Have you ever given sauerkraut to your baby?

 

 

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5 best kitchen time-saving tricks

Especially with kids, we’re always looking for time-saving tricks in the kitchen. We want to spend more time with the children and less time cooking. Today I’m sharing my 5 favorite tricks to save time in the kitchen!

 

1- Plan 2 hours weekly in the kitchen without (any) distractions

 

Doesn’t it sounds like a dream to have 2 hours undisturbed in the kitchen? I know. The thing is, this is what can make the biggest difference. No kids, no babies, no phone, no screens, no social media. Just you and the food in your kitchen. When you’re focused on one task, you are much more productive and can get done faster than trying to cook for 10 minutes here and there. Don’t hesitate to ask your partner, friend or family member to have fun with your child(ren) so you can have your weekly two hours. For me, this made the biggest difference. It’s ma favourite time saving trick in the kitchen!

 

2) Plan meals that are appropriate for all family members

 

A meal for 3 year old Leo, homemade puree for baby Sara and a steak, rice and roasted veggies for the parents? That’s way too much work. If you plan appropriately, everyone can eat the same meals. This will save you lots of time. If you haven’t heard about Baby Led Weaning (BLW) yet (where babies skip the puree stage and eat finger foods from their first bite), check out my BLW Online Course. In the course, I share more than 30 recipes that are appropriate for your whole family, even babies! Tons more time saving tricks are included in the course.

 

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I also have a brand new Baby Led Weaning eBook with more than 45 recipes for babies 6 months and more. You’ll find spinach soufflés, mini lamb burgers, garlicky chicken drumsticks, coconut shrimp bites (to die for!) and salmon sliders. Check out my brand new BLW eBook HERE (only 10$).

 

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3) Batch cook

 

What’s batch cooking? Basically, it’s making large quantities of food at one time. You can either keep the leftovers for lunches over the next few days or freeze them to eat within the next 3 months. Meals cooked in a slow cooker like soups and spaghetti sauces can easily be doubled or tripled. Most meals taste better the next day anyway!

 

4) Have ready-to-eat foods ready

 

I’m talking about hard boiled eggs, cooked sweet potatoes, cooked ground meat, cooked rice and roasted vegetables always available and ready to go. This makes it easier to whip up a meal when you have less time. Also, it makes it easy to grab something healthy on the go!

 

5) Buy some minimal prep foods

 

Frozen vegetables, washed and packaged leafy greens, canned salmon, pre-made guacamole, marinated meats and cut up fruit and vegetables can be so practical. Don’t feel like you need to make everything from scratch. These can be huge time-savers!

 

I hope these kitchen time-saving tricks were helpful.

How do you save time in the kitchen?