Category Archives: Food & Nutrition

Find your Baby’s Estimated Due Date and Prepare for What’s Ahead

Calculating your baby’s estimated due date is simple. Just use the start of your last menstrual cycle as your starting point, add 40 weeks to it, and there you have it!

Knowing your baby’s estimated due date can help you plan for your new little one. However, it is important to prepare yourself for the unexpected. It is very rare for a baby to be born on their exact due date.

The journey of parenthood typically begins the moment you find out about your pregnancy either from a doctor or two little lines on a pregnancy test. When this happens, a flurry of questions may come up such as the all time favorite, “When is the baby due,” or even “What do I do now?” Knowing your baby’s estimated due date will help you better prepare for the journey that awaits you.

Parents with multiple children can especially agree that you cannot be one hundred percent prepared for everything that can possibly happen. The important thing is to do what it takes to prepare yourself as much as possible so you’ll have a smooth sailing pregnancy.

Here are a few things to consider during your first month of pregnancy:

  • Double check that you are really pregnant by taking a second or even third pregnancy test
  • Ask your healthcare provider for information on how you can maintain top notch health for you and the development of your baby.
  • Start taking prenatal vitamins
  • Read books, books, and more books on pregnancy
  • Maintain healthy habits and nutrition
  • Take cute belly pictures
  • Quit smoking & drinking
  • Research morning sickness remedies such as ginger or acupressure bands
  • Find resources for potential baby names such as books and websites. Check this out for starters! 
  • Speak with your healthcare provider about any medications you may be taking
  • Drink lots of water! Incase you’re having trouble with this, here are other ways you can stay hydrated. 
  • Learn relaxation techniques to reduce stress

These are just a few items to help you better prepare during your first month of pregnancy. Also, building a strong support system of friends and family will make sure this life changing journey will be full of joy and excitement.

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For You And Your Baby

breastfeeding
There is no doubt that choosing to breastfeed is a smart decision. Let’s take a look at the benefits it brings to you and your baby.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and numerous experts in childcare recommend to breastfeed children exclusively for at least first 6 months of life. Breastfeeding provides many benefits not only to the baby, but also to the breastfeeding mother. Choosing to breastfeed means you will have:

  • Healthier baby. Breast milk carries all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of her life, and it is packed with disease-fighting immunities that protect your baby from illnesses, including childhood cancers.
  • Healthier you. Breastfeeding can reduce your risk of certain cancers. Studies have shown that women are protected against breast and ovarian cancer when they breastfeed for an extended period of time.
  • Healthier weight. You can burn from 300 – 500 calories a day, depending on how often you breastfeed, which helps you to shed the ‘baby weight’ faster. At the same time, breastfeeding may protect your child from obesity. Babies learn to eat until their hunger is satisfied, which leads to better eating habits.
  • Quality time with baby. Nothing else helps to bond better with your newborn than the time you spend together while breastfeeding. The child feels comfortable in your arms, where she can feel your smell and hear your voice. It also reduces the severity of postpartum depression, if any.
  • Convenience. When you choose to breastfeed your child, you are also saving your household quite a bit of money – several thousands per year, in fact. Breast milk is always available to a baby, and does not need to be heated up or prepared in any way.

Experts recommend starting to breastfeed within the first hour after your baby is born, if possible. To learn about breastfeeding diet, read here about what not to eat while breastfeeding, and here for what to eat.

Fall Vegetables That Should Be On Your Table Now

A box full of fall vegetables
The fall is here, and it is a perfect excuse to switch up your regular menu and try more of fall vegetables. They are full of vitamins and nutrients that will help you transition between seasons. We picked five veggies that are easy to cook and we hope they make it to your table right this week!

  1. Pumpkins, of course. They’re full of antioxidants, vitamin A and C, fiber, potassium and zinc. It’s easy to make pumpkin soup, as well as roasted pumpkin, or hummus. And don’t forget that pumpkin seeds make a healthy and delicious snack.
  2. Potatoes and yams. Forget French fries – your potatoes can be way healthier. Try them mashed, add them to your chicken soup instead of pasta, or eat them boiled with with garlic, dill and just a bit of butter. Potatoes and yams are rich in vitamin B6, potassium, and antioxidants.
  3. Kale yeah! Long dubbed as superfood, kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods. Kale keeps the nutrients and tastes best when steamed for 5 minutes. Kale chips are equally easy to make and they might be more ‘fun’ for the kids.
  4. Beets. Not only they taste good, but they have long known to be nature’s cleanse for liver. Kids usually like beets for their bright color. They are great in salads, such as arugula-beet-gorgonzola salad. Russians make famous borscht soup with beets which in fact is not too hard to make.
  5. Eggplants. Who can say no to brain food? That’s exactly what eggplants are. They are easy to grill, fry, and bake. Eggplants go great with garlic and parmesan cheese.

Breast Milk 101: Five Foods Every Breastfeeding Mother Should Eat

baby-729365_640
Humans have been breastfeeding for millions of years, and there is no doubt about the advantages of breast milk. Not only brings it nutrition to the baby, but also strengthens its immune system and helps fight off diseases. According to recent research, mother’s breast milk changes every day in agreement with baby’s needs.

We wrote previously what foods should be avoided when a woman is breastfeeding, and today we are listing top five foods that are beneficial to a breastfeeding mom.

  • Water – Many breastfeeding women complain about increased thirst. Choose water over any other liquid to stay hydrated.
  • Fruits and vegetables – these will provide extra hydration as well as vitamins, nutrients and fiber. Watch if your baby has an allergic reaction when you eat such fruits as strawberries, kiwis, and citrus fruit.
  • Protein – this should be eaten 2-3 times a day and can include meat, fish, eggs, beans, dairy, and nuts.
  • Multivitamin – most often breastfeeding mothers are recommended to continue with their prenatal vitamin for at least a month after giving birth, and then switch to a regular multivitamin. Consult with your doctor for choosing the best one.
  • Foods that boost milk production – certain foods are rumored or proven to help increase milk supply. Such foods include garlic, oats, fennel, anise tea, and sesame seeds.

Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding women do not need to eat significantly more. Doctors recommend adding about 500 calories for lactating women. Listen to your body and watch your baby’s reaction to foods to determine the best diet for yourself.

How To Make Lunch Fun (And Healthy) Even For Picky Eaters

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/voedingscentrum

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/voedingscentrum

Have a picky eater who wouldn’t eat a thing? A lot of parents worry about their children’s eating habits. The time when it’s necessary to pack lunch for school can become terrifying.

If this sounds too familiar to you, get a bento lunch box and spend some time on Pinterest looking for food packing designs. Result? Your child will be coming back home with an empty box even if you sneak in some food she does not usually eat.

The secret is in its visual look that appeals to most kids. Packing bento lunches has become so popular that there are now many Instagram accounts solely devoted to the art of packing a bento box for kids.

To get started, you will need a leak-proof box, some small cookie cutters, and the healthy food you want to pack. This link has some easy ideas on how to get started. Really, with bento boxes, there is no limit to possible designs, and it’s a great way to have your kids eat healthy food.

Your Breakfast Plan For The Week With Cooking Time of 5 Minutes Or Less

It’s time to go back to school! As the whole family is adjusting to the change, what to make for breakfast should be the least of your worries. Here is our plan for a healthy and super easy week in breakfasts.
Monday Everyone needs some encouragement on Mondays! Start your week with crunchy apples and peanut or almond butter.
apple
Tuesday No cooking day! Take a yoghurt from the fridge a little earlier if your kid likes warmer food in the AM, and add fruit, chia seeds and a bit of honey.
yoghurt
Wednesday Make Weetabix fun! Let in float in the milk of your choice, or spread jam on top.
weetabix
Thursday Make a quick omelet with egg whites, bell peppers, tomatoes, cheese and chicken.
omlet
Friday For Friday or any other day your kids don’t feel like eating, trick them into having some juice instead or make your own smoothie.
smoothie

How To Stay Hydrated In The Summer When You Can’t Drink Any More Water

Summer drinks on the table
Summer is here. Finally. You’ve probably heard it on the news about people suffering from heat in Europe and Southeast Asia. To avoid the risk of heat stroke, the number one thing you have to do in the summer is stay hydrated. But what else can you drink besides – sigh – water?
Well, in fact, there are things you can eat to be hydrated. Many fruits and vegetables contain over 90% water and will be a flavorful snack that will keep you and your kids hydrated. The best hydrating fruits and vegetables are:

  • cucumbers (96% water)
  • watermelon (92% water)
  • celery (95% water)
  • strawberries (92% water)
  • lettuce (96% water)

If you still prefer to drink liquids to stay hydrated, you have a lot of choices. For infants, if you baby is under 6 months, she really only needs milk or formula. For older kids and adults, you can try these:

  • skim or fat free milk (especially great after exercise or being active)
  • coconut water (low in carbs, high in potassium)
  • sports drinks (extra electrolytes and protein)
  • smoothies and juices (add some chia seeds to retain water)

Besides staying hydrated, make sure you and your kids are also staying cool by creating shade, wearing protective clothes, and avoiding sun as much as possible when it’s at its peak.

Five Fruits You Must Give Your Kids This Summer

Most people feel they do not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Well, summer is the perfect time to change that. Take advantage of seasonal fruits and offer two to your children with every meal. Not only your kids will have a chance to learn new words, colors and flavors, but it is also good for their health. Let’s take a look at these five seasonal favorites and why they are good for everyone.

Blueberries – packed with antioxidants, they are the best your kids’ nervous system and brain can have

Cherries – these berries improve body’s circadian rhythms and will help your baby sleep better

Figs – high in potassium and fiber, figs are good for your children’s blood and digestive system

Raspberries – rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, raspberries lower risk of chronic diseases and improve immune system

Watermelon – consisting of over 90% water, watermelon brings excellent hydration and lycopene that is good for your kid’s cardiovascular system

You Are What You Eat: Four Rules For Healthy Lifestyle During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a special time for any woman, and it is natural for a future mother to be concerned whether or not she is providing the best care for her unborn child. Often times, these concerns involve a woman’s diet during pregnancy and her lifestyle in general.
‘Now that you’re pregnant, you should eat for two’. We all have heard this saying. But is it true?
‘You should not do this when you’re pregnant’. Most of us have heard something like that as well. But remember, pregnancy only qualifies as a ‘disability’ in the HR office.
Let’s take a closer look at some rules to follow when you are expecting a baby:

  1. Do not pack on calories. Your baby is really small and does not require another 2,000 calories, which is a typical diet for an adult. In fact, you should add only about 300 calories to your everyday diet when you become pregnant.
  2. If you haven’t been eating healthy, it is the best time to start it. This means eating more fruits and vegetables, and choosing lighter, leaner meats. Skip sushi, coffee, soda, and alcohol. Add a good prenatal vitamin.
  3. Do not forget to exercise. Spend at least 30 minutes a day outside, preferably walking. Not only exercise helps you stay in better shape, it also provides a boost of endorphins, which will make you a happier mom-to-be.
  4. Do not compare your weight to that of your pregnant girlfriends. Did you know that the amount of weight you should gain depends on your body mass index before pregnancy? According to the Institute of Medicine, for women who were underweight before pregnancy, 28-40 lbs weight gain is considered healthy. Moms with normal weight pre-pregnancy are recommended to gain 25-35 lbs. Overweight women are okay to gain 15-25 lbs, while obese women should aim for 11-20 lbs.

There are many resources a pregnant woman can consult on keeping a healthy lifestyle, including doctors and online resources. We recommend exercising common sense and good judgment when listening to advice, and doing good homework when learning something new.

What Drinks Are Okay for a Baby?

From water to alcoholic drinks adults can enjoy a variety of drinks suited for different moods and different occasions. When it comes down to children, it is important to know that there are restrictions based on a child’s age that will help you understand whether or not a drink is suitable for your child. So make yourself a cup of tea and get yourself familiar with recommended – and not recommended – drinks for children:

  • Breastmilk: This is essentially the only liquid your child will need from birth until at least six months of age. It is recommended to breastfeed the baby for a year or longer if desired.
  • Water: You can choose whether or not to give your child water before she is six months. If you decide to do so, it will not harm the baby. After six months, you should offer water to your child. You can start teaching your baby to drink water from the sippy cup around 6-8 months.
  • Cow’s milk: Cow’s milk and powdered milk is not recommended for babies under 12 months of age. Children are usually not able to properly digest it before that age. Cow’s milk can make your child anemic or hurt her kidneys.
  • Infant formula: This is a substitute for breastmilk. It should be given to a baby until she is one year old. After that, there is no need for formula – the baby should make a transition to solid foods.
  • Tea: Caffeinated teas should not be given to infants or toddlers. You can offer your child some unsweetened herbal tea after six months of age to help with colics. Caraway, chamomile, fennel and dill are the best choices for an under a year old.
  • Juice: Since juices contain sugars, they are not recommended for children because they contain unnecessary calories and can cause teeth decay. If you wish to offer juice to your child who is over six months old, dilute it with at least 50% water. Offer it at meal times (not as a snack) and from a sippy cup.
  • Soda: Packed with caffeine and empty calories, soda drinks should not be given to infants or toddlers.
  • Coffee: It is not recommended to give coffee to infants or toddlers. Caffeine is not recommended until at least the age of 10.