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Ask The Dietician
“Ask the Dietician,” is a space for you to ask anything and everything about food and your little one. Click here to ask and Dr. Kayla will answer.
"My toddler needs some extra nutrients added to her diet. I’m not sure about giving her cow milk or any of those sugary processed dairy products, but I don’t fully understand how my toddler can get their nutrients with plant-based nutrition Can you tell me how plant-based nutrition can offer the right nutrients for kids?"
Else Nutrition’s toddler formula is plant-based, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of corn syrup. It uses almonds, buckwheat, and tapioca as its main ingredients, which is a great option for kids who need a soy-free and dairy-free diet. Almonds are a great source of plant protein, healthy fats, and essential micronutrients like vitamin E. They are highly digestible, have anti-inflammatory properties, and contribute prebiotics to feed a healthy gut microbiome. Tapioca is derived from cassava, a root vegetable. It’s an easily digestible carbohydrate rich in vitamin C, iron, fiber, and calcium. Buckwheat , a naturally gluten-free plant with grain-like seeds, is a source of plant protein, also rich in micronutrients like magnesium, manganese, iron, and phosphorus.
"We just found out that my toddler (15 months) has a cow milk allergy… we don’t know what to do! He’s already a picky eater and our pediatrician said he isn’t getting enough of his nutritional needs met. Can you recommend any alternatives to cow’s milk / solutions for our family?"
Toddler formulas are a convenient option for kids who need a nutrition boost, may be going through a period of selective eating at mealtimes, or who would benefit from easy and nutritious to-go foods. Else Nutrition offers a plant-based organic alternative to baby formula that has been long-awaited by many families. Unlike most toddler formulas, Else Toddler products are made of 3 core whole plant ingredients with minimal added sugar to provide a clean, plant-powered nutritious drink without all the nasties. They may be a suitable alternative to dairy as part of a balanced diet as well as when dietary nutrients are insufficient (e.g., protein, calcium, vitamin D) due to picky eating or diet restrictions.
"When babies are growing, do they need cow’s milk? If I want to give my toddler a more plant-based option, do you recommend a soy-based option or are there other alternatives?"
Some toddlers are not able to digest cow’s milk due to a dairy allergy, lactose intolerance, and other possible conditions. For this reason, there are plant-based options in the market to help support the growth of toddlers. When considering non-dairy alternatives, it is important to choose those that are tailored for young ones and not simply plant-based 'milks' that are lacking important nutrients for growing bodies such as protein, and micronutrients like vitamin D, calcium, iron, and zinc.
"I’m not sure if I should give my baby a dairy-based formula or a plant-based formula. I know a lot about the nutritional benefits of dairy, but what are the nutritional benefits of your plant-based ingredients and why are they important?"
Else products are made with over 80% whole food ingredients: Almonds, Buckwheat, and Tapioca. Almond =This little plant packs a powerful punch of essential nutrients and minerals, including protein, Vitamin E, healthy fats, and calcium. Buckwheat =This is a superfood all superhero parents can trust. Buckwheat is gluten-free and an excellent source of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Tapioca = This extract of the cassava root plant (a.k.a. yuca) is an easily digestible source of carbohydrates that also gives our formula a nice smooth texture. Best of all, tapioca has a smell and flavor that kids love! Please be sure to consult with your pediatrician regarding what specific nutritional plan may be right for your child.
Dr. Kayla Bridges
DCN, RD-AP, CNSC, FAND
"My baby is almost 6 months old, and I want to start introducing some solids. / My baby is about to turn 6 months... when should I start her on solids? Is it better for me to start my baby on cereal or pureed veggies?"
At around six months of age or slightly before/after, solid foods should be introduced for both nutritional and developmental needs. The first solid complementary foods for babies include vegetable and fruit purees, as well as infant cereals specially designed to meet nutritional needs of babies. Infant cereal can be a highly nutritious food and it is recommended to be included daily from six months forward as a part of your baby’s diet. Else’s Super Cereal is a great option! It's the first Clean Label Project Certified Baby Cereal in the U.S. It provides a unique combination of gluten-free carbohydrates, high-quality protein, and unsaturated fat from almonds and buckwheat, making it nutritionally balanced with all essential amino acids (the body’s building blocks). Else Super Cereal also contains 20+ essential vitamins and minerals essential for healthy growth.
"I am starting my baby on solids, and I want to make sure I prevent him from becoming a picky eater. I am such a foodie and need to make sure my kid grows up to be adventurous too! How can I try to prevent this?"
Health Care Professionals recommended introducing only one new food at a time. This allows the baby to get acquainted with the new tastes and textures. It is not advisable to jump to conclusions or quickly decide that the baby "does not like" a particular food, even if he or she refuses to taste it at first. In many cases, studies have shown that repeated introduction of new foods, at least eight times or more, is required for babies to adapt to a new taste. Remember, try not to worry about them not liking a food when they first try it, as it is best to be relaxed and create a pleasant atmosphere that will encourage your baby to taste and explore new foods. Food is important to nourish little growing bodies and also for enjoyment (as a foodie you know best). If you want to raise an open, adventurous child let them be responsible for what they choose from the food you introduce them to and how much to eat, they know best when they are hungry and when they are full. don't try to make them taste if they refuse or finish up their plate.
Dr. Kayla Bridges
DCN, RD-AP, CNSC, FAND
"So many kids are growing up with food allergies now and I don’t want my kids to be in any danger when eating in public or having to limit their options. Should I be introducing allergens to my babies? Can using products like Else that have almonds in them help prevent a nut allergy?"
The prevalence of food allergies is rising and recent research has shown that an early introduction of allergens, preferably between 6-12 months, is an effective way to reduce allergies in babies. In fact, delaying the introduction of common allergies may even increase the likelihood of developing allergies later in childhood. Therefore, the recommendation is to introduce allergens to your baby between six and 12 months of age, but not before four months. Before introducing food allergens, it’s important to know if your baby is at risk of developing food allergies. Be sure to consult your pediatrician before introducing allergens. Dr. Alexander recommends at this stage gradually introducing common allergenic foods as well, contrary to the recommendation in the past to withhold them. This includes foods such as nuts, nut kinds of butter or powders, and proteins like eggs and fish. Introducing allergenic foods starting at this age will aid in expanding the baby's palate and evidence suggests that it can reduce the chances of developing food allergies.
Dr. Kayla Bridges
DCN, RD-AP, CNSC, FAND
"My toddler just turned 14 months and I’m worried about his protein levels. How much protein should he be getting? Does Else have enough protein to be the only source of protein for my kids? Also, do plant-based proteins have all the essential amino acids?"
Else Toddler products use the complimentary protein combination of almonds and buckwheat, containing all 20 essential amino acids (protein building blocks) in adequate amounts. Please be sure to consult with your pediatrician regarding the specific nutritional plan for your child.
"My toddler is 12 months old… how much should they be eating? Is there a maximum/minimum amount of Else or other things they should be having per day? Is 1 serving of Else enough?"
The USDA recommends 2-3 servings of dairy products per day for a well-balanced, nutritionally complete diet. This amount provides approximately 25% to 30% of the total energy needs for healthy toddlers ages 12-36 months. Else Toddler has a complete macro- and micronutrient profile and is typically used in place of dairy servings 2-3 times per day. Else Toddler is designed to be complete nutrition and can be used as a meal replacement or supplement for toddlers. Please be sure to consult with your healthcare professional for recommendations specific to your child’s nutrition needs.
"Due to a congenital birth defect, my toddler needs to get all his nutrients through a feeding tube. His current nutritional formula is causing him GI distress, so we are looking for other options. Is it possible to use Else products this way?"
Yes, it is possible to use Else Toddler for tube-feeding. Please consult your health care provider regarding the specific nutritional plan for your child.