When Peanut was six months old and first started to eat “food,” she couldn’t get enough of it. Nom nom nom nom. My husband and I prepared homemade baby food for her (which we highly recommend, it’s not as hard or time consuming as it seems!) and tried a great variety of fruits and vegetables. Add some baby cereal and a touch of yogurt, we were good to go!
As Peanut became a bit older and developed a few teeth around 9 months, our pediatrician suggested trying food with a little more texture. We introduced small bits of whole wheat bread, Cheerios and Mum-Mum baby crackers in addition to the same fruits and vegetables as before, just less puréed, to provide a more chunky texture. She continued to eat well and astound us with her bottomless belly (here’s hoping she got Daddy’s metabolism!)
Now that Peanut is eating regular food, it’s nom nom nom nom not so much. She isn’t a huge fan of meat (except for Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs, one of her favorites), definitely isn’t a huge fan of most vegetables and will frequently turn down food that she previously loved, leaving me to wonder (a.k.a. worry) is she getting the right nutrients to promote healthy growth and brain development.
At her recent pediatrician appointment, I mentioned my concern about her not eating as much or as balanced a diet as she should be. The pediatrician’s advice was simple and I wanted to share it with our readers. She said at all mealtimes, we have two choices and Peanut has two choices. Our choices are where she eats (recommended that she typically sit in a high chair/at a table with limited distractions) and what we put on the plate (approx 3 options covering several groups including fruit/veggie, protein and carbs). Peanut’s choices are what she eats off the plate and how much of it she eats. Simple as that. Since we don’t want to fall into the trap of becoming short-order cooks (who has time for that, unless you are a short-order cook!), we need to trust that she’ll eat enough and stop eating when she is full.
So far, the pediatrician’s advice has worked well and Peanut is consistently eating a more balanced meal. We have also found good success in a) giving her more time to eat b) not hovering nearby, which also encourages her to feed herself and supports her burgeoning independence and c) not always asking “Peanut, do you want kiwi for dinner?” since her new favorite word is “No” but instead saying “Peanut, here is some kiwi for dinner.” She can still refuse to eat it, but it is a way for us to make sure that we provide her a variety of foods to try and not allow her to stick to her favorites. In our brief experience, my husband and I have both learned how important it is to not give up on certain foods, because sometimes the seventh time is the charm (as it was for cheese quesadillas – I mean, who doesn’t like a quesadilla??)
I also realized I can’t beat myself up for not serving Peanut a gourmet meal every night (a hint of working Mom guilt creeping in). We usually save some of our dinner from the night before for her to try the following day, which also saves us a little time for her dinner prep. But in a pinch, we’ll all survive with a little macaroni and cheese!
What are your go-to meals? What are some favorite foods in your house?