baby led weaning

Podcast: Baby Led Weaning

On this week’s nutrition podcast, Jen Karakosta and Betsy Hjelmgren, registered dietitian and pediatric nutrition expert, and discuss baby led weaning to solids.

Have you ever wondered if there is a different way to teach babies to eat other than with pureed, jarred baby food? Listen in to this episode featuring guest, mom, and New Trier teacher, Jessica Reimer to hear more about the pros and cons of baby led weaning.

Popularized in the U.K. about eight years ago with the publication of Baby-Led Weaning, by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, baby-led weaning has long been used by cultures around the world. Babies lead the way to try new foods, usually around 6 months of age when they can sit up.

Click here to listen on iTunes

starting solids

Podcast: Starting Solids with Your Baby

On this week’s edition of our nutrition podcast, Ellie Trefz, feeding therapist extraordinaire, returns to join registered dietitian Betsy and Jen in a lively discussion about starting solid food with your baby. Solid food is just for fun, says Ellie. Does Betsy agree? What about nutrition and balance? What about preventing picky eating from the start? Listen in to this episode for tips and ideas to prepare for a fun adventure with your infant.

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Nutrition for the Young Soccer Athlete

Nutrition for the Young Soccer Athlete

Did you know that the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s favorite pre-game breakfast is pancakes? With the recent victory of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, read on to find out more about nutrition for soccer and check out our power-up pancake recipe.

Soccer is an endurance sport requiring strength, speed and agility. In fact, professional soccer players can run up to six miles in a game! Nutrition is often overlooked by many young soccer players. Under-fueling in soccer is common, which includes symptoms of lethargy, decreased reaction time and speed and loss of muscle and fat. Low energy intake can put soccer players at risk of nutrient deficiencies or injury. On the other hand, soccer players who over-fuel may feel sluggish, have decreased flexibility and speed, and gain more fat than muscle. Fueling for performance is a balance!

During the season, recovery and hydration are key components to performance. Especially, if games take place on Friday nights and Sunday mornings, that is a short period of time to recover and refuel. 

5 Tips for the Soccer Athlete

  1. Eat a meal 3 to 4 hours before the game. For example, for a competitive teen athlete eat oatmeal mixed with fruit, nut butter, and yogurt, 2 scrambled eggs with vegetables, and 1 cup of milk (size of meal depends on age, height, muscle mass, and level of the athlete). Keep in mind that you will not eat another meal until after the game, so the meal should keep your energy sustained.
  2. 1-2 hours before practice or games have a snack to top off energy stores, such as a PB&J or a smoothie. If you are hungry beforehand this means your fuel is running low. Imagine low-energy for sport as your phone operating on “low-power mode.”
  3. Post-game mealwhen there is a second game scheduled that weekend, include a lean protein, carbohydrate, and antioxidant foods. An example would be a burrito bowl with brown rice, chicken, black beans, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. 
  4. Hydration: During the humid hot months, do your best to drink fluids and electrolytes during practice, games, and throughout the day. How much you need is  based on temperature, time of game, humidity, and upcoming games.  The general rule of thumb is to consume half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of fluid each day. Lots of foods have a high-water content. In your post-practice snack, include fruits and vegetables to help meet your hydration goal, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and citrus. Practice taking sips of water during practice and games. For example, try 2 to 4 gulps of water every 20 to 45 minutes. Include electrolyte beverage if your athlete sweats a lot and is active for more than 60 minutes.
  5. After the tournament or a weekend filled with games, relax and simply enjoy any type of meal. 

Fruit Wrap

This recipe is easy to prep, even your kids can do it! The wrap is packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and a source of fruit. It will give your kids a long-lasting energy and fullness to stay active this summer.


  • 1 Whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 tbsp Natural peanut butter OR Almond butter
  • ½ cup of thinly sliced strawberries and bananas OR sliced apples
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chia seeds


  1. Spread the peanut butter covering one side of the whole wheat tortilla. 
  2. Place the sliced fruit on the layer of peanut butter.
  3. Sprinkle the ground cinnamon and chia seeds over the fruit.
  4. Roll-up the tortilla and enjoy!

 Amanda’s Power Up Pancakes 


  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • dry 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 


In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Heat a griddle or large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. For each pancake pour 1/4 cup of batter onto griddle. Flip when they start to bubble. Cook until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batches, spraying the griddle as needed. Makes about 10 pancakes. Number of Servings: 3 Nutritional Info Per Serving: 181 Calories, 2.7g Fat, 10mg Cholesterol, 361mg Sodium, 20g Carbs, 2.8g Fiber, 19 g. Protein

 -Adapted from “The Biggest Loser” 

tips for healthy kids summer diet

Summer Stomachs: Family-Friendly Summer Meal Tips

School stomachs eat around the same time daily. Whereas summer stomachs may be on a total free for all.

A few weeks ago, a mother made a comment during her child’s nutrition assessment, “I told my kids to bring their school stomachs home for the summer.” This family was working on creating a meal and snack schedule that fit their routine for the summer to help keep them on track with their goals throughout the summer. Sounds like a great idea for all of us.

Assess Your Kids’ Eating Summer Schedule

If it seems like your child is constantly reaching or asking for a snack this summer, assessing their eating schedule may help. Try using the following tips:

  1. How how often are the kids eating? Kids and adults typically eat every three to four hours. Giving your digestive tract a break from working throughout the day (for 3 to 4 hours) is healthy. Imagine if someone were constantly knocking at your front door – that would get annoying! When you are constantly snacking or grazing throughout the day, that constant knocking is likely how your digestive tract is feeling. Let’s give it a break from working for at least three hours in between meals/snacks. 
  2. Hydrate! During the 3-4 hour break from eating, just stick to just water.
  3. Reduce Snacking: If kids are snacking throughout the day, they may end up being full when it is time to sit down and eat a meal. This is especially important for young children and toddlers, as family meals is a great opportunity for trying new foods. The hungrier they are the more likely they will try that new food!

If they are constantly snacking, assess if they are feeling bored or are they physically hungry.

Tips to avoid eating out of boredom

  • Separate yourself from the food environment, perhaps go outside for a walk or bike ride.
  • Use your hands to stay busy. For example, draw on the sidewalk with chalk, paint a picture, or read a book.
  • Brush your teeth and use mouthwash.
  • Close the kitchen and place a physical barrier in the way, such as a chair or piece of tape.
  • Call or Facetime a friend.
  • Pour a glass of water because you may be dehydrated.

Questions or interested in setting up a nutrition consult? Schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric dietitians at Feed to Succeed by phone (847-724-8015) or email Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for daily doses of cooking tips, nutrition tips and fun facts.

Infant formula

Podcast: How to pick the right infant formula

Amanda Gordon, infant nutrition expert and lactation consultant, returns to join an animated discussion with Betsy and Jen about choosing which infant formula is right for your baby. With so many choices available, what are the different purposes of each? Does spending more money mean a better product? Not necessarily! Tune in for more info!

Click here to listen on iTunes

Learn more about our lactation services from our dietitian and IBCLC Amanda Gordon.

breastfeed vs bottle feed

Podcast: Infant Feeding Issues – Breast, Bottle and Red Flags

If you have had any questions about how your infant eats, you won’t want to miss this informative episode with Betsy and Jen! Feeding therapist and lactation consultant, Ellie Trefz, is featured today, sharing her experience treating feeding difficulties for all infants, from micro-preemies and preemies, to full term infants who are struggling to feed well. Plus, did you wonder about the pros and cons of the millions of different baby bottles? Ellie shares her insight into how and why to choose bottles and nipples. 

Click here to listen on iTunes

Learn more about our lactation services from our dietitian and IBCLC Amanda Gordon.