Did you know you can serve babies (6+ months) whole, cooked broccoli? We teach this method, Baby-led Weaning, in a flexible way in our online Infant Course if you need help!)
Broccoli forms a natural handle that small hands can easily hold and offers texture that feels good on teething gums. Many babies love broccoli, but some need to be exposed to it multiple times to learn to like it!
Many people assume that we have to serve babies plain, steamed veggies…but babies can eat foods cooked the way the family eats it as long as it’s cooked through and soft for those strong back gums to chew on - no teeth necessary!
Oils and spices are actually beneficial for baby, and they help them learn to enjoy broccoli (and other veggies) with a variety of flavors. Plus, using cooking oils, herbs and other cooking methods make foods taste better and more appealing to new eaters.
What about salt? We recommend going easy on salt on baby’s food, as their recommended intake is pretty low - 400 mg. However, it’s likely unnecessary to stress about sodium if you’re offering baby lots of unsalted foods alongside foods that inherently have salt. We don’t have science to prove that a little more sodium is necessarily harmful in healthy infants. If you like your food salted, add it after cooking or pull aside baby’s portion before salting it if possible. More on this in our post about babies and salt.
Frozen broccoli works too! Below are instructions for fresh broccoli.
Looking for anything to make life easier right now? Here are just a few we've come across over the years that we have found super helpful!
What are your “life hacks” for feeding? Maybe ways you manage the mess, make meal prep easier or help save your sanity? Send us a message with your tips!
Let’s talk about if babies and kids can eat “too much fruit.”
Recently in our Clients Only Facebook group, a mama asked if she should cut off her kiddo when he eats too much fruit. In general, we recommend the model “You provide, child decides.” This mean that you offer the food of your choosing and they decide how much of it to eat. Yes, that means they may eat much more than a child’s size serving of fruit. Is this OK?
Well, let’s look at the big picture. Fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients (plant nutrients that have disease-preventive effects). It is hydrating and tasty. Many kids are interested in a meal because they see their favorite “familiar” food - fruit! It gets them eating other foods.
Yes, fruit contains inherent fruit sugar, but for many kids it’s their main source of key nutrients. We know that as a culture we have been taught that “all sugar is bad,” but even if we followed that line of thinking - we don’t - do we really think that fruit is the problem?
So, are there times when we would limit how much fruit we offer our kids?
How do you deal with a kid who only wants fruit?
Does your kiddo only want your food, even if it’s the same thing they’re eating? Why do they do this, and how do you deal with it?
I’m an OT specializing in feeding therapy and I see this type of behavior all the time in my clients. Your kiddo may be exercising their independence - “I do SELF” - and they want some control over their environment. They may not realize that the food on their plate is *exactly the same,* but it doesn’t matter - they want YOURS. They may also be testing limits and learning about boundaries. Fun, huh?
So, what can you do to encourage them to eat their own food?
This post was inspired by our team member Sarah, who literally ordered 7 apples (she thought) and received 7 BAGS OF APPLES. No returns. Yup, these are her real apples her family is slowly eating through. She’s taking suggestions for apple recipes, by the way.
We decided to call a bunch of grocery stores to get their tips for ordering groceries online. Please keep in mind that very store is different!
Let’s talk tips for serving the same meal to everyone in your family when possible...and why it's sometimes not possible.
Before we start, did you grab our free Family Meal Toolkits for Dinner and Breakfast yet? (That’s where these meals came from!) Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter where great resources like these come out first.
Why do we want to eat the same meal as a family when possible? It’s easier, cheaper, and helps your kid learn to eat a greater variety of food in the long run.
The problem? Kids don’t always want to eat what we serve. It can take 20-30 exposures for a child to want to eat a new food.
So how do we serve what we’re eating to our kids and make it a success for everyone?
What we want you to notice on these plates:
“Do we all have to eat the same foods at a meal?” It’s not always possible!
We talked about the benefits of serving one meal to everyone above. However, we can’t always eat the same things for a variety of reasons:
We know its ideal to eat the same meals and serve our kids a variety of foods - even if they might not eat them right away. So, how can we make meals and snacks successful when we have to eat different foods?
Let’s talk food waste with babies and kids! Here are some creative ways to waste less food, found from all over the internet.
A few weeks ago, we asked you about your biggest nutrition concerns given the unique time in which we are living. So many of you said that you are worried about food waste, especially given less food availability or fewer trips to the grocery store.
Some food waste can be inevitable when feeding babies and kids - they may throw, drop or squish food or not want to eat things on their plate. Since don’t recommend forcing babies or kids to finish their food, how do we handle food waste? Here are some general tips:
Thanks to Rachel Harding for teaching us the sandwich bread trick years ago!
To use the tomato paste, just add to recipes to heat from frozen.
How do we help our kids feel safe when we’re dealing with uncertainty, especially when it comes to food?
Many of you have asked us how to deal with lack of access to food and food waste with your kids. This is a very scary time for many families, and while many grocery stores still have lots of foods, some have less variety. Here's some ways you can communicate with your kids to help them feel safe.
Food might not be available like it usually is, but we can try our best to help our kids feel like they’ll get enough to eat. Why is this important?
When kids sense food insecurity, they may start hoarding food, eating more than their body needs or obsessing about food. It can also increase their risk for anxiety and behavioral issues. This is tough, but we can do our best to help them feel like food is and will be available:
You might have a lot of frozen veggies at home, but how do you make them actually taste good?
We’ve put together a set of simple recipes (using many pantry staples) that utilize frozen veggies on our Pinterest account. Head to our Using Frozen Veggies board to check out these recipes!
Frozen veggies are a little less predictable in cooking because of what happens in the freezing process. According to the University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension, water makes up over 90% of the weight of most veggies. This water is held within the cell wall of the vegetable. Freezing a vegetable actually means freezing the water inside the vegetable, which expands water and ruptures cell walls.
Thus, when the veggies are thawed, they are much softer than they were when raw. They can even be mushy. The textural changes are most noticeable in foods that are normally eaten raw instead of cooked, like celery and lettuce - hence why we don’t typically freeze these foods whole. However, more durable, hard veggies like squash, cauliflower and beets can be really tasty when cooked from frozen - we just have to know how to utilize them!
"What do I need to buy at the grocery store in case I’m home for weeks due to the coronavirus?” This is a question we’ve gotten dozens of times at the start of the pandemic. Turns out...we were going to be home a lot longer than two weeks!
Before you scroll along, we ask that you read this entire post - this is about preparing, not panicking. We do NOT suggest hoarding enough food for the next 6 months - these are simply some shelf-stable and freezer ideas to check out the next time you hit the grocery store so you feel more prepared. If we all overbuy, there won’t be enough food for everyone.
Do we need to stockpile food? According to the CDC, people need enough household items and groceries “for a period of time.” The US Dept. of Homeland Security’s site suggests two weeks’ worth of food in case there’s a pandemic (the page where this is found doesn’t specify coronavirus). Many experts assume that grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential services will be open even if citizens are asked to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus, but it’s a good idea to have enough food to be home for a few weeks.
Below are just some of the things you can consider:
These were all purchased at Walmart (not sponsored) in Phoenix, AZ. At the time of purchase, some items were already unavailable so we accepted substitutions.
Remember, these are just ideas - your store may have very little availability and you get what you get.
A note about “healthfulness” - you may be purchasing foods you don’t normally eat. It’s OK! Sometimes “nutritional value” lies simply in calories or a full tummy. Frozen and canned foods have lots of nutrition, and rice and beans can be an affordable, satisfying meal that keeps us nourished and full. Stay tuned for more on this topic.