Being really inloved in nutrition and fitness for myself has caused a lot of people to ask me “ what do you feed your kids” OR people see what my kids are eating and they are shocked! “ Your kids eat cod, avocado, tomatoes, zucchini, etc…..”
When I was still nursing I read a book named Body Confidence which spoke about monitoring babies blood sugar levels. We want to make sure it never dips because it can be dangerous for a baby. As adults when our body sugar spikes and dips all the time its like a roller coaster and we feel lousy, we still should have the same needs now as we did as children. We should be eating to keep our blood sugar stable. How is this done? Through a balance portioned diet including all our macronutrients (FATS, PROTEINS, AND CARBS) Every meal I eat is balanced and contains each of these macros. I of course control my portions of how much I eat but I check every plate and make sure I am balanced. This has helped me avoid over eating as well.
I have the exact same way of thinking for my twins. When I was feeding them baby food they were getting all kinds of different flavors plus good fat and protein from milk. Then all the sudden we switch them to finger foods and we seem to start giving them crackers, goldfish, graham crackers, biscuits, bread, bananas, grapes, mini cookies etc. ALL carbs and at that all foods that do the same process in our bodies. WHAT HAPPENED TO PROTIEN FAT AND VEGGIES YALL This is NOT going to get them accustom to different foods and healthy ones at that.
So here are my rules of thumb for adding food after baby food
- Avoid foods with ingredients lists. I did not feed them anything that included an ingredients list until they were over one and closer to 14 months. Sometimes bread, but rarely. STICK TO WHOLE FOODS. This is what they have been eating in baby food so its not weird to them to keep eating peas and such. If you could grow it, kill it or pick it they should eat it!
- Give them the same foods they were eating in baby food but bite sized now. How do we go from puree green beans and squash to crackers, and bread ? They will be familiar with the taste of the veggies and fruit from baby food so stick with it. They just have to adjust to the texture ex. Soft carrots, squash, sweet potato,peas mangos, blueberries (Great for working on pincher skills I sometimes use cheerios but blueberries are a way better option)
- Give them a carb, protein and fat at every meal if possible. Yes sometimes this doesn’t work but try your best. I go through the list at the bottom and make sure I have something from every group for most meals. It made knowing they were getting balance meals so much easier when I looked at their meals this way.
- Kids have tastes buds. Yes they do BUT at the end of the day the things they ask for are the things YOU gave them at some point! Only give them healthy options to start. If they have 100% healthy options they can choose to only like 50 % and that’s fine. But if they have 50% healthy and 50% junk what do you think they will choose to like? They may be a baby but they are human and we all like junk food! What they don’t know they wont miss. My twins have certain foods they each like and I am ok with that because they are all good options. Another fact to remember is: Tastes buds change. If they don’t like something once TRY AGAIN. Olivia hated keifer yogurt but I keep at it and would have her try it once a week and now she loves it! On the flip side, the first time I gave my kids sweet potatoes they loved them. Then all the sudden two months later they wouldn’t touch them. I don’t know if I needed more variety but I took them off the menu for a little while and introduced them back and they took them again. Same with avocados. They loved them then wouldn’t not touch them. I first gave them to them in cubes and when I reintroduced them I made them into thin slices and they eat them again. So try try and try again with all foods!
- Variety: Give them different foods at every meal. I never will give them the same food twice a day. If they already had a banana then they are getting grapes, or blueberries. If they ate avocado at breakfast for their fat, I chop up cheese at lunch. Keep a constant mix of foods. That way they can never adapt to one type. They can’t avoid one type of food if you are ALWAYS mixing it up! This will help them not be picky and to develop their taste buds. I give my girls different meats including fish and veggies all the time.
- Never look at food as adult or kid food: This was advice I received from my sister in law and I truly believe it. If we get pizza I do not order cheese for the kids. I order whatever my husband and I want and cut it up for them. Don’t allow their taste buds to be simple! Don’t be scared to have them try things you think they wouldn’t like. I have given them things thinking “Oh they will not like this ” and they love it.The other day they shocked me by downing all my chinese chicken salad! Now thats not something you normally would thing to put on a kids plate but I did and they loved it and even my dijon salad,they were eating all the toppings off!! Another example of how to not make “Kid meals ” is if you are having tacos don’t make them a cheese quesdilla. Give them a pile of taco meat, tomatoes, avocados, peppers etc. Everything your eating but in a form they can eat! Will they always like everything you give them? HEAVENS NO! My girls hate grilled chicken but I keep trying and found they will eat rotisserie chicken (I think because its more moist and easy to chew) Once I realized they liked moist meat I realized they loved fish! If you keep it broad from the beginning you will have better chance as a they grew!
- Food Desires: Last but not least be aware of why you are giving a baby something. For example: They don’t know what a cookie is. I know a cookie is deliciously but they don’t. So if I choose to give them a cookie at such a young age I am doing it not because they want it or need it but because I know a cookie is a great treat. I like cookies! That is not beneficial to THIER health. I want them to learn to love REAL FOOD. You are giving it to them because you like it. They wont miss it if they don’t have it so just don’t do it.
With that said about food desires and kids tastes buds I want to make something clear. This entire post is written with the perspective of a mother just starting to switch from baby foods to normal solids. My girls are two years old in two weeks and eat more broad now. They are not perfect eaters but they eat a big variety of foods. I truly believe this mother of starting and using it until the girls were about 18 months really made a difference. My girls do get packaged foods now and some treats but I am aware of how often. One way I control what they eat now is the order. I always add the thing I want them to eat most first. EX. Veggie or meat, or fat. (they are tiny growing bodes and they need these items to develop membranes and build muscle tissue and soooo much more) The fruit comes last because if its on their tray first they won’t eat the other choices as well.
Here are a few examples of random meals from this week
Common list of foods I use :
Canned chicken (Its soft and easy to eat unlikes grilled chicken)
Black bean burgers(carb & protein)
Sandwich meats (check the salt content and choose a lower salt option)
Tilapia (Coscto carries a great basil pesto one my twins love)
Eggs (fat& protein)
Turkey sausage (Fat and protein)
Any veggie: grape tomatoes, peas, carrots, butternut squash, summer squash, zucchini are all good options and can be served soft
Beans (Blank, pinto chick peas) Aldo great for pincer skills
Rice cakes (Yes my girls like them)
Bread (Small ingredient list)