Dr. William Campbell watched Zoi Maroudas growing up working in her family's Anchorage restaurant. These days, he's watching with interest as she creates her own business out of giving baby food a nutritious and delicious makeover.
As a psychiatrist, he says he's fascinated by Maroudas' effort to introduce tasty food that is good for babies early in life.
"The fact that this baby food tastes really good is a huge step," Campbell says.
Bambino's Baby Food line--including Yummy Yams, Googly Carrots, Hungry Munchkin, Salmon Basket, and Happy Peas--is formulated to be nutritionally balanced and to introduce babies to a variety of vegetables, grains, fish, and peanuts during their first year of life, Maroudas says.
But beyond its nutritional benefits, Campbell says there also is a real benefit to families in reducing the food-related struggles between parents and children.
"I've actually eaten it myself and it tastes really good," he says.
Campbell and his wife are godparents to Maroudas' daughter. He says he was surprised to learn the hors d'oeuvres served at the child's christening in January was actually Hali Halibut--an item from Maroudas' line of frozen baby foods.
Hali Halibut tasted very much like a seafood bisque he'd spent hours making a few weeks prior, Campbell says.
The Alaska salmon and halibut in the meals also provide natural omega-3s, which are important to brain development and social interactions, he says.
Anchorage allergist Dr. Teresa A. Neeno says when researchers began looking at the science about ten years ago, they discovered the advice pediatricians had given parents for decades to delay feeding certain foods to children was wrong.
"We used to take whatever what was on the plate, chew it up, and feed it to the baby," Neeno says. "In this case, the grandmas were right."
Founder and CEO of Bambino's Baby Food and Zoi Food For Life, Maroudas was four when she moved from Greece to Alaska with her family. The food in both of her product lines reflects the Mediterranean diet that continues to nourish generations of her family in Greece, Italy, and the United States, she says.
Although Maroudas grew up in the kitchen, it was an internship in geriatrics after graduating pre-med from Baylor University that led her to carefully consider the importance of nutritious diet in personal health.
When her plans to continue training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, were...