Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oranges vs. Chocolate Chip cookies which will your child choose?

When I had my little boy, I was pretty sure I would make his baby food.  Not confident, but I wanted to control the sodium, sugar and preservatives in his food.  The first 4 months weren't that hard, no solid foods, no problem.  It's when he started on solid foods that I got very nervous. Would I be able to prepare the correct foods for him, what if I didn't do it right? What if he wouldn't eat it? How would I know if it was bad (rotten) or not?
My Mom came for a visit when he was 4 months old and she was a big help.  We started him on organic rice cereal.  As a new Mom, I didn't know what I was doing.  I had never changed a babies diaper in my life, never fed a baby, nothing, completely incompetent.  So imagine how my confidence plummeted when, after I'd fed him his cereal, I layed him down to change his diaper and he choked.  I was terrified, he hadn't completely swallowed all of the cereal. Laying him down slid it into his throat causing him to gasp for air & turn red.  I sat him up, my husband grabbed him and turned him over a little to let the cereal come out.  I was horrified and so ashamed.  I should have known.  But how could I know? Common sense? Mothers intuition?  Well, hindsight is assuredly 20/20, because I can now competently beat myself up for such an ignorant mistake. 
New Mommy's, take my advice and make sure the baby has swallowed all his food before you lay him on his back.  That said, I now was completely sure I would never be able to make baby food that would be OK for my son.  Mom came to the rescue, she wouldn't allow me to be upset about the incident.  She had 3 kids, there's not a lot she hasn't experienced with babies.  She assured me I could and WOULD make him baby food, she would show me how. 
It's not really that hard.  It's even easier with a BabyCook steamer.  It's not like cooking for a family, because you only start babies with one food at a time.  Steam enough for one week.  Give a little every day making sure to watch for any sign of allergic reactions. When Baby is cleared for that food, make another one.  It's so easy.  Once he started eating several different fruits and veggies, I would steam enough to freeze for later use.  The difficulty comes in making sure that baby is getting the proper vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber in his food.  I would suggest spending the money to get a book that will tell you those things, or a baby food cook book.  There are several on the market.  I would generally make sure that he had lots of colors to choose from each week.  I got a little lazy at first, so I purchased some, allegedly, organic 100% pure peach baby food.  I tasted it, and could not detect the taste of peaches AT ALL.  It was like pureed cardboard. OK, if he eats those "peaches", he'll think that's what they really taste like.  When he eats a real peach, the flavor might be too strong or something like that.  He won't eat healthy foods if the baby food doesn't taste anything like the real stuff.  That sealed the deal.  My kid was not eating any of that stuff. 
Let the steaming and pureeing begin.  My son ate everything we gave him.  He wanted food we were eating so I let him taste some things.  He fell in love with tomatoes and applesauce.  He still loves those foods, only this time he wants ham and cheese too!  I'm so proud of him.  Even though he has an enormous sweet tooth, he will choose healthy food over the sweets.  He saves the sweets for later. 
My sister-in-law brought sweet rolls for breakfast.  I fixed my son a bowl of oranges, the sweet roll was for me.  He came into the kitchen with big eyes when he saw the sweet roll.  He pulled out my chair so he could sit there to eat it, then he noticed his bowl of orange slices.  You could see a brief battle pass over his face, then he pushed my chair back in, climbed into his chair to eat his orange slices.  He's 3 years old. 
We went skiing a couple days ago.  During a hot chocolate break I also bought chocolate chip cookies, a bottle of water as well as a naval orange.  I gave him the hot chocolate with the cookie, and began to peel the orange.  I had every intention of sharing with him.  He would not touch the cookie, pointed to the orange and said, "I want that, pwease."   He also helped me drink the water before he drank his hot chocolate.  He's a great kid.
I hear people say that their child only eats junk.  They can't get him to eat veggies or anything healthy.  I can't help but think, he's eating what you are giving him.  If you buy junk, with access to it, of course that's all he's going to eat. My friend Ana also made her sons baby food.  We both try to feed our boys healthy meals. She's a lot better at it then I am, she has some wonderful recipes.  Both of our boys eat the same things we eat for dinner.  I've had parents ask me, "How do you get him to eat broccoli? My kid won't touch it."  I tell them, "He's been eating it since he was a baby. That's what he ate, steamed fruits and veggies. Nothing processed." 
A few things really bother me when a parent says their child only eats fattening foods, and is over weight.  As I've said before, a child eats what is given to him or is available.  Also, I want to ask what does the child eat all day?  When my son is allowed to eat all day, snacks, juice, candy,  he won't eat his meals.  I have to be very careful not to allow him to develop poor eating habits.  If I provide food for him to munch on all day, then I am teaching him to eat when he's not hungry.  I suffer from low blood sugar, so I have to eat a little every 2 hours.  I was taught to eat 3 meals a day, and 3 light snacks.  As most people do, I struggle with portion sizes as well as a sweet tooth.  (No, my son did not get his enormous sweet tooth from me, he got a double dose.  He got his fathers sweet tooth also!)  I incorporate that lesson into my sons daily meals.  I'm not always successful, but I do try.  I think that if we win most of the time, then we are making forward progression so that's OK.  I always make sure he has a drink available to him all day.  He gets one or two cups of juice a day.  Mostly he gets milk to drink, whole organic milk.  Not non-fat milk.  I take issue with feeding children low fat, or non fat foods.  If you feed them healthy foods, in addition to getting them exercise every day, you shouldn't have to feed them less fat foods.  Little bodies need a certain amount of fat to grow healthy, strong and tall.  Don't deprive a child of necessary building blocks because you're feeding him a diet full of unhealthy foods, sugary drinks and high sodium.  Get them outside to play.  Take the kids to the park.  Just turning off the TV is a great way to get them to use their imaginations playing, coloring, listening to  music, or reading the cat a story.
I'm not perfect, I see some Moms, like Ana and my sister-in-law Kelly who feed their children better foods than I feed my son.  I feel a little embarrassed, but I can learn from them.  I am very happy my son likes healthy foods.  He will say, sometimes, "We have to eat healthy foods, not junk."  Cracks me up.  I'm not sure he understands the entire concept, but hey, he's trying.  Forward motion.....we're good!

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