Checking Off Loosestrifes

In the November issue of Parents magazine, they had an article about feeding babies. It said that the old advice to feed a baby a single food for several days before moving on to a new food was misguided. Which is fine with us, since we never bought into that method in the first place. William has been eating balanced meals from the start.

The latest theory is that kids will eat anything until about the time they learn to walk. After that they can become very picky and will only want what they've had before. Evolutionarily this makes sense, since you wouldn't want them walking away for the first time and eating something poisonous, so they only eat what their parents have fed them before.

So in order to have a non-picky toddler, parents should feed their baby a wide variety of foods. And prepared jarred baby foods don't count, except if you want to feed them jarred food later (like canned peaches vs. fresh). They even have a list, suggested the baby eat at least one item from each group before they are 1 year old.

The categories are (drumroll, please):

Woody trees*
Cruciferous vegetables*
Heath plants
Rosy plants*
Citrus plants*
True grasses*

The list has examples of one or more foods in each group; for example, the only entry under Bromeliads is Pineapple.

I've starred the ones William has already tried. We've finished 15 out of 20 now. He's actually had a few more of the groups if you count baby food, but I only count it when he eats something prepared as I would cook it. Since that's what I'll want him to eat in the future.

It's really fun feeding him different foods, we'd cycled through all the different varieties of baby food in his first month of eating. Now he's getting advanced home-made baby foods.

Last week he really liked his baby pork tenderloin. I took a slice and minced it finely (the food processor doesn't do a good enough job for firm foods like that). It was a little dry for him, so we mixed it with applesauce. Yum! I should find a recipe for pork tenderloin with apples, it was very good.

I also made him some baby chicken salad. I just took the chicken salad I made for Terry and myself and ran it through the food processor. It was a big hit with William except for the celery. Even chopped finely, the celery was just too hard for him and he couldn't swallow it. So I had to dig out the little celery bits and eat them myself as I fed him. Next time I'll know better.

He eats essentially the same oatmeal as we do, but without the nuts. I make it with maple syrup to sweeten it, plus cinnamon and raisins. For William, I run it through the food processor so he won't choke on the raisins, and it makes the oats easier for him to get down also. Sometimes I'll make it with bananas, or applesauce. Whatever I make for us usually, William gets the same thing (except no nuts or honey yet).

He's pretty fond of scrambled eggs. I make them with butter but no milk. This is a good meal since it's extremely fast and has protein. He also likes cod. And hamburger, even seasoned with taco spices. He is certainly getting a variety of foods that don't come in baby food jars! Sometimes I run things through the blender, sometimes the food processor.

Today Terry brought home a pomegranate for William. It's the only thing listed in the "Loosestrifes" group. Since the seeds were already small, I chose to run them through the blender instead of the food processor. But each little kernal has a hard seed inside it. They all came out of the kernels in the blender, so I pressed everything through a sieve so he wouldn't choke on them. Adults can just eat them, but I didn't want to take any chances after watching him cough up little bits of celery last week.

The pomegranate pulp didn't go through the sieve much, so essentially what I wound up with was fresh pomegranate juice. I fed it to William with an eyedropper. I think it will still be useful as far as getting him acclimated to the taste, since the juice did have a distinctive tartness and subtle flavor you don't get from bottled pomegranate juice.

I have some mushrooms for William so we'll check off that group soon. I think I'll make a barley mushroom soup for him. I've got that baby stock to use up. Terry and I are going beyond just one item from each group, and intend to feed William everything on the list. We've got five more months, so it shouldn't be a problem. It's also good for us, since I primarily cook something with the ingredient that we'll eat, then just make sure it's chopped fine enough for William to gum down. Often William will get his portion the next day, because I'll use the leftovers to make his baby food. He needs some things reheated until they're mushier than Terry and I prefer anyway, so it's a win-win situation since the adults don't have to eat mushy reheated leftovers and it's exactly what William needs.