My kids are pretty good eaters. We’ve definitely had our phases where they won’t eat anything other than bread and every meal seems like an epic battle of wills. As my boys are getting older, they’re (finally!!!) willing to try new things and expand their culinary repertoire.
My baby girl is in that blissful stage where if it’s edible, she’ll eat it. Actually, it’s more like, if she can stuff it in her mouth, she’ll eat it. She adores food (kind of like me…) and is always happy to eat almost anything I put in front of her. I know it won’t always be like this so while I have her complete attention, I want to instill good eating habits as early as possible. I know many parents who struggle from day one to get those good foods into their babies and though our struggles tend to come more during the toddler years, they are frustrating no matter what!
I’m happy to be teaming up with PC organics for the next few months to offer up some tips and tricks to feeding those picky eaters, regardless of age (I have a sometimes-picky 36 year old eater in my house too) and for us mom’s who almost always spend these years of raising young ones eating cold food, leftovers or simply forgetting to eat all together! We need to take care of our bodies too ladies!
It can be difficult to know when to transition your little one to solid food while ensuring they get the nutrients they need. With so many conflicting resources available, it can also be challenging to know who to listen to. While you always want to ensure your baby is reaching each eating milestone, you also want to ensure his or her individual needs are being met
Your local Loblaws® Registered Dietitian is a great place to start to discuss your specific questions and concerns. Available in Loblaws® stores in Ontario, their dietitians can field your specific questions and provide you with professional advice you can trust. You can find your closest Loblaws® Registered Dietitian here. Below are a few helpful, dietitian-approved tips to start your little one off on the right foot and take some of the guess work out of starting solids:
Know the Signs
It is recommended to wait until 6 months to introduce solid food. You’ll see several signs when your baby is ready to begin eating solid foods. Some of the signs your child is ready for the transition to begin include; holding their heads up and sitting upright in their high chair or seat, opening their mouths proactively for food when it is offered and turning away when they don’t care for it, and closing their lips over a spoon when its offered, keeping food in their mouth and swallowing.
Take Baby Steps
While it’s exciting to show your baby all of the amazing foods the world has to offer, it’s best to take a slow and steady approach to introducing new foods. Always introduce new foods when your baby is happy and hungry to ensure a great first impression. Also, offer single foods first before offering blends of flavours. If your little one doesn’t like something, try it again another day.
Lead by Example
Your baby learns to eat by watching you. While your entire family is eating together, ensure your baby is served the same foods in a form they can eat. From healthy dinner favourites like chicken and sweet potatoes, to sweet treats like juicy summer peaches, eating the same foods will help your baby learn healthy eating habits with the rest of the family. With baby food like PC® Organics Strained Peaches, your baby can easily enjoy the same nutritious food your family does. Lastly, never turn your nose up at a new food in front of your child since they may notice and mimic the behaviour.
Unplug During Meal Times
It can be challenging to unwind and disconnect from our favourite electronic devices during meal time. The evening news, tablets and cell phones are all competing for your attention. Rather than give into temptation, limit distractions. Focusing on your meal will teach your baby that meal time is important. Remember, families that eat together, eat healthier.
Introduce Iron-Rich Foods First
At around six months of age, the iron stores that babies are born with begin to decline and they need iron-rich foods to meet the nutrient needs of their fast growing bodies. Try boiled or well cooked meats and fish, iron-fortified infant cereals like PC® Organics Mixed Grains baby cereal, tofu, beans and legumes and cooked egg yolks. To help your little one absorb the iron, serve iron-rich foods with fruits and vegetables that contain Vitamin C.
Spice Things Up
Plain veggies can get a little boring. You can start to introduce extra flavour to your little one’s foods through herbs and spices that are still mild enough for a baby’s palette. While additions like salt add unhealthy sodium to baby’s diet, fresh or dried herbs and spices will introduce them to flavours in new and interesting ways. Try spicing up PC® Organics Strained Sweet Potato & Chicken with a small pinch of cinnamon for an interesting twist.
At approximately six months, your baby can learn to drink small amounts of water. Water helps ease digestion, reduce tooth decay and prevents dehydration. During meal time, try allowing your baby to use a lidless cup. With a little patience and practice, they’ll be drinking from a cup alone in no time.
In the end, every baby is different and if and when they want to eat and what they want to eat will vary. Be patient and don’t worry about your baby starving if they don’t show interest. They won’t. When they’re ready, they’ll let you know!