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Tiny Sprouts Foods

Meet Tina and Kim, two South-Asian moms planting seeds for healthier childhoods with their brand Tiny Sprouts Foods

These days, we understand the importance of nutrition and the impact our foods have on growing children. However, when Tiny Sprouts Foods founders Tina and Kim were growing up, their parents, like many others, did not know that 90% of our brain was developed by age 5, and that every bite we ate in our first few years of life could impact our health as adults.

Tiny Sprouts Foods

Tiny Sprouts Foods co-founder, Kim. (Photo courtesy of Tiny Sprouts Foods.)

It was only after experiencing health issues as young adults that the two friends developed a passion for nutrition. Food turned into their medicine, and seeds like flax, chia and hemp became staples in their diets.

Then, they each became mothers and their children’s nutrient needs were at the top of their minds. They began including seeds into their children’s diets as seeds are the world’s TINIEST superfood, packed full of all the essential nutrients a child needs to develop and thrive. 

During this time, the women began to wonder why there were no seed products designed for children? Seeds are a perfect, easy addition to any meal after all, with their small size, neutral taste, and versatility. They’re also an excellent way to sneak in some extra nutrition for even the pickiest of eaters. 

So Tina and Kim began brainstorming and finally the foundation of Tiny Sprouts Foods ‘sprouted’ and was ironically born on Mother’s Day 2020, at the height of the global pandemic. 

Uniting their passion for children’s nutrition and functional foods, along with their combined 30 years experience in the consumer goods industry, Kim and Tina bravely left their secure corporate jobs to fully commit to their mission of planting the seeds for healthier childhood development through their business venture. 

Tiny Sprouts Foods

Tiny Sprouts Organic Superseed Boosters, which combine wholesome ingredients and contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. (Photo courtesy of Tiny Sprouts Foods.)

Today, Tiny Sprouts Foods is a minority-female-founded children’s nutrition company focused on producing easy, nutrient-rich products that offer functional health benefits to the developing child. 

Their top products are their Tiny Sprouts Organic Superseed Boosters, which combine wholesome ingredients and contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals while boosting your little one’s nutrition and help them meet their daily health needs. 

 

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From sprouting to thriving 

While they have overcome hurdles to get to where they are today, starting a small business at the height of the pandemic was not without its challenges. One challenge was the fact that both women lived in different countries. 

Tiny Sprouts Foods

Tiny Sprouts Foods co-founder, Tina. (Photo courtesy of Tiny Sprouts Foods.)

“We are a team of two South Asian moms who reside in different countries; Kim in the USA and Tina in Canada,” they say. 

However, despite the physical distance, they found their vision and passion for the business keeps them together. 

Another struggle that many entrepreneurs, especially those in the food industry understand, was supplying, manufacturing, and sourcing. Kim and Tina encountered many roadblocks, pushing back their original launch date, but quality and food safety was a top priority so they persevered through these hurdles. 

“From product development, ingredient sourcing, manufacturing through to testing of our final products, quality and safety of our boosters will always be our number one priority. With that, however, comes a ton of extra precautions thus adding costs and always more time!” Tina and Kim share. 

“We have had to change co-packers, deal with suppliers sending us incorrect materials, and ingredients not meeting our high-quality standards. All this combined led to a launch date that was severely delayed and time & money wasted. Surely, the thought of giving up came up endlessly, but we pushed through, got to the finish line and are extremely proud of the products we developed.”

Both Kim and Tina were raised by hard working immigrant parents, so they learned firsthand the value of hard work and determination, which they now apply to their daily work at Tiny Sprouts. 

“We saw the daily struggles and sacrifices that our parents endured to provide for our families.  It has made us more resilient and flexible in a world where minority female entrepreneurs still aren’t the norm.”

Tiny Sprouts Foods

“We pushed through, got to the finish line and are extremely proud of the products we developed.” (Photo courtesy of Tiny Sprouts Foods.)

Tina and Kim are also motivated to succeed and continue to grow their business and push past challenges when they hear feedback and review of how their products have helped parents and families. 

We hear the relief and happiness in their messages knowing that their babies and children are getting adequate nutrition despite ongoing picky eating habits or other mealtime issues. Mealtime stress is real and feeding children can be deflating and frustrating – knowing that we are making this easier and less stressful for fellow moms is the best reward we can get.” 

Knowing that they are not only helping to improve the health trajectory of the next generation, but are also providing parents with the peace of mind they deserve is a great motivator and the best reward. 

“There is no greater motivation than helping fellow parents do the same for their own children.” 

You might be interested: Black and Latina moms are becoming entrepreneurs now more than ever 

To other minority women entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners, Kim and Tina offer a few words of advice learned from their own journey. 

“The struggle is real,” they say, “but the reward is unreal. There will be some very tough times, but if you truly believe in your idea, stick with it and the reward will come. It’s a journey.  It takes grit and determination to start a new business from scratch. Always keep the end goal in mind, and always remember your mission. This is what truly got us through the hard times.” 

National Nutrition Month

Balancing your Latina diet this National Nutrition Month®

Every food-loving Latina knows that the Latina diet has both pros and cons. With rich flavors and a variety of local produce, Latin American cuisine can certainly be very healthy. But sometimes we can also go a little overboard on the sweets, rich dairy products, and fatty meats. That’s why it’s important to focus on maintaining a balanced diet and National Nutrition Month® is the perfect time to get started on making some healthful changes to your diet. 

National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Originally started as National Nutrition Week in 1973, it was eventually inaugurated as National Nutrition Month®  in 1980.

Now, during the month of March, everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.

National Nutrition Month

Celebrate a World of Flavors. (Graphic source: National Nutrition Month®)

This year’s theme, “Celebrate a World of Flavors,” showcases how flavors from cultures around the world is a tasty way to nourish ourselves and appreciate our diversity. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes! And a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can tailor a healthful eating plan that is as special as you are.

“The theme Celebrate a World of Flavors gives every culture a place at the table,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Libby Mills, a national spokesperson for the Academy in Philadelphia, Pa. “Celebrating the cultural heritage, traditions and recipes from all people is a tasty way to nourish ourselves, learn about one another and find appreciation in our diversity.”

During National Nutrition Month®, the Academy encourages everyone to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits they can follow all year long. The Academy encourages seeking the advice of RDNs – the food and nutrition experts who can help develop individualized eating and activity plans to meet people’s health goals.

National Nutrition Month

Your favorite cultural foods can be part of a healthful eating plan!
Use these tips to choose foods that have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other important nutrients: https://sm.eatright.org/nutrichdiet
#NationalNutritionMonth

“Celebrate a World of Flavors highlights the unique, cultural variety of foods available to people from around the world and the role that registered dietitian nutritionist play in helping clients create healthy habits while celebrating their cultural foods and heritage,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Rahaf Al Bochi, a national spokesperson for the Academy in Baltimore, Md.

RDNs help clients fine-tune traditional recipes, provide alternative cooking methods and other healthful advice for incorporating family-favorite foods into everyday meals.

For more information and healthful tips, check out the resources provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics available in various languages including Spanish.

Balancing your Latina diet 

As Latinas, food is a big part of our culture. While many Latino dishes are full of healthy ingredients, it’s no secret that we love our carbs and dulces. Many Latin American dishes can also be heavy on fats such as whole-fat cheeses and fatty cuts of meat. Consuming too much of these foods in unbalanced proportions can lead to many health risks such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, risk factors commonly found in Hispanic populations. 

However, there is no need to completely cut out the foods we love, but learning more about how to create a colorful, well-balanced plate will help us all be healthier in the long-run. 

You might be interested: 5 hearty autumnal vegan meals to try this month

Some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: 

Personalize Your Plate 

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Get creative with produce by trying an assortment of colors and textures.
  • Experiment with different grains. Try substituting whole grains for refined grains in recipes.
  • Choose lean protein foods. Vary your choices to include seafood, beans, peas and lentils, as well as eggs, lean cuts of meat and poultry that are prepared in a healthful way, such as baked or grilled instead of fried.
  • Complete your meal with dairy. Include low-fat or fat-free options like milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified soymilk, or lactose free milk.

Meal Planning Tips

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. Think about the foods you like from each food group – mixed dishes count, too! These are just a few examples of how different foods can be eaten as a meal to personalize your plate. If a food you enjoy is not listed here, consider which food group it meets when planning your meals.  

National Nutrition Month®

Meal plan suggestions from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Source: Personalize Your Plate to Include Foods From Other Cultures–Latin American)

You might be interested: 5 teas and infusions popular in Latin America to improve sleep, focus, digestion, and more!

Building a balanced Latina diet doesn’t have to be a chore. With so many delicious ingredients and a passion for our food, us Latinas are sure to have fun cooking up some colorful, creative dishes to meet our health needs and our passion for flavor!

10 Snacks to boost productivity and get you through the work day

Did you know that the foods you eat greatly impact your levels of motivation and productivity? In fact, eating the right foods can boost productivity up to 20 percent, according to the World Health Organization. The right foods can help you stay focused longer, improve your memory, and stabilize your moods. If you’re a busy professional, you may notice that some days you feel more sluggish than others. This might be due to the foods you’re eating throughout the day. If you’re looking for snacks to boost productivity get you through the work day, check out our top picks below. 

Top 10 snacks to boost productivity 

1. Almonds

Almonds are the go-to focus foods. They are full of healthy fats necessary for our brains to function better. These healthy fats also slow the body’s digestion of sugar and carbs which helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Not only that, but the protein in almonds will also help curb your appetite without feeling sluggish. 

2. Dark Chocolate

Yes, chocolate can be good for you–if it’s the right chocolate! Dark chocolate is abundant in nutrients that impact your productivity. Dark chocolate contains just the right amounts of sugar and caffeine to give you the boost you need without the caffeine-jitters or sugar-crashes.  Also the magnesium in chocolate can help relieve stress and anxiety, another great bonus for those particularly stressful work days! 

3. Apple & Peanut Butter

They say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and that’s because apples are rich in antioxidants that keep our bodies healthy. Apples also have about 13g of sugar, making them a more effective source of energy than coffee. Paired with a tablespoon or two of natural peanut butter, which is full of powerful protein, and you have the perfect combination to keep yourself feeling full and focused longer. 

4. Carrots & Hummus

Carrots are a fun snack. They’re crunchy, delicious, and great for you. Pair them with some hummus and you have a powerful combination. See, carrots contain luteolin which helps improve memory, while hummus is full of Omega 3 fatty acids and amino acids which help improve intelligence and boost your mood. The protein and calories in the hummus will also help curb your appetite so you can focus on your work and not your rumbling stomach! 

5. Avocados

Avocados are a natural stimulant that, “enhances blood flow, offering a simple, tasty way to fire up brain cells,” according to WebMD. Consistent, healthy blood flow around the heart and through the brain is the secret to staying productive. Avocados are full of the monounsaturated fatty acids that help protect a certain kind of brain cells called astrocytes, which support information carrying nerves and contribute to healthy blood flow. So an avocado may just be what you need to stimulate your body and stay energized and focused throughout the day. 

You might be interested: Kick the habit! How to avoid overeating when working from home

6. Bananas

Glucose equals energy, and bananas are one of the best sources of glucose. Just one banana holds the daily amount of glucose your body needs. Bananas are also very filling and will keep you feeling satisfied and focused  longer between meals. 

7. Blueberries 

Blueberries can truly do it all. They are packed with antioxidants that help fight off disease, stop bloating, and curb cravings. Blueberries have also been linked to enhancing your cognitive abilities. According to research conducted at the University of Reading, schoolchildren’s memory and attention-spans greatly improved after consumption of flavonoid-rich blueberry supplements. So next time you’re in need of a quick snack, consider a handful of blueberries. 

8. Sunflower Seeds 

Sunflower seeds make a great snack because they are loaded with the amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid is quickly converted to serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin is especially important on those days when you may be feeling particularly stressed, grumpy, or sleepy because it  plays an important part in the regulation of our feelings and energy levels.

9. Green Tea 

green tea, snacks to boost productivity

Photo by Kiran K. on Unsplash

Not really a “snack” but definitely something you want to be sipping on throughout the day. Green tea is a great caffeine-alternative to coffee with way more health benefits. 

Did you know green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine that improves focus and helps the brain stay alert? On top of that, green tea will also boost metabolism, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and improve skin health. The benefits really seem endless! 

10. Yogurt 

yogurt, snacks to boost productivity

Photo by Niclas Illg on Unsplash

Last but not least, yogurt! Such a simple, quick, and easy snack, and yet it’s full of so many benefits that will help boost productivity and get you through your workday. Greek yogurt is a super-snack that contains tyrosine, an amino acid that produces both dopamine and noradrenaline. These are two  neurotransmitters that help boost your mood and behavior. Additionally, yogurt is a great way to improve your gut health and boost the good bacteria in your gut. Gut health is vital and can have a big impact on the rest of your body, especially your brain. In fact, poor gut health has been linked to anxiety and depression, as well as other mood disorders, which can impact your productivity and energy levels. So be sure to take care of your gut and consider incorporating more yogurt into your diet. 

healthier choices latino family-owned business

4 Tips to health proof your work day with healthier choices

Healthier choices help us stay on track on those hectic work days that can cause us all to let our nutrition fall to the back-burner.

healthier choices latino family-owned business

A wide variety of snacks, mostly candy, on display at a bodega in Park Slope, Brooklyn. (Photo credit Jeffrey O. Gustafson at the English language Wikipedia)

Your boss is demanding, your client is driving you nuts, you are behind your deadline… We all have those days when you look at the time and realize you cannot remember the last meal you ate. Or you find yourself grabbing anything in sight (probably sugary, processed foods) to ward off your hunger. Doing this all the time can place your health at serious risk. It can also impact how you perform.

Incorporating these simple tips and tricks can help you “health proof” your work day.

1.Your first line of defense

Fuel yourself with a healthy breakfast that includes at minimum:

  • A complex carb with fiber to keep you full longer such as oats and multigrain options
  • A lean protein like eggs, cottage cheese, or turkey bacon to feed all of your muscles (including your brain)

A big bonus is adding a dark leafy vegetable such as spinach, kale, or asparagus because they provide a boost of vitamins and minerals. Or choose a vegetable higher in water content like peppers and cucumbers to fill you up. One easy way to sneak in fruits and veggies into your breakfast is to make yourself a smoothie. Anything you can prep the night before will save you time in the morning!

2. Join the “Pack Your Lunch” club

Aim to bring your lunch at least 3 times a week so you can ensure you are making healthier choices and also saving money!

healthier choices

Photo credit: National Institutes of Health, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

3. Build your own vending machine

Stock those drawers with whole grain crackers and cereal, plain popcorn and small portions of unsalted nuts. If you have a fridge at work, fill it with healthier choices of nutritious snacks such as fruit, raw vegetables, lower fat cheese and yogurt, and hummus.

Stay hydrated!!! Often times we think we are hungry when instead our bodies are dehydrated. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. Even setting a timer is a great way to remind you to guzzle! You want to aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces.

You might be interested: How to tackle stress in the workplace with effective strategies

4. Bonus tips for healthier choices

Don’t work while you eat…this can set you up to eat more than your body needs…put your work to the side for 15 to 20 minutes…

If you absolutely MUST grab something on the go or are eating out do your best to find healthier choices that are higher in fiber, lower in sugar and includes a complex carbohydrate, a lean protein, and a vegetable so you are eating a more balanced meal. If salads are your go-to make sure to ask for the dressing on the side.

Practice these tips consistently and you will reap the benefits long-term! If you need Nutrition and Fitness advice, or have a question, feel free to contact me on the form below!

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