Stop! What are you feeding your baby?
I wanted to invite a couple of mommy friends with their little toddlers for lunch the other day. I selected a place known for it's salads, sandwiches, and healthy foods.
The mom's were perplexed. 'What will the kids eat?', they asked. 'Are there French fries? Pizzas? Kiddie meals? No? Then let's pick another place.'
Mind you, these are a group of moms of toddlers. The kids are in the age group of 16 to 20 months and aren't preschoolers who are used to dictating the menu and not the other way around.
I am always surprised at 'kiddie meal' options.
I've been on an airplane where they insisted on serving me a baby meal since I was travelling with a baby. What was the baby food? A jam sandwich and some wafers if you please.
Or what about kiddie meals at parties and restaurants? Deep fried smiley potatoes, wafers, French fries, cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, pasta and pizza? Stop! Not only are they devoid of nutrients but also they are actually damaging the insides of children! Of all people, babies and toddlers with their immature digestive tracts should not be anywhere near these synthetic toxins.
Hold on: I am not a Food Nazi!
I know I come across like a Food Nazi. Believe me I am not. I want to expose my child to ALL foods. Yes he can have fries when the next kid is eating them. Yes he can have cake and pizza too at a birthday party. But yes he will have his eggs/ vegetables/chicken/ fish/ soup/ fruit and 'real' food first.
Nutrient dense foods are exceptionally important for little tummies. The more babies and toddlers are given 'rice crispies' 'chocos' and the likes, the less they will have space for real food and the more they will be inclined towards junk growing up. Many parents just want to make sure their kids tummies are full and compromise big time on quality of food. Big mistake.
Instead just offer your baby whatever you're eating and don't focus on baby food or kiddie food.Today when I go out for a meal with my 18 month old I don't have to worry about what the restaurant serves. If I can eat it, he will.
Some ideas to raise a child who eats everything:
- When you start solids food at 6 months don't mash or put in a blender. Just fork mash. At 6 months babies don't need blended food. Let the baby eat textures.
- Don't give processed foods. Give vegetables, eggs, meat, fruits etc. so that the baby learns to accept different flavours and textures from the beginning.
- If the baby is not eating, end the meal. Do not force or do not start giving another food as a substitute. Kids learn early how to get their way. Instead keep serving the meals you want the baby to eat and she will eat. No living creature goes hungry; it's called survival.
- Try again at another time. There isn't an easy way out if you want to give your child a lifetime of healthy habits in an unhealthy world.
Babies are born with instincts. Trust them.
Don't show the baby / toddler an iPad or the TV as a distraction as they will eat without tasting or being mindful of the food which will lend itself to a host of other problems going forward.
Babies and children, in particular, should not be going anywhere near the ingredients in 'kiddie meal's' as their insides particularly susceptible to damage. But instead we turn a blind eye because 'they're only kids, they can take it'.
What do you think? Do you think packaged baby foods or kiddie meals are harming our children? Why or why not? Do let me know? I'd love to hear from you.