Catherine, co-founder of One Potato, was introduced to Katie, co-founder of Square Baby, at a women’s entrepreneurial event. Both were inspired by each other’s brand mission and began chatting. After exchanging products, they realized that One Potato and Square Baby are the perfect complement to each other.
After months of hard work, we’re thrilled to announce Square Baby’s One Potato Turkey Tacos Square Meal. Based on a One Potato family favorite meal, it combines organic turkey bone broth, bell peppers, avocado, corn, cilantro, cumin, coriander, and lime.
Read on for an interview with Katie Thomson, the founder of Square Baby, to learn more about how she encourages her kids to eat adventurously and what makes Square Baby meals so unique for baby.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start Square Baby.
I’m Katie Thomson — a Registered Dietitian with a Masters in Nutrition. I’ve spent 15 years in the food industry leading health and wellness initiatives and consulting for brands like Starbucks, Red Robin, and Naturebox.
In 2008, I became a mom. I cruised the aisle for baby food options and was fed up by what I found — many baby foods were unbalanced, lacking premium proteins and healthy fats, and misleadingly marketed. I saw a sea of uninspiring, shelf-stable, muted flavors. And rows and rows of unrecyclable pouches that don’t encourage the important motor development skill of spoon-feeding.
I didn’t want the next generation of babies growing up on so. much. applesauce. Did you know many baby food pouches have the same grams of sugar as a bowl of LUCKY CHARMS? Mind. Blown.
Babies deserve better.
After you realized that babies deserve better food options, how did you make it a reality?
I left Starbucks in 2010 to dedicate my time to researching infant nutrition and creating a solution for parents. After years of research, recipe development, and baby taste testing (the best part!), I created the “Square Meal System,” a customizable meal plan that offers 100% Daily Nutrition for babies at each age and stage of development.
Everything changed when I met Kendall. We both had kindergartners and had a passion for health and wellness. Together, we volunteered in our community to raise money for local children’s hospitals and organizations, start a nutrition education program at our Elementary school, revamp the School Lunch Program, and more.
I quickly learned that Kendall was the perfect partner for me — very Type A (in all the best ways), buttoned-up, a solutions-based operator, and executer. And an insanely smart badass with a Masters in Biophysics & Genetics and a track record of leadership and startups. In 2017, I asked if she would join me in launching Square Baby. We got to work, and in July 2018, Square Baby was born.
What makes Square Baby unique?
We designed the Square Meal System to offer 100% Daily Nutrition (100% of baby’s daily recommended servings of veggies, fruit, whole grains, and protein) based on USDA and AAP recommendations. Our meals are organic and made fresh in small batches and delivered frozen.
The Square Meal System is also customizable for every family.
- “A” Square Meals are vegetarian (protein from Straus Family Creamery whole milk greek yogurt)
- “B” Square Meals are vegan (protein from sprouted lentils, beans, okara soy, legumes)
- “C” are animal proteins & also dairy-free (protein from organic chicken bone broth, salmon, egg, or shrimp).
Kendall and I both found it impossible to find meat protein options that weren’t shelf-stable and unappealing for our babies. We know that many parents are looking for this source of protein for their nutrition goals — and we wanted to deliver the highest quality, most nutrient-dense option.
How do you approach introducing allergens to babies through Square Baby?
We are the only baby food company with a comprehensive Allergen Introduction Menu — because the research shows that introducing allergens early and often can actually help prevent food allergies from developing by up to 80%!
As a nutritionist, what are the easiest ways to ensure your family is getting proper nutrition?
The idea of balanced “Square Meals” is something that we practice at home. My boys are now 8 and 11. Since they were toddlers, we’ve talked about “eating your colors” and trying to “eat the rainbow” each day.
We also talk about “balancing our plate”. We aim for ½ the plate as fruits and veggies, ¼ protein, and ¼ starch or whole grains.
We talk about nutrition in a way that makes sense for them:
- Protein helps build your muscles and “makes you more powerful”. What kid doesn’t want to be faster and stronger?
- Healthy fats help them absorb important nutrients like Vitamins A, D, E and K and a great way to get healthy calories in their active, growing bodies.
- Whole grains are good for your tummy and lasting energy. Fiber aids in digestion and can provide sustained energy vs sugar crashes.
- Eat a rainbow of fruits & veggies each day to get the most vitamins, nutrients, and fiber.
We find that if we give them the reason behind a balanced plate, they’ll be more motivated to finish it and might make better choices when they’re outside the home (think school cafeteria or dinner with friends). These little mantras are easy to remember — we’re crossing our fingers that they’ll stick!
As a mom of two, how do you include your kids in meal planning?
Sometimes we ask our kids what sounds good to them and make it happen. But most of the time, we tell them what’s for dinner. I think it’s good for kids to have a balance of choosing, because it’s fun and special, and also learning to like what’s being served.
I’d love to say I’m a “meal planner” — I’m not. I’m a creative, fly-by-the-seat, make-it-happen kind of cook. I stock up on a bunch of produce each week, get a few key proteins and staples — and make dinner up each evening. Usually simple on the weeknights and more adventurous on the weekends.
Do you kids like to help in the kitchen? How do you involve them in meal prep?
What’s really helped in our home is having the kids help in the kitchen. We’ve all heard it a million times, but it’s really so true: when they help make it, they’ll be more eager and proud to try it, and more likely to enjoy the taste.
To be honest, it’s hard to let them help sometimes! The fear of them getting hurt in the kitchen is paralyzing for this worrier. But if you take the time to slow down, teach them, let them try, and supervise — they’ll learn. And they’ll love the independence. I keep thinking, I’ve got 8 years until my oldest goes to college — I’ve got a lot of work to do!
They read the recipes (so important for them to help pay attention to detail!), help prep fruits and veggies, chop with supervision, saute at the stove, and flip the pancakes!
One Potato has been a life-changer for meal planning and helping in the kitchen.
What are your favorite One Potato meals? Your kids’ favorites?
My first One Potato box sold me. We got the Tuna Nicoise Salad. My kids helped prep it (took less than 10 min!) and we all devoured it. It was like a spendy restaurant meal I would order – and then reorder every time.
But the biggest shock was seeing my kids dig in without hesitation or side-eye. My kids would never have dug into this salad without their help in the kitchen. They would have assumed they weren’t going to like it. And that would have ruined their ability to enjoy it. The mental game with kids mealtime is real. Their perception is everything.
We also loved the Turkey Tacos — taking this common family favorite and taking it to the next level with an amazing spice blend for the ground turkey, fresh-made guacamole, and salsa. And I loved that the kids made the entire meal themselves.
Share more about the Square Baby and One Potato meals. How did this partnership come together?
I was introduced to Catherine after a HeyMama event. I was inspired by her entrepreneurial spirit and hard work and loved the mission of One Potato and Weelicious. After a great conversation talking nutrition and business, we sent each other a box of meals.
A light bulb went off. We both realized that our families would love to know about the other brand. We love recommending One Potato as a healthy meal solution for older family members. And One Potato families with babies will enjoy Square Baby’s organic, fresh-made, and delicious purees for their baby.
And Square Baby’s “One Potato Turkey Tacos” Square Meal was born.
Now the entire family can truly enjoy Turkey Tacos. And your little babe can grow up to love the foods and flavors they’ll have with their family for a lifetime.
Trust me, you’ll want to grab a chip and dip! It’s like a super delicious 7-layer dip. Made with organic turkey bone broth, bell peppers, avocado, corn, cilantro, cumin, coriander, and lime.
Where can I purchase Square Baby?
You can learn more at www.squarebaby.com and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.
We currently ship to 8 states on the West Coast (WA, OR, CA, ID, UT, NV, AZ, CO) and are working on a national launch in early 2021 to serve the lower 48 states.
We are so excited to partner with One Potato and hope you love our collaboration. Please use code “ONEPOTATO20” at checkout for 20% off your first Square Baby order.