An easy way to get variety.
The salad bar can be your best friend in a pinch! This trick works for eaters of all ages too!
(If you’re unsure about how to let your baby feed themselves foods in their whole form like this, please check out our online Infant Course.)
Ideally, we serve ourselves (and thus our babies) a variety of foods every day, but sometimes life gets in the way and we end up eating the same things over and over again. One hack that has helped many of our clients is utilizing the salad bar to add variety to meals. Foods are already washed and pre-cut, and even though you pay more per pound, you may save money in the long run if you only need a few pieces.
This also works well for foods you need in small quantities for a recipe or for packing your older kiddo’s lunch in a hurry. We use the Whole Foods salad bar all the time!
Since babies new to Baby-led Weaning (infant self-feeding) need larger pieces of food that they can hold with their strong palmar grasp, you’ll have to find salad bar options that are cut into big enough pieces. We recommend starting around 6 months, when baby shows readiness signs including great sitting skills. As they get older and their pincer grasp refines, they’ll be able to manipulate smaller foods like peas, beans, chopped beets, etc. Make sure food is soft enough to pass the “squish test,” where it easily squishes between your fingers or cuts with a fork.
Megan and Judy, co-owners of Feeding Littles, bring you helpful info on food, nutrition, picky eating, and feeding young children. Megan McNamee MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Judy Delaware, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist specializing in feeding therapy with children 3 and under in Boulder, Colorado. Megan and Judy are both moms of two and love helping families develop a healthy appetite for all foods!