The V-5 “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”

The V-5 definitely “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) I couldn’t miss the opportunity of featuring my beautiful children during National Nutrition Month®!

Lily enjoying some pre-meal tummy time.

Lily enjoying some pre-meal tummy time.

Eating well is a pillar in the pursuit of overall wellness, especially if you are/were a premature infant. I attribute my children’s well-being to their healthcare team’s (which includes Mommy & Daddy) dedication to feeding them well from day one.

I have bragged on and on about breast milk in past posts, including Mommy Nutrition and 2 Simple Acts, so the following will feature the best solid foods for infants, or Baby’s Super Foods. These also happen to be super foods for the oldest of children- aka adults. I selected the following foods based on their nutrient density, ease of digestion and preparation and friendliness to the young palate.

Tummy time-out for Kali

Tummy time-out for Kali

Grass-fed Beef & Organic Poultry

Meat and poultry are great first foods due to their iron content.  Baby’s stores of iron begin to fade around 6 months so, a food rich in iron is important. Additionally, iron from animal sources (heme-iron) is much easier to absorb and use by the body. Meat also is loaded with B-vitamins and zinc. If you opt for grass-fed over grain-fed cattle, you will also get meat with more healthy omega-3 fats, vitamins A and E, and less of the unhealthy saturated fats, hormones and antibiotics. Organic poultry is ideal for the same reasons; basically more time and attention are directed towards the birds living quarters and nutrition creating a better quality end product.

Lentils

Lentils may be small but they are mighty. They are loaded with protein, fiber, iron, zinc and a host of B-vitamins. They are also a good source of copper, potassium and molybdenum. These legumes are quick and easy to prepare and generally more tender than other types of dried beans.

Bone Broth

This nutritional powerhouse can be made by boiling chicken or beef bones in water and a touch of vinegar. It is a significant source of GAGs, or glycosaminoglycans, chondroitin sulfate, keratan sulfate and hyaluronic acid, which are all “ingredients” for cartilage. Additionally, the red marrow has myeloid stem cells, which supports red blood cell development and the immune system. This broth also is a great source of glycine and proline, which are the building blocks for other amino acids (protein). Glycine and proline are also used by the body to aid digestion, promote healing, and create healthy plasma. Logically, bone broth also provides a good source of minerals found in bone: calcium, phosphorus and magnesium to aid in bone development and maintenance.

Theo chowing down on avocado

Theo chowing down on avocado

Avocado

This fatty fruit is a good source of fiber, vitamins K, E and C, a few B-vitamins, as well as, potassium, and copper. Avocadoes provide a host of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals (antioxidants from plants) and can help with absorption of other nutrients, like carotenoids (orange, yellow and red phytochemicals). Besides aiding in blood sugar regulation and heart health, they also make a great beauty product.

Butternut Squash

This orange, winter squash may require some extra prep work but the sweet flavor and benefits are well worth it. Although squash are a starchy vegetable, their carbohydrate is much different than a potato; it has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The orange color gives away that it is a great source of vitamin A, but it is also loaded with vitamins C, B6 and several minerals.

Gluten-free Oatmeal

This hardy cereal is a great first food for infants. My vote goes to oats over rice for an infant cereal because it is rich in iron, zinc, phosphorus, fiber and protein, as well as, several other vitamins and minerals. It also comes without the worry of arsenic toxicity.

Why gluten-free? Well, gluten is a very inflammatory agent that is found in wheat, rye, barley and some oats and can be difficult to digest. Often times, traditional oats can also be “contaminated” with wheat due to shared processing equipment. I feel it is best for babies to be wheat-free until their first birthdays when they dive into that cake! Overall, I opt for gluten-free because it is much nicer to the kiddos’ digestive tract.

Bella loves to help feed herself

Bella loves to help feed herself

Banana

I had to include at least one common fruit. Bananas are a great first fruit because they are a good source of vitamins C, B6, B2 and of course, potassium. They also provide bone-building minerals, including magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. Besides the benefit of being very convenient to prepare, they are also known as nature’s antacid because they contain a substance that can help the stomach and intestines produce the mucus lining.

Another bonus of the foods mentioned above is that when they are pureed they contain at least 20 calories per Tablespoon, which is equivalent to the average amount of calories in one-ounce of breast milk. When you have picky bottle-feeders who love solids this can be a huge lifesaver!

Ellie loves to help feed herself, too.

Ellie loves to help feed herself, too.

Whether these foods are old favorites or perhaps news ones to try, I encourage children of all ages to serve up these super foods and “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right!”

The sign of good food (Kali)

The sign of good food (Kali)

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ABC, 123 (45), Cute as Can Be!

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At 7 months the kiddos are expressive, talkative and almost mobile! All of the quints have rolled from their tummies to their backs and only Theo has made it from his back to his stomach. They are all really good at what we call the “sphinx pose,” or more commonly known as the cobra pose for you yogis out there. I have my money on Lily to crawl first.

Their choppers are definitely on their way in so drooling, chewing, and whining are popular past times. Beware; if you get too close you’re bound to get “gummed.” We have employed several tactics to soothe them including:

  • Cold, wet wash clothes,
  • Frozen pacifiers,
  • Cold teething rings,
  • Baltic Amber stone necklaces, and
  • Yes, the occasional dose of Tylenol.

Nutrition is also a bit different nowadays. The quints have maxed out on their daily milk at 5-6 ounces per feeding, or 24-32 ounces per day, and are now chowing down on solids. Brunch consists of gluten-free oatmeal with banana or apples and Linner is beef or poultry in bone broth or steamed green vegetable with a side of squash or sweet potato. Kali continues to be the best guzzler, but Lily takes the cake (almost literally) when it comes to mowing through her solids, and well everyone’s leftovers, too!

It is amazing how big they are getting. I remember receiving the 6 month sleepers as gifts not believing they would ever be that big. But, now they are almost too big for those same sleepers! There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think back to those days in the NICU and thank God for how far these children have come.

T is for Theo

T is for Theo

B is for Bella

B is for Bella

L is for Lily

L is for Lily

K is for Kali

K is for Kali

E is for Ellie

E is for Ellie

They are certainly our pride and joy! We promise you that Theo and Bella are the goofiest of the bunch, but apparently not big fans of impromptu photo shoots before lunch.

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