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6 Surprise Foods to Help Toddlers Sleep

No doubt every parent has felt the despair of the overtired toddler. Sometimes they just try so hard not to miss out on anything! Or, maybe you have a rambunctious kid with the go-power of the Energizer Bunny who never sits still. Whichever scenario suits your family, good news! There are natural ways you can ease your toddler into sleep.

Many people are aware that warm milk makes a soothing nighttime sleep aid and herbal tea works well too. Sweeten with a bit of honey to make it more appealing to children. Dehydration can keep kids awake, so a small amount of warm liquid is a good idea. Not too much or you risk interrupting their sleep for bathroom needs! In addition to a small cup of milk or caffeine-free herbal tea, there are also foods known to induce sleepiness in both children and adults. Keep in mind that it takes around an hour for these foods to take full effect, so plan your snacks accordingly!

Figs

Naturally sweet figs make an enjoyable treat that’s nutritious too. High in potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, figs help to relax muscles and provide fiber to keep tummies feeling full.

Bananas

Another kid favorite, bananas are also packed with potassium and magnesium. These natural muscle relaxants create a feeling of calm plus the amino acid tryptophan they contain is processed into serotonin and melatonin, two compounds that promote feelings of happy sleepiness.

Sweet Potato

Delicious sweet potatoes are toddler-approved snacks that are full of nutrients. A warm mash is soothing and good for babies while homemade sweet potato chips or fries are a fun way to feed them to older kids.

Nuts

Almonds and other nuts are high in sleep-inducing nutrients. For a tasty pre-nap snack, whole wheat crackers with nut butter make a good choice. The fiber will keep small stomachs feeling full while the melatonin in the nut butter will make them sleepy.

Cottage Cheese

Double down on relaxing food effects by pairing fruit with cottage cheese. Cottage cheese contains tryptophan which increases serotonin and makes a healthy, filling snack. Add bananas, raspberries or pineapple to naturally sweeten it and take advantage of their bedtime benefits too!

Oatmeal

While traditionally a breakfast food here in America, oatmeal is actually packed with minerals and supplements that promote sleepiness! Rich in natural muscle-relaxers like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium, go easy on sweeteners that may keep kids active. The high fiber content will keep toddlers full until their next mealtime.

These are just a few kid-friendly foods to help toddlers sleep that you can turn to. Experiment to see what works best with your child and what they enjoy. Many fruits, nuts and dairy products offer similar positive effects.

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Fresh Ways to Prepare Spring Produce for Kids

Say goodbye to hearty winter produce and say hello to tender spring veggies! Fresh, seasonable legumes and vegetables can add a bounty of flavor and nutrition to your dinner table and fortunately, it’s easy to prepare spring produce for kids. While your child may not jump for joy at the sight of bok choy and asparagus, spring is also the season for kid-favorites like peas, green beans and carrots.

Look at these three spring produce favorites to discover their benefits to growing bodies and some fresh ideas on how to prepare them:

Carrots

Delicious, sweet carrots provide a host of health benefits thanks to being chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Carrots are high in vitamin A which is good for the eyes and antioxidants which are thought to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. They’re also high in vitamin K, important for bone health, potassium which regulates blood pressure and vitamin B6, which converts food into energy. How’s that for a power food?

Although carrots are great raw as a snack or in salads, there are dozens of healthy and tasty ways to prepare them. Coat them in a bit of olive oil, salt and herbs and roast them in the oven or pan-fry with a touch of maple syrup for a slightly sweet side dish. Create a light and flavorful carrot soup and serve with salad and crusty French bread. Kids love dipping! Carrots are wildly flexible and can stand alone or complement main dishes. You can even make carrot-potato pancakes or carrot cupcakes!

When shopping for carrots, look for firm, bright orange ones of average width. Overly thick carrots may be tough. Avoid wilted or yellowing carrots.

Need carrot recipe ideas? Check out CookingLight’s 70+ Healthy Carrot Recipes.

Peas

There are two main types of peas, the kind that needs shelling and those you eat whole. Garden or green peas are shelled once grown and the peas removed and cooked. Snow peas and sugar-snap peas have edible pods and can be eaten whole. Peas are legumes and are nutritionally unique in the produce department. They’re very low in calories but contain significant amounts of several crucial vitamins and minerals, plus a large amount of fiber – four times as much as in the same amount of carrots!

Peas are one of the best plant-based sources of protein; this plus their high fiber content makes them very filling. Peas are high in vitamin K, vitamin B1, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and zinc. When selecting fresh peas, look for firm, solid green pods and avoid puffy, speckled or yellowing pods. If fresh is not an option, choose frozen peas over canned. Both can contain significant added salt unless marked as low- or reduced-sodium but frozen better retains the texture and flavor of fresh peas.

Peas are another kid-friendly, flexible produce item. Add to cold pasta salad, addto hot pasta dishes and stir-fries, or turned them into a light cream soup.

Feeling fancy? Try some of these Bon Appetit green pea recipes!

Green Beans

Green beans are another kid-friendly spring produce item that’s versatile and easy to prepare. They’re high in fiber and contain protein, as well as vitamins A, C, K, B6 and folic acid. Green beans are also a good source of important minerals like calcium, iron and potassium. There are more than 150 varieties of green beans in the world and they can be found in many cultures and cuisines. Some of the health benefits they provide include prevention of colon cancer, controlling diabetes, promoting healthy bone growth and boosting the immune system.

Instead of just steamed and seasoned, try parmesan-roasted green beans, toss them in apricot glaze with bacon crumbles or lightly coat in olive oil and toss them on the grill! When shopping for fresh green beans, look for brightly colored beans that snap when bent. Avoid rubbery or too-stiff beans and those with visible blemishes or damage.

Try this kid-approved Sesame Green Bean recipe from Yummy Toddler Food.

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Celebrating Women’s Day: Recognizing Achievements of Women and Mothers Everywhere

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a global day of recognition of women’s achievements and to promote gender equality. It wasn’t that long ago in the United States that there was a firm line between “women’s work” and men’s. Thankfully, those lines have blurred and we’re able to acknowledge all the amazing things that women and mothers do and that all of them are worthy of admiration!

At times, being a woman can be hard work, and being a mom, doubly so! Whether you’re home full time with kids, a working mom, a single mom, any kind of mom; we recognize the hard work you do every day to raise healthy, happy kiddos. We’re celebrating Women’s Day and this day is for you!

Designer/founder Ai Su Bonnier created Miniware with her husband Adam the year their son Astor began eating solid foods. They created their eco-friendly, all-natural children’s tableware brand to help young children as they master self-feeding skills. Running a multinational business while being a dedicated mom is quite the juggling act but one that Ai seems to have mastered!

Blessed with a partner who truly believes the equality of sharing both professional and home workloads are the key to a successful relationship, Adam is no stranger to the non-traditional husband role. He gets up early to prepare Astor’s school snacks and drive him to school while Ai recovers from late-night international meetings. Miniware indeed cares about every parent’s well-being and celebrates the independence of women and kids.

Although the days are long and busy, Ai is committed to having dinner with her family every day, a routine they all enjoy. At dinnertime, Astor loves to put on his apron and help Ai with the preparation of simple, healthy meals. They both cherish this time as it not only creates wonderful memories and bonds through cooking but teaches Astor important skills for a healthy life while still feeling like fun!

Despite the busy and sometimes hectic work schedule, Ai has few complaints. It’s a valuable experience for them to build a successful brand and still have the flexibility to do their favorite things, including lots of hands-on parenting time with their joyful sons like volunteering and other outside school activities.

Like most first-time parents, Ai and Adam are learning the best methods of parenting for their son Astor and their family dynamic. The high-pressure lifestyle of running a company just made them more committed to being deeply involved in their son’s fleeting childhood.

Whatever your lifestyle and however you parent, we know you’re just as dedicated to your precious kids and that’s what makes you a great mom!

Happy International Women’s Day from Ai, Adam, and the Miniware Team!

Learn more about celebrating Women’s Day and gender equality issues here.

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Design Talk: How Color Affects Your Baby

When it comes to decorating and designing for babies, color can have a profound effect. It’s a common misconception that babies need bold, highly contrasting colors to recognize shapes and be mentally stimulated, such as black-and-white or primary colors. However, the psychology of color shows that certain hues can affect our moods and even our behavior. For example, advertisers know that red stimulates the appetite, so you’ll often see logos and advertisements for food brands rich in this color. Red is an energizing color so needless to say it’s not a good overall choice for a nursery or toddler’s room! What babies and young children need is a soothing sense of security and calming atmosphere in which to grow and learn. 

Miniware’s Swedish lead designer Adam Bonnier follows Scandinavian design theory which integrates children’s spaces and playthings into main living areas and creates harmonious spaces through modern design and the use of soft and light colors. You can see a beautiful example here in this house from the Swedish Design Museum’s Home Viewing Exhibition.

Beautiful Backdrops

Dishware is more than just a surface upon which to eat food. Its secondary function, a very important one, is to attractively frame and enhance the beauty of our meals. Our collection of Miniware celebrates the clean, modern style of Swedish design and its muted color palette. We selected colors that would be pleasing for baby and non-distracting, so they can focus on food at mealtime, not tableware. Bright colors are over-stimulating and eating should be done in a calm environment. Since color affects your baby’s mood, we chose kid-friendly hues created from all-natural pigments to keep them happy, calm, and healthy. We selected natural and serene support colors as the basis of our tableware. Each color provides a lovely background for food, increasing plate-appeal without over-stimulating babies and young children. 

White is a popular dishware color because it provides a perfect backdrop for beautiful food platings. Our Vanilla color is a softer, more calming version of this classic dish color. Our colored PLA is designed with diversified hues to adapt to the baby’s moods and behavior. Go to our shop to discover our colored collections.

Warm Colors

Warm colors tend to reflect comfort, happiness, enthusiasm, and energy.

Often associated with femininity, Pink color elicits also tenderness, softness, innocence, and empathy and creates a calmer and more sensitive feeling. Miniware’s Cotton Candy tableware reminds of the love and warmth of the mother and will help foster positive and supportive learning in a calming atmosphere. Cotton candy plates and bowls are both pleasing to the eye and mood. Many people find pastel pink soothing as well as joyous. 

Based on earthy colors, and halfway between the brown color and a darker orange, the Toffee color promotes a welcoming and friendly feeling which increases the desire to interact with the environment. It creates a super-cozy atmosphere that puts reservations at ease encouraging your child to feel safe to explore and learn.

Cool Colors

Cool colors tend to be calming, relaxing. They are the colors of water, of nature, and promotes usually a serene and calming environment.

Blue colors evokes the vastness of the sea and the sky and stimulate a cool and relaxing environment by calming the mind and lowering blood pressure and respiration which decrease the feelings of anxiety and restlessness.

Miniware’s lighter light blue series, with the original aqua silicone parts, like the gradient of nature, make people feel tranquil and peaceful, and help stabilize the baby’s personality. The healing power of the blue will let your child learn to eat independently while making food look delicious.

Gray and green colors are both down-to-earth tone. Gray inspires wisdom. Green represents freshness and nature and thus promotes a serene and calming environment. It is associated with stability and trust. Their combination is soothing, yet alert and wakeful.

The mix and match between grey, blue and green helps your baby to reducing anxiety and promoting concentration to develop the fine-motor skills and move towards the next development milestone.

Fun Colors That Soothe

While our Miniware basics adhere to the guidelines above, our accessories come in an array of playful pastel colors that bring a joyful feeling to the table. Delightfully happy colors that kids love like peach, lavender, pink, and aqua make both design and baby’s food pop. Everything works together for a lovely, peaceful, and harmonious table setting.

When it comes to sleeping and eating, a calm, peaceful environment is best. By selecting soothing colors, you can help foster certain moods in your kids. Bright, energetic colors are best for the playroom while muted pastel colors encourage a low-key, harmonious experience. Of course, color preferences don’t apply to everyone. By taking a moment to observe how different colors affect your baby, you can better use color theory to set the desired mood in all of the baby’s spaces.

Want another peek into beautiful and stylish Swedish homes? Check out this amazing online gallery from the Swedish Design Museum and see modern design and color theory at work!

What colors do your kids love? Have you noticed how color affects your baby? Share your experience on our Instagram!

Discover our new colored PLA