Ask Loula; Baby First Foods

Ask Loula Baby Fist Foods

Baby First Foods

As you can probably tell I am very passionate about kids nutrition. It starts with pre-conception. Feeding ourselves  before we have kids, while we are pregnant and then in breastfeeding and of course what we wean our kids onto; is extremely important for their health. Food provides nutrients for new cell formation and therefore supports the baby’s fast growth and development. Plus nourishing their relationship with food in a positive and fun way can provide them with a healthy understanding of what real food is and how great you can feel after eating real food.

Todays question is one that I am often asked and am happy to answer.

Can you please give me a list of foods that are great for babies to start off with.

Babies do not necessarily absorb nutrients from foods for the first year. Breastmilk is designed to do that. Formula attempts to do the same. The first 6 months of a child physically eating, is not necessarily to nourish them but to help them to acquire basic and necessary skills to eat. A relationship which is lifelong and should be encouraged. Eat for fun until they are one is very true. 

The main thing to consider is that at weaning age babies may have some the enzymes to digest some proteins and fats. However until the age of 2 (or until the child’s back molars have come through) grains are not yet digestible. Baby Rice is one of the worst things you can ever give a baby as its first foods! Not only is it the by-product of industry but also the nutrients that may possibly be in it are completely unavailable. They may be full up- but they have not eaten it themselves and because it is a food that the body cannot recognise it may also ignite some inflammation. Especially if the baby is formula fed.

Fermented foods are so important at this stage and especially if the baby is formula fed. Water Kefir (see here to make it and my book Culture Your Life) is safe to use adding up to a tsp in their food a day. Please consult your naturopath if your child was a c-section, formula fed baby showing some digestive weakness (colic, reflux, intolerances, excess gas).

Gelatin is also nice to add to your baby’s food. Especially if there are any intolerances showing or skin conditions. Gelatin is anti-inflammatory but also hugely necessary for structural growth and development- so crucial for children. This is the one I like (find it at The Body Group if you are in Hong Kong) for first foods as it doesn’t set so can be sprinkled over fruit or cooled steamed veg.

Instead start with these traditional baby’s first foods-

ghee (even for those kids with a potential dairy issue- ghee is just the fat),

egg yolk (see here),

grated liver,

fish eggs (like those found in the sushi section of the supermarket)

Let them sip some bone broth.

and ripe banana.

Coconut Yoghurt (coconut meat with a little coconut water kefir blended to a cream)

or coconut butter

These foods can be fun for the kids to pick up, smear onto their trays and work out how to get it into their mouth, move it around their mouth (a babys instinct is to push food out of their mouth- at this stage it has very little to do with flavour)

I then move on to Foods that are hard enough to be picked up, but soft enough to help them start to chew.;

lightly steamed, in batons ;sweet potato

broccoli,

green beans 

carrots.

peas (really good fun for kids to play with!)

Raw; avocado,

pear slices,

peaches sliced,

raspberries, blackberries and blueberries

I also introduce chia (1tsp to 2 tsp coconut water, breastmilk or water)

(If you have to give them rice, lentils, chickpeas then ensure they are prepared traditionally; that they have been soaked before and cook it in bone broth)

  I always eat in front of my kids as they learn by mimicking and copying whatever they see in front of them. I help them, I allow them to take the lead and I let them enjoy it.

With kids time is essential. Allow your child time and space to learn how to eat and enjoy their food. If it looks like they don’t like something, let them try it again and again. Encourage them to try. Give them some food off your plate and if possible be eating the same food as them. Be careful to notice how you act around foods- they will copy you. Be mindful about how you talk about them eating- they are listening!

Never ever say; you don’t like it, you won’t like it he/she won’t eat that.

Replace with; try it, lets see!

What should we feed kids Loula Natural fb

See here for my latest article with loads of recipes for kids food

 Here are some links to some great reads on baby’s nutrition;

Nourished Kitchen; Baby-Led-Weaning

Follow me on Pinterest here; Loula Natural

Here is my pinterest board for Baby and Kids health;   Follow Loula Natural’s board Loula’s baby and kiddies health on Pinterest. and here is one for baby’s and kids food; Follow Loula Natural’s board Loula’s kids food inspiration on Pinterest.

Q and A Loula Natural Travel and eating out Pin

Kefir Gummies

Kefir Gummies

Kefir Gummies Loula Natural

Kefir Gummies
A healthy protein rich snack with the probiotic benefits of Kefir
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup filtered water (can also be juice, puréed fruit, coconut water flavoured water etc)
  2. 1 cup of Water Kefir (could also use Kombucha, milk kefir, coconut milk or the same as above)
  3. 6tbs of Gelatin
  4. Sweeten if necessary (I tend to leave it as is)
Instructions
  1. Gently warm the water/juice until bath water temperature- not too hot (you should be able to test with your finger- but be careful you don't hurt yourself!)
  2. Make sure your molds are ready and near you. Have a pouring jug to hand. Grab a whisk or wooden spoon so you can stir while you add in the gelatin. Test the temp with your finger, it should be warm but not hot.
  3. Add the Kefir and keep stirring. Pour the mixture into a jug to ensure ease of filling your moulds.
  4. Pour straight away into molds. Wait 10-15 mins for the gelatin to cool and start to set. Place in the fridge to firmly set.
  5. Turn out of molds and enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can flavour these in any way- I made gummy worms at Halloween by pouring this same mixture into straws and rolling out with a rolling pin. I used 1/2 cup purree raspberry and 1/2 coconut milk then added mixed berry Kefir. The photo's show my elderberry ones using 1/2 cup Elderberry cordial and 1/2 cup water and then I used coconut sugar water kefir. So try it out with your favourite flavours. Taste the mixture before pouring into the mold and adjust if necessary.
Loula Natural https://loulanatural.com/
You can buy all sorts of fun silicon molds. I have dinosaurs, flowers, hearts, bows and stars. Silicon is inert and is really easy to clean and the jelly just pops out. I use the same ones for my home-made chocolate and fudge fat bombs!

 They are so perfect for lunchboxes. The health benefits of Gelatin are huge combine that with those of Kefir and you are on to a winner!

Kefir Gummies. Perfect for lunch boxes

Kids lunch box approved

Choice Co-Operative- Gluten free bakery in Hong Kong

Choice cooperative Loula Natural

Choice Co-Operative

The first gluten free bakery in Hong Kong

I am very proud and honoured to be involved in this project- even in a small way. As one of their Ambassadors I have been providing support as a Naturopath and Nutritional therapist. The founder Ifat is a friend from school and has been on such a huge health journey the last few years. She is so passionate about all that she has learnt that she wanted to throw all that passion into helping others find health and strength. Being gluten free has helped her and her family. Being a gluten free family by choice ourselves I am thrilled such a great place has opened.

Gluten free products are hit and miss health wise. Wheat flour replaced by potato or rice flour does not equal nutritious- in fact some of the gluten free breads I have seen are far worse than some packaged wheat bread. It is Ifat’s goal to not just be gluten-free but for all of the products they sell to be densely packed with nutrition. This is where where I came in. She has sent me loads of questions “What’s better- a or b?”; “What are the ingredients that I really can’t compromise on”; “Can you have a look at my menu and help me convince my chef this is the way to go?”

Yummy blueberry muffins Loula Natural

The Chef they have is extremely talented. He has developed his products from scratch and has been on a huge learning journey himself (he tells me he has been given a library’s worth of books from Ifat!). Anyone who has tasted the bread, blueberry muffins and brownies will testify to his success. I have had the pleasure of teaching him and their, very friendly and professional, restaurant manager Kefir in support of their menu development. They have a limited menu for now- but what they have up their sleeves is very exciting. Think pizza, non-potato fries (I can t wait to try the avocado fries!) and burgers.

Sourcing quality ingredients in Hong Kong was always going to be a struggle. Gluten free living is on the rise here as more and more people are recognising how good they feel without it in their lives (see 5 ways to reduce Gluten and Gluten friend or foe). Many are noticing how their kids are responding with better attention levels, energy levels, better sleep and digestive issues are lessened. Mood adjustments are very obvious after a child has been gluten free for at least 3 weeks. Having somewhere that all the family can enjoy and feel free to eat everything is a very rare and refreshing experience.

Delicious fresh salads

Ifat has sought to source as much local produce as possible. Trying to balance between locally produced, nutrient dense and organic is tough.  Especially grass-fed beef and organic vegetables beyond salad and chinese greens. Many experts have recently discussed the issue of food miles and the impact on the environment and Ifat has really done her research. To keep prices at an affordable level for all, some compromises have been made but you can rest assured that everything chosen has been done so with health and nutrition at the top of the agenda. Working with company’s like Eat Fresh (see how I use their products) and Happy Cow has helped her to get the best on offer.

I myself do not buy/eat 100% organic (it is really really hard to both source and afford it all here). I will wash non-organic fruit and vegetables using my Kombucha fruit and veggie wash (find the recipe in Culture Your Life; Kefir and Kombcha for daily nourishment). I also ensure that I balance potential issue with non-organic produce with cultured products to support my liver, digestive and immune system. The balance of health has so many factors and you cannot live in a bubble! The 80/20 ratio is one I live by- 80% of the time I am mindful of what I am feeding my body mind and spirit so that the other 20% looks after itself. This grounds me and allows me some freedom to eat out- however I do not worry about the produce from the Choice Co-operative as I know at its heart there is a woman doing a whole lot of balancing to ensure that they are providing the best of whats on offer. They are also catering for those choosing paleo and primal diets as well as being dairy free (although there is milk for coffee if you want it) – almond, hazelnut and oat milk is on offer. There is also the cool option of choosing what fruit you would like to be made into juice, which is a nice touch. They are also providing weekend all day brunch and vegan raw ice-cream from Happy Cow.

Coffee with Almond Milk

I hope that the local and expat population alike will venture down to enjoy their fare. The Children’s playground is also very very cool! Comfy beanbags (at least I agree they exist!) are there for parents to relax while watching their kids and there are also cool windows in the wall between the restaurant and playroom so parents of older children can chill out and enjoy their food whilst still keeping an eye out!

Comfy, delicious, nutritious, fun for kids and food everyone can eat- Go check it out!

Personally I haven’t had toast for breakfast for years! Thanks for giving it back to me! (yes I spread my butter like cheese!!!)

gluten free toast Loula NaturalCheck out these other reviews;

From Lantau Mama

The HK Hub here and rate them here

The add your rating to the Green Queen Directory here

(add your reviews to help them get rated)

Sweet Potato Falafel with a Garlic Kefir Dip

Sweet Potato Falafel and Garlic Kefir Dip Loula Natural

Sweet Potato Falafel and Garlic Kefir Dip

I made these for a recent party where I was asked to bring a veggie dish that didn’t need to be hot! These perfect. Great as finger food but can also be served as a side dish. Great in wraps too for lunch box ideas. Sweet potato’s are full of beta-carotene’s. We eat them almost every day.

Sweet Potato Falafel with a Garlic Kefir Dip
Great party food, lunch box addition or as a side dish. Can be eaten hot or cold and can be prepared ahead of time or frozen.
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Ingredients
  1. 200g Sweet Potato (Yams) Peeled and diced. (you can also use half sweet potato half carrot)
  2. 100g parmesan/pecarino cheese (you also use coconut or nutritional yeast for Dairy free)
  3. 1 egg (you could use ground flax in water as an egg replacement)
  4. Salt and Pepper
  5. 3tbs Oat flour (or any other flour- coconut/almond/buckwheat)
  6. For the Dip
  7. 1 cup Kefir (or Kefir Cheese)
  8. 1-2 Cloves of garlic
  9. 3 Spring onions
  10. 1tsp coconut sugar
  11. Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Steam the sweet potato for 10 mins. 'Rice' the potato in the food processor. Squeeze excess water out using a cotton soup/nut bag or muslin cloth. Add to a bowl with the other ingredients (except flour). Mix well and then using the flour on your hands and on a baking sheet roll into balls. Bake balls in the oven at 180-200 degrees C for 10-20 mins. Heat coconut oil in a pan and fry off to make a bit crispier (optional).
  2. To make the dip mix all the ingredients together in the food processor until combined.
Adapted from Cauliflower Cheesy Nuggets
Loula Natural https://loulanatural.com/
Garlic Kefir Dip collage Loula Natural

Kids lunch box approved

Pumpkin Brownies and Almond Milk Gingerbread Latte

Pumpkin Brownies with Gingerbread Latte

Pumpkin Brownies and Gingerbread Latte

I have still got pumpkin left over and so decided to use my beetroot brownie recipe that I love so much- the brownies are lighter flavour but delicious and nutritious. I use the nut free version so my daughter can take them to school and nut ones for the weekend! I am not a massive coffee fan but love the festive versions so had a go at making the gingerbread version myself- it is delicious!

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Pumpkin Brownies

Ingredients

400g/2 1/2 cups Pumpkin

1 tsp Pumpkin Spice mix

150g/1 cup Plain Chocolate,

100g/1/2 cup coconut oil

1 tsp Vanilla extract,

80g/1/2 cup Coconut sugar

pinch of salt (pink rock salt or sea salt)

3 Eggs (To replace one egg: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds/chia 3 tablespoons water (or other liquid) I have done this completely egg free and they still turned out great. Stir together until thick and gelatinous)

2 Tbs almond meal (can also use buckwheat, oat, rice or chickpea flour)

70g/ 1 Cup Raw Cacao (this is THE BEST I have ever tasted!) ,

2 tsp baking powder (Aluminium free).

 

Heat oven to 180C and grease a tray bake pan/ silicon mini muffin pan like this one-. Roughly chop chocolate, and put in food processor with pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, coconut oil and vanilla (if the pumpkin puree is from the fridge the chocolate will stay hard). Whizz until mixture is smooth. In another bowl, beat  sugar, eggs and salt until foamy and thick. Fold in Pumpkin mixture. Sift in Almond meal/flour, cacao and baking powder; gently fold. Stir through optional extras. Pour into tray bake or use a silicon mini muffin tin and cook for 10-15mins. Cool completely in tin then cut into squares. This can easily be a cake, just don’t cut into squares! It is quite moist as a cooked cake so store in the fridge.

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Serve it with your Gingerbread latte. I use ginger sugar but you can use coconut sugar and pinch of ground ginger.

Here is how I make the Almond milk;

Gingerbread Latte

Coffee of your choice

1 tsp Coconut Ginger Sugar

1/4 cup Almond Milk

1/4 tsp Pumpkin Spice Mix

Make Coffee- add sugar to hot coffee and stir. Use a milk frother (I use one of these but have also used one of these). Add milk and pumpkin spice mix and a little hazelnut essence (This is the one I use). Froth up and add to coffee.

Pin the recipes;

Pumpkin Brownies Loula Natural PinAlmond Milk Gingerbread Latte Loula Natural Pin

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