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It seems that parents have two choices when it comes to baby food — grab something quick and prepackaged off the shelf, or whip up a time-consuming, customized puree that would make Bobby Flay swoon.
I fully intended to make all of my daughter’s baby food riiiiiiight up until the time that she actually started eating baby food. And, well…that determination went out the window. I quickly got overwhelmed with the logistics of teaching a person to eat and gave up, feeling just a little bit guilty and skeptical as I fed her out of the jar. I mean, I’m sure it was fine, but what string bean lasts on a shelf for three years?
But I finally got my hands on Little Spoon, and it’s basically the best of both worlds: fresh, nutritious, safe, non-GMO, organic Babyblends that were delivered right to my door. It’s made with HPP (water pressure — the same thing my favorite cold-pressed juice bar uses!) to maintain the fresh properties of our ingredients which means way more vitamins and nutrients for babies. To top it all off, it’s filled with interesting flavors, amazing superfoods and different textures, all of which have been critical to my daughter’s palate development.
Of course, making my baby love food took more than a few adventurous baby food flavors. Whether you choose to make your baby’s food all by yourself or use Little Spoon to save time, it never hurts to have a few tips and tricks in your back pocket when it comes to mealtime.
Here’s 10 tips to that have helped me create a happy, healthy little foodie.
1. Look for the best ingredients. We are what we eat, right? Whenever possible, try to find fresh, local and organic ingredients, or look for them in your baby food. Organic produce tends to be more nutrient dense and contain less potentially harmful chemicals.
2. Let them feed themselves. Eating isn’t just about eating—let’s be real, they’re going to wear more of it than they ingest at first. Steer clear of squeeze pouches, and choose baby food like Little Spoon that he or she can eat with a spoon. By giving baby a chance to feed themselves, you help them develop fine and gross motor skills. Plus, they develop a healthy mind-body connection to know when they are hungry and when they are full – no over-eating here!
3. Shake it up. Try a bunch of new things. Of course it makes sense to introduce one new ingredient at a time so you can watch for allergies, but don’t be afraid to get adventurous and try new things. Take note of the color of a food as it represents a particular nutrient in the food. So if your baby doesn’t like carrots, they may like sweet potato instead and can get that valuable beta carotene! If at first you don’t succeed, try something else!
4. Pay attention to processing. There’s a reason more moms are opting for baby food that’s made with HPP. Shelf stabilized baby foods are generally heat pasteurized, cooked at around 500° F. This kills the bad bacteria, but also kills just about everything else including those all-important vitamins and nutrients you want your baby to eat.. Except…
5. Sugar. Sugar is one of the few things that survives heat pasteurizing, and that means that shelf stable foods are usually chock full of it. I found I had an easier time keeping my baby interested in foods if I avoided giving her sweets first. Once they taste all that yummy yummy sugar, it’s game over.
6. Keep it cold. Just like the fresh produce it’s made from, baby food should have an expiration date that’s sometime before college. Little Spoon’s baby food is good for two weeks from the delivery date!
7. Spice things up a little. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend starting with sriracha, you can help develop baby’s palate by introducing them to new herbs and spices. We love how Little Spoon uses unconventional ingredients like ginger and mint, which are delicious, soothing to the tummy, and have loads of health benefits.
8. Ask the experts. As a parent, you have enough to worry about without figuring out age-appropriate, nutrient-rich, mouth-watering foods for your little one. Whether you choose to whip up your own or buy a pre-made Babyblend, you can take some tips from the baby food experts, taking the guesswork out of concerns like “when should I introduce chia seeds” or “what kinds of healthy fats should I add to baby’s food?”
9. Make it easy. This one is from personal experience. I’m much happier and feel healthier on a particular diet. But when the fridge is empty, it’s too late for delivery, or I’m just too tired? Cheeseburger, please! Having healthy options at the ready make it more likely you and your little one will stick to the plan and not end up with cereal for dinner. Again.
10. Make it fun. Being a little bit of a neat freak, I had a hard time letting go at first and enjoying my daughter’s attempts at feeding herself. The more I learned to relax around it, the more she wanted to try—and I even let her paint my face with mashed up avocados. Now she feeds herself about as neatly as a two-year-old could be expected, but she loves the process. And you should too!
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