Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baby Food & Toddler Veggies

Here's my quick guide to how I developed good eating habits for my children from birth till now...

Birth to about 5 1/2 to 6 months : 

EXCLUSIVELY Breastmilk! (No cereal, no formula, no baby food, no water...Nothing but breastmilk!)

6 months to 1 year: 

Fruits, veggies, water and more breastmilk...

Homemade baby food or fruits and veggies that are age appropriate to your child's chewing and swallowing capability. No meat, no dairy, still no cereal, no grains (rice, bread, etc)! Fruits and veggies only!(Every parent who takes at least 15 minutes to fix dinner has time to make baby food and I guarantee your child is not going to starve on this diet (see below). They will be healthy and super energetic...Oh did I mention, they'll begin to loooove fruits and veggies...Trust me.)

Be sure to introduce one fruit or veggie at a time to be on the lookout for allergies. A good timeframe to lookout for allergies would be about 3-5 days before introducing something else. In those days, only feed your baby one fruit or one veggie. Your baby will not mind eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner...There's always breastmilk for dessert anyways...Haha! 

By the way, a mass variety of fruits and veggies is not necessary for nutrition purposes because your baby is still getting the majority of his/her nutrition from your breastmilk. However, try not limit your child's choices by only introducing foods you eat. If you don't eat squash, your child should still have the opportunity to formulate his/her own opinion of eating squash.

You should still stick with some of the usually "first" baby foods, such as apples, pears, bananas, peas, carrots, etc before introducing others such as peaches. My biggest, most important tip would be to introduce your veggies first! All babies love the sweet taste of fruits. Veggies are not as sweet or likable, but if introduced first and more often than fruit, you'll be amazed at how your baby will take to them. They still won't like every fruit or veggie that you give them, but introducing their foods this way will definitely expand those that they may not have taken to so well otherwise.

Over 1 year:

At this point, your child should have grown in enough teeth to practice good chewing and swallowing habits to eat whatever you are eating. However, every child is different, so if your child still only has those 4 front stranglers, continue on the previous diet by giving your child foods prepared that they can safely chew and swallow. 

Either way, at this point you can introduce meats, dairy (preferably yogurt), and/or grains (if your diet consists of them). Be sure to always offer your child plenty of fruits and veggies during and in between meals. Just because you have introduced other types of foods, do not slack on the produce by giving them "filling" foods!

Homemade Baby Food:

The common excuse I always hear when an inquiring mom asks me about baby food is, "I don't have enough time to make that." Then I always counter them by asking if they cook dinner. Generally, the answer is yes or at least if they are a heat-it-and-eat-it mom, the dinner usually takes at least 15 minutes to make. Guess what, so does the baby food. 

If you have a pot of green beans on the stove...Great! You have 4-5 burners on your stove, so add a small pot to that back burner and chunk in some of those green beans (but without the seasoning this time and not much water if boiling). P.S. Steaming is much healthier than boiling, but you can get by with baby food because you will be adding that water (that usually sucks up all the nutrients and is not eaten by adults) to the blender with your baby's veggies. So now the whole family's meal is on the stove, including baby's. 

When baby's green beans are tender or cooked to your liking, pour the water and green beans into a a bullet-like blender and blend until smooth. Now....make everyone's plate...yes, even baby's! That was it! You don't have time for that?! If you don't have a blender, you can simply put it in a bowl and mash it until smooth using whatever utensil makes the job the easiest for you.

Some fruits and veggies may not need the extra water, so you definitely should steam those until they are very soft then blend. Add a tad bit of water if smooth blending becomes difficult.

The recipe in short:

Fruits or veggies

P.S. You don't need a fancy steamer. Simply place a stainless steel straining bowl on top of your pot (it doesn't have to fit perfectly) and cover with the pot's lid. It's okay if the lid doesn't fit the strainer as long as the lid doesn't lay on directly on top of the veggies.

My Baby Doesn't Like Baby Food:

No problem...Neither did my daughter. She didn't even like applesauce...what kid doesn't like applesauce? LOL! Anyways, I think she just didn't like the texture of mashed/pureed foods, so for her, I had to find alternative means of feeding her fruits and veggies.

Toddlers love to feel the textures of things, whether in their hands or mouth. This is a natural part of their learning at this stage in life. So, I would just give her foods that could be easily mashed with her gums and/or few teeth, such as steamed carrots, green beans, apples, etc. With veggies that are normally hard such as the carrots, you must steam them very well to ensure that they will be soft enough for your baby to munch down on without choking. Speaking of choking, using this method of feeding requires your full attention during feeding sessions. You need to be very sure that your child is mashing the food and swallowing safely, and should choking occur for some reason, you are there to relieve. I didn't say that to scare you, I mean it's really no different from supervising a child who is learning to swim. Your child is learning to chew and swallow so you should just be cautious that until the skill is mastered, caution should be taken. With correct supervision and food preparation, this method should be perfectly safe should your child be like mine and dislike pureed baby food.


My children are healthy eaters without a fight and are usually open minded to new healthy recipes that I introduce to them. This is not because I'm a lucky mother or something silly like that, it's because I trained them to eat well and eating well has become habit and desirable to them. My friends and family are always amazed that I can sit down and eat a spinach salad only for my son to ask for seconds and thirds of the same...By the way, he's 3 years old! Don't get me wrong though, children will be children, and if they are given candy or junk, they will accept it. The discipline comes in for the parent in this area. To keep your children eating healthy, you must try to avoid their exposure and/or limit their intake of unhealthy foods that may be given to them from outside sources, such as family and friends or even you. When your child asks for something you really know they shouldn't have, offer them something they do like that is healthy. I remember making a fruit bowl for a child that came to visit that consisted of fresh strawberries, bananas, and blackberries...She exclaimed, "This is as good as candy! I don't know which I like better! I wish my mommy would buy me strawberries." Need I say more?

1 comment:

  1. By the way, a mass variety of fruits and veggies is not necessary for nutrition purposes because your baby is still getting the majority of his/her nutrition from your breastmilk. black colour salwar suit , full black salwar suit ,