Posts Tagged ‘ Finger Foods ’

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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Putting the Kabosh on Teething Pain with Chilled Fruits & Veggies

Monday, November 14th, 2011

We had the Saturday from h-ll. Poor Mason’s cutting three new teeth and he has a brutal cold so he just clung to us and screamed most of the day. His little gums were horribly swollen and red, his nose was running nonstop, and his chest was rattling when he breathed. I’ve never felt so helpless as a Mom. He’s always been a good baby so we don’t have much experience with crying/screaming jags (yes, there’s an excellent chance we’ll get hit hard with #2). I kept wishing there was something I could do to make his misery go away, but I could only try to minimize his painful symptoms. At one point, I started to cry, too, out of sympathy and exhaustion and worry. I became Worse Case Scenario Mom and was convinced something was seriously wrong with him. Luckily Chris is an excellent voice of reason or I probably would have taken my baby to the ER…for teething and a cold.

To treat his cold, we turned on the shower and had him breathe in steam from hot water for 10-minute intervals (Chris and I took turns holding him and distracting him from the discomfort of the hot, wet air with his toy cars). He also slept with a humidifier running and a thick coating of Vicks on his chest. To help the teething pain, which seems to be the greater of the two evils, I gave him baby Motrin and frozen pacifiers. At mealtime, I coaxed him to eat a few different soft, squishy foods. He didn’t want to eat much (he even rejected mac ‘n’ cheese!), but here are the things that he would eat. We’d go through the list, try a few other things, and then repeat. (Other moms have recommended frozen bagels and waffles to us in the past, but unfortunately Bug wouldn’t go for either.) Any other suggestions to add to the list?

1. Homemade applesauce, chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving

2. Beets, diced, cooked, and chilled

3. Banana, sliced and partially frozen

4. Full-fat Greek yogurt mixed with icy smashed pear; try one spoonful of yogurt for every two spoonfuls of fruit.

5. Ripe melon, diced and chilled– not the easiest thing to find this time of year but we lucked out.

6. Ice cold milk — a drink, I know, but Bug consumed more milk than anything else.

Other foods that Mason was willing to eat included chunks of Swiss cheese, toast with melted cheddar cheese, corn, and peas. He rejected eggs, pasta, turkey meatballs, blueberries, and grapes.

Tonight I’m making a chicken-ginger soup (recipe to come soon!). Now that both Bug and I both have his cold we need a little TLC and hot bowls of homemade soup just sound good!

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Why Is Mason Eating Well At Daycare But Not At Home?

Friday, September 30th, 2011

My little OSU Buckeye is a lot of fun until it’s time to eat. Why is he ravenous at school but picky at home?

I’ve dreaded mealtime all week. Mason devoured a new pasta dish Sunday night but an extreme finicky streak (even for a 1-year-old) hit Monday and I haven’t been able to snap him out of it. For the past two nights he’s only eaten organic graham crackers and cantaloupe for dinner. The more wholesome choices on his tray end up on the floor. He giggles his way through our arduous meal, gleefully feeding himself his own bottle, but when I try to sneak a bite of lentils or chicken or pasta into his mouth he gives me a reproachful look and then tosses more food onto the floor for good measure. I imagine him thinking, “Let’s be clear, mommy — I’m in charge here!”

At daycare, Bug is a totally different child at mealtime. He sits at the U-shaped table with his little friends and digs in. His daily reports from school show that he’s eating all kinds of wonderful things, including scrambled eggs, bread pudding, fresh apple, pesto chicken, fresh cantaloupe, rice and bean chili, and the evidence of his culinary adventures is all over his clothes, so I know the reports are accurate. (Bug is a messy, messy child, especially when it comes to mealtime.) Then we go home and it’s a struggle to get him to eat anything more than a tiny bit of fruit, which is better than none of course, and those darn crackers.

What gives? Is Mason showing a rebellious streak early? Or is this just a phase?

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Tuesday Timesaver: 8 Easy Mac ‘n’ Cheese Mix-Ins

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Garden-Veggie Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Best for Babies 10+ Months

Mason loves mac ‘n’ cheese. Loves it. He’d eat it every night if he could, especially since he’s on a cheese kick right now. I make a simple homemade mac ‘n’ cheese recipe often, but I mix in healthy veggies and fruits to add nutritional value. I love how quick and easy it is to turn mac ‘n’ cheese into a filling, well-rounded meal. In fact, the Garden Veggie Mac ‘n’ Cheese (above) saved us last night when our 30-minute commute took an hour and a half due to train trouble. After being trapped in his stroller for all that time, Bug was understandably starving and grouchy — and I had to come up with a dinner that would dazzle him fast.

My first Tuesday Timesaver post on mac ‘n’ cheese drew lots of comments, and I discovered that many of you have babes who enjoy mac ‘n’ cheese, too. I also learned that many of you try to mix in extras to spice it up and make it healthier, so I wanted to share some of the combos that Mason  enjoys. To save time, I often use frozen organic veggies that are quick to steam and don’t require prep. I also make a big batch of mac ‘n’ cheese ahead and freeze leftovers to help out in a pinch. I use a variety of noodles, including whole-wheat and brown rice. Try out our ideas — and share your babe’s fave mac ‘n’ cheese mix-ins.

1. Garden Veggie: Steamed broccoli, asparagus, and bell pepper

2. Chicken ‘n’ Noodles: Cooked chicken with tomato and steamed carrot and peas

3. Harvest Mac: Fresh, finely chopped sage and lightly steamed Gala apple

4. Meaty Mac: Cooked ground beef with tomato and steamed peas, carrot, and onion

5. Tuna Delight: Tuna with steamed celery, onion, and sweet red pepper

6. Mediterranean Mac: Tomato and kalamata olives with cooked onion

7. Italian Mac:  Cooked mushrooms, roasted red pepper, tomato, and organic pepperoni

8. Mac ‘n’ Greens: Cooked chicken sausage with steamed spinach and tomato

Photograph courtesy of BHG.com

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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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