As a new mom, it's common to be afraid of delving into this whole new arena of baby food. It's a very large responsibility to create a child's diet plan, no wonder we're all a bit weary. And don't worry, you're not alone.
Our common anxieties: Am I feeding our child enough? What if it's not? What if my child is deficient or deprived of certain nutrients in his diet? What if we are creating food allergies? What if my baby chokes because I gave him the wrong food? There are so many questions we face every day!
Grocery shopping becomes a major issue and it seems all to easy - THE BABY FOOD ISLE!
Although it makes total sense that we would look to the grocery store for answers, think again! In fact, this might the biggest problem of all when trying to get creative with your kids diet, especially when you're a new mom, and here's why:
Maybe it would be better if stores didn't have a "baby" isle because then we'd be forced to get creative and search through lots of different foods for different ideas.
The best way to get proactive about our children's health and diet is to think FRESH, BALANCED and also CONVENIENT. Those are the three KEY factors when feeding your baby.
note: safety of course is an issue if your child is less than a year, but the only main concerns at that age are allergies, chewing/chunks (choking) and the ethical debate -- meat and dairy. Because children at that age are getting breastmilk (or some sort of formula) you don't have to worry too much about their overall diet.
Here are some tips that will help you be brave and innovative when shopping and "meal planning":
* Easy on the Cherrios. They are fillers, fun foods and great for hand-eye coordination, NOT part of the baby food groups, in my mind. note: adult cereals, not found in the baby food isle, have less sugar and have more options! There is nothing different about baby cereals and adult cereals except for sugar content.
*I found freeze dried fruit (not found in the baby isle) to be a great replacement for young children that can't chew too well yet. (they also make freeze dried vegetable powders that can be mixed with grains or blended vegetables).
* Fruit leathers are a great idea as well - although they are very gooey!
* Smoothies are a GREAT way to fill up a child and give them nourishment (I hate that word, but it's appropriate here). If you make a smoothie, put it in a cold container and bring it with you on your errands or walks.
* Fresh squeezed juice is also a great idea. Throw in some spinach, just enough to not change the taste too much!!! A little lemon is great, too. Apples are a must. OJ kids also love.
* Don't be afraid of raw vegetables and fruits. You don't always need to steam everything. Wash produce thoroughly and choose organic. If your child is over the age of 7 months and can already eat a whole blueberry, chances are he/she can eat chunks. So start him/her early on blended raw veggies. My son LOVES raw kale, try this recipe.
* Instead of granola bars or goldfish crackers give them plain rice cakes. If your child only likes salt or sugar, it's because you introduced those flavors to her/him!!! They don't crave salt or sugar until they've had it.
Moral of the story:
Have fun. Don't be afraid. Experiment and try things YOU don't want to eat. Just because celery is gross to you, doesn't mean, your child will hate it too.
If you want a child that is willing to eat lots of healthy foods, don't rely on the BABY isle to help you feed your child. I look at it as a place to shop when you're traveling only!