Archive for the ‘ homemade baby food ’ 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?

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Homemade Baby Food: How to Make 13 Fruit Purees

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

It’s so easy and economical to make your own baby food, and fruit purees are particularly fun to fix because babies usually love them. I adored whipping up fruit purees for Mason. I’d spend hours preparing the fruit after he went to bed–the washing, chopping, cooking, and pureeing was my way of de-stressing and showing my baby love. It made me feel good to know exactly what he was eating, and wonderful memories are associated with many of those purees. Organic avocado puree was Mason’s first introduction to solids. A swirl of pear puree magically turned green beans into a veggie he loved to eat. The best: strawberry puree sweetened Mason’s oatmeal the morning he said “mama,” his first word, for the first time.  I could go on and on. Now that my boy is 16-months-old, I don’t get to puree fruit very often, and I miss it.

If you haven’t made your own homemade fruit puree yet, try it out. We’ve taken the guesswork out of preparing 13 of the most popular fruit purees by creating step-by-step guides with photos and mix-in suggestions (links below). Best of luck, and be sure to let us know how it goes! (NOTE: We are working on guides to making vegetable purees for baby. Stay tuned!)

How to Make:

Baby Applesauce
Best for babies 4+ months

Banana Puree
Best for babies 4+ months

Peach Puree
Best for babies 4+ months

Avocado Puree
Best for babies 4+ months

Plum Puree
Best for babies 6+ months

Apricot Puree
Best for babies 6+ months

Blueberry Puree
Best for babies 6+ months

Cherry Puree
Best for babies 8+ months

Strawberry Puree
Best for babies 8+ months

Mango Puree
Best for babies 10+ months

Papaya Puree
Best for babies 10+ months

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Hunger Strike, Part 3

Friday, September 16th, 2011

toesWhat hunger strike? After his six+-hour fast, Bug takes a break from organic cheese toast and roast chicken to nibble on his tasty toes.

Bug has “fasted” before but I thought we were past that. Then I arrived at school to pick him up this afternoon and heard he had an “awkward” day. After two breakfasts — strawberry-banana oatmeal, Swiss cheese, and cantaloupe at home and a breakfast of eggs, toast, and pineapple at school — he refused to eat for the rest of the day. He slept through lunch. He skipped the afternoon snack of zucchini bread in favor of a bottle of whole milk, and he developed a diaper rash so uncomfortable he couldn’t sit on his bottom.

He’s only been in school for 16 days, but I’m used to hearing that he had a great day when I pick him up. I take pride in my happy, easy-going son who eats well and loves his teachers and classmates. Suddenly I was hearing that he had essentially starved himself all day and that there was a painful rash on his boo boo. I headed home, totally stressed out.  WHAT THE H–L WAS GOING ON HERE?! How could I have failed my little precious so spectacularly? Because, clearly, this was all my fault.

I called my mom the minute we left school and she reminded me that it’s normal for a one-year-old child to be difficult at mealtime. She added that diaper rash was also very normal and nothing to worry about. “He’s totally fine, I promise,” she said. But still.

At dinner, I decided to serve Bug a few of his faves and then call the pediatrician if he still refused to eat. I laid out a spread of brown rice bread topped with melted organic cheddar cheese, organic roast chicken, and cooked organic Gala apple. Simple, low-key, impossible to resist…I hoped. Bug fed himself the goods. At one point, he kicked back and nibbled on his toes. No big deal, just enjoying a leisurely meal. I tried to be nonchalant but inside I was doing a little victory dance. Mama fixed it all, everything was right in the world once again. When he was finished eating, I tackled that diaper rash with a thick coat of Desitin.

Crisis averted, I could think more logically about the situation. I had to admit there were compelling reasons that seemed to have contributed to this hunger strike: 1. Bug was tired after a rough night for of being up at 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., upset for reasons unclear (let’s face it, we were both tired) and he preferred to catch up on sleep after two adult-size breakfasts. 2. His wicked diaper rash was uncomfortable enough that drinking a bottle and playing on his knees was preferable to sitting in a hard chair on his bottom, even if it meant missing yummy zucchini bread. 3. He missed his mama and her amazing cooking.

OK, #3 is probably wishful thinking. But reasons #1 and #2 are solid. Perhaps I had freaked out for no reason. Bug ate a very decent dinner — and he was his usual giggly, active self all night until bedtime. But it’s really scary to hear that your child declines to eat for a six-hour stretch and the diaper rash was vicious, so I’m giving myself a break for overreacting.

Has your babe ever refused to eat? What were the circumstances, and what did you do to end the hunger strike?

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The Best Fall Fruits & Veggies for Your Babe & How to Prepare Them

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Rich in fiber and packed with vitamin C, fresh apples make wholesome applesauce that’s an ideal first first. Diced apples are a delicious and popular finger food for toddlers, who can dip the fruit in hummus or peanut butter.

Dazzle your babe with the season’s freshest fruits and veggies. They’re colorful, filled with vitamins and minerals, and fun to eat. Here’s what to buy and serve right now — plus directions for pureeing, mashing, or serving as finger food.

APPLES

Puree: Wash, peel, and dice apples. Cook for 12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture. Add a dash of cinnamon, if you wish. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Mash: Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Or dice and serve as finger food. Add a dash of cinnamon, if you wish. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Mix with: Sweet potato, red cabbage, butternut squash, pumpkin, pear, peach, plum, banana, beef, chicken

PUMPKINS

Puree: Cut pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and save for roasting or discard.  Brush each half with olive oil and place skin-side down in a baking dish. To keep the flesh of the pumpkin moist, add a half-inch of water before baking. Bake at 450 degrees F until pumpkin is tender (about 45 minutes). Puree in a food processor or blender until you reach desire texture. Add a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon, if you wish.

Mash: Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the veggie with a potato masher. Or dice and serve as finger food. Add a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon, if you wish. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Mix it with: Apple, chicken, pear, chicken, beef, lentils

BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Puree: Scoop flesh out of a roasted squash. Discard the skin. Puree squash flesh in a food processor. Add water until you reach a smooth consistency. For extra creaminess add a splash of pre-mixed formula, breast milk, milk, or plain yogurt. Add a dash of nutmeg, if you wish. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Mash: Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the veggie with a potato masher. Or dice and serve as finger food. Add a dash of nutmeg, if you wish. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Mix with: Apple, chicken, beef, peach, pear, carrot, lentils

SWEET POTATOES

Puree: Wash, peel, and dice sweet potato/potato. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Puree and add cooking liquid as needed until you reach desired consistency. Add a dash of cinnamon, if you wish. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Smash: Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the veggie with a potato masher. Or dice and serve as finger food. Add a dash of cinnamon, if you wish. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Mix with: Peach, apricot, apple, raisins, peas, carrot, lentils, chicken, beef

BROCCOLI

Puree: Wash broccoli and remove stems. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Puree broccoli in a food processor or blender, adding cooking liquid as needed until you reach desired consistency.

Dice: To serve as finger food, follow the cooking instructions above and then chop into tiny pieces.

Serve with: Sweet potato, raisins, apple, asparagus

CAULIFLOWER

Puree: Wash cauliflower and remove stems. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Puree cauliflower in a food processor or blender, adding cooking liquid as needed until you reach desired consistency. For extra creaminess add a splash of pre-mixed formula, breast milk, milk, or plain yogurt. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Smash: Follow cooking and freezing steps above but instead of pureeing, mash the veggie with a potato masher. Or dice and serve as finger food. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Mix with: Butternut squash, peas, carrot, green beans, apple

GRAPES

Dice: Skip this fruit for babies — it’s best for kids over age 1 because of the skin. Dice into fourths before serving. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Serve with: Banana, apple, chicken, beef

What’s your babe’s fave summer fruit? How do you like to prepare it?

NOTE: Pediatricians have different opinions about when babies should try specific fruits and vegetables. Consult your pediatrician before starting your babe on a new fruit or veggie.

 

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“Cheese or Nothing At All, Mommy!”

Monday, September 12th, 2011

mac

After rejecting a healthy meal of fruits, veggies, and lentils, Mason savors organic mac ‘n’ cheese made with brown rice pasta.

We spent yesterday with a one-year-old so picky we almost didn’t recognize him. It began at breakfast. I had prepared some of his faves — veggie-cheese omelet, toast with blackberry jam, cantaloupe, and red grapes — but Bug wanted no part of any of it. Fearing that he’d starve, I mixed Greek yogurt with fresh peach puree, another fave, and offered it to Bug. He took a spoonful and then spit it all out. What was going on here? Finally, I sprinkled organic cheddar cheese on brown rice bread and toasted it. Mason snapped out of his funk when I served the cheese toast and dug in. I tried once again to interest him in eggs or fruit or yogurt. No luck.

At lunch, Bug was so disinterested in his cooked organic carrots, steamed edamame and peas, juicy red grapes, and lentils that he didn’t even bother playing with his food. Feeling antsy because he ate so little for breakfast — He’s going to get even skinnier! – I offered him organic macaroni-and-cheese made with brown rice pasta. With a shriek of delight he squished the pasta noodles in his hand, flashed us a beatific smile, and jammed it all into his mouth. Chris cracked up but I was finding it hard to be amused by Bug at this point. If Mason were able to talk in sentences, I imagined him issuing this ultimatum: “Cheese or nothing at all, Mommy!” It’s normal for one-year-olds to be picky, but is it normal for them to be this picky?

I was dreading dinner but hoping  cheesy veggies and grilled organic beef burger would be impossible for him to resist. He ate a few bites of burger and then picked up a piece of carrot. Yes! Then he licked the cheese from it, removed it from his mouth, dangled his arm over the side of the high chair, and dropped it on the floor with a gleeful squeal. Not part of my plan. He took a swig of milk and then buried his face in his arm and whimpered. Apparently only cheese-covered bread or pasta would do. I appeased Bug with a few macaroni noodles and then coaxed him into eating a few more bites of burger as well as Greek yogurt mixed with fresh strawberry-banana puree. Not the ideal dinner but at least we got beyond cheese and carbs. Here’s to hoping my adventurous little eater returns soon!

Is your babe obsessed with cheese or something else? If so, what do you do to get him/her to eat a healthy, well-rounded meal?

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