High Fives from the Highchair
Posted on: November 9, 2016
Posted by: Lisa Ruscica
Some new parents feel overwhelmed by having a new baby, and assume that making baby food themselves is too onerous. With all the baby food products, out these days, why bother cooking from scratch when you could conveniently buy it from the supermarket? It may seem like a convenient option; however even organic baby food products can be loaded with unnecessary added ingredients. Homemade baby food not only tastes better than any store-bought baby food because it is fresh and not heated to very high temperatures to sterilize the food and extend the self life. This process also destroys most of the natural flavours, aroma and essential nutrients.
When your baby nears six months of age, their digestive system begins to mature, and it is encouraged to familiarize them to solid foods. Iron deficiency is common among babies because they have used up the iron in their bodies that they were born with. Important sources of iron rich foods are fortified cereals, meats such as beef, lamb, poultry, and fish or meat alternatives including eggs, tofu, and legumes such as beans and lentils. The proper way to introduce babies to solid food is to do so in small stages, with breast milk or formula remaining the prominent source of nutrients.
Here are valuable things to remember when introducing solid foods to your little one for the first time:
- Start off with only 1 solid-food meal a day
- Try introducing a food item when your baby is well rested and not fussy. This will let you know whether your baby truly likes it, as babies tend to not want to eat anything when they are in a fussy mood
- Make sure to introduce foods one ingredient at a time, so you can keep track of what your baby likes and dislikes
- Always test that the food is the appropriate temperature………….not too hot!
- Use breast milk or formula to thin foods to a liquid consistency to make foods easier to swallow
- Family meals help your baby develop good table manners and a curiosity for new foods, which is exactly why Kids & Company emphasizes the importance of family style dining!
- You can tell when your baby is full when they start eating slower than usual, begin to play with the food in front of them, refuse to eat, or they demand to be let out of their high chair.
- Another interesting way to feed babies is giving them a soft food to explore like avocado or banana that they can pick up, mush and taste. I did this with all three of my children and they loved experimenting with food
If you’re looking to introduce solid food to your baby, try a simple dish that is enjoyed largely by babies and people of all ages! Applesauce is not only quick to make, but it is extremely versatile. This is the perfect first solid food to introduce to your baby as it is an extremely rare allergy so you do not need to worry as much about the possibility of a reaction. All you need to make about 2 ½ cups of applesauce are 6 sweet apples (such as Gala, Pink Lady, or McIntosh). Pour enough water into a large saucepan to cover 1 inch. Put the peeled apples in a steamer basket and put the basket in the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and steam until the apples are very tender, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the steamer basket from the saucepan, reserving the cooking liquid. Once the apples cool, transfer to a blender or food processor and process until pureed. Use the reserved liquid (or breast milk or formula) to thin the puree to a consistency that is suitable for your baby. Fresh applesauce can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or portioned into ice cube trays and frozen for up to 3 months.
Remember that pureeing food for your baby is simple, cost effective and healthy. By introducing your baby to wholesome pure ingredients, you will be preparing your child for a lifetime of healthy eating………building healthy bodies and minds.
Chef Lisa Ruscica
Chief Food Ambassador