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!

IMG_20160216_024006155_HDR

Advertisements

Apple & Cheese Sticks for Tots

2016-12-28-11-10-26

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.

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

  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.

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.

2016-11-10-08-30-24
Roasted Pork with Lo Mein noodles or known as Siew Yuk Kon Low Mein
2016-11-11-09-27-34
Thai Style Beef Noodle Soup
2016-11-08-08-18-36
Curry Noodles (My favorite breakfast item) – Only the culture in my home city (Kuantan) that people eats curry noodles for breakfast. 
2016-11-07-08-23-48
Classic Soft Boiled Eggs with Buttered Toast & Coffee
2016-11-12-09-27-36
Fish Ball Wide Noodle Soup
2016-11-14-10-35-26.jpg
Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice), and Sambal with Kangkung Belacan
2016-11-12-19-14-39
Nasi Kukus (Steamed Rice) with Sambal & Rempah Fried Chicken
20161114_102542
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.

roast-squash-egg-5180

Ingredients:

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)

Instructions:

  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.

Gestational Diabetes: What Should I do ?

“You have Gestational Diabetes.”  If you hear that statement when you are pregnant, don’t be frightened. Even though it’s not a desirable diagnosis we would like to hear while we are growing a baby, but there’s ways you can do to keep it under control without needing to take insulin.

Diabetes (high blood sugars) that is diagnosed during your pregnancy is called “Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)”.  According to American Diabetes Association, the prevalence of GDM is as high as 9.2%.  Pregnancy naturally increases your insulin resistance due to the growth hormone releases from the placenta, therefore all expectant mothers are at risk for developing GDM and we all have to go through the gruesome glucose tolerance test around 26-28 weeks of our pregnancy to ensure we don’t develop it.

Gestational diabetes is not to be taken lightly. Uncontrolled blood sugar level will negatively affect your growing baby in vitro and also putting your newborn baby at risk for very low blood sugar at birth, increases their risk for obesity and developing Type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

So, what can you do? Best way to keep your blood sugar in check is to watch the amount of carbohydrate intake daily.  Therefore, knowing what kind of foods contains carbohydrate is the first step.

Carbohydrate Containing Foods:

  • Grains, Rice, Cereals, Pasta, Breads, Crackers, Tortillas, Anything made with flour
  • Starchy Vegetables: Potatoes, Yams, Corn, Peas, Squash (Winter, Pumpkin, Kabocha)
  • Dried beans, Legumes, Lentils
  • Fruits, Dried Fruits, Fruit Juices
  • Milk and Yogurt
  • Carbonated drink, desserts.

Basic Dietary Modification: 

Be mindful of Breakfast

When you have GDM, morning blood sugar is the hardest to predict and control due to the highest concentration of pregnancy hormone during the morning. Therefore, it is recommended to only have 2 carbohydrate choices or 30g of carbohydrate foods during breakfast time and eat a higher protein meal to keep hunger at bay.  In addition, it is advised to avoid fruits and fruit juices in the morning as the simple fruit sugars are easily digested, which in turn raises the blood sugar too quickly.

Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks

One way to keeping blood sugar stable is to avoid the peaks and fall. Having a smaller but frequent meal to provide the body steady supply of glucose to be utilized and distributed to your growing baby. Make sure you include about 15-20 g of complex carbohydrate at snack time.

Pair your carbohydrate with protein

Eating carbohydrate with a protein food will help stabilize your blood glucose level.  The body needs time to digest the food mixture, therefore avoiding the highs and lows when compared to just eating a heavy carbohydrate meal alone.

Eat Complex Carbohydrate

Even though carbohydrate appears to be the bad guy here, but our body still need carbohydrate to function on a daily basis.  So, how can we achieve a balance? Eat complex carbohydrate foods (whole grains, brown rice, legumes, beans, vegetables (both starchy and non-starchy).Try to keep your carbohydrate amount at lunch and dinner in between 60-75 g per meal.

Space you Milk/Milk alternative consumption

Milk/Milk alternative is a healthy beverage and good source of calcium and vitamin D. However, it is a liquid carbohydrate just as similar to juice; it gets absorb very quickly and can raise the blood sugar rather fast. So, it is best to just drink one cup of milk at a time.

Limit Concentrated Sugar:

The moment you are told no sugar allows are the times you crave them the most. Daily intake of cakes, cookies, ice creams, candies and pastries can raises your blood sugar too high that you will require insulin injection to keep it under control. While sweets are hard to resist, but remember, they offer high amount of fats and little nutrition values to you and your baby. Occasional treat once in a while is totally acceptable.

If you can’t curb your sweet tooth. The sugar free products are usually safe in moderation. Here’s a list of sugar substitute that is considered safe during pregnancy:

  • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, Natra Taste)
  • Acesulfame K (Sunett)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Rebaudioside A (Stevia)

There’s sugar substitute that is not safe which is saccharin (Sweet N’ Low) and cyclamate (Sugar Twin). So, make sure you read the ingredient list.

Don’t try to cut out all the carbohydrates in your diet, which I’ve heard a lot of my patients told me that’s what their doctor instruct them to do (most of the time is a misunderstanding or miscommunication of info”.  Find a local Registered Dietitian in your area, she/he can help with personalized your diet and help you eat a balance diet for pregnancy and keeping the blood sugar in control.

Bottom Line:

  1. Keep carbohydrate consistent at meal time (30g at Breakfast, 60-75g at Lunch/Dinner).
  2. Avoid fruit/fruit juice/yogurt in the morning.
  3.  Limit concentrated sweets and added sugar in foods.
  4. Eat smaller but frequent meals.

Discover Columbia Gorge/Hood River

Sorry if I’ve been slacking.  It’s been awhile since my husband and I got any alone time since the little one was born couple years ago.  So, he took me away for the weekend and I also have been busy at work too. But, I promised I will slowly get back into my grooves to start updating the blog again.

I just wanted to share the scenery and the food I ate on my trip here, just in case you would like to visit the area someday.

Hood River is along the Columbia River Gorge area (Northwest of Oregon) and you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery and lots of outdoor activities to indulge yourself in such as hiking, rock climbing, biking, kayaking, sailing, para-sailing etc.  There’s a lot of family friendly easy to moderate hikes. We did a short Bridal Veil Falls hike and then a longer Multnomah falls hike (45 mins up 620 feet elevation).

 

If you are not an adventurous outdoor person like myself, no worries, you can go and enjoy the food. Which is exactly we did for the most part 🙂

2016-07-31-14-10-54
This spicy squid with tomato sauce over the focacia bread was one of my favorite. Restaurant Solstice @ Hood River.
2016-07-31-14-27-13
Local Zion Farm pear on a pizza….delish.
2016-07-31-14-28-20
Shrimp Caesar Salad 🙂
2016-07-31-18-41-24
Assorted Local Cheese & Fresh berries with Vegetable ash crackers
2016-07-31-19-11-14
Slow Roast Lamb with Green Beans and Cauliflower.

Also, if you wanted to relax and get a massage. I do recommend to go to Holistic Massage Hood River and the service was great and the massage therapist is good at taking care of your sore spots and work on the trouble areas.

 

Quick & Easy Blueberry Peach Smoothies

2016-07-02-08-16-27

I love the blueberries season, and enjoy taking my daughter going to the farm and pick out the largest and sweetest blueberries on our own.  I get to teach her where the food comes from, and letting her explore in the blueberries bushes and pick out the raw and ripe berries to taste.

We had a blast and of course ended up with pounds and pounds of blueberries because you just get caught up in the picking process and before you know it, the bucket is full and you have lots more blueberries than you can ever consume. The nice thing is that you can freeze the berries and use it as a snack or make smoothies with whatever combinations you prefers.

We decided to use peach yogurt and the frozen berries this time. Hope you enjoy this combination too !

This recipes makes about 14-16 oz of smoothies (2 servings).

Ingredients:

1 Cup frozen blueberries
5 oz of regular peach yogurt
1 Cup  of milk
*A few fresh blueberries or 1-2 teaspoon of sunflower seeds as topping (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Just add all ingredients into a blender and mixed it till smooth.
  2. Or, you can use an immersion blender it works just as well.
  3. Top off with a few fresh blueberries or you can add a few sunflower seeds to give it a crunch too.

 

 

9 FAQ From First Time Parent about Nutrition

Embed from Getty Images

It is exiting yet nerve wrecking when your precious little one finally arrive in your arms. You can read all the parenting guide book to get yourself prepared as much as you can but the real deal awaits you when you bring your baby home. That’s when the true test of parenthood begins.

Here’s a few frequently asked question by my patients’ parent as to what to expect regarding their newborn/infant first year of nutrition problem/needs.

1. How do I know my baby is getting enough ? 

Well, the first few days your baby’s stomach really can hold 5-15 ml of breast milk or formula. Slowly it will stretch out and increasing the volume they can tolerate. One way to know is adequate wet diaper and soiled diaper. Breastfeeding babies should have at least 2-3 soiled (yellow seedy poop) and 8-10 wet diapers daily.  Another sign of baby is getting enough is good weight gain, if your baby is gaining 1.5-2.0 pounds per month, that’s a good sign he/she is receiving enough from breast feeding or formula. If you have a premature babies, his/her nutrition requirement will be higher than a normal healthy term baby and are expecting to grow a minimum of 2.2-2.5 pounds per month.

If you are still worried, go to the doctor’s office in between well baby visit for weight check. There’s also birth center that does weight check for infant as well.

If you have time, read nutrition for infant 0-6 months article I’ve written earlier.

Every parent should familiarize themselves with an age appropriate growth chart. This can help you keep track of how their growth is overtime. You can go to infant chart website to monitor growth for infants and children ages 0 to 2 years and 2-20 years of age in the U.S. The website also included preterm baby’s growth chart, and a Chinese babies growth chart as well (Historically, Asian babies tend to be smaller in size).

2. My baby has bloody diarrhea ! What do I do ?

This could means several things, intestinal irritation, intolerance of breast milk/formula, and/or allergies. Please call your child’s pediatrician office right away.  In the meantime while waiting for your doctor’s call back, continue to offer breast milk to prevent dehydration. Pedialyte also is appropriate at this time. You can try switching to a hypoallergenic formula (Nutramigen(R), Alimentum (R), Pregestimil (R), Gerber(R) Extensive HA) and consult a doctor for next step.

3. My baby is constipated, HELP !

Most breastfed infant seldom get constipated before solids food are introduced. But, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. When babies goes 3 days without a bowel movement, you can start some prune juice (15 ml juice mix with 15 ml water) and give it to your baby twice daily. You can also do warm bath and gentle belly massage to stimulate the bowel movement. If constipation doesn’t resolve in 1-2 days, call the doctor !

4. When should I stop feeding baby during the night? 

Breast milk is easily digested therefore your baby will get hungry much faster compared to formula fed babies. It is best to continue feeding your baby on demand until adequate solids intake is achieved, usually between 8-10 months of age when sleeping through the night is possible.  However, breastfed babies might still wake up in the middle of the night craving for comfort nursing, it will be your decision, whether you wanted to continue offer a bottle or breast. One thing to remember is that they are able to consume enough solids food during the day to meet their energy needs and doesn’t need the 1-2 feedings at night as it was before.

5. Can I drink coffee or alcohol when I’m breastfeeding ?

Moderate amount of coffee (1-2 cups) is usually acceptable while you are breastfeeding.  If you are expecting to go to a social events and would like to have more than a few sips of wine/beer. Feed your baby before hand or pump and completely empty both breast before drinking alcohol. Wait for 3 hours after before the next feeding after alcohol consumption. Only one serving is recommended (5 ounce of wine, 12 oz beer, 1.5 oz of spirits).

6. When should I introduce solids ?

Technically by 6 months of age or 6 months of corrected age if you have a premature babies. Babies have to be able to sit up without neck support, showing signs of interest in food, open mouth wide when seeing a spoon.

7. What is an ideal first food ?

There’s none. You can choose infant cereal (rice, oatmeal, barley), puree vegetables (avocado, peas, carrots, green beans, sweet potato, squash), puree fruits (peaches, pears, prunes, banana, applesauce),puree meats/beans. It is your choice and what your family prefers. Just remember to introduce one food at a time, wait for 2-3 days before the next new food is being introduced. The key is to continue introduce different variety and flavors and will be more adventurous in trying new foods later on.

8. Homemade purees vs Commercially prepared

All of us know what home made food is the best. But there’s a large majority of parents that didn’t have the time or luxury to obtain fresh/ organic produce to make home made foods for their little one. Just be careful that fresh produce and some roots vegetables such as spinach, green beans, squash, beets and carrots may contains large amount of nitrates, which can leads to anemia. So, it is best to buy commercially prepared ones for those food items as food manufacturer does test of nitrates in baby’s food.

9. Is eggs, nuts, dairy, soy, fish safe to introduce during first year? 

The latest research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2013 have indicated early introduction to allergenic foods are actually beneficial to prevent food allergies later on. Unless your family has a history of food allergies, then it is unnecessary to avoid introducing eggs and/or peanut butter containing foods to infant starting at 6 months of age given appropriate texture is provided. It is still not safe to provide large chunks, hard to chew food during the early introduction of solids food.

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition for Infant 6-9 Months

If you are a first time mom (FTM), surviving the first 6 months after your baby is born is definitely worth celebrating. If you are an experienced mom, then kudos to you for your bravery to take on the second or third kids challenge.

Being a mother is a 24/7 job and  not counting the sleep deprivation, trying to establish breast milk supply, constant worrying and the emotional roller coaster post-partum and the list goes on. None the less, you have made it past the most difficult months but there’s still a lot more ahead we have to know about your baby’s nutritional well being when they are ready to embark on the solid foods journey.

Now that you’ve mastered their schedule down to a tee, let’s talk food 🙂

Embed from Getty Images

6 -7 Months

Starting solids is a big step for your baby. But where do you start ? Answer is start simple, one food at a time and there’s no right or wrong on whether you start rice cereal, fruits, vegetables or meat first. There’s no research to support whether the starting order of vegetables first will make your infant to be more incline to eating vegetables later. Nope, no such things. Breast milk and infant formula are sweet to begin with, so most babies will have a tendency to like fruits much better than others.

Offer a wide variety of foods (cereal, fruits (no juice at this time), vegetables, meats), but only single food at a time. Start with one food, offer for 2-3 days and then introduce the next to rule out any potential allergies. But do remember, do not add salt at this time as baby’s kidney are still developing. This will go on for about two months time to let them try as much food as possible. By the end of 7 months, the list of food they can consume will grow to about 30-35 foods.

You can also lightly seasoned the foods with spices, herbs as well at about 7 months. Introducing purees doesn’t equate to eating bland foods for your children. Expose them with different flavors which in turn will help them be more of a adventurous eater later on. They don’t have to like it, by just exposing them with variety of flavors profile will do.

How much to offer ? About 1/2-1 Tablespoon is a good start at each meal. Let your baby be the guide on how much they wanted to eat. Baby will turn their head or spitting out food when they are done with eating.

Key Point:  At 6-7 months of age, solids foods are consider a “complimentary” foods. As in it is just supposed to be letting the infant to experience the different taste of food and continue to work on their oral motor development. Food at this point are not suppose to replace their major source of nutrition (breast milk or infant formula. 90% of their caloric intake should still be breast milk or infant formula at this time (approximately 26-32 ounces daily).

8-9 Months

After your baby has time to master the oral motor skills for 1-2 months. Now is time to introduce some chunky purees now. If you are interested and aren’t afraid of baby led weaning (BLW) techniques, you can also try giving your baby well cooked vegetables, soft ripen fruits (cut in stripe or small cubes), soft/ground meats (fish/meat balls) with careful supervision at dining table. At this time, most baby has the capability to chew with or without teeth and swallow without much difficulty.

You can start introduce cheese, yogurt (not cow’s milk or goat’s milk yet), egg yolk and egg whites if you like. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Allergy organization have released reports that early introduction of high allergenic food such as egg whites, wheat, nuts can reduces even high risk infants of developing egg/nuts allergies later on.

How much to feed ? Making sure to offer about 1-2 Tablespoons of each food groups (Grains/bread, fruit, vegetables, meat/meat substitute) at meal time if possible. They can have more if desire. Can start offering snacks in between feeding such as cheese, yogurt, teething biscuit, cut up fruits.

Don’t let anyone (family, friends or co-workers) to put you down whichever methods you choose and how you feed your children.  As long as your baby is growing well and eating nutritious meals within the recommended guidelines, do what works for your family! One size doesn’t fit all.

However, do remember that at this time. Baby still need their main source of nutrition from breast milk and infant formula. About 70-80% of caloric intake from breast milk/infant formula (~24 ounces per day) and the rest from solids. Continue with no to minimal salt with cooking for the foods that will be served to your baby at this time frame.

Once they started to eat more solids, their poop will change to more of a darker solids form and sometimes even becoming less frequent with their bowel movement. Offer 1/2-1 ounce of water during meal time and also feed your baby fruits that helps to relieve constipation such as prunes/pears/peaches/plums. If your baby hasn’t poop in 3 days, you can offer 1 oz prune juice / apple juice mix with 1 oz of water and massage their belly to help stimulate bowel movement. Always call the pediatrician for advice when you are worried.

Egg Decorating without Dye

Happy Easter !!! Hope all of you have a wonderful celebration with families and friends.

I don’t particular like dying the egg because  the color doesn’t always comes out as nice as it was shown on the box display. Maybe I was doing something wrong but none the less, it wasn’t my favorite thing to do. Arts certainly wasn’t in my gene.

So, thankfully for all the wonderful internet ideas. There’s a bunch of dye-free eggs decorating tips I found and I think it’s perfect fun for my daughter to experience this easy and fun to do craft project. There’s also a kit from Spritz that filled with stickers, tape, and other decorative themes such as princess and pirates and that I found in Target which cost only $5.oo, which I think is priced reasonably well.

There’s also other ways you can dye the eggs without using commercial food dyes but I’m lazy to make homemade food coloring from foods (spinach for greens, beets for red/pink, blueberries/blackberries for blue, red cabbage for purple, onion skin or turmeric for orange/yellow/gold) in a time crunch. It did crossed my mind but decided not to this year.

So, I opted for the convenient and less messy way to let my daughter experience her first egg decorating fun. Simply boiled the eggs, put on decorative washi tape, a touch of embellishment and it is done. With our monitoring, we also dyed some eggs and let her made an octopus from the pirate kit I purchased.

easter-2016-3184

Stay tune for the egg recipes later …