This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are our own.
Now that we’re parents of this heartmelting 11 month old, we think even more about wellness. How do we keep baby well through the cold and flu season—and for that matter, his mama and daddy too? Even if you’re not a parent, beating cold and flu season is key to keeping your commitments and staying well in the winter.
Last week, I got to talk to an expert: Dr. Tanya Altman, a pediatrician and author who’s all about baby and mama wellness! It was encouraging to talk to her about winter wellness and ask her all my questions. Here are some of her tips for keeping everyone healthy through the cold and flu season:
- Sleep is key. Getting a good night’s sleep is key to overall wellness and fighting sickness. Shoot me an email if you want the breakdown of recommended sleep for your baby and I’ll send you the slide!
- Start the day with protein. That means things like eggs, nut butter, oatmeal, and yogurt! (These are all Larson’s favorite foods.)
- Add a fresh fruit or veggie with every meal/snack. That’s why we’ve got spinach in this mac and cheese.
- Drink water & exercise. I knew water was good, but did you know light exercise can fight off sickness? Dr. Altman recommends 60 minutes of activity per day.
- Probiotics help gut health and immunity. Yogurt is full of probiotics, which are fantastic for a healthy gut and immunity to sickness. Knowing this, I’ve been more intentional with my yogurt consumption lately. Stonyfield’s Yo Baby is a great choice for breakfast and snack for kiddos; it has a specific strain of probiotics shown to help with baby’s gut health (see below).
Fact: Larson is a huge yogurt fan. He loves the stuff. Perhaps it’s the texture? Whatever the case we’ve been feeding him Stonyfield’s Yo Baby and it’s one of his favorite foods. Perhaps you’re like I was a few months ago, wondering: What is Yo Baby? Aside from being fun to say, Yo Baby is organic yogurt with added BB-12 probiotics that promote beneficial gut bacteria and regular stools. The texture is thicker than other organic baby yogurts, which helps with less mess while feeding, especially for babies/toddlers that are starting to self-feed. Also, one of my favorite parts of Yo Baby is that the packaging made from plants instead of plastic! They’re called PLA cups, which are better for plant-based packaging has a lower carbon footprint.
Now for the recipe! For this mac and cheese, we’ve taken this kid-friendly comfort food and infused it with some immunity-boosting foods. While cheese and pasta are not immunity-boosting on their own, this mac and cheese is a nice way to convince anyone, kiddos or otherwise, to get a dose of veggies and probiotics. (Unless you want a smoothie.) Here’s what we added:
- Whole milk yogurt is stirred in at the end, to give a creamy texture and provide a shot of live and active cultures and protein
- Fresh spinach is gently wilted in for all the added nutrients without a strong spinach taste.
- Turmeric gives a tiny immunity boost and some extra color.
- Fancy noodles: this isn’t immunity boosting, but honestly using a different shape and size of noodles than the standard elbows helps us slow down and enjoy eat bite instead of shoveling the mac and cheese into our mouths, which makes us eat less overall. (Anyone agree?)
You may be wondering, how does this mac and cheese taste? Though there’s lot of good stuff in it, we made sure to keep it spot-on delicious. The flavor is nuanced with a bit of Parmesan cheese and fresh garlic, which makes it taste a bit more grown up–but still tasty enough for kids!
PRO TIP: Isn’t eating leftover refrigerated mac and cheese the worst? We found a great way to reheat it so it tastes like new! To reheat the mac and cheese, place it in a skillet, add a splash of milk, and stir until creamy. (The ratio is about 1 cup noodles to 1 tablespoon milk.)
Last thing: which pic of Larson with his Yo Baby yogurt face do you like best? This photo contest is also running on Instagram Stories today so you can vote there, or in the comments below. We can’t decide which is our favorite. Do you like Photo A, B or C?
Did you make this recipe?
This recipe is…
Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.Print
PRO TIP: To reheat the mac and cheese, place it in a skillet, add a splash of milk, and stir until creamy. (Ratio: about 1 cup mac and cheese to 1 tablespoon milk)
- 16 ounces macaroni or cavatappi noodles
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves (or chopped standard spinach)
- 1 garlic clove
- 8 ounces high quality sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 ounce (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup Stonyfield plain whole milk yogurt
- Heat a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions. Prepare a colander in the sink and place the baby spinach leaves in the colander. When the pasta is done, remove from the heat and drain the pasta into the colander, allowing the boiling water to wilt the spinach.
- Meanwhile, mince the garlic and grate the cheddar and Parmesan cheese.
- When the pasta is finished, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the ground mustard, turmeric, and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the pasta and spinach to the skillet and stir until evenly coated.
- Add the cheddar and Parmesan cheese and continue stirring until cheese is melted and evenly distributed. Sprinkle on the kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Remove the pasta from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Serve warm.