Archive for the ‘ Finger Foods ’ Category

Feeding Baby: Are Finger Foods Healthier Than Purees?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

It’s no secret that I love to puree. It’s my favorite step in the whole baby food-making process. So I was surprised to discover that a new British study found that my baby may have been privy to  extra health benefits if I had skipped the purees and moved straight from bottle to finger foods. According to the British Medical Journal, researchers examined the eating habits of 155 British children and learned that self-fed babies eat better, preferring carbohydrates such as pasta, breads, and rice, versus their puree-fed counterparts who favor sweets. They also determined that self-feeding may help ward off obesity since babies can stop eating when they’re full; spoon-fed babies may get an extra spoonful or two than they really need or want. Of the babies studied, 93.5 percent never had a choking incident.

Granted, my puree-fed child (that’s him, covered in pureed avocado when he was six-months-old) is going through a applesauce-raisin-and-graham-cracker-only phase this week, so it’s hard for me to say whether he truly prefers grains to cookies, and I have to work to make him gain weight, but maybe I would notice some divine difference in his eating habits if I had resisted the allure of my blender. At least I can take comfort in knowing that both puree-fed and self-fed babies studied exhibited the same degree of pickiness (see Bug’s menu of choice above…sigh).

Overall, I think this study does raise some compelling points about self-feeding. It could be healthier for your child, and it’s certainly less time-consuming for you. A friend of a friend’s baby transitioned from breastfeeding to whole fruits and veggies beautifully, and my friend talked about following in her footsteps. As a first-time mom, I didn’t have the guts to pitch Mason’s carrot puree and hand him a carrot instead–but I admired what I considered to be brave and maybe equal parts daring and crazy. (Mason once choked on pureed chicken and I was so traumatized I double-pureed all of his meats from then on!) Now that I’m braver and more experienced at feeding babies, I see the wisdom in giving them whole foods first to see how they respond instead of automatically starting with purees. At the very least, it’s one less transition for them to make. Would you have felt comfortable giving your five-month-old finger foods the first time you introduced her to solids?

Add a Comment

Throwing Food: Not Cool, Mason. Not. Cool.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Last night I sat and watched as Mason tossed–no, flung–his steamed broccoli, piece by piece, onto the floor. He grinned while he did it, and he didn’t even pause when I implored him to stop. He simultaneously ate mac ‘n’ cheese and cantaloupe with his other hand, so I knew he was still hungry. (We need to keep his weight up so I let him hang on to his plate; if he weren’t eating I’d take it away.) He just didn’t want the broccoli on his plate, simple as that. When he’s in an especially charitable mood, he places food that he doesn’t want in my hand and folds my fingers over instead of throwing it (a little quirk he started over Christmas, at my in-law’s house), which I find funny and preferable to the alternative. Spending 10 minutes after every meal on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor is not my idea of fun.

Truth is, it makes me crazy when Mason throws his food. It’s like tossing money down the drain, and it makes a mess. Also it irks me to spend time preparing a meal and then watch half of it end up under his high chair, in his toy pen, and in a million other places that I won’t see until we have company over. Last Sunday, for example, I suddenly noticed a little stash of dried peas behind the end table, about 10 minutes after our friends Ali and Doug arrived, and about two minutes after Mason popped one in his mouth. I had to fish the shriveled pea out of his mouth in front of our guests, who now probably think I’m the worst housekeeper in the world. At least Bug didn’t bite me. I try not to freak out when he throws food, and I definitely never laugh when he does it–I don’t want to encourage him and I suspect he already thinks it’s a game–but it’s so frustrating.

On Saturday I shared a food-throwing incident on the  High Chair Times Facebook page, and several of you said you could relate. “Oh my goodness, that drives me INSANE!!!” Kate said.  “More food goes on the floor than it does in [my daughter's]  mouth,” Saranda added. Yep, that happens in our household, too, Saranda. Lindsay got it exactly right when she said, “I would swear my son thinks that food throwing is the next Olympic sport!” So does mine, Lindsay, I feel you. Jennifer, on the other hand, said she’s rolling with it: “At least [my] dog is enjoying it.” Looks like Mason’s going to get a dog sooner than we had planned! Thanks, Jennifer:)

Any tips for putting an end to food throwing? Want to vent about your own food throwing frustrations? Dish here!

Photo: Shutterstock, Picsfive

Add a Comment

Healthier Chicken Fingers Your Toddler Will Love

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

My little precious has a love-hate relationship with chicken. Sometimes he gobbles it up, especially if I serve it with a dipping sauce, other times he takes one bite and tosses the rest from his tray. As alternatives to roast chicken, I feed him chicken-apple soup and organic chicken-apple sausage. But I’ve been getting bored with these go-to chicken dinners, and I’m sure Mason is too, so I’ve been looking for a new kid-friendly, mom-approved chicken recipe to spice things up. A couple of weeks ago at a birthday party, I found just the recipe. We were celebrating Mason’s friend Lina’s first birthday and her mom, Elif (one of the LIC Mamas), served homemade chicken fingers for the kids–and they were a hit. Golden brown and crisp on the outside, and juicy on the inside, the chicken looked and smelled so delish even the adults were eating it up. Elif was sweet enough to share the recipe with me, so I made the chicken tonight for Mason’s dinner (it took about 10 minutes) and served it with steamed corn and applesauce. Hope your tot enjoys the chicken fingers, as much as mine does. Do you have a chicken recipe that your tot loves? Share it here!

 

Chicken Fingers

Ingredients

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg
Olive oil (enough to keep chicken from burning)

Directions
Cut chicken breasts into strips and set aside. Beat egg in a large bowl. Place bread crumbs on flat plate. Coat chicken with egg and then transfer to bread crumbs. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Make sure oil is very hot. Slowly place the coated strips in oil until brown, turn over, brown other side. Remove from pan and lay chicken strips on paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Serve immediately.

NOTE: I call this chicken fingers recipes healthier because it’s not deep-fried and it uses heart-healthy olive oil. You can also skip most of the olive oil by spraying (or brushing) a baking dish with olive oil and baking the chicken fingers on 350 for about 25 minutes (or until center is no longer pink); broil the last five for a crispier texture on the outside.

Top photo by Elif Memisoglu

Add a Comment

The Most Surprising Thing My Toddler Ate This Week

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Best for Babies 8+ Months

Mason hasn’t exactly been an adventurous eater this week–until this morning, that is. He’s been playing it safe with oatmeal, brown rice, ground beef, pineapple, mac ‘n’ cheese–you get the picture. I tried to get a little fancy Wednesday night when I served him Tuscan beans with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, and grilled shrimp for dinner, but there was something about the texture of the beans that he didn’t like and after shoving them into his mouth by the handful, he chewed them up, and spit them all back out in my hand. Instead he opted for a disappointing meal of organic mac ‘n’ cheese with apple-cinnamon sticks.  (I offer him alternatives when he rejects a meal only because his weigh-in is in two weeks!) Feeling defeated, I texted my hubby. I want him to have an eclectic palette but he prefers diner food! Chris replied, “He’s 1, sweetheart.” I’m sure he was tempted to add “Get a grip!” but he kindly held back.

This morning Mason was playing in the cupboards while I was fixing his bottle and he unearthed a canister of organic kale, broccoli, and cheddar puffs that I had totally forgotten about. He had a blast playing with the canister. Why not give him a bite of what’s inside? I didn’t have high hopes, I was sure he would have a problem with both the texture and color of the puffs. But he put a puff in his mouth, chewed, swallowed, smiled, and reached for another puff and then another. I was shocked but thrilled that he was embracing these wonderful flavors. So I fixed him a bowl of puffs, which he enjoyed while watching the Today Show. The scene was so funny I had to capture it on my iPhone. Bug looked so serious while he watched TV, which he rarely pays attention to, and munched on his pre-breakfast snack! And luckily the snack didn’t ruin his breakfast. He had organic cheddar cheese, a brown-rice raisin bagel with reduced-fat cream cheese, and milk at home and was digging into organic strawberry oatmeal when I left him at school this morning. In his teacher’s words, “Mason can eat.”

Has your toddler eaten anything this week that’s surprised you?

Add a Comment

Carb-Loading Over Christmas

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Mason’s been lucky enough to visit both grandmas over Christmas. They had  been so excited to see him, and they prepared lots of gorgeous food in anticipation of his arrival. Beautiful, veggie-filled soups. Warm-and-cheesy lasagna. Fluffy egg casseroles. The traditional holiday ham. Golden loaves of quick bread. And that’s just for starters. Mason has taken a bite of this and that but mostly he’s enjoyed the quick bread. Pumpkin bread, cranberry-walnut bread, zucchini bread with raisins and pecans, banana muffins…he’s loved the bread by the handful, and he’s arranged almost everything else in a neat little pile to the side of his high chair tray. He’s also been gulping down bottle after bottle of milk. (At least he’s dazzled his grandmas by walking — a lot!) We gave him a bite of chocolate cake last night at his great-grandparent’s 65th anniversary party, but that’s pretty much the only dessert he’s had since we’ve been away. He’ll take quick breads over chocolate any day.

What food(s) has your babe/toddler loaded up on over the holidays?

Add a Comment