Last week I introduced you to Jane Catherine, a long time client and new mom who, when faced with some challenges in feeding her baby, was opened up to an entirely new perspective. Last week she shared the struggles that followed the sudden end to her breast milk supply. This week she will take you through her thought process regarding the introduction to solid foods.
Starting Solid Foods – Why Rice Cereal Didn’t Make Sense
As someone who tries to eat a healthy balanced diet, I never understood how rice cereal made sense as the first food for my daughter. Why should my goal be to just fill her up as many people recommended? Is it only because she’ll sleep better? I understand the value of sleep, especially with a daughter who didn’t sleep through the night until 10 months, but I’m not going to feed her something just to make her feel full. Why would I not feed her fruits and vegetables that are nutrient dense and fill her up? I understand that rice cereal is supposedly “easy” on little ones’ digestive systems so the risk of gas or any other unfortunate mild side effect is low, but the same could be said for avocado or bananas or butternut squash. We opted to forgo the “filler” foods and instead chose to feed her avocado, bananas, butternut squash, pears, and other similar types of fruits and vegetables.
The battle to resist filler foods has only increased as she has gotten older. Everywhere you look there is a new “snack” for toddlers from Cheerios to puffs to cookies. But, I couldn’t shake the feeling that these are no different than adult snack foods – sweet, salty, addicting, and no nutritional benefit. Of course, she will eat them, that’s not a problem, which is more than I can say about her homemade dinners some days, but I’m not going to have chips and cookies every day, so why should my toddler? It has not been easy, and we’ve succumb to the snack foods every once in a while. But, for the most part, we try to make homemade meals and snacks or at least choose healthier options like squeezable apple sauce or frozen spinach nuggets. Below are some of our favorite recipes so far:
Sprouted Kitchen Muesli Bars (Courtesy of Sprouted Kitchen)
This is a great option for breakfast, snack, or whenever my daughter just feels like being picky. I’m not a fan of brown rice syrup given the recent arsenic warnings, so I opt for Bee Free Honee or regular honey. For babies under one or those with a vegan diet, the Bee Free Honee is a nice option. There are also plenty of gluten free muesli alternatives should you prefer to keep them gluten-free
For some reason my daughter prefers these overnight oats to the traditional oatmeal I make on the stove top. I’m not complaining, though, because these are much easier. This is also a great vehicle for hiding healthy stuff like ground flaxseeds and chia seeds.
Ingredients & Instructions
1 banana, mashed very smooth
½ cup rolled oats (gluten-free if you prefer)
1 cup almond milk (I’ve also done ½ almond milk and ½ coconut milk, which tastes great, too.)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon chia seed
1 tablespoon almond butter (optional)
Cinnamon and vanilla extract to taste
Put all the ingredients in a mason jar and mix well. Let sit overnight. Stir again and serve.
Red Lentil Soup
Lentils are amazing sources of nutrition for little ones, and the red ones are much easier to digest for their little bellies (i.e. less gas). Add carrots, sweet potatoes and red pepper, and you’ve got tons of vitamins in one little soup.
Ingredients & Instructions
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1 sweet potato, roasted and cubed
1 red pepper, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Cook onion and garlic in oil and a pinch of salt until soft and translucent. Add carrot and red pepper and sauté for 5 minutes. Add lentils, broth, water, another pinch of salt and pinch of pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very soft and falling apart. Once soft, add cubed roasted sweet potato. Serve.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about feeding babies and toddlers and keeping them symptom free I’d love to hear from you. Guiding new moms and families is one of the favorite parts of my job. Are you new to the Gemmotherapy products mentioned in this series? If so here is an article to get your started. Looking forward to sharing more of Jane Catherine’s story with you next week when she takes on the great milk debate.