Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook

I’m super excited to announced that I wrote a book about baby led-weaning and including 55 easy to follow recipes to try with your little one at home. It’s available on Amazon, use this link or search in other online bookstores (Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, Target, or Powells).

Here’s a sample recipe for you to review and it’s full of tips and explanation of how to feed baby safely with baby led weaning methods.

Picky Eating Resources for Children

It’s been awhile since the last I wrote as life has been busy the last two years. None the less, I’m also very excited to share this piece of webinar that I co-host last year at work via Peace Health healthy eating series to discussed the issue about picky eating that many parents has to endure throughout the world.

Just remember that it takes time (months to years) and consistency to help you get to the results you wanted. I hope that there’s a few tips from the webinar that you can use at home to reduce the power struggle during meal time with your little ones. Picky eating is challenging but we can always find ways to improve in order to achieve positive outcome.

Webinar handouts and resources

You can also go to Peace Health website directly to view the recorded webinar as well.

In Memory of My Beloved Father

My dad has fallen ill again and had passed away peacefully at home on Feb 15th, 2017.

I don’t know how to express the sadness/ heartache I’m feeling inside so I decided to dedicate this site to remember my dad.

He’s the man who taught me so much about life and values. He always support the decisions I made in my life and he’s part of the reason I am where I am today and be able to live my own dream.

There isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking about you. You will forever stay in our heart. You are the best dad I can ever asked for and will be greatly missed!


Apple & Cheese Sticks for Tots


This is a fun snack for toddler around 2-3 years old.  It just like adult fruit and cheese pairing with crackers. I decided to dice some apple and baby bel cheese, then throw in some whole wheat gold fish crackers in it to entice the little eyes.

So this snack is simple and easy to assemble. You can also have your toddler help you assemble it and make it fun.


1/2 apple, slice and dice into 20 bite size chunks

1 baby bel, slice and dice into 10 bite size chunks

10 tooth picks

2 tablespoon Gold Fish Crackers


  1. Assemble as shown on picture above. Slide apple into tooth picks, add in cheese and top off with another apple cube.
  2. Use a small cup (dixie cups works too) and add in 2 tablespoon Gold fish crackers and arrange the kebabs on top.

Facts and Myth of Most Common Alternative Uses of Breast Milk

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We all know that breast milk is often refer as “liquid gold” but do you know why? It’s not because the color of the milk looks like gold but it is the price of breast milk cost more (400x more) than crude oil per ounce in weight.  Hence the liquid gold term. Crazy isn’t it. Not only breast milk is the superb choice to feed our precious little ones but it has many benefits for both baby and mother as we already know.

Though, there’s always the common advice from breastfeeding and mom’s support group suggesting other uses of breast milk to cure infant common illness (ear infection, pink eye, blocked tear ducts etc). So, let’s examine what actually works based on research studies.

Myth: Breast feeding / Breast Milk can prevent or cure ear infection

Facts: Breast feeding will reduces the risk of getting ear infection. Not completely prevented it.  On the other hand, dropping a few breast milk into the ear of the baby during ear infection doesn’t support by the research. Most ear infection (otitis media) is a middle ear infection, which is behind the ear drums. So, the breast milk doesn’t reach the inflamed area behind the ear drum to be beneficial to treat it. However, if the infection is an outer ear infection (swimmer’s ear), then breast milk will work. Remember one important fact is that most ear infection will clear on its own within 48-72 hours without antibiotic treatment. If your child has recurrent/frequent ear infection, it is best to seek medical advice.

Myth: Breast milk is great for atopic eczema/ diaper rash

Facts: Truth ! Yes, breast milk has been proven in a randomized clinical trial (Kasrae et al 2015 and Farahani et al 2013) treat atopic eczema and diaper rash respectively. Breast milk works just as effective as the 1% hydrocortisone cream. So, you can definitely try dabbing a few drops of breast milk to the affected area.  One side note is that this will only works on infant with mild to moderate atopic eczema (or dermatitis) and bacteria diaper rash. If the diaper rash are caused by yeast, breast milk will make it worse due to the milk sugar content.

Myth: Breast milk can be use to treat conjunctivitis (pink eye)

Facts: Maybe. Mixed review noted in two separate research done in 2012 (studies in British) and 2014 (studies in Iran with neonatal infant). Breastmilk was noted to be effective in inhibiting growth on gonorrhea, which is the most common bacteria that causes pink eye. However, when comparing to antibiotic ointment, breastmilk comes in second. So, if you live in a rural area without quick access to medical care, then breast milk will not be a bad idea and will not hurt your infant.

Myth: Breast milk can help clear block tear ducts

Facts: False claims. There’s a studies published in the Journal of Tropical Pediatrics in 2007 indicates that most blocked tear ducts cleared on its own with or without treatment. However, if you do choose to use breast milk vs antibiotic, it is probably safe as well. Just make sure to clean the gunk from the infant eyes and massage the corner of the eye with warm compress.

Myth: Breast milk can help with infant acne and adults too

Facts: Likely ! Studies have shown that breast milk contains lauric acid, which is a component to help combating acne. Put a few drops of fresh breast milk on the baby’s acne area, leave it air dry for about 10 minutes, then clean the face with some water. As breast milk contains lactose (milk sugar), which may cause the face becoming sticky and causing other irritation to occurs.

Myth: Breast milk is great for sore nipple

Facts: Although there’s no research to back this up but it has been the gold standard from breastfeeding organization (Le Leche) across the world to recommend hand express a few drops of breast milk and apply around the areola area to lubricate to prevent drying and cracking of the nipple.

Well, as you can see breast milk really is a powerful resource. Even the latest research has shown positive association between breast milk properties with cancer treatment and C-difficile. More clinical trials are underway !

Hope you all enjoyed this findings as much as I did. As a mom, I’ve tried it all and some works better than the other. Just remember, even though breast milk is great for many uses, it still harbor quite a lot of bacteria in them, most of them are beneficial to the gut of babies. Make sure to practice good hygiene when hand expressing and storage to reduce as much contamination as possible.



Understanding Nutrition and COPD

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I know this is not an article about pediatric populations but it is a topic that is dear to my heart when my own father was officially diagnosed with COPD. I’ve suspected that earlier last year but he wouldn’t let me take him to the doctor until he was critically ill this time around. You, maybe just like me have a loved one who suffers from COPD and wondering how you can help.

I worked with adult populations before and know how much nutrition is important for COPD patients. Most COPD patients who are admitted to the hospital are malnourished and it increases their mortality rate. Nutrition really plays an important role in keeping a person with COPD healthy and to help them recover from malnutrition and improving their chances of survival. A person with COPD exacerbation can be malnourished in 1 month but it will take almost a year to totally recovered from it if they do what the doctors, physical therapist, respiratory therapist and registered dietitian say. It takes a team effort to manage this disease.

What is COPD exactly ? 

According to American Lung Association, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that over time makes it hard to breathe.With COPD, the airways in your lungs become inflamed and thicken, and the tissue where oxygen is exchanged is destroyed. The flow of air in and out of your lungs decreases. When that happens, less oxygen gets into your body tissues, and it becomes harder to get rid of the waste gas carbon dioxide.

COPD is most common with adults over 50, men and women can both get COPD especially if they are a smoker. People who works closely with fumes, chemical and pollutant will contract COPD as well.

COPD foundation website has a wealth of information regarding the details of the disease.

And why is nutrition important ?

COPD patient often have shortness of breathe or dyspnea in the medical world and it takes them twice as much effort to breathe in oxygen. The patient themselves might not realized the increase work of breathing especially during the early stages of COPD.  Increased work of breathing translate to increased energy expenditure. Depending on the severity, you can easily burnt additional 400-700 calories daily. So even if you felt that you are eating adequately, but you will start noticing weight loss and when exacerbation happens, it will spiral down very quickly.

So, if a person did not consume adequate calories. The body will start utilizing muscle and fat stores for energy, therefore weight loss occurs and then slowly leading to a malnourished state.  With the loss of lean muscle mass, a person will get weaker, and the more breathless they become and the harder it becomes for them to eat. This is because it is hard for them to catch their breath and eat at the same time.  The less they eat, the weaker they become, the harder it is for them to maintain a good weight, which is a vital key to managing COPD.

What can you do nutritionally if you have COPD?

  • Eat small frequent meals. Ideally 6-8 meals per day averaging 300-350 calories per meal to help you regain the severe weight loss you have experienced.
  • If eating solids are difficult, try to look into high calories/ high protein supplement drink (Ensure, Boost, Orgain Or Vega ( Both Vegan option), Muscle Milk, etc.
  • Eat more when you have the most energy, usually in the morning.
  • Choose higher fat foods because it gives you the most calories with the least volume. Plus, fat produces less carbon dioxide when digested, so it is better for the COPD patients.
  • Aim to have 35-40% calories from fat, 35-40% calories from Carbohydrates and 20-25% of calories from protein.
  • Consume high antioxidants fruits and vegetables. It can help improve some pulmonary functions. If not a big fan of fruits/veggies – you can try juicing or buy antioxidant powder drink. or take a MVI daily.
  • Chew and eat slowly to avoid swallowing too much air.
  • Avoid food that produces too much gas (cabbage family, onions, broccoli, cauliflower beans) as bloating can make eating uncomfortable.
  • Limit salt if you can. Swelling/Edema or water retention in body can make breathing difficult.

What other options if eating becomes increasingly difficult?’

  • Tube feeding usually is our recommendation to help a patient combat malnutrition associated with COPD. If the prognosis with the lung disease is not terminal, there is still a chance to improve mortality rate with good nutrition through tube feeding if you or your loved one desired.

Always remember, food is just as important as medication !


Trip back to Malaysia

First of all, I would like to apologize for my lack of blogging for the past month as I had flown back to my home town (Malaysia) to visit my dad, who was very sick and long stories short, I have to be a dietitian to help get my dad get back on track with his health.  It is never easy to have to deal with a sick elderly parent.

Anyhow, I’ve just return a week ago but was really exhausted and have been hibernating for a few days. For those who followed me on Instagram you probably have seen all the delicious food photos that I’ve been posting. For those who doesn’t, I’m going to give you a brief tour of the Malaysia classic food 101. I missed the wide variety of food that I get to choose whenever I go home. It really is a treat since I prefer savory foods more than anything else!

I really hope everyone who had a chance would go visit Malaysia for once in their lifetime. The food is indescribable delicious and there’s plenty of natural wonder to visit. The only downside is HOT weather as it could get as hot as 40+ Celsius or over 100 degree Fahrenheit.  If you go during the monsoon season (Nov – early Jan) it will be a bit cooler but you won’t be able to visit tourist places due to frequent unexpected terrential down pour.

Roasted Pork with Lo Mein noodles or known as Siew Yuk Kon Low Mein

Thai Style Beef Noodle Soup

Curry Noodles (My favorite breakfast item) – Only the culture in my home city (Kuantan) that people eats curry noodles for breakfast. 

Classic Soft Boiled Eggs with Buttered Toast & Coffee

Fish Ball Wide Noodle Soup

Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice), and Sambal with Kangkung Belacan

Nasi Kukus (Steamed Rice) with Sambal & Rempah Fried Chicken

Ondeh Ondeh (Clasic Malay Dessert) It’s like Mochi stuffed with melted brown sugar and coated with shredded coconut





Roasted Delicata Squash Breakfast

Fall harvest is over and the winter squash can be seen everywhere you go. I’ve recently picked up a few new winter squash that I don’t normally used from the farm stand and really enjoyed this lesser used Delicata Squash.  I later learned that they often called it sweet potato squash because it has a mild and sweet flavor resembled the regular sweet potato. The skin is thin and is edible as well (which I found out later after i used it because I was lazy to peel the skin off).  So, I come up with this breakfast idea using the squash as an accompaniment.



1 1/2 cup sliced thin (1/3 inch) delicate squash (about half of a medium size squash)
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon of salt
3 medium sized eggs
1 tablespoon of Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon chopped scallion or chives (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit.
  2. While waiting for the oven to be preheated, laid the sliced squash on a baking pan, add in olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
  3. Place the baking pan in the oven, bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove and let it cool down a little. 1-2 minutes.
  4. In the same baking pan, arrange the sliced squash into a circular shape (about 4 inches wide) using your hand/chopstick/fork and keeping the center hollow. Keep layering the squash on top until you reach about 2 inches thick.
  5. Crack an egg and drop into the hollow center.
  6. Put it back to the 425 degree oven and finish baking for another 15 minutes.
  7. Serve it hot with some chive or scallion sprinkle on top; add with a pinch of freshly ground pepper and Sriracha hot sauce.

Rice Cereal/Rice Product: Yay or Nay ?

Since the Dartmouth college and consumer report published the research and article about arsenic in rice in 2012 and how infant exposure to the inorganic arsenic were among the highest had raised an alarm to the parent groups and pediatric health care providers. To this date, I still hear the same conversation between parents, doctors and dietitians.

As a pediatric dietitian, I’ve yet to see an infant with arsenic poisoning  came my way whether it be in the hospital or outpatient clinics. None the less, there’s some concern about inorganic arsenic in rice cereal/ rice products but since 2012, the infant cereal manufacturer has taken action to uses rice that has the least amount of inorganic arsenic for infant cereal and also provided other options of infant cereal such as Oats, Barley and Multi-grain.

BEWARE – brown rice cereal/brown rice has the highest amount of inorganic arsenic compared to regular rice cereal/ white rice. Same applies to organic baby formula which uses organic brown rice syrup -has also been tested with high level of arsenic content.

*So far, I only found Nature’s One Baby’s Only Toddler organic formula has a disclaimer that took action in filtering their brown rice syrup to an undetectable level of arsenic content.

What exactly is Arsenic ? Why does it matter ?

According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Arsenic is an element in the Earth’s crust, and is present in water, air, and soil. It occurs both naturally in the environment and as a result of human activity, including from erosion of arsenic-containing rocks, volcanic eruptions, contamination from mining and smelting ores and previous or current use of arsenic-containing pesticides. Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with higher rates of skin, bladder and lung cancers, as well as heart disease. The FDA is currently examining these and other long-term effects.

So is it still safe to provide rice cereal/ rice products to my baby and children?

Short answer is YES.  The latest data analysis conducted by FDA in 2014 shows that majority of the rice cereal averaged about 103 parts per billion and the new proposal to limit the total arsenic content in rice cereal is set at 100 parts per billion (same as the European commission).  If you provide your infant/young children with variety of foods and rice is not the only source of grains, you shouldn’t be worried.

There’s also a few ways to help reduce the exposure to high amount of inorganic arsenic if rice is the main stable (such as Asian communities).

  • Rinse the rice in large quantities of water until the water is clear.  This has been the practice of Asian culture. (As per FDA, rinsing will reduced about 16% of the inorganic arsenic content, but it also rinses off other fortified vitamins and minerals such as iron, thiamine and folate)
  • Cook rice in large quantities of water (6:1 to 10:1 ratio) – as in making rice porridge for the infant. Which is also a practice in Asian culture when they first introduce solids. (This will reduce about 43% of the inorganic arsenic content).
  • Chooses rice that is lower in arsenic content, such as Basmati, Jasmine and Sushi Rice. Here’s a chart published by consumer report on all the rice that they examine:  consumer-reports-arsenic-in-food-november-2012_1

Bottom Line:

  • It is still safe to provide rice cereal to your infant as long as it’s not the only source of solids.  Meat, fruits, vegetables are also a good first food options as well. If you are still worried, then choose Oats, Barley, or Multi-grain infant cereal.
  • Provide a variety of grains for your toddler and rice shouldn’t be the only grain in his/her diet. VARIETY is the key !!
  • Rinse and cook your rice with lots of water.
  • Breastfeeding your baby as long as you can. Recommended exclusive for the first 6 months and then up until one years of age.

Steamed Snapper with Veggies Delight


You probably can’t see the fish buried underneath all the veggies pile but this is one of my favorite dish to make because it’s easy and I only have to make one dish to get a balance meal for my family of 2+1.

Not only it is simple, quick and enjoyable by even my little tot, you can also substitute with whatever white fish and veggies you like as long as you don’t overcook them and having to time when to add in the vegetables during the steaming process is important.


6-7 ounces  of white fish fillet (Here I used red snapper)
One large heirloom tomatoes/ or two medium red tomatoes (half then sliced)
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup broccoli stems sticks (remove the outer skin, then julienne)
1/2 tablespoon sliced ginger
One cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup low sodium chicken stocks
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper powder


  • Place the fish fillet in the center of a round deep dish, add in ginger, sprinkle on top the salt, white pepper powder, and pour over the soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Arrange the tomatoes slices on the side into a fan shape. Add in the chicken stocks
  • Add water to a steamer and bring to a boil, place the dish inside the steamer and steam about 15 minutes.
  • Arrange the broccoli sticks in the middle and broccoli florets on the side using chopstick to prevent being burn by the steam.  Steam for additional 5 minutes
  • Turn of the heat, and add in cilantro in the middle. Cover for another one minute.
  • Garnish with roasted garlic and garlic oil. (optional)