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Party-Friendly Winter Vegetable Dishes the Whole Family Will Love

One defining aspect of the December holidays is food! It’s the time of year when we tend to overindulge in rich and delicious meals and treats. There’s no need to deny yourself, instead, we suggest adding in some healthy dishes made with seasonal produce. They make a welcome addition to any holiday table and offer respite from carbohydrate-rich and sugary foods. We’ve chosen elevated winter vegetable dishes that are kid-approved plus one bonus recipe for a delicate madeleine cookie you can make with fresh lemons!

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are a part of many holiday tables but aren’t always popular with kids. We love this recipe because it contains crispy bacon and sweet dried cranberries, making it feel both festive and healthy!

Brussel sprouts are in season and offer lots of health benefits.

  •         High in fiber for healthy digestion.
  •         Rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants for cellular health.
  •         Rich in vitamin K for healthy bones.
  •         Rich in vitamin C for a strong immune system.

This year they’ll be a crowd favorite of all ages with this recipe for Kid-Friendly Brussel Sprouts from Super Healthy Kids.

The Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are packed with important nutrients and sometimes get a bad rap from picky adults and kids. They’ve just never had them prepared properly!  When done right, dark leafy greens can make for a delicious and appreciated winter vegetable dish everyone will enjoy. 

Spinach is a superfood.

  •         One cup has 40% of your daily magnesium intake for healthy blood sugar.
  •         Loaded with calcium and vitamin K for strong bone development.
  •         Rich in iron for proper blood function.
  •         Vitamins A and C make hair and skin look great.

We love this recipe for Spanakopita Triangles from Let the Baking Begin because it’s made without onion and heavy spices making it more palatable for kids. Phyllo gives this finger food an elegant look and mouthfeel while spinach provides a large dose of essential vitamins and minerals.

If your family isn’t a fan of feta, get your leafy greens through this Soul Food Collard Greens recipe from I Heart Recipes. In the southern United States, eating black-eyed peas are thought to bring prosperity for the new year. This delicious recipe is the perfect accompaniment.

Collard greens have the same healthy properties as spinach.

Spaghetti Squash

Healthy spaghetti squash has become a popular substitute for pasta with its nutty flavor and stringy texture. It’s not only low in calories but offers a multitude of health benefits. Plus, kids love spaghetti squash; it’s delicious and is fun to eat! Spaghetti Squash is more than just a pasta substitute. It’s densely packed with nutrients.

  •         Winter squash is rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene to protect our cells.
  •         High fiber makes for a filling dish without extra calories.
  •         Rich in vitamin B6, a vitamin necessary for proper metabolism and the creation of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 can only be obtained through foods or supplements.

This recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash from Domestic Superhero is kid-approved and has the addition of extra-healthy broccoli for a double-dose of nutritious, seasonal goodness!

For the Perfect Finish

We’ve included another seasonal favorite, a recipe for beautiful, light and fluffy madeleine cookies using fresh in-season lemons. They’re not just lovely and delicious cookies, but create the perfect palate-cleansing, after-dinner treat!

This recipe is still light, fluffy and yummy when the madeleines are cooled down.

Lemons are high in vitamin C for a healthy immune system and heart health.

Madeleines

Prep: 20 mins Chill: 3-9 hours Cook: 12 mins

Yield 16-18 full-size madeleines

Ingredients

1.5 stick (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted until browned

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 lemon, zested

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons of milk

1 tablespoon of honey

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted, optional

Instructions

Melt the butter in low heat or microwave. Cool down for use.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, fine sugar, honey, lemon zest until pale and fluffy. Add the milk and whisk a little more.

Fold in the flour and baking powder mixture in three additions, stirring just until combined. Fold in the melted butter.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.

30 minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 340 degrees (F). Generously brush the molds of your madeleine pan with butter, then lightly dust with flour.

Fill each mold cavity to 3/4.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until the “bellies” have risen and they’re golden brown.

Cool madeleines in the pan placed on a cooling rack for a minute or two, then gently loosen them from the molds. If they stick, carefully run a small knife around the edge of the cakes until they release.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve at room temperature.

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One Easy Green Resolution for 2021: Make the Switch to Sustainable Food Storage

It’s not easy to switch an old habit into a new one. We all feel a little bit defeated when we fall behind in our good intentions and New Year’s resolutions, but don’t give up because of little hiccups. When it comes to ECO-friendly, a small step can make a huge impact. 

From plastic wrap to containers with short lifespans, it’s common for us to use plastics in the kitchen. Switching to sustainable food storage reduces your carbon footprint, keeps more plastic from entering our oceans and landfills and doesn’t require a big investment of time or money. It’s a win-win! Switching to non-plastic kitchenware also reduces the risk of related health issues from ingesting harmful toxins.

We listed out some areas you can improve your ECO living by a simple switch!

Sustainable Food Storage Ideas

Plastic wrap, as convenient as it may be, was created by a chemical company in the 1940s. It was originally made from toxic PVC material. Now, most plastic wrap is made from LDPE (low-density polyethylene) which is FDA-approved but still raises health concerns, especially when placed on fatty, warm, or hot foods which increase chemical transfer. Fortunately, there are simple, greener, choices available.

One place many people use plastic wrap is in the microwave to eliminate splatter when heating foods. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst places to use it! The heat, plus any food contact makes chemical contamination much more likely.

Another kitchen culprit is plastic storage bags and containers. Not only are they terrible for the environment, but they also shouldn’t be used in the microwave for reheating food for the same reasons as plastic wrap. Plastic can also shatter or break in the freezer. Switching to alternative storage methods isn’t just better for the planet, ultimately it will make your life more convenient!

Here’s how to make some simple switches:

Instead of plastic wrap to cover food in the microwave, switch to glass bowl covers. These safely stop splatter and have the added benefit of being able to head straight into the fridge to cover leftovers too.

Instead of plastic storage containers in the fridge, switch to glass. Thick glass jars are great for storing everything from soups to prepared vegetables and can be found at the supermarket or hardware store in multiple sizes. Use them in the fridge to reduce clutter, keep foods fresh and keep things organized. They look great too!

Instead of storage and sandwich bags, switch to stainless steel. They’re lightweight, come in a variety of sizes and styles and are great for storing small portions an meals. A bento box is an easy way to store leftovers while making it simple to grab and go for lunch the next day. 

Instead of foil or plastic wrap to cover foods in the fridge, try beeswax wraps. Similar to plastic wrap yet reusable and non-toxic, beeswax wraps can be molded around cut vegetables and used to seal bowls just by warming it a little in your hands, then just remove, wash and reuse! 

Instead of freezer bags, try glass or stainless steel. Thick glass jars are great for freezer storage; just remember not to fill to the top. Leave some room for the contents to expand. Stainless steel is another good choice for the freezer. Freeze large portions in containers and smaller portions in stainless steel ice cube trays or muffin tins, then transfer to a sealable container.

Instead of plastic storage and bags in the pantry, use glass containers and mason jars. Buying bulk can reduce a lot of packaging waste, cardboard, and plastic. Use sealed jars and other glass containers to store pasta, grains, legumes, and other bulk items. For a cool vintage look on your shelves, shop thrift stores to give new life to perfectly good glass storage jars!

From reusable shopping bags to stainless steel straws, there are many ways to reduce the amount of plastic in our kitchens. Fortunately, we have alternatives to plastic and other destructive materials, and more are arriving every day. Like us, other companies are working hard to reduce waste and increase sustainability.

Follow these simple tips and may we wish you a greener and money-saving 2021!

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Around the Table: Keeping Kids Engaged During Meal Times

We all know how hard it can be to keep kids sitting still and focused during a long meal. In the past, mealtimes used to last around 90 minutes but in today’s culture, the average family dinner is reduced to just 12 minutes. Taking this into account, you can see why keeping kids engaged during meal times during a multi-hour holiday feast is difficult!

Studies have shown that sharing meals together at the table provides a wealth of benefits for all family members. Children who participate in frequent family dinners are shown to eat better, perform better in school, engage in less risky behaviors in their teens and have better relationships with their parents.

So, while you may be looking for tips to keep the kids engaged during this holiday’s lengthy meals, we encourage you to apply them to lengthen the time of your family dinners throughout the year!

  1. Get your kids involved in meal preparation. When children help prepare a meal, they’re proud of what they’ve done and enjoy sharing their accomplishments at the table. Seeing people enjoying food that they’ve made will help them stay focused and engaged. There are many kitchen tasks that children of all ages can enjoy, from mashing and stirring for little ones to preparing simple recipes under supervision with older kids.
  2. Make sure they’re comfortable. It can be hard to enjoy your time at the table if the table is too high or your seat is too hard. Consider your child’s ergonomic needs for proper eating and help ensure they’re seated comfortably in a way that facilitates self-feeding and interacting with other diners. Placing something under your toddler’s feet so their legs aren’t dangling is helpful too.
  3. Serve dishes that reflect your family’s history and heritage. Do some research with your child regarding traditional holiday dishes from your grandparent’s or great-grandparents country or culture. Not only will your child enjoy learning about food and family history, but these dishes invite the sharing of family stories during the meal. Making and sharing these dishes can help establish a sense of family identity within your child!
  4. Make it fancy. Little kids especially enjoy playing “dress-up,” so treating your family holiday dinner like a fancy and important event can make it fun. Ensure children have pretty place settings and “special” dishes or cups. If you’re making use of a “kid’s table” make it just as elegant as for adults. Flameless candles, unbreakable stemware, an easy-clean holiday tablecloth and other kid-friendly exchanges can be made to prevent accidents. Provide elements that can also entertain, like a printed “menu” and crayons or small handheld puzzles. Consider a dry run or two with your child to practice table manners and polite conversation. You can roleplay you’re having dinner with kings and queens!
  5.   Include children of all ages in dinner conversation. Even young children enjoy engaging in dinnertime chat with family and visitors. Include family-friendly topics that interest children such as stories about how their parents or grandparents met, first jobs or how each family member got their name. Other topics children of all ages can participate in include dream vacations, favorite memories, asking who they admire and why, or what would make their perfect day. Older children and teens especially enjoy talking about their favorite celebrities, music, movies and games. Ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing!
  6. Know their limits. The younger the child, the less time you can expect them to sit quietly at the table. For very young children, a two-hour dinner can feel like torture! If dinner is at home, add a small craft table with activities for children to enjoy when they leave the table. Things like activity, coloring and picture books or simple craft projects can keep them occupied while adults finish their meal. Purchasing a special item like new crayons or puzzle book with their favorite characters will give them something to look forward to after dinner, If you’re expecting several small children, provide enough materials for sharing to avoid squabbles. For babies, a bouncy chair is a good after-dinner option.

With a little preparation and planning, you can transform a long, boring holiday dinner into a fun, engaging and educational experience for your children. Making a point to regularly sit down for family dinners throughout the year will give them wonderful memories, build family bonds and gives them great practice for future holiday meals.

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Design Talk: Keeping Your Identity as New Parents

As parents, we adapt and mold our lives to fit the needs of our infants. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in our kids and forget that we have our own preferences, needs, and wants too! 

3 tips for keeping your identity as new parents:

  1. Purchase what you love, not what you think appeals to your baby. The accessories you choose should integrate with your personal style, not detract or distract from it!
  2. Be true to yourself. Don’t give into peer pressure from parenting or playgroups. Although young, our children absorb everything we say and do. Show your kid from the very beginning that it’s okay to just be yourself.
  3. Keep your own interests. It’s easy to fall into the routine of spending every waking moment attending to our precious child’s needs, but that’s not doing anyone any favors! Allot time for your own activities and joys. This will create a happier, more balanced parent!

You don’t have to lose your adult identity when you have a baby. You just need to know where to shop!

It’s common for children’s products to be plastered with pictures of baby things, little ducks and bears, rattles, pink or blue puffy prints. Maybe those things are fine if the baby is toting around the diaper bag, but we wanted something that showcases our style as parents! That’s why we’ve created an entire children’s line around clean, modern, understated Scandinavian design that parents and kids love.   

Miniware Designs Are Made for Parents and Children

Miniware design is more than made for just children, it’s made for parents too. We put great thought into practicality, long lifespan, and sustainability. Our GrowBento is one of our most popular products. The stainless-steel shell is durable enough to withstand years of kid’s snacks and lunches without cartoon characters and wild colors your child will likely outgrow. It’s portable, easy to clean and it’s stylish enough for mom or dad to take to work in a pinch!

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Going Somewhere? Check Out Our Favorite Homemade Travel Snacks for Toddlers!

Each year the third Monday in February offers many people a break from the winter doldrums with a President’s Day long weekend. It’s the perfect time to take a mini-vacation with the kids, to visit relatives, a favorite destination or if the weather cooperates, just get out, relish the fresh air and enjoy nature’s beauty.

Whether you’re taking a day trip or a weeklong adventure, snacks make traveling with toddlers so much easier. When those little tummies start rumbling, tears and tantrums are just around the corner. It’s best to be over-prepared with snacks than under! Homemade snacks are both healthier and more affordable than store-bought and with Miniware’s favorite Sip & Snack set, or GrowBento Box and Silipods, you can easily store travel snacks of all kinds in a secure, portable and kid-friendly container!

Take a look at our favorite homemade travel snacks for toddlers:

Veggies with pita with hummus. You may already have these toddler-approved snacks on hand. The GrowBento Box with Silipods makes it easy to store veggies and dips/sauces separately and prevents a soggy pita!

Sandwich squares and fruit. Who doesn’t love to eat finger sandwiches?! Make mealtime that much more fun with sandwiches cut into small squares or rectangles. Add fresh fruit on the side for a delicious and healthy treat. Silipods can securely store juicy foods and even soups without fear of leaking.

Waffles with yogurt and berries. This combo is always a hit with kids and is perfect for early morning travel! Cut waffles into “fingers” or squares, fill a Silipod with fruit or vanilla yogurt and garnish with another Silipod of berries. Who can resist? You might even want to pack another GrowBento for yourself!

Here are some great make-ahead recipes that are travel-friendly, and toddlers love to snack on:

Mini Carrot Corn Muffins – Parents.com

These naturally sweet and delicious mini muffins are always a hit. Kids love the taste and small size and we love that they’re low sugar and packed with healthy carrots. They go great with winter soups and since Miniware Silipods are microwave safe, no extra dishes are required to heat up foods on arrival!

Cinnamon Apple Chips – Parents.com

These crispy apple chips are delicious, fun to eat and so much healthier than store-bought chips! It’s smart to make extra because everyone will love these simple snacks! To keep them fresh, store them in our airtight Sip & Snack covered bowl!

Crunchy Cereal Trail Mix – EatingWell.com

This make-ahead mix is a great snack that can be enjoyed all day. Whole grain cereal, seeds and raisins give it texture and crunch while mini chocolate chips are a sweet surprise. Best of all, you can customize this recipe with whichever ingredients your family prefers!

Keep hunger pains and grumpy kids at bay by bringing an assortment of travel snacks for toddlers on your trip. Diversity will keep kids interested on longer journeys and helps with picky eaters. What travel snacks do your kids enjoy? Share your favorite homemade snacks in the comments!

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4 Clutter-Busting Ideas for How to Store Kids’ Artwork

With the kids back in school, now is the perfect time to get a handle on the copious papers that come home with them, especially your child’s creative artwork! Learning art is much more than a fun project to break up the school day; creating art provides many benefits for kids. Art promotes creativity, problem-solving, patience, attention to detail, focus and decision making. Creating art also helps boost self-confidence. You can reward your child’s efforts by proudly displaying and safely storing their handiwork, which will also give you a beautiful record of their creative development over the years, something you can enjoy looking back at together when they’re older.

We love these simple ideas for how to store kids’ artwork for safekeeping and keep things organized:

Create a Gallery Wall

Creating a space dedicated to your child’s art is a great way to show how proud you are of their work. Choose some affordable picture frames and display them as you would any other treasured work of art. You can rotate your child’s favorite pieces throughout the year to keep things current. Having your child help choose which pieces should be hung in the “gallery” will foster decision-making skills too.

Frames aren’t your thing? Create an easy art gallery with a length of thin wire and decorative clips or use corkboard squares and colorful pushpins!

Use a Dedicated Storage Container

Under the bed plastic storage containers or other wide, flat bins make great artwork storage spaces that can handle oversized and 3-dimensional pieces your child may bring home. Use this to store any art not currently displayed in your gallery. At the end of the year, you and your kid can look through the collection and decide which pieces to keep or toss. Or just label the box with the school year and store it. It’s an easy way to keep art organized by child and year without the size limitations of binders or art portfolios.

Archive Your Favorites

For the most important artwork your child brings home, the pieces you’ll want to treasure forever, consider archiving them either digitally or in archive-quality storage to prevent damage over long periods of time. With every phone and tablet featuring a digital camera, it’s easier than ever to create a digital gallery of your child’s best works to share with grandparents and family via email and social media. Alternatively, use one of the many online photo companies to create a bound book, calendar or other sharable collection of keepsake art. Makes a great holiday gift for far-away family!

Recycle and Upcycle

Let’s be honest, not every piece of paper with crayon on it is something you’ll want to save forever. At the end of the school year or perhaps midway, depending on how abundant you child’s work is, take some time to sit with your child and decide which pieces to recycle. Not only will this help with storage space, but this type of decision making can help your child learn that it’s okay to let things go. Keep only what reflects your child’s talent and creativity and get rid of the scribbled coloring book pages. Giving them a say in what stays and goes ensures you don’t accidentally recycle one of your child’s favorite pieces.

For pieces that don’t quite make the gallery or archival cut, consider using them as greeting cards for grandparents or wrapping paper for special presents. Your child will be proud of their art is part of a gift!

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5 Home Decluttering Tips Kids Can Help With

When you’ve got kids, the war on clutter can feel like a losing battle. It accumulates subtly one worksheet or drawing at a time until before you know it, you’re surrounded by school papers.Toys, laundry, books and stuffed animals begin to take over the house. Recruiting your child to help tackle this monster not only reduces your workload but teaches them valuable skills that will keep them organized into adulthood.  

There are also health benefits to be gained from decluttering. According to science, being in a clean, organized space can reduce anxiety, encourage productivity and even boost personal confidence. The whole family benefits!  For children, having a tidy room and play area is calming and helps them focus on one task at a time.

For families short on time but high on clutter, get your kids involved in these 10-minute or less tasks:

1.       Give your child their own inbox. Papers make up a large part of household clutter, especially when it comes it’s school-related. Permission slips, reminders, homework, book orders and more get shuffled into household papers like mail, lists, receipts, and warranties. Get a simple inbox from any office supply store and help your child decorate it to make it a special place for all the papers they bring home. It may take a few reminders but even young children will soon learn to put all their special papers there. Keeping important papers separate and organized is a life-skill everyone can use! For parents, it means no more lost school papers! 

2.       Designate a clutter-free surface in your child’s room. Having a clear, clean space is as important for children as it is for adults. With your child, choose a surface to completely clear, free from anything that isn’t used daily. If the item has a place, have your child put it away. If it doesn’t have a place, help your child choose one. Once the surface is clear, it has to stay that way. Everything must be put away. This surface might be a play area, craft table, desk or even a shelf. Once your child has gotten used to this practice, choose another area to tackle together. 

3.       Get kids involved in laundry duty. Laundry is something that accumulates quickly especially in households with multiple children! Turn dirty laundry pick-up into a game with a race to bring it all to the laundry basket. Doing laundry is its own reward as many kids love pouring soap, pressing buttons and turning dials which is not only fun but helps them feel important. As they get older, they can learn more about taking care of their own clothes and helping with household chores. 

4.       Designate a donation box. Create a special place to keep toys, clothes and books your child doesn’t use until it’s ready for donation to family, friends or local charities. Sit with your child and help them choose toys they don’t play with and books they don’t read that can go to other children to enjoy. Structure a set of guidelines, such as your child can remove anything they regret donating, but must replace it with a different item, the box can never be empty, etc and establish how long before the box is donated, two-weeks or a month is ideal. This not only helps your child focus on the items they truly value but teaches them the skill of learning to let go. They can feel good that another kid will get to enjoy their toys, games and books after they’ve gone.

5.       Make it a game. This is perfect for getting kids involved in the cleaning process. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes and everyone races around trying to put away the most objects. Make rewards small but desirable, like sitting at a special place at the table or choosing a movie for everyone to watch. This engages the whole family in teamwork and decluttering and children from toddlers to teens can participate.

Teaching young children basic organization skills in a fun and engaging way will help them grow into capable adults. Small steps can make a big impact over time. Your child will learn to enjoy clean, clutter-free spaces and you’ll have an extra pair of hands to help out. 

What’s your biggest clutter trap? Do your kids help out with household tasks? Let us know in the comments.

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What to Do with Frozen Fruit Besides Smoothies?

We’ve Got Ideas!

One of the best things about summer is the bountiful summer fruits that are both delicious and nutritious for our kids! If your family is like ours, we love to stock up on fresh fruits and have them on hand for quick, refreshing snacks, as ingredients for light summer cooking and of course, as healthy desserts. However, sometimes we over-buy and just can’t use it up fast enough. But instead of letting it go bad and tossing it out, we try to find creative ways to use it up first, like these delicious frozen treat ideas.

Not only are frozen fruit snacks a fun way to use up extra fruit, but they’re packed with nutrients. Fresh and freshly frozen fruit are excellent sources of important vitamins kids need, like vitamins C, K, E and B-complex. Many fruits are also high in fiber which aids in digestion and helps keep kids regular. Not to mention important minerals like calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium.

Here are some easy ideas for things to do with frozen fruit besides smoothies that kids can help make:

This fun and super simple recipe for Frozen Yogurt Bites from I Heart Naptime can be made in a snap with ingredients you probably already have on hand, fruit and yogurt! Just add your kid’s favorite yogurt to a bowl and add diced fruit. Create any combination you wish! Try coconut yogurt with banana, berry yogurt with fresh raspberries, vanilla yogurt with kiwi; get creative! Make these easy and nutritious little bites in an ice cube tray or try silicone molds in fun shapes like those adorable stars. Or, add toothpicks to create mini popsicles.

If you need to use up fresh bananas and they’re not too overripe, give this nutty chocolate dipped snack a try. Frozen Chocolate Monkey Treats from Taste of Home is a simple 3-ingrediant recipe that kids will love to help make. Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate will make you all feel like you’re at the fair! Kids can get creative with toppings. Try classic chopped nuts, sprinkles, toasted coconut, crushed graham crackers or even crushed pretzels!

For a pure fruit snack that kids will love and is also suitable for special diets, gluten-free, dairy-free Triple Fruit Freeze from Taste of Home is the ticket! This is a great recipe for using up multiple fruits or leftover fruit salad. This recipe calls for kiwi, grapes and blueberries but we imagine you could whip up all kinds of interesting combinations with fruit on hand. Get tropical with pineapple, mango and banana or go all berry with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. The Triple Fruit Freeze is especially nutritious with its diverse ingredients providing lots of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

If you suspect you’re not going to make it through that bunch of bananas or bag of peaches in time, the best thing you can do is wash, slice and freeze fruit before it goes bad. Once prepared, you can use fruit to create an ever-changing variety of healthy treats your kids will love. Of course, If we do ever end up with rotten fruit, we make sure to compost it and return those good nutrients back to the earth!

Do you have ideas of what to do with frozen fruit besides smoothies? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below!

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The New Parents’ Guide to Puree Food for Babies

Feeding time for babies between the ages of 0 and 4-6 months is a fairly straightforward process, nutritious meals of breastmilk or formula throughout the day. But once your infant begins to lose interest in their liquid diet and starts reaching and fussing for food adults and siblings are eating, it’s a whole different story! It’s important not to rush the eating milestone of introducing solid foods as babies’ digestive systems mature at different paces and starting too early could play a part in allergy development. Paying close attention to your little one should give you clues as to when they’re ready to start with puree food for babies.

Typically, most babies are ready to begin solid foods between the ages of 4 and 6 months, but this may not apply to everyone. In addition to showing a strong interest in new foods, your infant should be able to hold his/her head up and sit upright with minimal support. Once they begin staring at your food, waving their arms, and/or making vocalizations while you eat, it’s a good sign they’re ready for some new food experiences.

Parent tip: If your baby is struggling to sleep through the night after the age of 4 months, it may be because they’re hungry. One thing worth a try is to add some rice cereal to the baby’s diet [added to breastmilk or formula milk] and see if the thicker milk helps the baby sleep longer. 

Making the Move to Solid Foods

A good starter food for most infants is rice cereal. It’s fortified with important nutrients and children are rarely allergic to it. It can be thinned down with breast milk or formula to make a thin gruel. In addition to introducing new foods to your child, this is also the start of a whole new learning process for them.

It’s especially important that feeding time is relaxed and peaceful, your baby is well-rested, and you have the time and energy to devote to the somewhat slow and occasionally frustrating task of feeding an infant. Offer your baby several small bites with a soft, silicone spoon. It’s best to start with very short sessions and stop when your baby turns her/his head away or intentionally spits the cereal out rather than drooling it down their chin. Respect when your baby has had enough. You can always try again later.

Timeline Tip

You never want to make a full transition to solid or puree foods in a day or even a week. Your baby will still need breastmilk or formula to meet most of their nutritional requirements until they are gradually weaned to only solid foods. As your baby gets used to eating rice cereal, you can begin thickening it up for a more solid texture. It’s exciting to watch your baby explore a whole new world of foods, but don’t move too fast. After rice cereal, you can introduce other types of cereal such as oat, barley or wheat. To help pinpoint food allergies, it’s important to only introduce one new food at a time and wait until you’re sure your baby isn’t showing any allergy symptoms (gas, diarrhea, cramping, rash, hives, breathing difficulty, vomiting). If they do, remove the food from their diet completely and wait until your baby improves to try something different.

From Cereal To Puree and Beyond! 

Once your infant is comfortable with a variety of cereals, you can begin introducing pureed fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t matter what you start with, try an unseasoned version of something your family will be eating too. Just make sure to wait and see how your baby adjusts to the new food before introducing another. Be patient, soon your baby will be able to enjoy the array of fresh, seasonal fruits and veg, just like everyone else!

Most babies will stay on pureed foods until they’re 8 to 10 months or so when they develop the grasping skills to begin finger foods. While jarred baby food may be convenient, there’s no need to make special or separate meals for baby if you don’t want to. Simply remove a portion before any seasonings are added and set it aside. Babies haven’t developed the taste for salt, added sugar or rich butter, so there’s no need to start them now! These additions and many others could also lead to upset tummies.

Food Safety for Babies

It pays to take extra precautions when dealing with delicate, growing bodies and immune systems.

  •       Toss baby food that has been open for more than 48 hours.
  •       Securely store baby food purees in sealed containers. Miniware Silipods are airtight, the perfect size for purees and can conveniently go from fridge or freezer to the microwave.
  •       Always stir warmed baby food and ensure the temperature is warm, not hot before serving.
  •       Don’t feed your baby directly from a large storage container or jar that you plan to save remaining food in. Bacteria from the baby’s mouth can contaminate leftovers. Instead use small, single serving containers like our Silipods!
  •       Avoid choking hazards like nuts, seeds, hot dogs, popcorn, raisins and hard candies for the first year.
  •       Foods with high allergy risk should be introduced last or avoided. This includes cow’s milk, shellfish, strawberries and nuts/nut butters.

With time and patience, mealtimes will become easier and instead of a battle to keep cereal in their mouths, you can share in the joy of your baby’s new food discoveries.

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3 Healthy Kid Favorite Instant Pot Recipes

Whether you have the technologically advanced Instant Pot or a humble slow cooker, pressure cookers and crockpots having been saving parents time and stress for generations. The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker, meaning it performs several cooking functions, from pressure and slow cooking to steaming veggies and rice. While pressure cooking is great for preparing fast meals, there’s something homey about a delicious meal simmering in the slow cooker for several hours. Regardless of the method you choose, the best part of Instant Pot cooking is you can set it and forget it!

Daily factors can have a big impact on dinnertime and weekday dinners can be especially tough on working parents. There’s always so much to do at the end of the day and not enough time to do it all in. With a little preparation and planning, a healthy, kid-approved family dinner doesn’t have to be a chore at all. Use or modify a few of these favorite Instant Pot recipes and spend the time connecting with your children instead, no pots and pans required!

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese (Working Mother Magazine)

The ultimate winter comfort food with a healthy dose of yummy butternut squash! Kids and adults alike will love this twist on classic mac and cheese. Try cauliflower, broccoli and zucchini for more nutrient-packed add-ins.

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice (Green Healthy Cooking)

Another homestyle favorite that can be easily customized to your family’s preferences, you can make this with brown or white rice, chicken breasts or thighs. Adjust the spices, toss in a few steamed vegetables and you have a hearty, healthy main course.

Instant Pot Chicken Gyros (365 Days of Crockpot)

Kids will love eating flatbread wrapped around tender seasoned chicken which can be dressed to your child’s taste. Cool and creamy tzatziki sauce is a healthy topping that many kids will enjoy. Traditionally served with lettuce and sliced tomato, cucumber and avocado also make yummy, healthy toppings. Bonus, parents can add some extra spice and pair leftover gyros with a glass of beer after the kids go to bed! 

A little advanced meal-planning and an Instant Pot could be the answer to your family dinner prayers! Do you have healthy Instant Pot or slow cooker recipes that your kids love? Share them!