As many of you know Max is almost a year old now and he has been on solids for about 4.5 months. Both my boys never took a bottle so once they were old enough and interested in solids I was excited to jump right into things. I thought it could be helpful to go over our families approach to meal times and what we did and did not use and like. Growing up my sisters and I grew quickly a love for all foods because my mom exposed us to so many different types of food. I can honestly say from the time I was a very little girl I have always loved ALL fruits, ALL veggies, and protein. The only two things I do not care for his seafood and anything with turmeric (I take it in capsule form for health benefits) or peanut butter. But that aside my palette is pretty big. Nick and I knew early on we wanted our boys to love food and hospitality as much as we did.
With Calvin we started him off on a strict paleo diet until he was almost 1.5 years old but with Max we did a different route. We did a mixture of purees and solids and unlike some recommendations I did not wait 3 days in between each new foods introduction. We don't have many allergies in our family besides dairy so I wasn't too concerned. At the time we started solids for both boys we also introduced water in a sippy cup.
At 7 months old we started Max on Organic Purees and I started with Stage 2 so that consistency wasn't too loose. I did not mix it with breast milk because he preferred early on a more thick consistency verses loose. After a week of introducing solids twice a day he started to get the concept and began to look forward to meal time. I on the other hand despised this time of the day due to the mess but my OCD self is slowly but surely easing up on this. My philosophy on purees is if it doesn't taste good to me I didn't give it to Max. I personally have never liked the taste of mashed peas or mashed carrots and love fresh ones so in turn I never introduced those until he was able to pick these up in the whole version:
Purees- sweet potatoes, apples, blueberry apple, plum, and mango/spinach/strawberry
I would also give him cores of apples and nectarines to suck on after cutting Calvin his fruit. This helped taste new things without having to chew on something, it also felt great on his gums.
We began introducing everything we were eating minus honey and nuts.
Meats- shredded chicken, carnitas, tri-tip, homemade chicken nuggets, meatballs, scrambled eggs, salmon
Veggies- steamed broccoli, steamed carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, cucumbers, olives
Fruit- strawberries, bananas (he still hates these), blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, baked apples, cantelope, nectarines
Fats- olive oil, butter, coconut oil
Carbs- pastina, crackers, toast (he doesn't really like this), cheerios
Dairy- Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, cheese cubes, cottage cheese
Max's favorites without fail are always sliced black olives, any meat, berries, peas, and cheese. He will eat and eat and eat. For most foods I cut up pretty small. I am a HUGE fan of baby led weaning but since I never am confident in myself for CPR I always try to avoid gagging because although it is different from choking I get anxiety hearing the sound. Max had a great pincer grasp from early on so picking up his food has never been an issue.
We don't do many purees anymore although he does love sweet potatoes pureed. He does okay with food pouches but we usually only do those on days we go to church. Calvin and Max eat 80% of the same things we eat for dinner. We always encourage Calvin to eat more veggies since he has been more picky lately, made because he is so into colors. Our philosophy is that dinner isn't dinner without a veggie so he always has to try a new food and have 3 bites of his vegetable. Both Max and Calvin love green smoothies so I will load tons of spinach, kale, or swiss chard into that. With each week I try to incorporate different spices into their meals so they get exposed to a wide range of flavors. If they do not like something I will offer it again the next day and 50% of the time they will love it the next meal. Just because they reject something once does not indicate to me that they do not like it but that they simply need more exposure.
"Food is essential to life, therefore make it good" - S. Truett Cathy (Founder of Chick-fil-A)
I love this quote from the late Truett Cathy and try to model it in our home. Food can either help us grow and flourish or damage our body. Even though Calvin and Max will occasionally have food that is not beneficial to them it is essential to us that they do eat foods that will only nourish their bodies. The road to teaching your child about food is not always easy. It is important to have a good support team, to demonstrate good eating habits and to make eating and cooking a fun learning experience. Get your kids involved with preparing food and their love for different types of food will grow.
Our favorite meal time helpers:
- Dabbling Duck bibs
- Playtex Space Saver High Chair
- Philips Avent Sippy Cups
- Beba Silverware- good for 12 months+
- and a good towel for the floor