Introducing babies to fruits and vegetables can be tricky. It’s a well known fact that fruits and vegetables are an imperative part of healthy growth and development for children of all ages, as well as for healthy aging in adults. It’s also a well known fact that the majority of kids and adults alike, who lack the recommended amounts necessary to achieve a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables can usually point a guilty finger at a dislike in taste and or texture. In other words, some people just flat out do not like fruit or veggies.
So how do we get around this little problem with our kids?
Studies suggest that the answer may be rooted back to the introduction we give our children to these essentials in baby food. Some tastes are acquired, and it can be said that an early introduction is key in developing a ‘like’ for them later on in life. Following a healthy guideline when baby foods are first introduced can play a major part in our children’s eating habits as they grow.
Of course, always follow the instruction of your child’s pediatrician and stick with the age recommendations put in place before introducing foods. Also, be sure to watch a baby carefully for allergies. This can be done easily by only introducing one food at a time, waiting a few days or longer before another food comes into play (as some allergies come out in rashes and can take time before appearing), as well as by only introducing in moderation right out the gate.
Now, once the basic understanding of babies and the introduction of healthy foods and flavors are put in play, it’s time to make a plan. Where to start? What foods to introduce first, and when to give them what? Again, always follow the guidelines set in place by your baby’s pediatrician first. They will let you know when to start on cereal, (if you want to at all depending on their eating and sleeping habits with breastmilk and their digestive patterns.) They’ll also let you know when to start on fruit, veggies, meats, and meal regimens. There are certain ages and checkpoints put in place for a reason, and our babies deserve the very best, right?
It’s important to explore all options available when choosing the foods to give our babies. The packaged baby food that is purchasable at any grocery or department store is available in practically all flavors. There is also the option of making your own baby food. It can be said that rotating fresh fruits and vegetables (depending on the input of your trusted pediatrician) along with their store bought intake, can improve their likeness to the taste as they grow. The fresh option is also truer to texture and takes out the preservatives that may be in the packaged foods.
Making baby food is surprisingly easy! It can also be done in bulk and then frozen for future use. Even as a child grows into finger foods and beyond, pureed and frozen fruits and vegetables can easily be mixed (and easily hidden) into their snacks. The child will get the nutrients, along with developing a taste for healthy necessities without even knowing it, and the mommies and daddies can indulge in the joy of being secret heros. Win, Win!
Making Baby Food With Fresh Fruits and Veggies:
There are a few tips and tricks that are useful to keep in mind when you’re making the first batch of baby food.
- Don’t mix more than one flavor together for the first introduction. If the child does have an allergy it will be hard to pinpoint which food they’re allergic to if more than one food is mixed. It’s easiest to start with one type of food at a time.
- Don’t make very much to start with, just in case you wind up needing to discard it.
- Ice trays are the best way to freeze the mixture. Each square is a serving size. Once frozen, you can place them in ziplock freezer bags, and pull out one square at a time as needed to feed the child.
- Start with foods that are not too acidic or hard to digest. Some doctors recommend starting with fruit first for a couple months before introducing veggies, and some will give the go ahead for either. Again, follow the doctor’s instructions. It can be suggested that the best fruits to start with are bananas, pears, and avocados. It can also be suggested that the best vegetables to start with are sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots.
- To get the most nutrition in each mixture it can be said that using breastmilk or baby formula as the base to blend your softened fruits and veggies (rather than just water) is the best practice. So if you are breastfeeding then it may be helpful to pump as much as possible and be prepared before you start making the baby food.
Now, it’s time to get started! Making baby food is so simple. It’s as easy as One, Two, Three:
- Soften the ingredients. Squash and Eggplant is best baked. Sweet Potatoes are best boiled. Carrots and Spinach as well as most others are best steamed. Most fruits are already soft enough. Keep in mind that mellons and anything citrus may be best saved for last in introductions due to heavy acidity as well as likeliness of allergies.
- Puree with the breast milk or baby formula base (as the child gets old enough to drink regular milk then it can be used as a base as well. But, again, please follow the instructed guidelines put in place by a pediatrician before using regular milk as a base.)
- Once pureed until you have a completely smooth (un-chokable) mixture, pour into ice trays and freeze.
Easy Peasy! Goodluck mommys and daddys! CTM as well as myself wishes your babies be the healthiest and happiest possible. Let’s raise our little ones in a way we can be proud of. They are our future and their innocent little bodies and minds deserve the most nutrition possible.