Posts Tagged ‘food and beverage’
One of the major events in your child\’s maturation process is the introduction of solid food instead of breast milk or formula. For most children, this occurs sometime around six months mark, but children aren\’t ready for table food until around the age of two years. Thus, baby food must be specially prepared, made so that a young child can easily eat and digest. While fast food and convenience are more a part of households now than ever before, that approach should not be taken with something as important as introducing children to food and nutrition, especially since those first years are a time of so much learning and development.
The first years of a child\’s life are crucial for getting the proper start, especially while so much growth is taking place. Babies are growing and maturing at a rapid rate, developing their coordination and learning about the world, and it is important that children receive the right kind of fuel to take on each new and exciting day. Therefore making the right choices in nutrition is a crucial component of parenting, just as important as ensuring that your child has a safe and healthy environment for playing and sleeping.
While a world where things are done faster and with more convenience might make it seem as though baby food is an item to be bought and tossed into the grocery cart, that\’s simple not the case. Baby food has traditionally been prepared at home by parents, but not just those who are living a whole foods lifestyle or engaging in a macrobiotic diet. It wasn\’t even until the 1950s in most countries that buying pre-prepared baby food was even an option. Best of all, choosing to prepare your own food for your child is helpful for household budgets, as it\’s less expensive and more nutritious to prepare a certain amount of baby food at home, and homemade food has significantly less unhealthy additives. It\’s also helpful for figuring out early if your child has any potential food allergies, since you know exactly what went into the food.
The economic benefits of making your own baby food cannot be overstated. In tough economic times, spending the extra money for brand-name goods for babies in the hopes that there is something better in those cans or jars is a practice that should be avoided or forgotten. There\’s nothing more nutritious in store-bought baby food. Usually, the actual difference is merely additives!
Knowing when to start your child on solid food is a personal decision made by parents, but a number of important health organizations, including The American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that breast-feeding take place until six months of age, at which point switching to solids will not compromise the amount of nutrition a child is receiving.
The best way to tell if a child is ready to start solid foods is by paying attention to what stage in development he or she is at. Are they able to sit up and fight the urge to push solid items out of their mouth with their tongue? Then it\’s time to begin on solid foods.
Since babies are learning all of the time, it\’s safe to say their bodies are learning, too. Since children are not used to processing solid food, be advised that there might be a brief period of constipation during the switch. It\’s nothing to worry about, but is something that occasionally happens. This is why it\’s particularly helpful to start with a number of simple fruits and vegetables, that baby\’s bodies find easy to digest. Among them are avocados, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, and apples. These foods are also simple to puree, a must when making baby food, and are known to prompt fewer allergic reactions.
When babies are starting to eat, an excellent first recipe is cooked and pureed carrots. A root vegetable packed with beta carotene and vitamin C, as well as calcium, carrots provide much of the nutrition that children need to grow. First peel the carrots, then steam them. After that, pureeing them should be a breeze.