Spice It Up! by Beth Bence Reinke

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source: tomcochrane

When your child helps you cook, she probably loves to measure and pour ingredients, especially from all the fun little bottles in your spice rack. Not only do spices make foods taste scrumptious, they’re loaded with health-promoting antioxidants. Studies show spices have amazing health benefits. For instance, cinnamon may help control blood sugar. Ginger soothes tummy troubles. Turmeric, found alone or in curry powder, works against cancer and inflammation.

Scientific evidence shows spices can work together to fight carcinogens, so blending them together is even better.  Encourage your young chef to mix and match spices with different kinds of foods to create new flavor combinations. Go ahead, spice it up!

Want a recipe to make with your child? They can definitely help measure spices and mix components in this delicious Indian condiment, Pineapple Raita. (Serve with Indian Pork Kebabs, which have a lovely spice rub, too!)

How do you let your child help in the kitchen?

Beth Bence Reinke holds a Bachelor’s in biology & secondary education, a Master’s in nutrition, and is a registered dietitian. She writes articles about food, health and nutrition for magazines and websites such as ParentLife, Smart and CBN.com and is the wellness columnist for Living Light News, a Canadian newspaper. Overall, Beth has written 220+ articles and numerous devotionals for publication.

Lunchbox Woes Solved: The 4 to 1 Method

Just a few weeks into the school year and already out of ideas for school lunch? Try the 4-to-1 method (4 healthy, whole foods, and 1 treat). Post this list on your fridge, and then select one item from each category for the lunchbox. (Packing in a divided Bento box helps keeps everything separate and doesn’t produce as much waste as packing everything in baggies.)

 

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You and your children can work together to add to these lists with items they love as well.

Protein/grain combo: tuna in whole-wheat pita, turkey and avocado on whole-wheat bread, ham and lettuce on rye, cheese and whole-grain crackers, peanut butter and jelly on whole-wheat tortilla, hard-boiled egg, slice of cold pizza, spiral pasta with chick peas, soup in a thermos

Dairy: plain low-fat milk, flavored low-fat milk (chocolate, strawberry, vanilla) yogurt cup, kefir, yogurt smoothie, string cheese stick, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese with cinnamon and honey

Fruit: apple slices, banana, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, melon cubes, pear, kiwi slices, nectarine, applesauce, mango, pineapple, plum, fruit cup in its own juice, 100-percent fruit juice

Veggie: cherry tomatoes, bell pepper strips, baby carrots, broccoli florets, cucumber slices, celery sticks, spinach salad, coleslaw, pickled beets, cold corn in vinaigrette dressing, mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon

Treat: snack-size candy bar, homemade cookie, popcorn, pretzels, baked chips, dried fruit and nuts, granola bar, cereal bar, homemade fruit muffin, graham crackers, pudding cup, dry cereal

For some unique menu ideas and recipes for little ones, check out Weelicious.com and don’t miss Beth Bence Reinke’s article "Healthy School Lunches" in the October 2010 issue of ParentLife.

What is your child’s favorite lunchbox menu?

Giveaway Reminder

In My Bath Cover.jpgParentLife is giving away a children’s book to the first 25 people* who post on our blog this month. We have a closet full of children’s books and are looking forward to sharing them with you! ParentLife writer Beth Bence Reinke’s new book In My Bath is just one of the 25 titles we are giving away!

So let us hear from you during July! What was your favorite children’s book growing up? What is your child’s favorite book now?

 *LifeWay employees are not eligible for this giveaway. Limit one book per family. Winners will be announced on August 1, 2010.

July ParentLife Giveaway

wherethewildthingsare.jpgWhat was your favorite children’s book growing up? I still fondly remember Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I loved it so much (and still have not seen the movie based on it)! goodnightgorilla.jpg

We read so many books to our boys that I can’t even begin to list their favorites. When we visited the beach with our family in May, we found a new favorite that I read with my 18-month-old nephews, Noah and Nicholas: Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann.

In My Bath Cover.jpgThis July, ParentLife is going to give away a children’s book to the first 25 people* who post on our blog this month. We have a closet full of children’s books and are looking forward to sharing them with you! ParentLife writer Beth Bence Reinke’s new book In My Bath is just one of the 25 titles we are giving away!

So let us hear from you during July! What was your favorite children’s book growing up? What is your child’s favorite book now?

 

*LifeWay employees are not eligible for this giveaway. Limit one book per family. Winners will be announced on August 1, 2010.

Homemade vs. Store-bought Baby Food

In the April 2010 issue of ParentLife, dietitian Beth Bence Reinke explores the pros and cons of homemade baby food and store-bought baby food. Maybe you have decided to make your own baby food, but what foods work best?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends starting iron-fortified rice cereal when your baby is 4 to 6 months old. Then add one new food every 2 to 3 days.
 

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For ages 6 to 7 months, these starter foods work well for making easy-to-digest, pureed, homemade baby food:

  • Mashed banana (no need to cook)
  • Cooked fruits: pears, apples, peaches, apricots, plums
  • Cooked vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, butternut squash, green beans
  • Cooked meats: turkey, chicken, lamb, beef (no processed meats)

For ages 8 to 12 months consider adding the following foods.

  • Cooked, puréed vegetables: broccoli florets, cauliflower, summer squash
  • Cooked, puréed legumes like split peas and lentils
  • O-shaped oat cereal, teething biscuits
  • Cheese and yogurt
  • Mashed, cooked egg yolk (not whites, which can be allergenic)
  • Chopped table foods like meats, cooked vegetables, fruits and pasta as your baby shows readiness for coarse textures

Wait until your baby is 12 months old to add whole cow’s milk and egg whites. Always follow the advice of your pediatrician for adding new foods to your baby’s diet, especially if allergies run in your family.

Which baby food do you prefer — store-bought or homemade? We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.