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Quinoa Bocconcini Salad


3/4 cup quinoa

1.5 cups water

1 cup diced zucchini

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup thawed frozen baby peas

1 cup diced red pepper

1/2 cup diced yellow or orange pepper

4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

2 Tbsp chopped oregano (or 2 tsp dried oregano)

1 tsp minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup mini bocconcini cheese

1) Cook Quinoa: Rinse quinoa in a strainer. Bring to a boil with the water in a saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to simmer, cooking for 10 more minutes. Turn heat off and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

2) Mix together zucchini, tomato, red onion, peas, red and yellow peppers in a large bowl.

3) Mix dressing: whisk vinegar, olive oil, mustard, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper together in a small bowl.

4) Pour dressing over veggies. Add quinoa and bocconcini and mix.

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Dissecting Organics

There are many reasons why you may choose to buy organic food. Maybe you believe it is healthier, more environmentally friendly. I often think organics simply taste better, although blind tests prove

this is not actually true. I’ve been reading and learning more about the organic industry lately, and most of this new-to-me information is disappointing. It would be fantastic if buying organic lead to pesticide-free, more nutrient-dense food that had less of an environmental impact on the environment and could still feed the world. However I’m not so sure that is the case.

 

Are Organics Pesticide-Free?

 

I have always promoted organics for pregnant women and small children, to decrease pesticide exposure. I was surprised to learn that organic production is NOT pesticide-free. The pesticides used just must be naturally derived rather than synthetically produced. (Here’s a list of allowed natural pesticides in organic food production in the US.) Natural...

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Turkey Chili

When meal planning, it's a great idea to cook the main protein in bulk, and use it in a variety of recipes throughout the week. Saves so much time! One of my favourite cookbooks that uses this concept is Robin Millers Quick Fix Meals. The Turkey Chili recipe below makes a huge batch and  is great on it's own. Or adapt leftovers to make the cookbook's turkey lasagna, burritos and flauta recipes!

Turkey Chili (from Quick Fix Meals by Robin Miller, pg 128)

4 tsp olive oil, divided

2 pounds ground turkey breast

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

¼ cup chili powder

2 Tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp dried oregano

2 Bay leaves

½ tsp salt

½ tsp crushed red peppers

two 28oz cans diced tomatoes

3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

two 8oz can tomato sauce

two 15 oz cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

two 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed drained.

Garnishes: shredded cheese. Sour cream, green onions

1)    Heat 2...

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Delayed Cord Clamping

At starting solids classes I always get questions about when to start solids and concern with iron levels. It's true that the most important nutrient your baby needs from food after 6 months of age is iron. Their stores from before birth run out at around 6 months of age, and iron is important for both physical and mental development. But did you know that there's something you can do during the birth that will positively or negatively affect your baby's iron stores for months? Delayed umbilical cord clamping. While iron levels are easy to check with a blood test, I would be less concerned about a baby slow to take to solids who had delayed cord clamping, as they have been shown to have higher iron levels.

What is delayed cord clamping? Leaving the umbilical cord attached to the placenta until it stops pulsing, which takes about 3-7 minutes (1). Depending on your doctor, many clamp the baby's umbilical cord within 30 seconds (midwives practice delayed clamping). The...

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Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies

Thanks for Ashlee from Indulgence at Home Personal Chef for this recipe! Great for the lunch box.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Chickpeas- adapted from cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
¾ C. brown sugar or coconut sugar
¾ C. butter or coconut oil
2 egg whites or 1 egg
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 C. whole wheat flour or gluten free all-purpose flour
½ C. old fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ C. nuts (optional)
¾ C. raisins (optional)

 

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray or
parchment paper.
2. In a stand mixer, beat sugar and butter or coconut oil until smooth.
3. Beat in egg whites (or 1 egg), vanilla and chickpeas. Mix to your liking for the chickpea
consistency.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together: flour, oats, baking soda and salt.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix...

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After School Snacks

Does your child come home from school hungry? Mine often does. Sometimes his lunch kit comes home empty and other times it’s only half consumed. I will often offer him any veggie, fruit or grain (like muffin) hasn’t  been eaten from his lunch kit first. No use in throwing them out! If it’s a yogurt or perishable sandwich that comes home, unfortunately that needs to go straight to the garbage, as it’s likely gone bad sitting in a warm backpack all day.

After school snack is a GREAT time to get in veggies. They won’t ruin your child’s appetite for dinner, and since your child is quite hungry after school they will be more likely to eat foods they would usually turn down. Slice some veggies and serve with a bean dip. Or one of my childhood favourites was ‘ants on a log’: celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins. Since so many schools are nut-free, offer your child nuts and nut butter at home, as they are so...

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When to Start Solids

I’m often surprised by at hearing from moms that their under 4 month-old baby has started solids. Sometimes it’s even under doctor recommendation! How I would love to give some health professionals an update on infant nutrition more recent than 1982….. Anyways, many parents are eager to start solids too young. Common excuses include “my baby is too big” (but…. Breast milk is more calorie-dense than most solids!). Or at the other end of the spectrum “My baby is too small” (but again…. Breast milk is more calorie-dense than most solids!).

So when should you start your baby on solids? There are lots of things to consider. While official guidelines have changed over the years, the current guideline in Canada is to start solids at about 6 months of age. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until 6 months to protect your baby from GI and respiratory infections. But besides just age, it’s also important to look for...

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Introducing Dairy to Baby

The newest guidelines reviewing when to introduce allergens to babies suggest that all foods – including dairy- can be introduced at 6 months. There’s no greater risk that your child will develop an allergy if you introduce a food at 6 months instead of 12 months (and actually earlier might be better!). I recommend starting dairy with plain full fat yogurt. You can mix in a fruit puree for flavour, if you like. Then grated cheese that your child can pick up on his own. Followed by full fat cows milk. However for fluid milk, It IS recommended to wait to feed your baby cows milk as their main milk source until they are 9-12 months old. This isn’t related to allergy, but to iron status. Cows milk is low in iron, and can inhibit iron absorption.

So when can you introduce milk as a main milk source for your baby? Is 9 months better, or 12 months? It depends on how much they eat. Do you have a baby that eats plenty of solids and gets lots of iron from their diet? Then...

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Gagging vs Choking

Watch my video discussing how to prevent gagging and choking here:

When introducing lumpy pureeds or finger foods to their baby, many parents are afraid of choking. Especially if their baby has a sensitive gag reflex and makes those awful gagging noises every time they eat! However, it’s important to know that gagging isn’t the same thing as choking. Gagging is normal and it’s not dangerous, just bringing up the food to chew some more before it goes back down! Gagging is a part of the learning to eat process for many infants. With choking on the other hand, your baby won’t be making any noise (so those gagging sounds are actually a good thing!), as their air pipe is blocked. They will turn blue and can’t breathe. This is why it’s important to know infant CPR, always watch your baby while they eat, and avoid choking hazards

Choking hazards for kids less than 4 years old include popcorn, full peanuts or nuts, seeds, fish with bones, hard candies,...

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Responsive feeding for baby

The newest Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants encourages "Responsive Feeding." This is based on baby's hunger and fullness cues. It also encourages offering some finger foods from age 6 months, and offering fluids using only an open cup. What does all of this look like? My 7 month old son will demonstrate in this video:

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