When Y refused to eat organic mashed carrots from the jar, I knew it was going to be a challenging ride. When the going gets tough, the tough gets..cooking.That's what I did, went into the kitchen and made my own batch of mashed carrots. My dear son happily licked his bowl.
This is no sermon but give homemade baby food a try before you outright dismiss it. It is EASY. CHEAP. NUTRITIOUS. Do you need more convincing?
There are zillion ways to make yummy tasty treats for your baby, that will gently nudge him/her to like fruits and veggies early on. If you are pressed for time, you can always make baby food and freeze it. It all works. You are still saving money and giving good nutrition to your child. It also gives you an opportunity to introduce new foods, textures and tastes at a pace that works for your baby. Can you do that with canned foods? Not to mention, think of all the preservatives in those jars.
I remember when Y did not like Avocados. He refused to even look at mashed avocados. Period. A quick search on the web and found this amazing website http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/ . I came across a super easy recipe on the website posted by a reader, Dani, that called for Avocados, Blueberries and ripe Peaches. I added a banana and a splash of orange juice to the mix. Mashed it. My baby gobbled it up happily. Avocado -Mission Accomplished.
This and many more websites have tons of baby food recipes, helpful meal menus, potential food allergy alerts and also nutritional information about different fruits and vegetables. Everything, you need to plan a balanced meal for your precious little bundle.
For kids going to daycare, having homecooked meal is better since you don't want him/her to try new foods at daycare in your absence. At home, you can try out different foods and watch out for any potential allergy reactions. Send those 'safe' meals to daycare with your child.
Here are some tips that can help you in sending homecooked meals to daycare:
1) Talk to your daycare/caregivers well in advance. Some daycares do not allow outside food in their facilities, as a precaution for kids with allergy. Eggs and peanuts are common culprits. In our case, we got a doctor's note saying that my son should have home cooked meals and no new foods should be introduced without parental consent. However, given that there could be potential allergy situation, make sure that you don't send meals with eggs, peanuts, citrus or shellfish. EVER.
2) Label the food containers with your child's name and date it. This should avoid any mix up. Also, use microwavable containers which will be easier for the caregivers. Use insulated carry bags.
3) Talk to your child's caregiver about feeding schedules and portion sizes. This will help you portion each meal in different containers, avoid wastage and give you a better idea of how much your baby ate that day.
4) If you have dietary preferences such as no beef or no meat, put it in writing to the daycare management.If you choose to delay introducing meat for couple years, sources of 'good' protein become essential. Enter, yellow Moong daal. This is a staple in India when introducing solids to babies. India's population is over 1 billion, we know a thing or two about raising babies! Moong daal - easy to digest, good protein content, super easy to cook and very mild to taste. It can be used in soups, khichadi or can be easily mixed with veggies such as spinach to make meals more wholesome. Aromatic spices work well with moong daal, as well. Here again, taste and goodness go hand in hand. Roasted cumin powder is carminative and relieves gas aches in little tummies. Turmeric has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh coriander leaves dhania, is power packed with iron.
This recipe is for a very basic but yummy Moong daal khichadi for your tot:
1 cup of rice
1/2 cup of yellow Moong daal
3 cups of Water
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of Cumin Powder
salt to taste
Veggies such as spinach, shredded carrots, sweet potatoes cubes, peas are optional but taste very good.
Fresh coriander chopped
Splash of ghee/clarified butter optional.
Wash rice and daal. Put all the ingredients, except coriander and ghee, in a rice cooker. If you are cooking for babies, blend the cooked khichadi to a porridge like consistency. Add ghee and fresh chopped coriander.
If you have any ideas or comment about baby food please share them.