Category Archives: Frugal Feeding

The Incredible, Somewhat Edible Egg

Eggs are a great source of protein and iron but unfortunately, some young children are allergic to them. The good news is, the common allergen is found only in the egg white, meaning egg yolks are an acceptable and nutritious food for infants. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, egg yolks can be introduced to babies as young as six months.

To do so, hard boil an egg and once cooked, remove the yolk from the white. You can then mash the yolk and add a bit of water, breastmilk, or formula to thin it to the desired consistency. Because of its mild flavor, mashed egg yolk can be blended in with many foods to add an extra boost of protein and iron. Try adding it to pureed apples, green beans, and spinach. You can even add it to yogurt and rice cereal.

If there is no history of allergies in your family, it is generally safe to introduce egg whites at one year of age. If allergies are a problem in your family, though, the AAP recommends waiting until age two.

Milk Nursingwear Review and Giveaway (Ended)

***Congratulations to Lisa L.! She won the $50 gift certificate from Milk Nursingwear! Thank you to all who entered!***

I have nursed two children and loved almost every minute of it 🙂  One of the biggest challenges for me was nursing discreetly in public. I tried various tactics but I always felt slightly exposed. If my breasts were covered, my tummy was showing and vice versa. And I’ve never been a fan of nursing covers because I hate the fact that my baby would be covered up by them.

So, when I was given an opportunity to try Milk Nursingwear, I jumped at it. If you’re unfamiliar with Milk, they are a line of very stylish nursing wear with nursing panels built right in. You simply pull one layer of fabric aside for easy nursing access. It’s extremely discreet. In addition to its functionality, these clothes are really cute, too! So cute, in fact, that you could wear their clothing even when you’re not nursing. And that’s exactly what I did.

I’m between babies at the moment so I got a chance to see if the Milk top really would pass for a “normal” top. I was reviewing the Chic Crossover Top in teal. I wore it to church one Sunday morning with a pair of black slacks. It looked GREAT. At church, the top was really put to the test. I was working in the nursery that day so I had kids climbing on me, I was holding babies, and I was running around. Amazingly, the nursing panel stayed in place the whole time.

 

The fit of the top was excellent, as well. When I first opened the box it came in, it looked like it might be too short. But when I tried it on, it was honestly a perfect fit. My only complaint (and it’s a small one) is that the material was rather clingy. This made it harder to hide bulges but since the overall shape was flattering, I thought it still looked great. In fact, I loved the top so much that I’m planning to go back and buy the sleeveless Ruffle Top (so cute!).

And if you are currently pregnant, many of Milk’s items can be worn during pregnancy, too. Since they do double duty, this makes them a good wardrobe investment.

Now, how about a chance to win a gift certificate from Milk? One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Milk! Here’s how to enter:

Mandatory Entry: Like Milk Nursingwear on Facebook (if you don’t mind, let ’em know The Frugal Baby sent you!)

Optional Entry: Tweet this: “WOW the nursing wear by Milk Nursingwear is so pretty http://www.milknursingwear.com

Optional Entry: Visit the Milk Nursingwear website, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Facebook “like” button (this is different than liking their Facebook page).

Optional Entry: Tweet this: “Enter to win Milk Nursingwear at The Frugal Baby. http://bit.ly/jiDCk8”

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry and be sure to include your email address. You may enter through July 14, 2011. A winner will be drawn randomly from all entries on July 15, 2011 and the winner will be notified by email that day.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me at no charge for the purpose of review. I was not compensated in any other way and this review reflects my honest opinion of the product. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.

 


Watermelon for Babies

I love summer fruits and vegetables and watermelon is pretty close to the top of my list. And why not? It’s full of water (of which you need extra during the hot summer months), it’s packed with nutrients, and, it is often very reasonably priced. Right now in my area, a couple of stores have watermelons for $2.99. For a five pound watermelon, that’s about 60 cents per pound.

Anyway, watermelon is also one of my favorite baby foods. Again, it’s packed with nutrients like Vitamins A and C, lycopene, and beta carotene. It also offers a bit of calcium and folic acid, too. Because of it’s natural sweetness, most babies love the stuff. Add to all of that the fact that watermelon is super easy to prepare and you have a real baby food winner.

To serve it to your baby, you can go one of two routes. You can put a chunk of watermelon into a mesh feeder or you can puree it like any other type of baby food.  The nice thing is, you don’t have to cook it and pureeing it only takes seconds. Just cut the melon into chunks and remove any seeds (even the white ones found in “seedless” watermelon). Then toss the melon into the blender and whir until smooth.

In addition to eating it plain, pureed watermelon mixes in nicely with rice cereal, yogurt, and other baby favorites.

Photo by Simona Balint

Edible Learning

Not long ago I was able to get a great deal on Cheez Its so I bought a couple of the Scrabble Junior variety. If you’re not familiar with them, they are simply Cheez Its designed to look like Scrabble tiles with letters stamped on each one. I thought my kids would enjoy them and I figured any exposure to letters is probably a good thing.

I had no idea what a valuable learning tool those little crackers would become. My two year old immediately began asking, “what’s this?” as she picked up each Cheez It. By the third time she ate these for a snack, she was telling ME some of the letters.

As it turns out, there are a number of alphabet products out there:

Do you know of any other edible learning tools? Leave a comment a tell us about them!

 

 

 

New Dietary Guidelines from the USDA

By now, you’ve probably seen the USDA’s new nutrition icon. The image pictured at left plus the new “My Plate” brand are all part of the USDA’s nutrition standards campaign that replaces the Food Pyramid.

While they have not released specific guidelines for young children yet, the basic formula will be the same: fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables (with the emphasis on vegetables), fill one fourth of the plate with grains (whole grains are encouraged), and the remaining fourth with protein (lean being best). Round out the meal with a glass of milk to get your dairy requirements.

While there is nothing particularly groundbreaking about these new guidelines, I am happy to see them laid out in such an easy to understand format. I love it that finally, the U.S. government is on board with filling half your plate with fruits and veggies. I don’t know about you, but I grew up with my dinner in thirds–meat, starch, vegetable. And honestly, the starchy food was often a larger portion than the meat or vegetable. And that seems to be the norm for a lot of people. If we can make these new USDA guidelines the norm, think how much healthier we will all become.

For a super handy way to serve your child the proper portions, check out these divided plates: My Healthy Kids Plate and The Portion Plate for Kids. How cute!

Freebie Roundup — Formula, DVDs, Baby Food, and More

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s nothing more frugal than free. And if you’re the parent of a baby, there are tons of freebies to be found. Freebie offers come and go so it’s a good idea to sign up as soon as possible for the ones you are interested in. Below is a list of currently available offers. Come back next month for the newest freebie offers!

  • Free subscription to American Baby magazine — Produced by the same folks who put out Parents magazine, this one often carries the elusive Amazon.com diaper coupons!
  • Free subscription to Baby Talk magazine – Another great magazine, Baby Talk is full of useful information for new (and even experienced) parents.
  • Pregnancy Alert Bracelet — This cute bracelet announces your mom-to-be status, which could be helpful in an emergency situation.
  • Free Pampers Cruisers sample — Proctor and Gamble is offering a sample of Pampers Cruisers with Dry Max upon signup.
  • Lite-Up Baby Clippers — These handy nail clippers have a built-in lite to make it easier to see your baby’s nails.
  • Beech Nut Baby Food — Get a couple of free jars of baby food, a box of rice cereal, plus coupons when you sign up.
  • Baby Formula Sample — Get a free sample of baby formula from Parent’s Choice.
  • Free Potty Training DVD — Get a free DVD to help you potty train your toddler from Huggies Pull-Ups.
  • Free Circus Ticket — Babies up to 12 months of age can receive one free ticket to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
  • Welcome Letter From the President — Receive a presidential letter in honor of your child’s birth. Just send a note with your request and include your baby’s name, age, and address to:
    White House
    Attn: Greetings Office
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington, D.C. 20500

Budget-Friendly Toddler Snacks

Feeding a hungry family can sometimes seem as if it might make you go bankrupt, especially if you’re dealing with picky eaters and limited palates. Clipping coupons can help, but saving 50 cents here and there isn’t quite as valuable as choosing budget-friendly foods in the first place. Using shelf-stable ingredients, buying in bulk, and re-imagining classic foods in new ways can all help when you’re trying to satisfy a ravenous toddler and don’t have a lot of money to do it.

Mini muffins: Muffins you can buy are neither cheap nor healthy, but when you make them at home, they cost pennies per serving and can be quite nutritious. A full-sized muffin can be a bit much for a toddler, so bake healthy muffins in a mini muffin tin instead. Use whole-wheat flour and ingredients like shredded zucchini, carrots, pineapple bits, mashed banana, or frozen fruit to add vitamins and minerals.

Rice pudding: There are fewer bulk foods that are more affordable than brown rice, and it makes an excellent pudding. To cook up a healthy (and budget-friendly) version, skip the heavy cream and use milk instead. Add a small amount of sugar, honey or maple syrup to sweeten the pudding without going overboard.

Tofu pudding: Tofu by itself has very little taste, so it’s very suitable for toddlers who are against strong flavors. To make a protein-rich pudding that’s less sweet and far healthier than the instant variety, blend a small block of silken tofu with a few tablespoons of honey or maple syrup. To flavor the pudding, add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, or peanut butter.

Smoothies: Smoothies are among the most famously successful of all snacks for kids, and they’re a snap to make. If you use pricey ingredients, though, they can be fairly expensive per serving. To end up with shakes that are more affordable, use a base of milk instead of yogurt and blend with frozen fruit instead of fresh.

Hummus: Toddlers don’t yet know that hummus is supposed to be a “health food” that they should avoid, so take advantage of that and try to introduce it early. The priciest ingredient you need to make the dip is a jar of tahini, but a little goes a long way. Serve hummus spread on whole-grain crackers or with fresh fruit and veggie sticks.

Graham crackers: You can make your own graham crackers if you’re feeling extra frugal, but even the packaged varieties are relatively affordable. Due to their slight sweetness, grahams don’t need any more accompaniment than a dish of applesauce or a glass of cold milk, and they also form great crispy bread for mini “sandwiches” of fresh fruit slices or peanut butter.

Packaged cereal: In the cereal aisle, look low. Economy-sized, off-brand cereals that are just as nutritious as the well-known boxed versions lurk on bottom shelves, and they’re far more affordable than their counterparts. Buy several varieties and toss individual servings into plastic bags to serve as portable snacks, or mix cereal with dried fruit, popcorn, nuts, granola, and a few chocolate chips for a cheap, tasty trail mix.

This post was contributed by Carly Schuna, who writes occasionally about theatrical costumes at StarCostumes.com.

Healthy, Fun Snacks on a Budget

Crackers and apple slices get boring after a while, but organic vegetable chips and all-natural string cheese can do a number on your wallet. Snacks for your kids need to be healthy so that it provides nutritional value, but it also needs to be something your child enjoys eating. On top of all that, a snack doesn’t even count as a meal, so it needs to be budget-friendly, too. Try these three easy, affordable snacks to give your toddlers and children some fun variety.

  • Cottage Cheese Mixture – Cottage cheese has plenty of calcium, is very easy to chew with few (or no) teeth, and it’s affordable. Teething babies need special attention and gentle foods. Mix it up with some no-sugar-added canned fruit (drain the juice first!), and it becomes a delicious snack. Try mango (my favorite!), pineapple, pear or mandarin oranges. Added bonus: When the fruit is canned in fruit juice instead of sugary syrup, you get to drink it after draining the can. If your child is eating more solid foods, you can cut up fresh fruit in the cottage cheese instead of canned.
  • Vegetable “Candy” – To a small child begging for a snack while you’re cooking dinner, frozen vegetables could be almost like a frozen dessert. A small handful of frozen corn, peas or broccoli is interesting enough to appease even the most persistent whining. Admittedly, this only works if you start it from a young age. Once vegetables become “yucky,” there will be no convincing them to try it, even if it barely resembles the detested food in its thawed, cooked form. Added bonus: This snack requires no preparation! Keep in mind that small frozen vegetables could pose a choking hazard so wait until your little one is at least three years old to try this snack and be sure to supervise carefully.
  • Bugs on a Log – Celery boasts massive health benefits and a miniature price tag. If your child is old enough to chew the fibrous stalks, tuck some peanut butter into the groove and top it with some raisins. These “logs” might need to be extra-short for small children, but adventurous kids may want to wrestle with the entire stalk. Added bonus: Get older kids involved by arranging the “bugs” on the logs.
  • A Snack by Any Other Shape – Use a small cookie cutter to cut fun shapes out of cheese slices, melons, fried eggs or bread. It instantly transforms from the original “boring food” into an exciting, unique surprise. Anything somewhat flat and thin that holds its shape can be attacked with cookie cutters. Dinosaur sandwich? Cheese in the shape of hearts and stars? Instant fun! Added bonus: Find cheap cookie cutters at a thrift store or garage sale. Give them a good washing, and they’re as good as new!

The ideal snack is equal parts nutritious, filling, yummy and fun. Build up a handy arsenal of snacks like these, and you’ll meet every hungry clamor with ease.

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Hannah Daniel manages a blog backed by 1Dental.com, which offers affordable dental plans nationwide.

 

Leftovers Make Great Baby Food

I have always made my own baby food and more often than not, I just tossed a few tablespoons from the family’s meal (usually before I added a lot of salt or seasonings) into the blender and pureed it. Done. It only takes a second and then my babies would get to eat the same food as the rest of us.

From time to time, of course, it’s a good idea to whip up a batch of baby food so that you have some on hand for a quick meal, travel, or for dinners out. One of the easiest and most frugal ways to do that is to simply turn your leftovers into meals for your baby.

How often is there a spoonful of veggies left at the end of the meal? Or what about those couple of bites of chicken that you just couldn’t finish? Often, there’s not really enough food leftover to save for another meal but it’s too much to simply discard. When that happens, turn it into baby food!

If your leftovers are heavily seasoned, you can actually rinse them in most cases. This is a good way to cleanse the food of excess salt, too. Then just puree them and freeze them in ice cube trays until needed.

As an added bonus, babies are more receptive to flavor combinations than we are. This means if you have a bit of tonight’s meal and a bit of last night’s meal, you can puree it all together. So sure, fish and spinach and peas, and pork may sound rather revolting to you, but your baby just might like it.

Beef Baby Food Recipes

Beef–it’s what’s for dinner. Or at least that’s what the slogan says. As an excellent source of iron and protein, beef can be your baby’s dinner, too. The easiest way to incorporate beef into your baby’s diet is by taking some of your own meal (a bit of roast beef, a piece of hamburger, etc.) and run it through the blender or food processor. If your own meal is too spicy or you want to make up something special just for baby, these recipes are a good place to start.

Cheeseburger and Fries
This recipe combines the classic tastes of a cheeseburger dinner–minus the fat and sugar found in a typical diner or fast food joint.
Ingredients
4 ounces lean ground beef
2 medium potatoes, cooked and cubed
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions
Brown ground beef and drain off excess grease. To get rid of even more grease, rinse the meat in hot water.
Add cooked beef and all other ingredients to the blender and puree until desired consistency is reached. Add water, breastmilk, or formula to thin as needed.

Pot Roast Dinner
Depending upon how heavily you season your own meals, you could simply puree the components from your own pot roast dinner and feed it to your baby. If you need something a bit blander, this recipe will serve the purpose well.
Ingredients
1 cup water
1/4 medium white or yellow onion
1 cup cubed beef roast
1 large carrot, sliced
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
Pinch of salt
Dash of pepper
Directions
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once. Check potatoes and beef for doneness and cook until tender. Drain water and remove garlic if desired. Add remaining ingredients to blender and puree to desired consistency. Add water, breastmilk, or formula to thin as needed.

Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie is already a good consistency for older babies and can easily be pureed for younger babies. For a quick baby-friendly shepherd’s pie, this is a good recipe. Feel free to substitute the vegetables of your choice to suit your baby’s tastes.
Ingredients
1/2 cup prepared mashed potatoes
1/2 cup browned lean ground beef
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots, steamed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons milk
Dash of black pepper
Directions
Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until desired consistency is reached.

Beef Santa Fe
This dish combines several Tex-Mex ingredients without any spiciness.
Ingredients
8 ounces lean beef (any kind–roast, ground, steak, etc.)
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn, steamed
2 Tablespoons chopped onions
2 Tablesppons chopped bell pepper
Directions
Sautee onions and peppers in a scant amount of vegetable oil. Add beef to peppers and onions and cook until browned. Add all ingredients to blender and puree until desired consistency is reached. Add water, breastmilk, or formula to thin as needed.