How to Start Fun and Healthy Eating Habits!
If you're like almost every other parent of toddlers, you probably struggle with getting them to eat healthy meals. Or meals at all. Lots of parents struggle with this because toddlers are picky. And can throw tantrums. And finally have opinions. So, what do you do? Well, it's important that you start kids off on the right foot with eating. The wider variety of food you can give your child in the beginning, the better off you will be! But where to start?
1. Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron is the perfect guide for starting off healthy eating right!So I'm not crazy about "all organic" or anything like that. What I am crazy about is making sure that my daughter loves all of her food and that she is not afraid to try new things! So, it was important to me from day 1 that I provide a wide variety of food that was flavorful. I wanted eating for her to be a fun thing, not a chore and not boring! But where to start? Well, the book I turned to is called Super Baby Food written by Ruth Yaron. Super Baby Food is pretty much your one-stop-guide for starting your child off on the right foot with their eating habits. Not only does it include recipes from infant to toddler stages, it also includes feeding schedule templates and worksheets so that you can track exactly what your child is eating! This helped me so that I was able to make sure I was not repeating food all the time, ensuring my little one would get the variety that she needed. On top of that, it has great suggestions about how to include nutritional packed foods in your child's basic diet. It also talks about how to help your child learn how to self-feed, foods for that stage, the nutritional benefits of a variety of foods, storing baby foods...basically, this book is the bible of nutrition and food prep for your child. And for you. If you are struggling like I was with trying to figure out what to feed your child, then this is the book for you!
Blue Num Num Dips - Perfect for Thinner Foods!
The Orange Num Num Dips are perfect for thicker foods and older children!
So, what do you do when your child is ready to start feeding themselves, but still at that age where a spoon is more of a tool for throwing food around the room rather than getting it into their mouths? As a Psychology graduate, I understood that it was important for me to encourage my daughter's self-feeding independent behaviors, but I also needed to do so in a way that she would be successful to help build her confidence. So, what could I do when using a spoon and a regular bowl or plate were out of reach for her development at that point (she was an early self-feeder)? Luckily, I found my two favorite things: Num Num Dips and Boon Platters. I love the Num Num Dips because they help baby to learn that using a utensil is important, rather than using their hands. They can feel like Mom and Dad, without feeling like a failure. Num Num Dips are specially designed for both thicker and thinner foods. The orange dipper has a channeled head, making it so that thicker foods will get caught in it and make their way to baby's mouth. The blue dipper on the other hand has a dimpled head, capturing the thinner foods in all the crevices. And, because the dippers are flat there is no wrong way to hold it. Thus, simplifying the old spoon for little eaters.
I love the Boon Platter because they don't skid, don't have edges, are divided for easy portion sizing.
But, do you just let them eat from a jar? Probably not because that could get messy really fast! My favorite plates, like I said before, are Boon Platters. They come in fun colors (orange, blue, and green OR purple, blue, and pink), have lots of different sized areas for a variety of foods, and a non-skid surface. Also, something that most people don't think about: they don't have any real edges. What does this mean? It means that BABY CAN'T PICK IT UP EASILY. I REPEAT, BABY CANNOT PICK THIS UP EASILY AND THROW IT AROUND. Awesome, right? Basically, these two products combined will make for a happier mom and a cleaner baby.
3. Storage Containers
Ok, so, you have read the Super Baby Food book. You have used the Num Num Dips and the Boon Platters to their full extent. Now what do you do with the rest of that lovely nutritional food? Storage time. But, can you just store baby's food in regular containers? You could, but it always recommended that you use glass containers to avoid harmful chemicals. That's why my favorite storage containers are Wean Green Cubes. They come in a variety of sizes - snack containers (which could also be used for smaller portion sizes when you're first starting out), meal cubes, and tubs which are great for all day outings or longer snacks like carrot sticks! These containers can be frozen or stored in the fridge and are dishwasher safe. Once you start making your own baby food, you will realize how important it is to store it correctly (also talked about in the Super Baby Food book). Trust me, you will love these.
Wean Green Snack Cubes - Perfect size for new eaters or little snacks!