Infant Iron Muffins

Eli enjoying his iron muffins with grapefruit (citrus increases iron absorption!)

Eli enjoying his iron muffins with grapefruit (citrus increases iron absorption!)

As I’ve mentioned before, I started Eli on a hybrid of BLW. I have a little issue with messes, so baby cereal wasn’t really on my radar for a BLW item. While he was getting some red meat and spinach, his iron intake was pretty minimal. I am breastfeeding, so by 6 months he really needed an iron supplement. I did introduce some spoon-fed iron-fortified cereal, but there were so many other real foods I wanted to give him, that I decided to get him an iron supplement. Well, until he tried the supplement – and proceeded to vomit it everywhere (and stain his cute PJs). So, back to the iron cereal, right? Wrong. Turns out I can’t make it thick enough for him anymore – if it’s thin, he gets mad he can’t chew it and just plays with it in his mouth, spitting out most of it. And he’s started to grab the spoon to feed himself. Which works great when something solid is on the spoon, but not so great when it’s a runny mess. But then it hit me – make infant cereal muffins. I did a little search and there are a few people out there who have done it already, but none of them put iron supplement in theirs. I asked an RD friend who confirmed I could cook with the supplement, so I was set. The end result – nothing you’d buy in the store, but perfect for Eli. It was bland (which is what you want for infants) and had a strange greenish-brown color, but it didn’t taste much like iron and he loves them. I put them in mini muffin tins, so he is able to handle the whole muffin all by himself. Each one has about 75% of his daily iron needs, so I’m satisfied with not having to force feed him any other iron supplements. I kept 5 out for the week and froze the rest, with the plan of just taking them out when I need them.

 iron muffins (4)Baby Iron Muffins
Makes about 30 mini muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baby cereal (I used happy bellies multigrain)
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 15oz-can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 15ml liquid iron supplement

Directions

  1. iron muffins (3)Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray
  2. Mix cereal oats, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream butter and eggs in a large bowl. Mix in pumpkin, applesauce  and iron supplement together. Fold in dry ingredients.
  4. Spoon batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges are pulling away.

Notes
- I noticed that these took awhile for the center to be completely done. Be sure the tooth pick comes out clean! If you used instant oats instead of old fashioned you might have better luck – let me know if you try this!

– Technically babies aren’t supposed to have eggs until 1 year – use at your own risk.

Follow Friday: Dietitian services

Originally posted on bite my words:

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Did you know that many employers don’t offer dietitian services as part of their employee health plans? Considering that food and nutrition are vital to good health and productive employees our services should be covered by health plans. If your employer doesn’t cover our services please let them know that you’d like them too!

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Veggie Burgers

While I’m not a vegetarian, I really enjoy vegetarian foods. Veggie burgers are one of my favorites because they often highlight delicious vegetarian flavors and are so versatile. In addition to eating them as a burger you can put them on top of salads or crumble them in egg scrambles. Store-bought veggie burgers often are full of salt and additives, so I prefer to make my own. They can be a little time consuming, so I prefer to make a bunch of them and freeze them for use later. I had a.m.a.z.i.n.g. walnut veggie burger at Jac’s in Madison and decided it was time I tried a few few new recipes. These burgers turned out great. J and Eli love them too!

These burgers can be prepped and frozen to be cooked fully from frozen when you are ready. Another option that saves a lot of time later is to prepare them fully, let them cool, and them freeze them individually. The latter option allows you to just warm them up in the microwave, on a GF grill, or in a skillet when you are in the mood. It saves a lot of time and is less messy since they are fully cooked already.

The key to freezing these is to line a baking sheet with wax paper and place the burgers on the paper individually. Be sure they are not touching. Put this in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until the burgers are hard. At this point you can remove them from the paper and place them in a freezer bag. It is critical that you do it this way so the burgers are individually frozen. If you don’t the burgers will freeze stuck together. This isn’t a huge deal if you plan to thaw them all at once, but it makes it impossible to remove individual burgers from the freezer. It is also a problem if they aren’t pre-cooked, because they will need to be thawed and then they will just a be a big pile of mush. This approach of freezing individually has been a live saver and can be used for anything you are freezing. We use it all the time in the summer when berries are in season!

 

veggie burgers-blackbeanSpicy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers
Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

 

 

veggie burgers-chickpea walnutChickpea-Walnut Burger
Recipe Adapted from Big Mike Eats

veggie burgers3veggie burgers2

 

 

 

 

Big Changes

Friday sure was a big day for us! It was match day and I found out I got my first choice!! We will be moving to Colorado in about 2 months. And if that wasn’t exciting enough…we accepted an offer on our house that afternoon! The inspection and appraisal still have to be OK before anything is finalized, but it looks like all the cards are falling into place.  It will be bittersweet to say goodbye to our first home, especially with how much work we put into it. But the person who purchased it is young and will hopefully have many years of  memories in our updated home.

We couldn’t be happier to try out a new area with milder weather and more outdoor activities than we can begin to count. People keep asking if we will stay there or come back. At this point, we aren’t sure and are planning to keep our options open. If we love CO, we will stay there. If we miss WI, we’ll be heading back this way in 3 years. Until then, we will just enjoy the wonderful opportunities that have come our way.

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The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time (With Recipes)

Originally posted on TIME:

Eating healthy shouldn’t be complicated. To make it simple, TIME has curated a list of the 50 healthiest foods you should be eating now.

We asked registered dietitian Tina Ruggiero, author of the The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook, to break down why each of these foods is a powerhouse. We also pulled in the nutritional information and asked our friends at Cooking Light to hook us up with some creative recipes to make sure eating these on a regular basis is no-excuses easy.

Bon appetit!

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#RepealTheSeal

Yesterday, an article was published in the NYTs about the presence of “Kids Eat Right” logo on Kraft singles – those floppy American “cheese” slices. The logo is a nutrition seal by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).  AND claims that the seal just means that Kraft supports “Kids Eat Right” not that AND has specifically endorsed the “cheese” slices. Confusing, right? Clearly, AND needs to rethink its marketing approach. So, 3 awesome RDs wrote a letter to AND and started a petition. Read below and sign the petition to support the removal of the seal!


 

Here’s the open letter written by 3 RDs and supported by hundreds thousands:

March 16, 2015

To Mary Beth Whalen, President Sonja Connor, leadership at the Academy and the Kids Eat Right (KER) Foundation: 

As long-time members and proud supporters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), we are dismayed, shocked, and saddened by the blog post in last week’s New York Times.  The piece (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/a-cheese-product-wins-kids-nutrition-seal/?_r=0 – ) reports on the KER Foundation’s Nutrition seal— a seal that the Academy states was not an endorsement of the product, but is an indicator of the brands that support Kids Eat Right.

As dedicated Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists and food and nutrition experts, we are protesting the Academy’s position to allow the Kids Eat Right logo on Kraft Singles, as well as the possibility to allow any future implied endorsement of any product by AND for the following reasons:

Flawed Understanding of the Marketplace

We wholly reject the rationale that the Academy used in their formal press release to defend the nature of the relationship between Kraft and the Academy. A logo on a product label is an endorsement, an alignment, and recognition of a paid relationship. Simply stating otherwise in a press release, no matter how emphatically, doesn’t change this fact. Rather, AND’s actions illustrate how profoundly out of touch AND is with business principles, which has put our professional integrity and credibility at risk. It is also a decision that is out of touch with members’ values.

Failure to Provide Transparency to AND Members and Consumers  

We work hard to provide full transparency in all of our own business relationships, and we expect the same from the Academy. Failure to be transparent about ANDs actions violates the Academy’s own Ethics Policy, which calls for the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and for members to not engage in false or misleading practices of communications.

Actions Requested of the Academy: #RepealtheSeal

We ask that the Academy make available to its members, the media and the public the following:

  • We ask for full transparency regarding the process of approval to allow the KER logo on the Kraft product— including the names of those involved, the meeting minutes of the discussion, and Board’s vote on this issue.
  • We ask for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between KER Foundation and Kraft. We also request full transparency regarding the status of future agreements under consideration for use of our Logo.
  • We ask the Academy to provide their plan for the discontinuation of this specific relationship with Kraft and removal of the KER logo off Kraft Singles product packaging.

Academy members deserve strong leaders who will protect the integrity of the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist credential. This latest action is an embarrassing misstep that must be corrected swiftly in order to prevent further damage to the RD/RDN brand and to the Academy.

 

Sincerely,

Rachel Begun MS, RDN
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
Regan Jones, RDN
Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists colleagues listed atchange.org

Mommy Monday – Introducing Food

Too corny? I think so, but we’ll give it a shot. For some reason I really like alliterations. I thought having a purpose to my posts might help me stick with it, even when things get crazy. Mommy Monday posts will be random thoughts and experiences while being a mom. I’ve got a whopping 8 months in so I’m an expert, right? Yeah, well, no, but I’m learning as I go and you can all join me in the process. So, without further ado, today marks the first “Mommy Monday” post.

– – – – – –

With my background in dietetics, I knew that breast milk was the best thing for Eli and I planned to breast feed exclusively for the first 6 months and  continue for at least a year (if my supply allowed – which is absolutely does – more on that some other time). Being super type-A, I started to read about introducing solids around 3 months so I’d be prepared. I was very interested in baby-led weaning (BLW) and decided that would be the route we would generally go. I didn’t want to waste money on baby food and who has time to puree everything? My skeptics talked about how Eli would choke on solids. So, I did a pubmed search to see if any studies were out there on BLW. Sure enough, a handful of studies exist. What is the consensus? Well, babies who followed BLW were no more likely to having choking or gagging episodes during the entire weaning process than those who were weaned using stages of solids. Yes, they tended to gag more than their age-matched peers (i.e. BLW kid getting chicken while the traditional kid got rice cereal – of course there is more gagging with chicken), BUT when the traditional kids finally got to solids, they gagged just as much as the BLW kids did previously. So the difference is just when the gagging happened (6 months vs 12 months old). Again, there was no difference in choking episodes, so BLW kids gagging earlier didn’t mean they choked more. They just learned how to handle solids sooner. What else did the studies find? Well, kids who did BLW were leaning, more in-tune with their hunger/satiety cues, and had a broader palate for food. Yes, yes, and yes! All things I hope for Eli. After all of this, I had no doubt that BLW would be the way to go for us.

Around 4 months, Eli was sitting up unassisted in his bumbo and started to take a lot  of interest in what we were eating. He would grab at everything and bring it to his mouth. It was obvious that he wanted to join in. So I realized that waiting to 6 months wasn’t appropriate – he was ready for solids at 4 months, regardless of what some book says. All kids are different and the key is to use the guidelines as guidelines and modify them as needed for the individual child. So Eli’s first food – a banana! He handled it so well. Take a look here. We offered him foods here and there, but nothing rigid. We decided it was more about him learning about new foods than getting his nutrition from them (he was still eating breast milk the rest of the time and growing well). There were some foods that scared me a bit and I decided it was best to do a modified version of BLW. He got some textured purees, like applesauce, and some solids. Sometimes we fed him, sometimes he used his food feeder, and other times he just used his 2 hands. 2014-11-24 18.18.50 2014-12-05 14.05.41

 

 

Around 6 months we decided to be more regular with his solids. We began offering him 3 meals a day and were trying a variety of foods. We offered mixed foods and didn’t follow the traditional “1 food for 3- 5 days” method. Yes, there was a chance he wouldn’t tolerate a food and we wouldn’t know what the cause was, but I was willing to take the risk. He was developing a very broad palate and absolutely loved food. Around 7 months he had the chewing (or gumming since he doesn’t have teeth) motion down. I was amazed watching him – how did he figure that out?!? I could give him a strip of toast or chicken and he could gum the whole thing down without gagging once. Amazing. I’ve taken pictures of Eli trying new foods over the past few months and plan to put  page together with all of these. In the meantime, here are a few to enjoy!2015-01-26 18.17.19 broccoli 2.13.15 tofu 2.12 (5)

 

Long Overdue Update

Wow – I can’t believe I haven’t posted for over 6 months! Where has the time gone? Oh yeah, being a mom, wife, and 4th year medical student. I have so much to update but I’ll keep it as short as possible.

Motherhood

Let me start by saying Eli is absolutely amazing and I truly love being a mom (most days). This wasn’t the case at the beginning and now I am realizing that I’m not alone in that feeling. I didn’t cry when Eli was born or feel an overwhelming sense of love for him the second I saw his face. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him and he was beautiful, but it wasn’t much different than what I felt when I saw another friend’s beautiful new baby. I wondered when this would change and honestly, it was probably around 3 or 4 months when he really started to be interactive. The first few months were OK. I was tired from never sleeping more than 2 hours at a stretch, but I was getting the hang of things. I really wanted to go back to work and thought about starting back a few weeks early. I missed the mental stimulation of medical school rotations and needed a break from baby. I decided to hang in there and went back after 10 weeks, as originally planned. Going back was the best thing for our relationship. It made me realize how much I did love him and left me looking forward to our evenings together.

As the weeks passed by I became amazed at how much he changed. By 3-4 months he was sitting up in a bumbo and grabbing at our food and trying to feed himself. We decided to let him taste a few things around 4 months, even though I originally planned to wait until 6 months. He was developmentally ready, so I reminded myself that books and recommendations are guidelines that need to be tailored to the child, not the other way around. By 5 month he was sitting up unassisted and loving his food feeder. He was babbling up a storm and really turning into a little boy. He took his first flight at 5 months and did OK. By 6 months he was trying to stand on his own (while holding something) and really started to love his solids. By 7 months he was able to pull himself up to stand and was trying to figure out the whole crawling thing (thankfully he hasn’t figured it out yet!). He officially loved food by this point – a lot – and figured out chewing, despite having no teeth yet. He will be 8 months in a few days and it looks like crawling will likely happen in the next few weeks -eek!

He is one of the happiest babies I have ever met and I am so incredibly in love with him. We were able to spend a lot of time together these past few months because I am wrapping up rotations and have some time off. I am so grateful for our time together! Looking back, I’d rather have started back at work after 6 weeks if it meant I could have 4 more weeks with him now. He finished day care in December and has been home with me, my mom, or J over the past few months. J is going to be a stay-at-home dad starting in April and is so excited about it. He knows it won’t be a walk in the park, but he is looking forward to really getting to bond with Eli.

 

Med School

I am so grateful I finished my board exam before Eli was born, because baby brain is for real. Sleep deprivation does some crazy things – one thing in particular is loss of word-finding ability. I can’t begin to count the number of times I couldn’t think of simple, everyday words. Going back to work was an adjustment – if I couldn’t think of the word cardboard how was I going to take care of sick patients with pneumonia?? After a few weeks I got back into the swing of things and it started to improve. Even now I still have trouble recalling things, but I just look it up and study  harder. Thankfully the year is wrapping up and I haven’t had many tests. In fact, I just finished my last exam of medical school and only have one 4 week rotation left (for the month of April)! Where has the last 4 years gone??

After med school there is this thing called residency. It’s sorta a big deal. Most of 4th year is spent applying and interviewing for residency. I have decided to go into family medicine with the intention of practicing full spectrum FM (outpatient, inpatient, and deliveries – you know, the way all doctors used to be). These jobs are a little hard to find, which means the residencies are also hard to find. I had specific criteria for what I was looking or and ended up interviewing at 9 programs in Wisconsin and Colorado. I have found my dream program and next week (March 20th) I will find out if they liked me as much as I liked them. The way residency match works is I rank the programs I like and the programs rank all the people they like. Then this fancy computer program looks at all of the lists across the world and puts you in your best possible match. On March 20th, I will open a white envelope at 11am and find out where I will spend the next 3 years. It’s pretty exciting and I can’t wait to find out!

 

Other Stuff

I have been spending too much time on facebook. I justify it by saying that I am showing family members pictures of Eli, when really I’m just wasting time I don’t have to waste (which has to come from somewhere, so it probably comes from more important things like sleep, exercise, and family). So, I am thinking about giving up the facebook thing all together and just updating this blog more often. We’ll see if that happens. If it does, you all have lots of cute baby pictures to look forward to :) Here’s a great one to tide you over:

2015-02-23 10.16.27

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

banana choc chip cookies (4)These cookies are a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

banana choc chip cookiesThey are basically an oatmeal banana bread baked into cookie form. The original recipe is from Two Peas and Their Pod, who also just welcomed a new little man into their life. I made the first batch last night, following the original recipe except for adding 1 cup of chopped walnuts as well. They turned out delicious and I have eaten more than I’ll ever admit (I’m telling myself that Eli needs them for healthy breast milk).

However, once they cooled off and sat in the storage container they got super soft. The texture reminded me of banana bread, not a cookie. I decided to make a few changes to the recipe. First I wanted to make them healthier – so healthy they could pass as a breakfast cookie. Second, I wanted to see if I could improve the texture for storage purposes. The original recipe’s texture is still great, just not something that should be kept in the pantry for more than a day or two to since mold could start growing pretty quickly (yes, they are that moist).

The modified recipe was a success! The cookies are a little darker and the center was much more crumbly, but not too dry. The taste is great. The whole wheat flour adds some nuttiness and the coconut oil adds just a hint of coconut. I think it is safe to say that these will please anyone looking for a tasty treat while also being healthy enough to eat at breakfast.

 

banana coconut choc chip cookies2Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies
adapted from two peas and their pod

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (room temp)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large ripe banana (or 1 1/2 small bananas), mashed
  • 2 cups old fashion rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (not necessary, but helpful)
  2. In a small bowl, combined flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well and sent aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the coconut oil and sugars by beating well on high. Add vanilla and egg and mix well. Lastly, add mashed banana and beat well.
  4. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Stir in oats and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well-distributed.
  5. Spray two large spoons with cooking spray and use them to scoop out 1.5 tbsp size drops of dough. Place about 1-2″ apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
  7. Let cookies cool for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before storing. Store in an air-tight container or freeze for later.