Yummy in the tummy? The Rise of the Baby Food Revolution.

If I had to do it all again, I would have made my own baby food. I never did embark on that particular parent adventure because I thought homemade baby food was for hippies and helicopter moms. Making baby food just seemed cumbersome and unnecessary since I could just buy a few jars during my daily trip to Target. But that was seven years ago and since then baby food sales have been on a steady decline. Why? Because moms are making baby food at home.


Millennial moms (those born between 1981-1994) research everything from sunscreen to car seats, so it makes perfect sense that we are educating ourselves about what we put into baby’s belly.

“As a new mom it is reassuring to know exactly what is going into your baby’s mouth, and that you had a hand in creating it,” says Touro dietitian Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN. “Making your own baby food allows you to shop seasonally and locally for fresh, clean foods. It also increases the variety and flavors available to your baby. This all ensures that your precious baby is provided with the peak nutrients essential for growth and development.”

​Making your own baby food is healthier no matter how cute those babies in the commercials are or how sleek the newly designed glass bottle looks. On the other hand, over-the-counter baby food is convenient and because of advancements in technology, the quality and nutrient value in baby food is improving, but you’re going to pay for it.

For example, a jar of Beech-Nut banana baby food is $1.50. The price of one banana is $0.23. This means that for every jar of baby food you buy, you’re paying a convenience fee of $1.27 to Beech-Nut so that it can market its products and pay its shareholders. That’s just the business of it all.


Baby food pouches like Ella’s Kitchen and Happy Baby exploded onto the baby food market in the early 2000s and have since seen significant growth. The pouches are expensive, which balances out declining sales of traditional baby food. Personally, I loved the pouches but because they were expensive, I tried to save them for certain “situations” like shopping at Target with a screaming baby, driving home with a screaming baby, waiting in the check out line with a screaming baby, not to mention our general on-the-go lifestyle. I also hated how wasteful the pouches were; You can’t recycle them.

beabaIf you’re curious about making homemade baby food, here are two great recipes from Touro dietitian Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN. And be sure to Save-the-Date for a Baby Food Making Class at Touro, where Julie and ZukaBaby owner, Erin Reho Pelias, will host an interactive baby food making class on Thursday, August 7, 2014, from 6-7:30pm. You’ll learn everything you need to know! Register today for this free class. One lucky parent will win a Beaba Pro Baby Food Maker!


Pumpkin Sweet Potato Puree

Broccoli, Pear and Kale Puree

What three words will define you in 2014?

Happy 2014! I’m excited to finally have a moment to myself to write to you. At the beginning of the holiday, I decided to let go of everything that distracts and spend the last weeks of 2013 completely present, not hassled or harried, and not half hidden behind a screen. It was the best holiday I’ve had in years.

I hope your holiday was wonderful, and that you are ready to take on 2014. I know I am. Here’s why:

Do you have a favorite newsletter that you actually read? Besides this one, of course. 😉 Well, I’ve been following Chris Brogan for a few years now. He is many things, but I consider him an expert in the fields of marketing, online content development strategies and community engagement–three things that really resonate with me as a blogger.

At the end of every year, Chris encourages us to come up with three words that will define and drive our business efforts for the coming year. In looking at the future of nolaParent and the direction I would like to go professionally, I came up with the three words that will guide all my business decisions for 2014: Plan, Partner, Produce.

PlanWithout a plan, it’s hard to know where to go and how to get there. A plan gives you permission to say “yes” to the things that support your goals and “no” to those that don’t. When I launched nolaParent five years ago, I didn’t expect to have three kids within that time, so my “plan” was one of survival: keep the family going, keep nolaParent moving forward, and try not to end up in a mental institution. This year I am going to strategically plan my content so that you know what to expect. For example, in January, I will focus content on organization, health, and wellness–all the things we like to think about as we welcome a new year.

Do you have any content ideas to contribute?

partnerAligning nolaParent with people and organizations that bring relevance and value to families is what I enjoy the most, whether it’s partnering with Louise S. McGehee School to raise awareness of the advantages of an all-girl education and inspire the next generation of female tech leaders, or Touro to address important issues and advancements in women and family healthcare, or Virginia Barkley, life coach and leading authority on clutter-busting for busy women, to promote this very special, free online Look & Feel Great for Moms Online Rejuvenation Event.

Maybe there is something that you and I can partner on together?

produceAs a writer, this is the most important goal. I want to produce lots of awesome content that informs and entertains you.

What three words will define you, your business or your parenting in 2014? I would love to know!



What’s your [child’s] relationship with food? (sponsored)

I have three children. They all have different relationships with food. Anson (6) uses it for fuel, Emmeline (2) uses it to socialize and Catherine (3) uses it for comfort.

When Catherine was a baby, she hated the car. She would scream and squirm. It was painful to my ears and generally very upsetting. To calm her, I would hand her food to nibble on. We both got a little relief.

Something physiological happens to a mother when she hears her baby cry. At some point along the way we, as parents, have decided that it’s not okay for our kids to cry in public or be uncomfortable, and it’s certainly not okay for kids to be disruptive in a store or at the library during story-time. So we feed them. And they’re quiet (or still) and we can grab what we need at the store, or finish our conversation on the phone.

Even now, I’ll grab some snacks to dole out to the girls when I pick them up from school so they won’t kill each other on the two-mile ride home. I do this for my own sanity. I have bribed all of my children with food in exchange for good behavior.

What I didn’t realize at the time, was that by using food to comfort Catherine, I taught her that food is comfort. She is now, at age three, an emotional eater. When she is stressed, bored or upset, she wants to eat. When she is feeling out of control, she heads for the fridge. Many of the tears she sheds are food-related… can’t have, wants more, doesn’t like, all gone, etc. It feels like an endless battle, and food has become a control issue on both sides.

Catherine is not very different from me. I am an emotional eater, too. I don’t know why. Maybe it was one of the few things I could control when I was young– a kid exercising power in a powerless world.

Our adult relationship with food is a direct result of the food habits modeled for us as children. As a mother, I want my daughters to have a healthy relationship with food, but as a woman I know how difficult this can be.

Julie Fortenberry, registered dietitian for Touro, gave me some really helpful insight into understanding the importance of creating healthy eating habits for myself and my children now so they will grow up to be healthy adults. Julie stressed that every child and family is different and there is no one-size-fits-all philosophy or plan, so do what makes sense for your child.

1. Nutrition Awareness

The first step is being aware of the importance of nutrition. As parents, once we know the effects poor nutrition could have on our children’s future, we can start taking it more seriously. Poor nutrition and eating habits can lead to diabetes, obesity, eating disorders, and distorted body image.

Analogy: As parents, there are certain things we insist on teaching our children. Take crossing the street, for example. As soon as they can walk, we start teaching them how to stop at the corner and look both ways. We do this every single time we cross a street and we do it for years until they can do it by themselves. We teach them this because if we don’t, they could get hit by a car. We make them sit in their car seats and booster seats even though they hate it. Why? Because their safety is important to us and by doing so, we create good habits and prolong their lives. Looking both ways and wearing a seatbelt becomes second nature.

Julie points out that nutrition is as important as these other life-long habits that we, as parents, automatically do without thinking. We want to teach them how to be healthy and safe now so that when they are older, they have the foundation to make healthy and safe choices on their own.

2. Self Awareness

If you don’t like how or what your children are eating, look at how or what you are eating. How do you talk about food? Do you crave desert after every meal? Do you emotionally eat? Does food control you? Do you make them eat a healthy meal and then order a pizza for yourself? What foods do you gravitate to? You are the model.

3. Take Inventory

If your child is an emotional eater, pay attention to when and why your child seeks out food. This will give you an idea for what the triggers might be so that you can be proactive.

4. Redirect

If your child eats when she’s bored, redirect her with an activity. If she loves to play outside, take a walk. If that’s not an option, engage her in an activity, chat about the day. Find ways to stimulate her mind and redirect her body. Let her help you make dinner or ask her to set the table.

5. Let Go

Power struggles with children are futile. If a child has a meltdown because she wants more or doesn’t like it, that’s OK. “I know you want more dinner and you are mad. But dinner is over.” “I know you do not like your dinner. It’s OK. You don’t have to eat it, but I will leave it on the table for you if you change your mind.”

6. Healthy Choices

Give your child a healthy option but let him be part of the choosing. That way he feels like he is making a choice. “Do you want oatmeal or eggs?” “For snack do you want apple or cheese?” “I’ve got lean ground beef tonight. Would you like mom to make tacos or spaghetti?”

7. Be Consistent

Once you find something that works, be consistent because that’s how we break bad habits and create good ones. And remember to do this as a family. There is no need to single one person out. All for one and one for all.

From our Sponsor:

Free Monthly Grocery Store Tours with a Touro Nutritionist

Practice Choosing Healthy Foods for Your Family First Hand!

Join Touro Nutritionist Julie Fortenberry for free monthly grocery store tours. Grocery shopping can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Touro can take the stress away by walking you down and educating you aisle by aisle. Learn to make better food choices, practice reading food labels, learn about ingredients, and ask your nutrition questions along the way.

Learn to shop with your health needs and goals in mind. Good food choices begin in the grocery store!

For upcoming grocery tour dates and times and to register, please visit www.touro.com/events or call (504) 897-8500.

What the heck happened to this week? Did it go by super fast for you, too?

On Tuesday, I co-hosted an evening baby shower in my old neighborhood, Lake Vista, aka “God’s Country.”

For the gift, I headed to ZukaBaby and picked up Sofie the Giraffe. Have you been to ZukaBaby lately? It’s such a lovely space. Warning: It will make you want to keep having babies.

I fell in love with pretty much everything but these eco-crayon rocks especially caught my eye – perfect for my little 2yo artist:


On Wednesday, I spent the day thinking about my long journey home in New York City on 9/11. It’s usually a very quiet day for me. You can read about my experience here and the important friendship that forever marks this day.


On Thursday, I joined many of you at Sucre to celebrate Little Pnuts’ First Birthday, NOLA’s locally-launched, eco-friendly toy subscription company that has taken the toy world by storm.

Founder, Melissa Beese, is a top finalist in Red Tricycles Totally Awesome Awards and one of New Orleans Magazine’s 2013 Class of People to Watch.

I love these gorgeous French sweet treats that will be available at the Little Pnuts pop-up-shop coming this October:


And I fell in love with this adorable little math dragon, who you can find in the Little Pnuts back-to-school preschool box:


Melissa is an inspiration to all of us moms. She’s so creative and talented and has worked tirelessly (literally) to turn her dream of creating an eco-friendly toy company into a reality. So proud of you! P.S. She also designed my logo!


After the birthday party, I headed to NOLA Brewing for the Touro Pints for Prostates taco/beer/music party. What an unbelievable turnout! Beer really is the universal language of men.

If you weren’t able to attend the party, please be sure to encourage the men in your life to sign up for their FREE PSA screening. My husband just did. It’s a simple blood test… no probes.

Some important facts to remember:

1in6     30percent

But most importantly, we all want the men in our lives…


Have a wonderful weekend. Go Saints! 3pm @ Tamba Bay on FOX.


weekly roundup

Welcome back to the real world, parents. By now you’ve probably ironed out some of the back-to-school kinks and you’re settling into your normal school year routine: wake up, get dressed, put on workout clothes because you have every intention of working out today, force feed child(ren), guzzle coffee, make creative lunch out of nothing because you forgot to go to the grocery store (again), preempt/navigate pre-8am meltdown/temper tantrum, manage clothes/uniform/shoe crisis, write note to teacher apologizing for child being naked or shoeless, referee front/back seat politics, pray the carpool teachers are still there, smile/hug/kiss goodbye, catch breath, wipe sweat from brow, head to work/workout, realize they forgot lunch, debate whether or not to pretend you didn’t realize they forgot lunch, go home, get lunch, deliver lunch, go back to office/forfeit exercise (again), start day.


Now that school is back in session, so too are the nolaParent weekly Friday roundups (yay!). I know how you’ve missed them so. But first, a few housekeeping items:

  1. If you’d like something to be included in the Friday weekly roundups or featured on nolaParent.com, please submit your ideas here. Remember, if it’s rad or relevant to parents, it’s probably a good fit. I’m happy to post about your new venture, product or initiative, so long as it won’t get me arrested.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, and you’re not a social media anarchist, hop on over to your favorite social media platform and follow nolaParent. If you’re not a psycho, I want to follow you, too, so please make yourself known!
  3. Here is a very important message for all our dads and dudes. Please read, share, tweet, pin or repost it. Hint: it has to do with beer.

Without further adieu, here is your weekly roundup:

Dads, dudes, prostates and beer.

This Northshore mom will help you get your home lunch act together.

From New York to Brooklyn to Malibu to Dubai. What we can look forward to on the corner of Esplanade & N. Rampart.

Dr. Seuss goes digital.

Awesomely illustrated children’s books.

Dad’s tips for adding life to a daughter’s years.

How and why to create a family mission statement.

Bookshelf Porn: What’s wrong with this picture?

25 ways to talk so children will listen.

What our kids have to say about ‘love’.

One new awesome DIY use for… dad’s old t-shirt.

The most perfect, comfy weekend dress for your little big girl this Fall.

Digital fun for creative kids.

A family that reads together stays together.


Image source joystiq.com

All dads should know their numbers

September is Prostate Awareness Month.

Out of curiosity, I asked six local dads what they knew about prostate cancer. Half of them new a little. The other half knew nothing.

All of the dads I polled are super smart, major contributors to the New Orleans community in the areas of art, sociology, business, and economic development. They are all married, take excellent care of themselves, are health conscious, exercise regularly and have beautiful families.

But despite all of this, according to cancer.org, 1 out of these 6 dads will be diagnosed with prostate cancer within his lifetime.


Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men (next to lung cancer). Thirty percent (30%) more men are diagnosed with prostate cancer than women are diagnosed with breast cancer.

We have done such a good job at raising the awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection that even my own husband checks in on me regularly to see if I am keeping up with my self-exams. He also thoughtfully reminds me that I am nearing 40 – the age at which I might schedule my first mammogram.

I did not realize I should be doing the same for him.

The good news is that if detected early, prostate cancer is curable. The bad news is that men just don’t think about this stuff as much as we do.


Touro and Crescent City Physicians have teamed up with Nola Brewing to host Louisiana’s first Pints for Prostates event, Thursday, September 12 from 5:30-8:00pm. The event will feature food, beer tastings, live music and a raffle ticket for a chance to win a Pints for Prostates European Beer Trip.

Tickets are $10 at the door and $8 advanced registration.

To help you nudge the men you love, encourage them to register for Touro’s FREE PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) screenings, September 20, 2013. This simple blood test measures the blood level of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate gland. The higher the level, the higher the risk of prostate cancer.

All dads should know their numbers. They have too much to live for.


This post is sponsored by Touro.

3 types of moms who would benefit from a barre3 class

Lots of “firsts” this week! A first grader, a first-timer and the first year I’ve had all my kids in school. Can I get an AMEN? Everyone asked me what I had planned for myself after the momentous 1-2-3 drop-off.

Tequila shots, of course.

Just kidding. It was too early. I actually edited and posted some of those first captured moments, ran home to grab one of the lunch boxes we left behind in our rush to be tardy on the first day of school, and then headed to my husband’s office to get a little work done.

I didn’t get much work done.

My final “first” was a 60-minute workout at the beautiful new Barre3 New Orleans studio on Magazine Street. Touro and Barre3 have partnered together this week to offer a Mom’s Day Out afternoon of free classes and free screenings for cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure. If you missed the Thursday MDO, there is one this Saturday. I highly recommend it. It felt good to know what my cholesterol and glucose levels were. I never really knew. High cholesterol and/or glucose levels can lead to heart disease, the #1 killer of women. (https://www.goredforwomen.org/)


The barre3 class was great. I really enjoyed it and I didn’t think I would.

Being pregnant can really do a number on your body, and all the new and sometimes awkward positions you find yourself in during and after giving birth (nursing, wearing, holding, carrying, transporting baby and gear) can really throw off your alignment. Tack on multiple kids of all ages and weights for multiple years and you may find yourself perpetually aching and sporting a slight lean thanks to one hip being used as a side saddle for most of the day. I personally have a lot of discomfort in my neck, shoulders and lower back.

I know, I know. Who doesn’t, right?


Parenthood is so physically demanding and if you’re anything like me, you probably focus more on parenting and tending to your child’s body and health than you do your own.

Regardless of the mom-stage you’re in, the barre3 approach to core strength, muscle development and alignment is a great option for those of us looking for a way to prepare and/or reclaim our bodies.

Note: Barre3 1) aligns and strengthens the muscles 2) energizes and elevates the heart, and 3) stretches, elongates and prepares the body.

Here are the three types of moms who would benefit from a barre3 class:

1. The Someday Mom

If you’re planning on getting pregnant, barre3 is a great way to prepare your body for the physical demands of pregnancy, labor and recovery. If you’re core is strong and your muscles are accurately aligned before you get pregnant, the muscle memory that you establish makes it so much easier to bounce back. Barre3 helps strengthen your pelvic floor (important for laboring, pushing and preventing future incontinence), which speeds up your recovery post-labor.

2. The New Mom

Pregnancy and childbirth is a major physical event at every possible level of your existence, regardless of the type of delivery you have. Barre3 is challenging but in a gentle way and focuses on 1) strength so you can pick up your children with less risk of injury, 2) length so you grow taller and have less compression in the spine, and 3) stabilization through the pelvis to protect the foundation of the spine.

3. The Aching Back Mom

Barre3 focuses on functional movement so the hour you spend in the studio, makes the other 23 hours in your day more productive. The focus is on balance, as opposed to cranking out more reps. You regain your balance and alignment in a very accurate and deliberate way. When you are aligned and your core strong, your back is set free.

The Barre3 New Orleans studio is beautiful, warm and welcoming. It’s nice to have a place to go to be supported by other women who are committed to helping you feel good. And it’s a great way to make new friends. I founded nolaParent after I had my first child because of the friendships and support system that grew from a weekly prenatal yoga class I attended. It was that group of women who inspired me (and still do).

A big THANK YOU to Touro and Barre3 New Orleans for hosting what I hope will be the first of many Mom’s Day Outs and opportunities for women to come together, support each other, get strong together and be healthy together. Also, Barre3 New Orleans owner, Kendall Carriere, was a huge help in educating me on why a barre3 practice is relevant to moms in particular.

Healthy moms = healthy families = healthy communities.

be heart healthy: eat dark chocolate and drink red wine.

I don’t know about you but as the title of this post suggests, I would like to eat healthy all while enjoying the benefits of dark chocolate and red wine–two essential foods for a heart-healthy diet.

Join Touro nutritionists for a FREE Healthy Lifestyles seminar in February and learn about the facts of red wine and how it’s important for your heart, nutritional facts about chocolate, and how to create heart healthy chocolate treats just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Light refreshments will be provided. I’m assuming red wine and dark chocolate (just kidding… but kinda not).

The seminar is free but registration is required. For more information about the FREE Healthy Lifestyles seminar or to register, please visit www.touro.com/events or call (504) 897-8500.

When was the last time you showed your heart some love for Valentine’s Day?

February: Heart Healthy Eating
How to eat heart healthy, plus learn the benefits of dark chocolate and red wine
Thursday, February 7, 2013, 5-6 pm
Wednesday, February 20, 2013, Noon-1pm
2nd Floor, Foucher Room
Touro Infirmary


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