Kath Younger

New mom and dietitian

Biography

Hey y’all, I’m Kath, a brand new mom, registered dietitian and food and lifestyle blogger. I live in Charlottesville, Virginia where my husband and I run a whole grain bread bakery. I’m thrilled to be sharing videos and posts with you as I jump head first into motherhood this year. I’ve been writing about my life through the lens of food at Kath Eats Real Food (KERF) every day for 5 years, and now that I’ll have a little one to care for as well, my life is about to change in a big way. After nine months of pregnancy, I feel a little bit like I’ve been on a very long vacation. I’m excited to get back into the healthy habits I once enjoyed so much, like running, cooking and wearing my jeans again! Join me as I figure out ways to live the healthy life with my hands full, including obstacles like balanced nutrition, ample exercise and sleep, stress reduction and more. Find my thoughts here on Real Health, my food at Kath Eats, baby photos on Baby KERF and daily tidbits on @katheats.

Recent Contributions

5 Fun Baby Foods
Posted by Kath Younger 7/18/13 9:42 AM
Some parenting tasks that seemed to be the most daunting at first have turned out to be the most fun. Cloth diaper laundry, for example, is one of my favorite chores. And making baby food has been an unexpectedly pleasant way to experiment in the kitchen. When we first started solids with our boy Mazen, we went the puree route for a number of reasons. He seemed to prefer spoons and purees to using his fingers, so I spent the first few months of solid foods making him purees. I found it was much easier to make a bunch of food in advance and freeze it than to worry about preparing something when Mazen was already hungry or I was worrying about cooking the adult dinner. Here are a few of my favorite recipes for babies exploring new flavors and tastes of real food. You can use breast milk, formula or water to thin and blend them. We used water because my pump and I are not on the best of terms, and I figured the extra hydration from water is a bonus. Plus my baby was extra large and not at risk of his food being too diluted with water. You should check with your pediatrician about which of these foods would be best for your baby or babies. The single ingredient puree When we were first starting out I made mostly single ingredient purees to ensure Mazen tolerated them well. To prepare this meal, you should select apples, peas, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and more and steam in a basket or metal colander over simmering water with a lid on until tender. Allow the food to cool and peel if necessary. Add as much water as it takes to be able to use your blender or food processor and puree until there are no chunks. Oatmeal with applesauce To create a smooth texture, blend old fashioned oats in a food processor or blender until they become a fine texture. Alternativel,y you can use a commercial baby oatmeal, blend the oats after cooking with a stick blender or leave whole for an older baby who can chew. To prepare this meal, cook oats on the stove-top with water until thick. Stir in applesauce and a pinch of cinnamon. Pour it all into an ice cube tray, allow to freeze and then store in zip top bag. Add a little water to thin the meal. The green veggie blend The options for this blend are endless, but I like to use broccoli, spinach, peas, peeled potato and a few herbs. The potato gives the mix a creaminess, and the herbs introduce new flavors. Try some fresh parsley or basil. I steam veggies together on the stove top over simmering water starting with potato, which will take the longest, and ending with the spinach. When veggies are tender, puree together with just enough water to make blender work. Spoon into ice cube tray, allow to freeze and then store in a zip top bag. Spinach, banana and berry smoothie Smoothies can be served with a spoon for a younger baby, sipped with a straw for an older one, or poured into a reusable pouch and sucked out. Since fluid milk is not recommended for babies under one, this recipe uses whole milk yogurt for creaminess. Make extra and have some yourself! This smoothie is a great way to get some greens into both baby and busy mom. Blend one cup frozen berries, a banana, one cup baby spinach and half a cup of whole milk yogurt with enough water to make it a true blend. Then, pour into an ice cube tray or reusable pouch and freezer. Lentils and carrots Lentils are easy to cook, blend well and provide iron for little bodies. Mix with carrots or any veggie you like. Cook the lentils according to the package. Add carrots in the last five minutes and cook until tender. Drain, if necessary. Puree with blender and spoon into an ice cube tray, freeze and store in zip top bag. Mazen is going to have a fun summer with these meals. What are your baby's favorite meals?
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Real Health, Real Questions: A Discussion on Summer Family Fun
Posted by Kath Younger 7/8/13 9:05 AM
Summer time is finally here. So as the days heat up, we’re here to talk about sun protection for little ones. In this summer edition of Real Health, Real Questions, my mom and I discuss the following questions from community members: When you look at your local weather forecast, how do you decide whether the elements will be too much for a young child? What do you look for in a good sun screen for a newborn? What are some fun and safe summer activities for a newborn? If you are looking to do some research on sun screens, I would recommend looking at the website for the Environmental Working Group. We’d love to hear your own answers and feedback to our video. If you have any questions on summer activities or summer protection, leave them in the comments sections and my mom and I will get back to you.
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5 Healthy Habits to Pass Down to our Children
Posted by Kath Younger 6/17/13 10:01 AM
I imagine children watch us way more closely than we think they do. Ever heard a little one utter a swear word? It’s tempting to laugh, but it’s a sign we need to focus more on the good behavior instead. Here are five habits I am hoping to pass down to my now nine month old boy Mazen: Sunday outdoor activity - Long before Mazen came around, Matt and I had a Sunday routine of a lazy breakfast followed by an outdoor adventure together. Sometimes this was a simple run and other times we rode our bikes out into the country and back. Many times we found new hikes on the trails around our city. I’d love to continue this tradition of Sunday as a time for our family to enjoy getting outdoors together. Now that the weather is nice, a family hike sounds like a great way to get started! A love for plants - Now before you roll your eyes and think “her kid is going to hate vegetables like they all do,” hear me out. This is more about me and the attitude I present than his taste for vegetables. I’m not saying that I think Mazen is going to love every bite of green he eats from day one! My goal here is simply to present vegetables in the absolute best light possible. The more we treat them as a delicious part of the meals we cook rather than something we “have” to eat to be big and strong, the more I hope he will grow up with a positive attitude about them. I don’t think this will be too hard because Matt and I really do love vegetables, but I think I’ll have to be careful to keep my language about dessert neutral as well. Equal enthusiasm for kale and cake alike! Creativity - When we were young, we would complain to my mom when we were bored that “there’s nothing to do." She used to reply that “creative people don’t get bored.” The challenge was on. We had to invent something to do, and eventually, we always did. I hope to encourage Mazen to pursue all kinds of hobbies and interests – from tree climbing to coin collecting. Mindful eating - I have heard time and again that eating dinner together is a great way for families to bond. In addition to enjoying each other’s company, I hope our family dinners can be a time to enjoy and appreciate the social side of food. Having good conversation during a meal often means eating more slowly and mindfully. As tempting as the television is, Matt and I have been eating dinner together at the table at least five nights a week since we’ve been married. We have had many conversations that otherwise never would have occurred. I hope dinners at the table keep our family close and mindful eating on the tip of our tongues. Floss - When something is unanimously recommended by a group of professionals, it’s probably a good idea to do it. I’m speaking, of course, about flossing! How many of us grow up brushing our teeth without thinking twice but flossing seems to be such a chore? I decided one day that given the number of dentists who recommend flossing, I was crazy not to make flossing a regular habit. I had some free minty floss from the dentist (minty always makes it more enjoyable!) and challenged myself to see how few seconds I could floss my whole mouth. Turns out I’m an excellent speed flosser and adding the good habit to my nightly routine was easy to get used to. We only have one body, and I hope to show and tell Mazen how important it is to love and respect it. None of these habits are on autopilot and especially now that I know little eyes are watching me, I need to work to keep them up. What habits of yours (good or bad) do your children mimic? For other ideas on what to teach your children, check out these healthy habit posts by other Real Health contributors.
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New Moms Weigh In on Working Out, Part 3
Posted by Kath Younger 6/4/13 9:05 AM
I interviewed friends from my Moms' Group to find out how they are getting back in shape. In part three of my Fitting in Fitness series, I got my friends to reveal what they believe are the biggest difference makers in post-pregnancy fitness. I am so proud of my mom friends for their committment to their own health. While my friends go more in-depth in this video, here are some of their quotes: "Make it Me Time" - We all need to schedule "me time" during a given day or week, why not make it your gym or walking time. "Lean on friends and family" - My friends who are getting into shape realize that they don't have to do all of the parenting duties. They pull in their friends and family for their newborn and for themselves. "Start Small" - Working out does not need to take an hour. It could be ten minutes a day to start. It's all about going in the right direction. What advice do you have for mothers who are trying to get back in shape? Check out Part 1, New Moms Weigh In on the Best TIme to Workout, for advice on how to schedule fitness. Also, check out Part 2, New Moms Discuss the Best Fitness Gear and Support, for tips on what to surround yourself with to help you stay discipline.
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Baby's First Flight
Posted by Kath Younger 5/27/13 9:42 AM
Our family of three, plus my mother-in-law, recently took our first flight across the country from Charlottesville through Chicago to Tucson, Arizona. To say it was stressful would be an understatement! Every time I flew before having a baby I used to have the thought "can you imagine doing this with children?” It doesn’t help that as a blogger I’m always toting a laptop and camera around, and this trip made me think long and hard about the absolute essentials I needed to bring. Combine an array of baby gear with strict airport rules and I was one overwhelmed mama! To gather information, I sought out advice from my mom friends and blog readers and felt pretty comfortable with the rules upon leaving for the airport. Here is a list of tips and lessons learned to keep baby safe, healthy, comfortable and happy. You will need to check with your local airport to verify all of these rules apply where you live. Gearing up for the airport From what I understand, strollers and car seats are free to check both with the luggage and at the gate. It doesn’t matter what size stroller you bring or style of car seat you have. We have a big BOB jogging stroller at home, but opted to buy a smaller umbrella stroller for this trip and beyond. Since we took a taxi from the airport to our resort, we didn’t think the BOB would fit with our luggage, plus I wanted something small to navigate the crowds at the airport. I ended up buying the UPPABaby G-Lite and it worked wonderfully. It opens and closes with one hand, and the basket was nice to store our extras. We brought our baby carrier to wear Mazen through security and on the plane, but the stroller was so nice to have in the airport. Our backs thanked us! Since the trip, I have done some more research and discovered great advice that suggests a baby should fly buckled into a car seat that has the airline safety belt wrapped around it. On the car seat front, our initial plan was to hire a cab that came with a car seat, but once I found out that they were free to check I decided to bring ours. A few friends warned me that they had some bad experiences with rental car seats – especially those in cabs. So I bought a car seat travel bag for $20 from Amazon and we checked our car seat at the gate – for free. Given everything airlines nickel and dime you for, I was shocked there was no charge for baby gear! We didn’t bring the car seat base and just strapped it directly into the cab. It was a good thing we took our car seat because we ended up getting stuck in Chicago overnight on our return trip and had to drive to a complimentary hotel. Had we not had the car seat with us, we probably would have been forced to spend the night on the airport floor. Giving babies healthy meals during their travels Since I’m breastfeeding, bringing milk along was easy. I brought my nursing cover and wore a flowy top for quick nursing on the airplane with just a nursing tank underneath. I didn’t want to be fumbling with multiple layers or baring my stomach in public, so the two layers worked out really well. I did have to bring some pumped breast milk with us though because I had a mother’s morning out planned with a Tucson friend the next day. I packed a package of frozen milk in an insulated bag with an ice pack. Mazen also gets solids twice a day and I brought along a squeeze pack (3.5 ounces) for his dinner. When we got to security, I told them I had the two and the staff was very understanding. Since the milk was still frozen, it didn’t have to be checked, and the 3.5 ounce packet was just declared before it went through the x-ray. Thank goodness. Getting baby to sleep well Mazen likes his crib now and is past the point of easily sleeping anywhere. When we boarded our first flight he had been awake for more than four hours and was beyond late for his afternoon nap. He spent our time on the runway yelling at the top of his lungs while Matt and I did our best to keep him calm with a pacifier, nursing and rocking. He didn’t fall asleep until we actually took off and the jiggling of the plane, the white noise of the engines and the snuggles against his dad’s chest put him to sleep for a good 50 minute nap. On our second flight, which took off around his bedtime, he dozed off in the carrier again without a peep. Towards the end of our tthree and a half hour flight, he napped on and off in my lap, which wasn’t comfortable but it was preferred to crying. It was easier to keep him happy with toys than to keep him happily asleep. I recommend flying during the day for other new moms. Entertaining baby I brought a selection of toys to keep him busy, but we didn’t end up using many of them. The highlights were the chewbeads necklace that I wore and a crinkly packet of Boogie Wipes. Honestly, I think we could have saved space and just used everyday objects for toys rather than bring his regulars from home. We did choose toys that don’t make a lot of noise when banged and were lightweight. That was probably appreciated by the other passengers. But total play time was minimal. Overall, our flights went well. The trip was about what I expected – some crying, some yelling, some sleeping and some charming of seatmates. I was so thankful to have my mother-in-law and husband with me. Traveling alone with Mazen scares the heck out of me! I’m sure I’ll do it someday. And maybe someday I’ll have two children to care for in the air. What have been your best (or worst!) travel adventures with kids? If you found this post helpful, you may also want to check out How to Get Sleep with a Newbown.
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