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A common comment that I receive when people see my daughter eating her vegetables is:
“wow! How did you get her to eat those veggies?!”
My first response, well – I give them to her! And I have always given them to her, from 6 months on.
The World Health Organization recommends that babies be breastfeed exclusively till 6 months and then supplemented with solids and breast milk until at least 2 years and beyond. Just after 7 months of age Cedar showed a real interest in solid foods and the first foods that I introduced were: fruits and veggies of course! Originally I started out by buying organic bottles of baby food until I realized it was actually more economical and fresher to make my own. I would start by steaming the veggies, and then puree and freeze the extra in little baby size portions for later dates. Freezing is an optimal way to preserve food so that valuable nutrients aren’t lost.
It seems overly simple to overcome the not eating veggies syndrome by saying “just feed it to them” and it is. There are tricks of the trade to incorporate to help get your child off to good eating habits and here are a few suggestions:
- Make fruits and veggies just as important as grains when preparing your child’s meals. Ensure that they are present in abundance at every meal, even for the wee ones.
- Ensure that a wide variety of veggies are introduced even the green leafy ones. To get the strong tasting greens such as dark kale down, try using a little Braggs or Goddess dressing.
- Avoid introducing sugars, sweeteners such as honey and salt to children under 4. The longer the taste buds stay pure the easier it’ll be to maintain healthy eating habits. The child will also be more aware of what they are putting into their bodies and if an overdose of a particular type of food will make them feel good or sick. A friend of mine start giving her son treats and he eventually refused to eat the foods he was previously accustomed to. He would want nothing but the junk style food and she gave into his wishes as she didn’t want him to go hungry. She later grew frustrated with the bad habit she had created and decided to forgo all junk foods and go back to their old style of nutritious eating. Her son didn’t eat much for 2 - 3 days and had some fits but children will not starve themselves and he eventually got back on track.
- Change the presentation and cooking style of the various veggies being cooked. For example, one day a broccoli can be a tree and the next day a furry sea creature.
- Be creative with baking. I once made blueberry spinach muffins, they were delicious.
- Always check the ingredient list on bought food including milk alternatives, cereals, baby food, etc. One would be surprised at the ingredients of some of the kid food out there, even the organic stuff. Organic doesn’t always mean pure or healthy!
For more ideas and information check out the following resources:
Book: Super baby food