One of the most challenging things I encounter on a daily basis is what to feed my little man. When we hit the four month mark and the pediatrician suggested starting solids I was excited. No more nasty formula! (yes, my child is formula fed. Post on non-functioning and horrible breast-feeding experience to follow at a later date. Yes, I know you can’t wait for those details.)
Then we hit the 6 month appointment, more excitement! Now I could start feeding him a wider variety of foods and textures. Then we hit about 7-8 months and I started running out of ideas. As the formula amounts shrunk and his appetite grew I found myself staring into the refrigerator with a vapid gaze for about half of the day. It’s breakfast,lunch, now snack, now dinner, and snack again.
I knew I wanted to start with good nutrition from the start. I also know that I did not want to be a fanatic. I set out to find a middle ground that would mimic what I cooked for my husband and I before there were three: A menu that consisted of healthy, but yummy meals. Not completely organic, but almost all from scratch, nothing processed-with the occasional treat of take-out or sweets.
My first internet find on preparing healthy, homemade foods for kids was at Homemade Baby Food.
This site has it all. Seriously. I’ve found and used recipes from this site for purees and finger foods, found great info on freezing, batch cooking, and nutrition, you name it.
*Healthy Substitution tip:Any of the finger foods recipes that call for breadcrumbs I substitute with his powdered oat cereal that he no longer eats. It works exactly the same as a binding agent plus you are sneaking in a little more nutrition.
Next up is this super cute blog that has posts focusing on French school lunches. Each week a new school menu is posted from a different region in France. You should see how their children eat. First of all, I want to eat all of their lunches. Second, our country’s idea of good nutrition becomes shockingly embarrassing when you compare our school lunches in the U.S. to what they feed their school-age children in France. While I don’t always make things this complicated, the ideas behind the food are very good: Karen Libillon, French School Lunch menus
In the end I decided that batch cooking and freezing worked best for me, along with keeping my freezer stocked with mass quantities of frozen vegetables. Why frozen? Well, because I don’t have time to go to the grocery store every two days and that is how long it takes for fresh produce stored in a refrigerator to start losing it’s nutritional value. So if you only go to the store once or twice a week, frozen vegetables actually pack more vitamins for the little guys. Most vegetables are flash frozen as soon as they are picked and contain no preservatives. Just be sure to check that the only ingredients are whatever vegetable it is and occasionally, water. To maintain the most vitamins just pop the vegetable serving into a pot fitted with a steamer, steam until tender, cool, and serve.
And now duty calls…it must be snack time, or is it lunch?