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The Baby Bistro: Child-Approved Recipes and Expert Nutrition Advice for the First Year

by Christina Schmidt

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Based on the most current nutritional information, this concise guide offers new mothers a focused introduction to feeding babies healthy, nutritious foods during their first 12 months of life. With whimsical illustrations and clever recipe names—such as “Cereal Symphony” and “Adam’s Eggless Bananawama Muffins”—this


Based on the most current nutritional information, this concise guide offers new mothers a focused introduction to feeding babies healthy, nutritious foods during their first 12 months of life. With whimsical illustrations and clever recipe names—such as “Cereal Symphony” and “Adam’s Eggless Bananawama Muffins”—this handbook even introduces the concept of becoming the executive chef for any parent’s new 24-hour home bistro. Filled with colorful asides such as “Foolish Fats,” “Funky Fruits,” and “Meat Monsters,” this compendium is ideal for both working and stay-at-home moms, eliminating the stress from a baby’s first year by blending the basics of good nutrition with sound advice. Tips are offered throughout to help parents develop an approach to food that is easy, organized, and fun. Features on shopping and topics such as how to read a food label are also included.

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Bull Publishing Company
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7.10(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.42(d)

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The Baby Bistro

Child-Approved Recipes and Expert Nutrition Advice for the First Year

By Christina E. Schmidt, Steve Veach, Peter McQuarry

Bull Publishing Company

Copyright © 2009 Christina E. Schmidt
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-933503-85-1




Pre-birth pointers for moms-to-be

Preparing for your baby's arrival while you are pregnant means trying to be as organized as possible before your life happily turns upside down, sleep deprivation strikes, and time to read and remember things escapes your daily reality. The Starters are first on the bistro menu, with recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy and nutrition tips to help you to navigate your way through your pregnancy diet confidently.

Recommended weight gain during pregnancy

According to recommendations from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Institute of Medicine, women with normal weight should gain twenty-five to thirty-five pounds (11.5 to 16.0 kg) in pregnancy; those who are underweight, twenty-eight to forty pounds (12.5 to 18.0 kg); and overweight women should gain fifteen to twenty-five pounds (7.0 to 11.5 kg). Most of your weight gain should occur during your second and third trimesters. Your doctor can help monitor your progress as well as counsel you if you have special needs or are pregnant with multiples. In general, ditch that latest diet and just concentrate on eating healthy, nutritious foods!

The objective is to maximize your nutrients per calorie, regardless of whether you are having trouble keeping foods down or are ravenous.

Nutrient needs for moms

During pregnancy and breast-feeding, your body requires a boost in protein and energy to support your growing baby and to keep all of your systems on GO as well! Proteins are paramount in building nearly everything necessary for human growth, such as muscles, skin, organs, bones, and the immune and nervous systems. You should aim for a protein intake range of sixty to seventy grams per day.

Add an extra nutritious snack into your daily diet as well. You need to take in a few more calories than prior to your pregnancy to support additional energy requirements, especially during the second and third trimesters and during breast-feeding.

Pack in the protein

Make sure you've added plenty of meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, soy products, beans, eggs, whole grains, and nuts to your diet. Use this list of protein-rich foods to guide you in your choices:

* * *

4 ounces chicken = 34 grams

4 ounces fish = 30 grams

4 ounces hamburger = 28 grams

1 cup tofu = 18 grams

1 cup kidney beans = 16 grams

1 cup fruit yogurt = 10 grams

½ cup edamame = 10 grams

2 tablespoons peanut butter = 9 grams

1 cup skim milk = 8 grams

1 ounce cheese = 7 grams

1 large egg = 6 grams

1 cup white rice = 6 grams

1 cup broccoli = 3 grams

Factor in fabulous fiber foods

Everyone should include fiber in their diet. Fiber protects against certain cancers, helps control cholesterol ratios, evens out blood sugar levels, combats weight gain, and allows the digestive system to function smoothly. Pregnant women may be more prone to the lovely discomforts of constipation and hemorrhoids. Eating high- fiber foods daily will help to keep your digestion on a regular track. Aim for about 28 grams per day. Natural sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

Not all fats are the enemy

Healthy fats are available in a variety of delicious foods and are an important part of your diet. Fat stores energy, transports vitamins, supports healthy skin, and is vital to the brain, the central nervous system and your visual development. The skinny on fat is to allow saturated fats (found mostly in meat, whole-fat dairy, egg yolks, and palm and coconut oils) to be only a very small portion of your diet. Instead, favor unsaturated fats. These include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, especially the two "essential" fats, which are fats our bodies cannot make.

Foods like avocados, peanut butter, and olive and canola oils are high in monounsaturated fats. The essential fats are linoleic (omega-6) fats and linolenic (omega-3) fats. Try to include about 13 grams per day of omega-6 fats and 1.4 grams per day of omega- 3 fats in your diet during pregnancy. The omega-6 fats are found mostly in nuts, seeds, and vegetable and seed oils. The omega-3 fats are found in soybeans, flaxseeds, walnuts, wheat germ, and cold-water fish. The main omega-3 in cold-water fish is DHA, which is vital for your baby's brain and retinal development. Pregnant and breast-feeding moms, babies, and young children should exclude certain fish from their seafood selections (see First Course, Fishy Fish, p. 17, for a full listing).

* * *

Avoid partially hydrogenated fats (transfats). These fats may interfere with your baby's normal course of growth and nervous system development (see First Course, Foolish Fats, p. 20).

Don't forget to take your prenatal vitamin and DHA supplement! (See Á la Carte, p. 105.)

* * *

Popular diets — hopeless or healthy?

If you follow a specific diet, you may be wondering if it is safe to continue throughout your pregnancy.

Vegan or vegetarian diets

Vegan and vegetarian diets are healthy diets that offer plenty of nutrition for the healthy birth of your baby. Vegan diets exclude all meats, fish, dairy, and eggs. Vegan moms should pay extra attention to include enough protein, zinc, iron, calcium, and vitamins D and B12, because these nutrients are primarily in animal-based foods.

* * *

Vegetarians usually eat some foods from the animal kingdom such as dairy, fish, or eggs. If you do not eat fish, your body may have suboptimal levels of DHA, and you should take a supplement. Fruits and veggies naturally offer some calcium and iron. Many vegan foods and beverages are fortified with vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, and vitamin D. Your prenatal vitamin and DHA supplement are good insurance policies to cover dietary nutrient gaps.

Macrobiotic diets

If you practice this diet and plan to raise your baby on it, please think again! Macrobiotic diets are very restrictive and are not recommended for pregnant women or infants because they do not contain proper levels of energy, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals essential for normal growth and development. Nutrients lacking in this diet include protein, vitamin B12, iron, and calcium. Babies on this diet are at risk for rickets and failure to thrive.

Low carbohydrate, fruitarian, or other fad diet regimens

These diets are nutritionally inadequate and do not support the needs of a growing baby or pregnant mom. If you must experiment with them, wait until after pregnancy and breast-feeding. Pregnancy is your best excuse to put off dieting!

Nutrient no-no's for moms

Certain foods may harbor bacteria, parasites, or viruses that may put your health and the health of your baby at risk. Here is the story behind why you have to skip some of your favorite food indulgences!

* * *

Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and Toxoplasma gondii are bacteria that may cause illnesses such as listeriosis, salmonella poisoning, or toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women, their unborn babies, and newborns are at an increased risk of becoming infected. Infection may develop into serious health risks during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby.

Avoid ready-to-eat foods such as deli-style lunch meats and poultry, refrigerated meat spreads, refrigerated smoked seafood, bologna, hot dogs, fermented and dry sausage, deli salads and spreads, and pâtés. Also avoid raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, raw eggs, raw homemade cookie dough, unpasteurized milk or juice, and soft cheeses like Brie, blue-veined, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, or Mexican soft cheeses (queso blanco, queso fresco, queso de crea, panela, asadero).

Shelf-stable or canned pâté and smoked seafood and pasteurized soft cheeses like cream cheese, ricotta, and cottage cheese are fine to eat. Yes, you still get to have your bagel with schmear, just no lox!

Skip the raw sushi, raw shellfish, and sashimi, and retreat from raw meat such as in those delicious appetizers like tartars or carpaccios. In addition to the bacteria previously mentioned, raw fish may contain the hepatitis A virus as well as parasites that are dangerous to you and your baby. Sushi prepared with cooked fish is OK.

Go for sproutless sandwiches and wraps. Despite their health benefits, alfalfa, clover, and radish sprouts unfortunately may carry Salmonella,E. coli, and the canavanine toxin.

Adopting smart kitchen habits also helps to keep your foods bug-free. Set your refrigerator temperature to 40°F (4°C) and reheat meats to steaming hot. Refrigerate foods that may spoil within two hours after they have been prepared or eaten. Wash your hands before preparing food and keep pets away from culinary surfaces. Check for more information.

One more thing you can check off your to-do list while you are pregnant is your call to the local public works or water board to inquire about the fluoride content in your tap water, or check My Water's Fluoride at Adequate levels of fluoride in your local water are between 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (ppm). If levels are lower than 0.3 ppm, and you plan to use tap water for formula or to drink when breast- feeding, you may need to give your baby a fluoride supplement at six months. Consult with your pediatrician or a pediatric dentist. Fluoride is essential in building strong teeth and bones (see Á la Carte, p. 108).

If you tap into a well for your water, verify that it contains less than 10 ppm of nitrate/nitrogen. Higher levels of nitrates in water used for baby formula or for cooking baby foods may interfere with the oxygen supply to your baby's body tissues (see Vexing Veggies, p. 29).


First Course

* * *

Preparing for feeding baby: health and safety

Is organic food really better? Can I give my baby carton-brand cow milk? Which fish are healthy and safe for babies? What is the real deal with trans-fats? As a new parent or a grandparent (a.k.a. free babysitter), you crave information about how to protect and raise a healthy baby. Many of my readers have said they never really understood certain nutrition topics such as food allergies, trans-fats, or high-mercury fish until they had gone through this "First Course."

The Baby Bistro First Course serves up some food-safety specifics to expand your knowledge palate and launch you confidently into feeding your baby and selecting food.

Allergy advice

For the experts who research childhood allergies and methods to prevent, delay, or treat symptoms, the jury is still out on the best approach. Current scientific consensus is that WHEN parents introduce common allergenic foods to their babies has no impact on whether or not their child develops allergies. Evidence indicates that for high-risk children who have a sibling or parent with allergies, waiting to offer certain foods for the first year or more may delay, but not prevent, allergy onset. Basically, we cannot trick our genes, but we may be able to downplay them a bit.

If your baby displays hypersensitivity such as dermatitis during the first four months of age before you introduce solid foods, ask your pediatrician about holding off on offering the common food allergens.

Food allergies in most children resolve by five or six years of age; however, allergies to peanuts, nuts, and seafood may last a lifetime.

* * *

The Bistro Big Eight allergenic foods

Proteins in foods may provoke an immune reaction known as a food allergy. If your baby develops a reaction after eating solids or nursing, certain foods are most likely to be the cause. It helps to know the lineup of the most common food allergens when you and your doctor are tracking the root of a mystery rash or wheezing. Introducing the Big Eight:

[] Eggs

[] Tree nuts

[] Soy

[] Milk

[] Fish

[] Wheat

[] Peanuts

[] Shellfish

Other foods that are known to trigger allergic reactions are berries, especially strawberries, citrus, tomatoes, corn, kiwi, sesame, and mustard seed.


Allergic symptoms may occur within a few minutes to hours of eating, usually after two or three exposures to the food. Common symptoms are hives, rash, itching, eczema, facial swelling, wheezing, nasal congestion, coughing, asthma, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Hives are the most common allergic reaction.

If you suspect a food allergy, eliminate the food(s) and contact your health care provider. Your baby may need to be tested for allergies.

Tips for allergy-prone babies

Does your baby have a parent or sibling with allergies (food, environmental, asthma, or eczema)? Approximately 80 percent of allergy-prone children are allergic to one or two foods. If you have an allergy-prone baby, read on for some hints that may help improve some allergic symptoms!

Eating a diet rich in zinc, vitamin D, vitamin E, antioxidants, and omega 3 fats found in low-mercury fish during pregnancy and breast-feeding may help to reduce potential wheezing in your baby's toddler years.

If, after nursing, you suspect that your baby has symptoms of an allergic reaction, talk to your pediatrician about excluding allergenic foods from your diet. Research indicates that this may improve symptoms of colic during a baby's first six weeks of life.

Breast-feeding exclusively for at least the first four months appears to protect high-risk infants from developing more severe allergies and asthma.

If you are not able to nurse, feeding your baby an extensively hydrolyzed formula instead of regular cow or soy protein formulas may be beneficial to prevent or delay allergic skin reactions.

Check for more information.

Beverage beware

Your baby's beverage menu during the first year is fairly exclusive. Breast milk and baby formula should be the primary picks and the following liquids are best left off the list.

Commercial cow's milk (carton brands)

No servings: birth to twelve months

The protein in cow's milk, called casein, is an allergen. Cow's milk delivers overabundant amounts of protein, salt, potassium, and chloride, putting too much stress on your baby's immature kidneys. Cow's milk does not provide adequate levels of absorbable iron, zinc, essential fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin C for normal growth and development. Cow's milk is best for baby cows!

* * *

Commercial soy milk

No servings: birth to twelve months

Like cow's milk, soy milk delivers too much protein and salt, overworking baby kidneys. Soy milk also does not provide the necessary levels of absorbable zinc and iron to grow healthy babies.

Using these milks as ingredients in recipes for nonallergic babies is fine!

Other "milks"

No servings: birth to twelve months

These include goat milk and milk imposters such as from rice, nuts, seeds, nondairy creamers, and water-based cereal porridge. These milks do not contain adequate amounts of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals to support growth. If you are nursing and prefer to drink these milks, make sure that you choose brands fortified with calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, and vitamin B12 in order to provide adequate nutrients for you and your baby during breast-feeding.

Fruit juice

No servings: birth to twenty-four months

Fruit juice flunks out of the Baby Bistro diet! Full of sugar, it causes diarrhea and dental decay, encourages a preference for sweet beverages, and increases risk for obesity. Fruit juice sacrifices nutrients for sugar and has been associated with failure to thrive in infants who drink large quantities. If you choose to offer juice, use only unsweetened juices, and because of possible allergies, do not offer citrus juices for the first twelve months. Dilute all juices with water and serve them in a cup, not a bottle, to prevent tooth decay. Limit serving sizes to a ½ cup (4 ounces or 120 milliliters) of diluted juice per day.


Excerpted from The Baby Bistro by Christina E. Schmidt, Steve Veach, Peter McQuarry. Copyright © 2009 Christina E. Schmidt. Excerpted by permission of Bull Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Christina Schmidt, MS, is a nutritionist and a certified nutrition educator who has been featured on NBC’s Today show and has written nutrition articles for The Bump magazine. She is the author of Baby Bistro Box and Toddler Bistro Box. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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