In the mood for food

Answering your questions about nutrition, meal planning, and more

Hey, fam. I hope you had a delicious week! Up here in western New York, we’re getting excited about all things fall: changing leaves, sweaters and boots, football games under the lights, cider, doughnuts, warm apple pie, roasted squash anything, cinnamon everything…alright, seems like Monday’s food theme stuck?

Let’s keep it going today! Grab a fork and get ready for answers to all your questions on nutrition, introducing solids, and pin-worthy healthy recipes. Hungry yet?


Something we’re all in search of? Delicious, nutritious, and easy meals that everyone will eat. In our house, I still turn to the 1990s Crock Pot handed down from my mother-in-law at least once a week. (As a fan of This Is Us, I always unplug after I’m done. #IYKYK)

So to get some more inspo, I asked FamilyMade friend and licensed dietician Mary Glenn Lipman for ideas. Her biggest tip?

Automate your meals

“The Instant Pot is something I use ALL the time being a new mom. You can make a lot of meat in a short amount of time that’s packed with flavor,” Mary said. “One thing I love to prep is chicken breast. You can add whatever seasoning you want before cooking.”

“We love making Mediterranean bowls. For lower carbohydrates add the chicken to a salad of greens, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, roasted red peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, and Greek vinaigrette.”

Pinterest is always a great place to discover new slow cooker and Instant Pot recipes, and we also like these quick, healthy ideas:

Those first days, weeks, and months as a new parent are a blur. Like any transitional time, the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to be flexible, be gentle with yourself, and know that in time, you will feel more like you again. Listen to what your body needs. Some days, that’s a brief yoga session during naptime. Other days, that’s a nap of your own during naptime. There are no wrong answers.

But here’s what Mary suggests: Build it in. Create moments of movement in your current schedule.

  • “Involve your baby in exercise,” she advises. “Rather than being rocked, my little girl was soothed by an up-and-down motion, so I ended up doing a lot of weighted squats because I was holding her!”

  • Another opportunity for exercise is during tummy time, where you can get down on the ground with your little one and do a core workout of your own.

  • “Go on walks outside or jog with the stroller,” Mary said. “It’s great for both of you to get some fresh air and exposing your baby to outside light helps them distinguish between night and day.” (AKA potentially a better night’s sleep for all!)

New food experimentation can be the most fun (don’t forget your camera), but it can also cause plenty of stress for parents introducing new tastes and textures. But to put the emphasis on the good stuff?

Keep it light

For baby’s first year, most of their nutritional needs will come from breast milk or formula. “We just want to introduce these foods slowly to get them used to it,” Mary said. “If they don’t eat everything you pack for daycare or school lunch, it’s totally fine! They are exploring right now.”

The same goes for older kids and teens. Unless your pediatrician has a special dietary concern, approach meal and snack time with ease. The more fun food is, the more comfortable kids will be with trying new things.

Across the board, Shawn, Andrew, Mary, and I all agree that meal prep and meal planning is key. Having quick and healthy options for you and your family will save money, cut back food waste, and help everyone make better choices.

“Packing lunches the night before is big,” Mary said. She also acknowledges that life is busy and schedules are always changing. “It’s okay to eat out or grab fast food on evenings where time is tight or you want to have someone else do the heavy lifting,” Mary said.

“Just be mindful of making better choices where you can.” Try asking for roasted, steamed, boiled, or grilled preparations instead of fried or battered at restaurants, and include fresh produce wherever possible.

Submit a question to be featured in a future Q&A here.

This time, from our FamilyMade inbox brimming with great ideas! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Get brushin’. We’d like to thank Kayla D., a dentist, for noting that according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, starting at birth parents can clean infant gums with a soft cloth and water, and smear a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste on a soft toothbrush while helping babies and toddlers with emerging teeth. Fluoride is important for blossoming dental health!

  • Favorite book contender: “There's a Monster in My Book by Tom Fletcher is AMAZING. It is part of a series called "Who's in Your Book." We got this as a Christmas gift and it has by far been the most favorite book of ours and our daughter. I really can't say enough good things about it and recommend it to all of our friends who have smaller children.” —Ashley

  • Get a sous chef. “The best veggie trick I have is having your child help to prepare it...chopping, cooking, tasting to see what else it needs...and drum it up! My 9-year-old son is fairly resistant to new flavors, but several years ago, he became our master asparagus roaster. To this day, I ask him to roast asparagus and he even corrected my attempt one time when I let it go a little too long.” —Jennie

If you have a small (or large) victory, tip, or trick, hit reply and share! I’d love to hear from you!

You guys are the best. We so appreciate your stories, tips, and expertise in the FamilyMade inbox. We’ll see you Monday!