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Milestones: Master Sipping with Baby Food Smoothies

One fun way to get your kids their full servings of fruit and veggies is through delicious baby-friendly smoothies. Smoothies aren’t just nutritious and easy to make but can also be a fun activity to share with your little ones. Children love being involved in the kitchen and set up is easy. All you need is a blender, juice plus fresh fruits and vegetables.

For very small children like toddlers who are new to self-feeding making a smoothie is a good opportunity to experience new tastes and food textures. They can experience small bites of fresh ingredients and then all together in a blended masterpiece. You can also use your ingredients to teach them about both color and nutrition, explaining that it’s important to eat different colored produce every day for a healthy body. Older kids can learn to associate different colors with different body parts (red helps our heart, orange helps our eyes and skin and green is healthy for our whole bodies for example).

Baby Food Smoothies Offer Wonderful Benefits

– Great way to introduce new foods to baby.
– Increased nutrient absorption and improved digestion.
– A healthy way to get vegetables into picky eaters.
– Smoothies are great on the go!
– A fun project to do with your child

For new self-feeders, baby food smoothies are a yummy way to experience sipping and using a straw. A completely different technique than scooping purees, smoothies can help encourage proper sipping and sucking as they learn about timing, pressure and other refined eating skills.

To start, we suggest using a cup with a secure base to keep it in place as your child learns. This will prevent knock-over spills and your child spilling smoothie on their clothing. A lid will also prevent a further mess. Soft silicone straws are preferred for babies and young children and stainless steel is a green alternative to plastic straws suitable for both adults and kids

We suggest using our 1-2-3 Sip!, which is designed for little hands! 

Smoothies are also a great way to get nutritious fruit and vegetables into picky eaters. Who can resist a cold, sweet smoothie?

Quick Guidelines: 
Baby food smoothies can be made with any ingredients you like, but if you need a starting place here’s how to get started:

1. Choose a juice or milk. Apple is a good juice to start with and any type of milk will suffice, dairy, soy, almond, whatever your pleasure.
2. Add some fruit. Nutritious fruits like mango, papaya, blueberries, avocado, and bananas are healthy, kid-friendly choices. You can use fresh, frozen, or a mix of the two.
3. Select your veggies. If your child is new to smoothies, start with mild vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, carrots or celery. Later you can introduce the good leafy greens that many kids don’t like on their own such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, or beet greens.
4. Blend! You can add more liquid if your child prefers a thinner smoothie or add some ice or frozen yogurt cubes for a thicker “milkshake” effect. 

Smoothie tips:

1. Add the liquid first for the easiest blend.
2. Start on the lowest setting and then increase the speed.
3. Frozen greens offer the same great nutrients but tasteless “green.” Wash and thoroughly dry your own greens and place them in freezer bags if your child objects to the taste of fresh. 
4. Create your smoothie combinations in bulk then bag and freeze for simple one-step smoothies later.
5. Use muffin tins or ice cube trays to freeze smoothie add-ins like yogurt or juice cubes to add to your prepared smoothie combos.

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6 Reasons You (and Your Mini) Will Love Our GrowBento

GrowBento is a mix-and-match food container system that makes eating fun for kids and meal prep easy for parents. It’s durable, flexible nature makes it perfect for kids of all ages, from babies just starting pureed food to school-age children who need a versatile lunch box. Parents may want to borrow GrowBento too. Its modern design and smart size are perfect for workplace lunches!

GrowBento features an easy-open stainless steel lunch box and four food-grade silicone containers called “silipods.” Silipods are removable, leak-proof silicone storage compartments designed to perfectly fit within the GrowBento shell. 

Why is GrowBento the best portable food storage system on the market? 

1. GrowBento and the included silipods are durable and can replace many disposable or short-lifecycle plastic products. 

2. GrowBento is a versatile and long-lasting system that works for kids through many development periods, from learning self-feeding to learning to pack their own lunches. 

3. The simple, modern design was created with kids in mind, easy to grasp and open.

4. Silipods make GrowBento a flexible system. Configure GrowBento uniquely for each  meal. 

5. Food-safe, durable, eco-friendly materials fit into today’s healthy, environmentally-conscious parenting lifestyle.

6. GrowBento’s clean, modern design appeals to both kids and parents. 

One System from Infant to School-Age

Instead of countless short-life small-portioned baby food products, silipods are perfectly sized for pureed food and snacks. Water-tight silipods are safe to use directly from the freezer to the microwave or oven and perfect for adding soups, sauces and other fluid foods to a meal. Silipods keep foods secure and separate.

For school-age kids who need a lunchbox, the steel GrowBento box is large enough to contain a complete meal. 

A Versatile Layout Creates a True Dining Experience in a Box

GrowBento allows parents to tailor the configuration of Silipods to best suit the meal they are preparing. Portable, leak-proof silipods can be used as insulated compartments or as extra lunch containers. Pack GrowBento’s stainless steel body with ice- or heat-packs to enhance food anywhere.

Specific Design Features for Kids

GrowBento is designed with kids in mind. The rounded edges and large grab corners for easy open/close are safe and simple for kids to use. 

Non-Toxic and Highly Durable Materials 

Stainless steel and food grade silicone both are non-toxic and high in durability. 

The GrowBento system is made with healthy, low-impact, eco-friendly materials that are good both for children and the earth.

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4 No Sugar, Eco-Friendly Valentines Ideas for Kids

When it comes to classroom valentines, many schools have a “no sugar” policy that rules out traditional store-bought candy hearts and chocolates. Not only is this healthier for children but it can inspire them to be more creative when it comes to creating Valentine’s Day gifts for their classmates and friends. Even if your child’s school isn’t sugar-free this year, Valentine’s Day produces a ton of waste from candy wrappers and paper cards. 

This year help your kid create eco-friendly valentines the whole class will love, and teachers too!

Here are 4 clever ideas:

Painted Rocks

This art project is perfect if you’ve got a little collector on your hands. If your child loves to pick up little rocks, shells and other gifts from nature, consider giving out small decorated rocks this year. Unlike cards that get thrown away, plenty of kids will hold on to their special rock, possibly for years! It’s something personal and fun that’s unique for every child. Teachers like painted rocks too! No paint? Try googly eyes.

Seed Valentines

This idea makes for a fun afternoon art project you can do with your kids. Help them make envelopes to hold seed packets, any flower or vegetable you choose. The envelopes can be made with recycled paper (only one side must be blank, the print can remain on the inside) or other paper you have on hand, then seal with glue, tape or staples. Your kid will enjoy placing the seeds inside and decorating the envelopes while the classmates who receive them will love planting the seeds and watching them grow!

Biodegradable Paper Seed Hearts

These recycled paper hearts are packed with wildflower seeds and make beautiful and fun valentines. Many sellers on Etsy make them and they can be purchased quite affordably. If you’re feeling crafty, you can even help your child make their own. Get the instructions here. Your kid can affix these hearts to a small handmade card that holds their Valentine’s Day message and instructions on how to plant them. 

Teacher Gift Idea – Live Plants

During the three weeks leading up Valentine’s Day, hundreds of cargo planes carrying flowers from warmer climates scurry to meet America’s demand for roses and floral bouquets. The International Council on Clean Transportation estimated that those three weeks of flower delivery flights emit approximately 360,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Whoa! Forget about cut flowers and instead present your child’s teacher with a beautiful and much more eco-friendly valentine, a live plant!

Your local nursery has dozens of affordable options, even for those without a green thumb. Air plants and succulents require very little water and attention and make fun, unique gifts. Your kid will love looking through the plants to find the special one for their favorite teacher!

Once your child has completed their valentines, you can easily pack them in your Miniware GrowBento Box so they make it to school in perfect condition!

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Customer Favorite Spotlight: GrowBento, the All Ages, Eco-Friendly Bento Box

We designed Miniware’s GrowBento Box for people like us, eco-conscious parents with growing minis who’re always on the go! We wanted a more versatile food container that was both durable and flexible enough to support all growth stages. It had to be easy to clean and able to securely hold a variety of foods while keeping things fresh and not soggy. It had to be kid-friendly and help with natural self-feeding development. Plus, it was important to us that it be made with low impact, eco-friendly materials. Seeing nothing that met our needs as parents on the market already, that’s how GrowBento was born! It’s our answer to short-lifespan plastic food containers, bento, and lunch boxes.

With a beautiful and long-lasting stainless-steel shell and accompanying 100% food-grade silicone Silipod inserts, GrowBento can handle every stage of your child’s self-feeding development, from purees to school lunches. Both freezer and microwave safe, Silipods are perfect for storing and then warming purees. When traveling, insert puree filled Silipods into the GrowBento Box and use the extra space for wipes, bibs and our silicone Teething Spoon Set or whatever accessories you need. Hand wash or toss Silipods in the upper rack of your dishwasher to clean.

As your mini grows, GrowBento can handle finger foods too. The soft silicone expands making it easy for little fingers to practice pinching, scooping and picking up snacks. Add sauces to leak-proof Silipods for a fun dipping experience.

For children attending camp, school or daycare, you can pack an endless variety of healthy snacks and meals; soup and sandwiches, hummus and veggies, fresh fruit and yogurt. With four accompanying Silipods, the interior of GrowBento is completely customizable.  Silipods aren’t just great for making awesome lunch and snack combinations, they’re good for portion control too.

Unlike brightly colored, cartoon printed boxes, GrowBento has a clean, modern look that your child will never outgrow. This stainless steel bento box fits into any decor. GrowBento Boxes are so flexible for dining on the go, they make great lunch boxes for moms and dads too!

It’s no wonder it’s our customer’s favorite, eco-friendly bento box!

Why we love it:

Perfect for all ages from infants to school-age children and even adults.

Easy-clean compartments make mix-and-match healthy meals a breeze.

Long-lasting, sturdy materials withstand rigors of school, field trips and more.

Easy-clean compartments are dishwasher-, freezer- and microwave-safe.

Healthy FDA & LFGB approved, eco-friendly materials are good for kiddos and the earth.

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Clever Ways to Reduce Household Waste: Shop Smart for Low-Packaging Products

One of the best ways to reduce household waste is to eliminate it before you bring it home. Many people make the effort to reduce single-use products, a major source of solid waste. We bring our own straws and spoons, avoid plastic bottles and carry our own shopping bags. However, one area that is easily overlooked is packaging, the ultimate single-use product. Once we unbox or unwrap a product, the packaging is discarded. 

Excessive packaging has become commonplace, especially in this age of rapid-delivery retail. According to the EPA, packaging and containers make up nearly 30% of municipal solid waste and only a fraction of these products are recycled.  

Plastic packaging in particular is one of the highest generated types of packaging yet the least recycled. China, a leading recycler of US waste products, recently banned the import of any international plastic waste to protect its own environment and people’s health. By choosing low- or no-packaging products for your home, you’re making a conscious choice to lessen the impact your family has on the environment as well as rewarding companies who are being proactive about implementing earth-friendly practices.

Here are some quick ways to reduce household waste in your family through smart shopping:

1.       Carry reusable shopping bags for loose produce. Whether you’re at the supermarket or the farmer’s market, there’s no need to separate produce into small plastic bags or bubble packs. Larger produce is fine on its own in a cloth shopping bag and smaller, loose products can be bundled together (think long beans). When purchasing herbs, opt for loose bunches and avoid plastic clamshell-packed brands. Many Asian groceries bundle small produce in leaves to reduce waste! Forgot your bags? Try to limit your purchase to what you can carry or get creative and create a makeshift container from a hat, sweatshirt or jacket. If all else fails, opt for plain paper bags which can most easily be composted or recycled. 

2.       Choose packaging-free products whenever possible. Be mindful of products that come with excessive packaging. If one brand’s product comes in a box or plastic shell while another’s is displayed without packaging, opt for the one with minimal or no packaging. Keep an eye out for brands with “zero-waste packaging” standards or Amazon’s “frustration-free packaging.” Shopping for quality secondhand goods is a great way to save money and reduce packaging waste! 

If you can’t avoid unnecessary packaging, look for items packaged in a single, non-shiny material such as plain cardboard. Combined materials such as shiny paper boxes and gift bags, or plastic shells with film applied require special processing to recycle and often end up in our landfills instead.

3.       Shop smart, even online. When reviewing product details on Amazon or other online retail sites, make a note to check the product packaging notes. Also, combine your products into as few shipments as possible when the option is available to reduce cardboard and shipping waste. Better yet, buy locally and eliminate shipping waste altogether!

4.       Make your voice and choice heard. If you purchase a product online that arrives in excessive packaging, let the manufacturer and retailer know. Send the seller a note and let them know you disapprove of their wastefulness and will choose another brand next time.