Baby food on the run

While I try to make all my daughter’s food from scratch using organic, locally sourced fruit and veg, this is not always possible. Sometimes I am caught away from home longer than expected, or taking a long trip, or just run out of time to make something. Whatever the cause, it’s good to know that we have some great products available for us health conscious moms.

Firstly, there are some good raw goodies you can buy and feed straight away:

  • A banana makes a great out and about snack. It comes in its own wrapper and needs no preparation. Just peel and give a piece to your child to gnaw on, or if they prefer purees then just mash a bit and feed it
  • Avo is just as convenient as bananas and are packed with B vitamins and healthy fats
  • My daughter LOVES strawberries. They’re easily portable, easy for her to hold and require no preparation
  • Cherry or rosa tomatoes cut in half
  • Sliced pear

There are also some really healthy pre-prepared options available for us SA moms:

Squish

This product comes in a pouch with a screw top so it’s resealable. You can squeeze the pouch onto a spoon or directly into baby’s mouth – great for car trips! The fruit pouches are pasteurised but not cooked and they taste delicious. There are 2 ranges – Squish, which is all fruit and Squish Baby which is suitable for babies 8 months and older and introduces interesting flavour combinations. I love that there are no fillers and additives, no salt or sugar. My daughter loved all of them and my older kids liked the fruit smoothies as well. This is a wonderful, proudly South African range!

HiPP

HiPP is a UK brand that has been around for more than 50 years and is now available in South Africa. All their products contain certified organic ingredients, meaning they are pesticide and synthetic fertiliser-free, GMO-free and farmed sustainably. Because these products come from the UK, their labelling is slightly different from SA products. You will notice that the jars are labelled ‘4+ months’. Here, we recommend exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months so use your discretion when introducing solids.  The Hipp range includes jars with some lovely and interesting flavour combinations, as well as a range of cereals.  The cereals are all sugar-free but be aware that some of the jars contain sugar. My daughter really enjoyed the jars, especially the Red Fruit and Apple Compote (which is delicious and sugar-free).

Holle

Holle is an organic baby food company based on the Swiss – German border. The production of infant milk formula and grain products takes place in Germany. The baby food products are produced in Switzerland. The grain is grown from rich, pesticide-free and herbicide-free soil that has been nourished and prepared organically. In South Africa, their formula and cereal ranges are available. My 2 favourite cereals from the range are the Millet and the Spelt cereals. Spelt is easily digested, low in gluten and higher in protein than wheat. Few people are allergic to millet and it is very high in iron, which makes it an ideal cereal for vegetarian babies. This is definitely my daughter’s favourite. Again, these products are labelled according to European standards so most are labelled for use from 4 months.

*I was not reimbursed for this review. I received products from the companies mentioned above

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Busy Mom Recipe of the Week

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how many of us actually eat it? Given the choice between 15 minutes extra sleep and eating something, I know which I would choose right now! But being a mom of four, being back at work and breastfeeding fulltime means that I have to be careful with my nutrition. I have hit on a winner though: my superfood protein smoothie!

Mix the following in a blender:

200ml whole milk

1 or 2 bananas

4 brazil nuts

4 walnuts

1 teaspoon raw cacao powder

1 scoop raw protein powder

1 tablespoon coconut oil

a few ice blocks (if you like a chilled smoothie)

Whole milk:

Yes, I mean FULL cream, FULL fat milk. None of this 2% or skimmed milk please. Our bodies cannot digest the protein or absorb the calcium from milk without the fat. Vitamins A and D are also fat-soluble. So you can’t absorb them from milk when all the fat has been skimmed off. Milk fat contains glycosphingolipids, which are fats linked to immune system health and cell metabolism. Studies show that eating saturated fat raises good cholesterol — the kind of cholesterol you want and need in your body. The nutrients in whole foods have a natural synergy with one another, meaning they work best in and are most beneficial to the body when they are taken together, not when they are isolated. So when you take some or all of the fat out of milk, you throw its nutritional profile out of whack. Basically, you discard all of the health benefits when you discard the fat.

Bananas:

Bananas sometimes get a bad name because of their relatively high glycemic index, meaning they get converted to sugar in the blood very quickly. BUT the average banana contains only 30g of carbohydrates along with 3g of fibre. They also contain Vitamins C and B6, magnesium and potassium. The  potassium in bananas helps you hang on to any calcium that you absorb by minimising the amount lost in urine and sweat. Bananas contain tryptophan  which helps the body to produce serotonin which in turn helps in creating a stable mood by acting on the brain. It makes you feel happier and improves your mood. (And what mom couldn’t do with a bit of mood stabilising?!)

Brazil nuts and walnuts:

All nuts are generally full of essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. Recent studies suggest that eating a small handful of nuts four times a week can help reduce heart disease and satisfy food cravings. Brazil nuts are one of the few good sources of selenium that may help protect against cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.  Walnuts have the highest antioxidant activity of all nuts, which means they provide good protection against cancer. They are brimming with vitamin E, which is excellent for heart health. Studies have shown that eating them can reduce the risk of a heart attack from between 15 and 51 per cent. Rich in cholesterol-lowering plant serums and omega 3 oils, walnuts have similar benefits to oily fish in terms of reducing cholesterol levels, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition last year. Regular consumption can also guard against diabetes.

Raw Cacao Powder:

Cocao powder, in particular raw organic unsweetened cocao powder is a true superfood in every sense of the word. Cocao is full of heart healthy antioxidants. Cocao powder provides a whopping 6.5 grams of fibre per serving, almost as much as a bowl of raisin bran. Cocao powder provides 5 grams of protein per serving, almost as much as an egg  AND cocao is full of mood-boosting compounds.

Raw Protein Powder:

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are essential for a countless number of metabolic functions in the human body.  Amino acids are needed for optimal immune function, tissue growth and repair, and to catalyse important enzymatic reactions in the body.

Coconut Oil:

I am so in love with coconut oil right now! It can improve your heart health, boost your thyroid, increase your metabolism, promote a lean body and weight loss and support your immune system. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid which our bodies convert to monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.

So whip up a superfoods smoothie tomorrow morning. It takes 5 minutes or less, tastes delicious and you’ll feel the benefits all day. I even made this for my kids and called it a chocolate milkshake and they slurped it down for pudding…altogether very yummy!