Meet a How Do You Do It? author

chaosandthekitchen

Lindsay is a stay-at-home mom to 3-year old twin boys (a.k.a. the twinadoes), and loving it more than she ever thought possible. When not chasing after her overly active kids or tending to their many needs (a.k.a. naptime), she loves to organize the playroom and cook for her family. As a nutritionist she enjoys finding new ways to get her toddlers to eat healthy and coming up with healthier recipes for traditionally not-so-healthy meals. She blogs at Chaos and the Kitchen.

Twinfant Tuesday: Finger Foods For Infants

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Categories Feeding, Infants, Parenting, Solid Foods, Twinfant TuesdayLeave a comment

As much as I would love more than anything to remember the infant years of my twins, they have become a complete blue to me.  With a husband who works 80-90 hours a week, I was pretty much left to raise them on my own.  I was completely sleep deprived.  I would even go as far as saying that I ran on 3 non-consecutive hours of sleep a night, at the most, for the first 3 months (I hated that saying “sleep when the babies sleeps”).  But what I do remember is when my twins started finger foods around 8-9 months.

I can still remember the first time I decided to try out finger foods with my boys. As a nutritionist and foodie, I had been looking forward to this stage forever. I remember watching other parents in restaurants giving their toddlers pieces of food they could hold and eat on their own, allowing mommy and daddy to eat their meal. I was so envious as I fed my boys their pureed food and asked for my meal to go. In my brain I sincerely thought the day when my kids started finger foods would be magical. A few months later that day came…and it was NOT so magical. I was all alone and after making and offering many types of fingers foods, all of which were treated like a baseball, the three of us were covered head to toe in food. Since my kids were hungry, but didn’t actually eat any of the food I worked so hard to make, I had 2 screaming toddlers on my hands to boot. What did I do? I cried!!! That’s what I always do when I don’t know what to do next. And I have no shame in admitting it to anyone.  From that day on I developed a fear of giving my kids finger foods. But I did persevere and got through that messy eating phase just like all of you who have and who will.

It can be an extremely messy stage, especially with twins, but it is fantastic for your toddlers’ development and it builds self-esteem.  It also frees up some of your time so you can eat while they are eating (or pick up most of the food your toddler has decided to throw off his or her tray rather than eat, like I do – less cleanup later on always makes my day).

Like I said, extremely messy!!!

Little Fufu has always eaten whatever I put in front of him (and whatever I put in front of his brother).  He’s very pro-food and gets very excited about the thought of eating.  Nibbles, on the other hand, well that’s where he got his nickname.  He doesn’t really like the idea of food and eating too much, although I can’t complain as he is getting much better.  He likes to take his little fingers and tear of teensy weensy pieces of food (almost crumb-size) and veeeeerrrrrry sloooowwwwly put them in his mouth.  So I do know firsthand the frustration of dealing with a picky eater and not being able to come up with ideas to feed him or her can make it even more stressful.

It’s pretty clear from this picture which one Fufu is.  He loves birthday cake just like his mommy.

As a nutritionist and a mom, I was constantly asked what types of finger foods I gave my kids.

Here are some ideas for infants aged 9 months and up:

Dairy:

  • Mild cheeses, cubed or grated (ie: marble, mozzarella)
  • Ceam cheese, goat cheese or ricotta (on bread, crackers or rice cakes or as a dip for steamed veggies)
  • Yogurt (if using a spoon)
  • Cottage cheese, with or without fruit (if using a spoon)
  • Cottage cheese muffins or pancakes
  • Homemade yogurt popsicles

 Grains:

  • Cheerios or other low sugar cereal (ie: Bran Flakes, Rice Crispies, Puffed Corn)
  • Rice cakes
  • Crackers (preferably whole grain)
  • Pita triangles (with or with a dip)
  • Mini muffins (ie: carrot, zucchini, banana, apple, sweet potato, bran)
  • Mini pancakes (ie: pumpkin, blueberry)
  • Waffle strips
  • Well-cooked whole wheat pasta with homemade cheese sauce, tomato sauce or butter and parmesan cheese
  • Ravioli or tortellini, cut into pieces
  • Well cooked noodles (ie: soba, rice, vegetable)
  • Toast, cut into strips (with or without a topping)
  • Rice (squish into small globs to make it easier to pick up)
  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal (if using a spoon)
  • Corn muffins
  • Homemade rice pudding (if using a spoon)
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Polenta cakes
  • Naan bread
  • French toast fingers
  • Sandwiches without curst cut into strips or small pieces (fill with egg salad, tuna salad, peanut butter, hummus, cream cheese, mashed avocado)
  • Grilled cheese (you can add finely chopped veggies)
  • Homemade pizza, cut into strips or pieces
  • Homemade cheese quesadillas, cut into strips or pieces (can also add veggies and/or beans)
  • Baby Mum Mums
  • Cookies (preferable whole grain and low in sugar)
  • Homemade fruit and oat bars

 Vegetables:

  • Sweet potato, cooked and cubed or cut into French fry shape (season with cinnamon or chili powder)
  • Sweet potato and black bean patties
  • Roasted vegetables, cut up
  • Mini carrots, cooked
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Asparagus tips, cooked
  • Green beans, cooked and cut up
  • Butternut squash, cooked and cubed
  • Broccoli and cauliflower pieces, cooked (can add butter or parmesan)
  • Tomato, cubed
  • Grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Beets, cooked and cubed
  • Zucchini, cooked, peeled and cubed or sliced
  • Potatoes, cooked and cubed (can add butter and season with parsley, garlic and/or paprika)
  • Cucumber, peeled and cubed or sliced
  • Pickles, chopped
  • Potato pancakes
  • Roasted sweet peppers, chopped
  • Pureed vegetable soup (if using a spoon)
  • Vegetable stir-fry
  • Veggie and cheese patties or muffins

Fruit:

  • Bananas, cubed or sliced
  • Banana slices coated in pancake batter and cooked in frying pan
  • Avocado, cubed (or mashed and used as a spread on bread/crackers or a dip for vegetables)
  • Apples, cooked and cubed (or cut into French fry shape and cooked/softened in microwave for 2 min, sprinkled with cinnamon)
  • Cherries, halved and pitted
  • Peaches and pears, sliced
  • Mango, cubed or sliced
  • Melon, cubed
  • Kiwi, cubed
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries and blackberries, halved
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Mandarins and clementines cut into small pieces (can use canned mandarins, drained and rinsed)
  • Plums, peeled and sliced
  • Applesauce with cinnamon (if using a spoon)
  • Grapes, halved or quartered
  • Olives, chopped
  • Raisins (softened in boiling water)
  • Freeze-dried fruit (no sugar added)
  • Homemade fruit popsicles

Meat and Alternatives:

  • Tofu, cubed (marinate to add flavor)
  • Meatballs, cubed
  • Pork, cubed
  • Turkey, cubed
  • Beef, cubed
  • Chicken, cubed
  • Chicken nuggets (preferably homemade)
  • Chicken/turkey/meat loaf
  • Salmon or salmon/potato loaf/patties
  • Tuna patties
  • Fish sticks
  • Cooked fish such as salmon, sole, tilapia, halibut or haddock, flaked (you can use pureed vegetables as a sauce or just some butter)
  • Hard boiled eggs cut into pieces
  • Frittata or omelet with veggies and/or cheese, cubed
  • Egg muffins
  • Homemade turkey and apple breakfast sausage
  • Nut butters (on bread, crackers or rice cakes)
  • Beans (larger ones should be cut in half)
  • Baked beans
  • Lentils
  • Edamame, shelled
  • Falafel balls, cut into small pieces
  • Chickpeas
  • Hummus (spread on bread, crackers or rice cakes or used as a dip for steamed vegetables)

Unsafe finger foods:

  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Gum
  • Whole grapes, grape/cherry tomatoes and olives
  • Popcorn
  • Candy
  • Raw vegetables
  • Fruit that isn’t very ripe
  • Thick globs of nut butters
  • Hotdogs and sausages
  • Fish with bones
  • Stringy foods like asparagus or celery or stringy meat

Fufu is so happy with his plate of food, as usual.

Nibbles just poking at his.

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Foodie Friday: Healthy Fruit and Veggie Muffins (dairy free)

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Categories Parenting1 Comment

I don’t know about your toddlers’ and preschoolers’ food preferences, but mine have become very picky lately. I know this can drive any parent crazy, but think of what it can do a parent like myself, a nutritionist. They will eat most fruits and whole grain pasta and bread, but vegetables other than cucumber and sometimes red pepper…NO WAY!!!

I’m pretty outright about the fact that I won’t reduce myself to sneaking vegetables into my kids’ food to get them to eat it. Really, by doing that, I haven’t succeeded in getting them to eat what I want them to, I’ve just tricked them into it which is not the same, and this is not my goal.

But I find that one way to get my boys to eat things they normally won’t is to make it in the form of a cute little muffin, as well as getting them involved in making the muffins, which they love to do. As you can see from the picture, it’s very clear that these muffins have orange and green veggies in them and they also helped add them to the batter, so they were fully aware they were in there. But they still ate them and loved them and I felt great about it because they’re packed with fruits, veggies and whole grains and full of fibre.

I must also admit that I couldn’t stop eating these. They were one of the moistest and tastiest healthy muffins I’ve ever had and I think this is because of all the moisture from the fruit and vegetables that were added.  You can change up the fruits in this recipe and/or substitute other fruit or vegetable purees for the unsweetened applesauce (pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, prunes and mashed banana have all worked well for me).

These healthy muffins make a great snack or on-the-go breakfast.

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (a.k.a. white whole wheat flour or soft whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed) or 2.5 tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup grated apple (peeled)
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup raisins (soak in boiling water for 15 minutes before adding to batter)

Note: make sure to place grated zucchini and apple in towel and squeeze out excess moisture before adding to batter.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. In bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
3. In another bowl mix together egg, brown sugar, coconut oil, applesauce, carrots, apple, zucchini and raisins.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Divide among muffin compartments and bake for 12-14 minutes for mini muffins or 18-20 minutes for regular muffins. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

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Toddler Thursday: Great iPad Apps for Toddlers

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Categories Education, Toddler Thursday, Toddlers2 Comments

For my birthday, about 7 months ago, I received a wonderful gift… an iPad. I’ve always wanted one, but I knew if I got one, it wouldn’t be myself using it, but rather my kids. And it’s not that I have a problem sharing it with them since we have enough computers here to go around anyway. It’s more the fact that my kids happen to be twin toddlers, which means they both don’t yet understand the meaning of the word ‘share’. ‘Share’ to a toddler means ‘I get to take it from you when I feel like it’. And I have 2 of these toddlers so…you get the idea. I deal with enough fighting between the two of them on an hourly basis, so the last thing I need is a ‘toy’ like the iPad for them to fight over.

So I never purchased one, but since it was given to me, I right away started searching for and downloading apps for them (before even using it myself first, I might add). And while they did fight over it at first, they share it very nicely now (or at least as nicely as you would expect twin toddlers to share an iPad). I definitely believe it actually teaches them to share, as well as taking turns, because if they don’t, they know I’ll take it away, which to them would apparently be much worse than sharing.  It’s also taught them to share their toys as well (I’ve never bought 2 of anything).  They know if they don’t share nicely during the day, they won’t get their 30 minutes of iPad use at quiet time before bed.

IMG_4204

Since receiving this iPad I’ve downloaded tons of toddler apps and both myself and my kids have tried them each a number of times. Many were erased right away and for some it took a bit longer for my children to become bored with them. But here are the apps (in no particular order) which are played on a daily basis and thus, have made the short list:

1. Elmo Loves ABC’s
Price: $4.99 (you can download the lite version for free but you only get letters A, B and C)

  • Learn letter recognition through sight, sound and tracing of both upper and lower case letters.
  • Four different versions of the alphabet song with videos.
  • Coloring pages.
  • Includes games and videos for each letter of the alphabet.

2. The Wiggles Alphabet Adventure
Price: $2.99

  • Hands-on interaction for each letter of the alphabet. For example, for the letter ‘V’, the child gets to actually play a violin, for letter ‘A’, they get to eat an apple, for letter ‘C’ they get to cook up a stir-fry.
  • Very colorful with great animation.
  • If your child is a Wiggles fan, this will be there favorite app.

3. Preschool EduRoom
Price: $1.99

  • 16 different games that focus on matching, memory, colors, numbers, sorting, telling time and shapes (ie: matching shoes, matching shirts to the same color hanger, matching numbers on a clock, putting dirty clothes into the hamper).
  • Bright colors.
  • Cheers when your child gets something right.

4. Preschool EduKitchen
Price: $2.99

  • 5 games that focus on sorting/organizing, counting, memory and making healthy eating choices (ie: placing items with recycling sign into recycling box, adding only sliced oranges to a fruit pop, placing only the dirty dishes in the dish washer, setting the table).
  • Bright colors.
  • Cheers when your child gets something right.

5. Candy Count
Price: Free

  • Great for leaning colors and numbers through sorting and counting colored candies.

6. Preschool Memory Match and Learn
Price: Free (you can upgrade to more options for $1.99)

  • 7 categories including colors, shapes, numbers, fruits, vegetables, nature and ABC’s.
  • Many different settings and options.
  • As your child does better, it will get more difficult so they will continuously be challenged.

7. Abby Monkey Basic Skills Preschool
Price: $1.99

  • 14 activities which help children to learn patterns, numbers, letters, counting, sizes, colors, shapes and matching.
  • Prizes encourage children.
  • Children love the monkey that guides them through the games.
  • Easy to navigate.
  • Lots of variety.

8. I Spy With Lola
Price: Free (you can upgrade to more options for $1.99)

  • Travel to different locals around the world and search for hidden objects (similar to I spy).
  • Helps children learn object identification and word association (a picture of the object is shown and the narrator says what the object is as well).

9. Duck Duck Moose Musical Me
Price: $2.99

  • Copy patterns, recognize rhythm and pitch and play different instruments.
  • My kids love to sing along to the songs in this app.

10. Gingerbread Crazy Chef
Price: Free (you can upgrade for a fee to get more options)

  • This is a just-for-fun game.
  • Bake a gingerbread cookie from scratch and then decorate it.
  • Choose from 20 different cookie types, 6 backgrounds, 30 accessories, 30 candy decorations, 30 eyes, nose and mouth options and lots of different costume options.

11. Pizza Maker Crazy Chef
Price: Free

  • This is a just-for-fun app.
  • Make a pizza from scratch by adding the ingredients and mixing it in a bowl. Then stretch it out with a rolling pin. Mix up some sauce and spread on pizza. Choose from over 100 toppings and place in brick oven to bake. Then decorate your pizza and either eat it, slice it up and serve it or deliver it.
  • If your child likes this game, there is a similar one called Cupcake Chef which is just as great.

12. Toca Boca Birthday Party
Price: $2.99

  • This is just a fun app.
  • Choose birthday party theme, choose dishes and cake that match the theme and set the table. Serve the cake, pour juice, blow out the candles and open a present. Eat the cake and move all the dishes into the dishwater when finished.

13. Ice Pops Maker Salon
Price: Free (you can upgrade to more options but it’s not necessary)

  • This is a just-for-fun app.
  • Children can make their own ice pops by choosing from a variety of different molds, flavors/colors, fruit additions, ice pop sticks. Then they drag their ice pop into the freezer and wait until it’s frozen. Take it out of the freezer and add other decorations such as sprinkles, candy and frosting. Then eat it.

14. PBS Play and Learn
Price: Free

  • Your child can choose from games themed from familiar locations such as the grocery store, home, playground, bathroom and the kitchen.
  • 13 games and 52 hands-on activities, all very educational.
  • Each game has a note for parents that discusses the math and/or literacy skills involved in the game.
  • Includes an open-ended sticker game.
  • Additional creative ideas for parents to do with their children.
  • There are no pop-up adds that you would normally find with free apps.

15. Duck Duck Moose Draw and Tell
Price: $2.99

  • Encourages open-ended play, creativity and imagination.
  • Children can draw, color, use stickers, create animations and record songs and stories.
  • Children can choose from 27 colored crayons, paints and colored pencils as well as rainbow and glow-in-the-dark crayons, more than 150 stickers, 32 backgrounds for pictures and more than 60 stencils.
  • All drawings and recordings can be saved.

Note: For the apps that are free with an option to upgrade for a small charge, it may be worth it if your child is too young to know how to navigate past the advertising pop-ups that come along with free apps (excluding the PBS app).

If you do intend to place your iPad into the hands of your toddlers twins, I highly recommend purchasing the Speck Products iPad 2 iGuy.  If we didn’t have this, our iPad would have been in a zillion pieces the day we decided to share it with them.  At first they won’t understand they have to share it with their twin, which will result in the continuous throwing of the iPad across the room.  Just a heads up!

A list of great iPad apps for toddlers from hdydi.com

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Foodie Friday: Healthy 3 Ingredient Pancake Bites

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Categories Foodie Fridays10 Comments

Hello everyone!  My name is Lindsay and I’m excited to be contributing to Foodie Fridays here on HDYDI.  Here’s a little about myself:

I’m a stay-at-home mom to a set of the sweetest, soon-to-be 3 year old fraternal twin boys.  They truly are my everything and although things can get chaotic at times, to say the least, I wouldn’t trade it for any other job in the world.  Prior to having my twinadoes, I worked as a nutritionist.  Food and nutrition is an area that I have always been, and still am, extremely passionate about.  It’s was all my spare time (a.k.a. nap time) consists of and I love to share my knowledge on the subject with anyone who will listen.

I hope you enjoy this post and those that are upcoming, all of which will focus on family and/or toddler/preschooler friendly recipes as well as feeding tips and tricks for your little ones.
IMG_3793

Like many parents, I often get stuck in a breakfast rut with my kids.  Things are so hectic in the morning, getting all of us washed, dressed, fed and out the door, who has the spare time to cook up a healthy balanced breakfast?  But with breakfast being the most important meal of the day, I prefer the one they eat is well balanced.  Unfortunately, most kids want to eat foods like bagels, waffles, pancakes or cereal in the morning.  These kinds of foods will make your kids tired and sluggish and aren’t conducive to leaning and active participation in school and/or at activities.

These little pancake bites are so great for many reasons:

  • They’re so easy to make.  They only require a few ingredients and they happen to be ones that most people would typically have on hand.
  • This recipe makes a personal serving and you can double or triple it for more servings. Making a huge recipe is so frustrating cause they never get finished and who wants leftover pancake batter or leftover pancakes.
  • They contain whole grain carbs, protein from the egg and dairy and calcium from the yogurt. And if you add the banana then they also get the fruit to give your kids a perfectly balanced meal in the form of cute little bites.
  • They’re so delicious. From all the moms I’ve given this recipe to, the most common thing I’ve heard back is “they inhaled the whole plate”.

I hope your toddlers/preschoolers enjoy these easy and healthy pancake bites. I know mine do. And you can feel good that they had a nutritious start to their day.

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 tbsp. whole wheat flour (1.5-2 tbsp. if using a very large egg)
1 tbsp. yogurt
1-2 tsp. pure maple syrup (optional)
Banana slices (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat non-stick skillet over low to medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients except banana slices. If you’re using banana slices, add them to batter now and toss to coat but be careful not to break them.
  3. When skillet is heated, add pancake batter using 1.5 tsp. per pancake or drop in batter coated banana slices. As soon as you see small bubbles forming at edges, flip pancake bites and let cook for another minute or so.
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