Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Juju loves food

There are exactly two things my son likes to do more than anything else; he likes to play--and he LOVES TO EAT!

From the moment food was introduced to him he was hooked.  I have heard stories about babies who are very picky and are completely disinterested in food--well Julian was definitely not one of them.  There are a few things he doesn't really like, such as bananas for example (strange since they're considered a starter food!)--but for the most part he'll eat anything you hand to him.  And he'll do it BY HIMSELF thankyouverymuch.  He does not like to be fed!

He is almost a year now and I'm thinking about weening him off the breast, but I want to make sure he is getting enough nutrients since he will no longer get the vitamins he normally does from my breastmilk.  Cow's milk just isn't the same.

So I've started making lists of foods he likes and ways I serve it to him.  I decided to share for any other new parents who are nervous about what to feed their babies.


- Yogurt

Sometimes I give Juju the kids yogurts or the yogurts that have to mix fruits, but I prefer mixing my own fruits (usually peaches or berries) in either plain yogurt or greek yogurt.  Juju really enjoys it, but if there isn't enough fruit to mask the taste of the yogurt he spits it out.
I haven't tried this, since Julian doesn't like bananas, but I have also heard that some kids like to eat bananas with sour cream or yogurt on top.  Yogurt is a lot healthier than sour cream, so that's the option I'd go for.

- Whole Fat Cow's Milk

Juju got the go ahead to drink milk from his doctor, so now he drinks it in his cups or with his Cheerios.

- Cheese

I don't give Juju a lot of this because it is hard to digest, but it still has benefits.  I will give him little blocks of cheese to chew on or offer him small slices on bread.


- Beef

I mostly serve beef to Julian in pasta sauce with plenty of vegetables.  I will also give him little bits of hamburger when I'm eating them.  Ground beef, I find, is the easiest for Juju to eat on his own since it isn't too difficult to chew.  I haven't really tried many other ways of serving it to him, yet.

- Chicken

I prefer feeding Juju bits chicken off the bone or cutlets.  I take off the skin and will sometimes mix it with rice (Juju likes both white and brown rice).  I'm trying to avoid chicken nuggets and patties just because I'm not a big fan of how they're processed (although hot dogs are processed similarly and I can't help but enjoy them anyway DX).  I just feel, it's bad enough that we have to worry about what types of antibiotics and chemicals our meat was processed with, I don't want to deal with ground up meat that may or may not have non-edible chicken parts in it.  I try to avoid giving him chicken with too much sauce or seasoning.  Juju enjoys the natural taste of the chicken just fine.



- Cheerios

Juju loves Cheerios.  I love Cheerios.  Who doesn't love Cheerios?  I think what we both enjoy the most about Cheeriosis the independence Juju has when he's eating them.  Julian never liked being fed.  From the very beginning he wanted to do it all by himself--usually resulting in a great big mess.  With Cheerios, Juju can happily feed himself.  When I'm having a bowl of cereal, I'll share spoonfuls with Juju too.

- Farina

Made this with water in the beginning, but now I use milk.  I'll feed it to Juju when it's warm, but when it cools it turns kind of solid and can be broken into chunks Juju can feed himself (I used to love eating cold farina when I was a kid lol).  When I was a kid my mom would also mix egg into the cooking farina for extra nutrients (it was like egg drop farina haha).  I haven't started doing this myself, but probably will so we can get some of the nice healthy benefits of the egg.

- Rice

I give Julian both brown and white rice.  White rice is easier for him to digest, but brown rice is full of rich nutrients.  I usually serve it to him with sauce, vegetables, chicken, or beans.  He likes it but gets frustrated by the fact that he can't handle it easily.

- Pasta

I give Juju spaghetti, but prefer serving him bow ties or shells or the swirly pastas or any other pastas that come in fun shapes.  That way he can still eat on his own and I don't have to worry so much about him choking.

- Bread

I try to avoid white bread if I can.  I'll make Juju jelly sandwiches on wheat bread and cut them into tiny pieces he can manage easily.  When we're at a restaurant we'll pass him a dinner roll while we wait for our food to come out--more to entertain him, than to actually eat.

Fruits & Vegetables

- Fruit & Veggie pouches

I think it's important to be mindful of the kinds of foods parents give babies.  It is easy to teach them bad habits by just giving them foods that are easy for them to eat on their own, like crackers or cookies.  That's why these pouches are so amazing.  Some come with just fruit mixes, like applesauce, but most have a mixture of both fruits and vegetables so kids get used to the taste of both.  Julian loves these and I always pack at least three different flavors when we're going somewhere.  I've, so far, found that the Target brand pouches are the cheapest for individuals--usually ranging between $0.70 - $2.  I've had luck at Walgreen's though where they sell them all for $2.  Rite Aid has been the worse, selling them for $4 each--no way!  Not for me!  Not when Walgreen's is just a block away where I live!  Costco, of course, has had the best deal--selling them in bulk, but my mom and I have only been able to find applesauce pouches there.  Perhaps I'll do some research and post an update later on the best places to get them, with the most variety, at the cheapest price.

- Strawberries

Okay, I know that these are on the list of allergy foods, but Juju loves them and no one in my family or in my husband's family is allergic so I'm hoping it's alright.  Juju eats whole strawberries now without much assistance (he doesn't even have teeth!), but I will mix them in yogurt or in smoothies for him.

- Smoothies

Speaking of smoothies!  These are awesome, even for picky eaters.  Add banana, strawberries, blueberries, or whatever fruits you like (I'd strongly suggest bananas though, for texture).  Add a little orange juice or apple juice or mix.  Add plain yogurt.  Blend it up and you have a delicious and healthy smoothie for both you and baby to enjoy.

- Oranges

I peel these and cut the slices in half.  This is the first fruit Julian was introduced to, so he has a pretty good handle on it now, but I'd watch out for the skin.  If you're nervous you can skin it.

- Grapes

Peeled and halved.  To be honest, sometimes I skip the peeling part because Julian eats them so well, but I ALWAYS halve them.

- Avocado

Julian likes to eat this plain, all mashed up or mixed with a little bit of yogurt.

- Sauce

I always pack my sauces with plenty of vegetables; carrots, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, beans, peppers, and tomatoes, usually.  This is more for my picky eater of a husband's sake than for Juju, but it's a great way to feed Julian vegetables. 

- Summer Squash

Julian and I both enjoy this sauteed in butter.  Mmmm.  I think I'll have some for lunch while they're still available.

- Melon

I give Juju chunks of watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe--sometimes.  He really only seems to like the watermelon though.

- Potatoes

I served these to him mashed.  He loves them.

- Earth's Beat Baby Food

I don't usually buy baby food, but the few times I have I have gotten Earth's Best.  Julian enjoys the taste (and so do I lol) and it's a pretty healthy brand so I like it.


- Who knows...

I'm always introducing new fruits to Juju.  He loves trying new things.

Eggs & Fish

I honestly haven't tried this at all yet with Julian.  I have to get on that!  If anyone has some good ideas for feeding babies Eggs & Fish, I'd love to hear them!

In general, whatever I'm eating Juju eats.  This can be a scary idea at first for new parents, but really it's fine!  I'm a firm believer in baby-led weaning and have had great experience with this method of feeding Julian.  For his age, he is extremely self sufficient when it comes to eating and very rarely gets flustered or frustrated when left to feed himself.  It is MESSY.  VERY MESSY.  Clothes have been ruined, my carpet is a disaster, and many many dishes have been made (not to mention my dog has been spoiled).  But it's worth it for Julian to gain that independence.

So I think, the most important thing to think about when feeding your baby is to reflect on what YOU eat.  You can try really hard to make sure your baby has all of the necessary foods, but if your eating habits do not reflect the healthy diet you are trying to establish with your children the whole system will fall apart. 

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