Thursday, May 2, 2013

Your baby eats WHAT?!

My baby is over 8 months old already! Time flies!

He's been eating solid food since about 5½ months. Now we've started adding in more herbs and spices into his food. My hope is that as he gets older he will be more receptive to eating a wide variety of foods.

My main inspiration for this is my sister! I think she has done a fabulous job with raising her kids in a way that they are very open to new foods. My niece and nephew are now 13 and 11, but even before they old enough to go to school, they would eat a wide variety of foods, and continue to do so. How many kids do you know that would beg for sushi, clams & mussels, Ethiopian cuisine, etc.? My niece and nephew do, and have since they were little!

Here's my game plan:

1. Eat a wide variety of foods and flavors while pregnant.
Done, obviously!

Eating the same thing all the time is boring! I always like eating a variety of foods. I especially made sure to do so while pregnant, as to expose my unborn son to as many flavors as possible!

Studies have shown that the flavors that mothers eat pass into the amniotic fluid and their unborn babies start forming food preferences in the womb! I was lucky that I didn't have any nausea or food aversions. While I was pregnant, I ate: Ethiopian, Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese/Sushi [not raw], Italian, Mexican, spicy foods, etc. 

(See: Baby's Palate And Food Memories Shaped Before Birth @ NPR)

2. Introduce baby to a variety of vegetables/fruits when starting solid foods.
Done! I didn't count exactly, but in the first month of starting solid foods I guesstimate my son had at least 10 different vegetables and fruits.

(See: Early Vegetable Variety: The French Advantage @ It's Not About Nutrition)

3. Introduce baby to a wide variety of herbs, spices, and flavor combinations.
We've started on this! Here's a sampling of some of the more notable foods and flavors he's had thus far:
  • Tabbouleh with quinoa (Middle Eastern salad)
  • Kheer (Indian spiced sweet rice pudding)
  • Crab cakes egg benedict
  • Curry
  • Spicy Hummus
  • Mexican
  • Italian
  • Various fish (salmon, tilapia, crab, shrimp)

4. Only have "food", not "kid food" and "adult food".
Obviously my son isn't far enough along that this is an issue yet. But I plan to raise my kid(s) that variety in food is normal and no food is "weird".

There will be no separate special food prepared for kids. My kids will not subsist on mac & cheese, chicken strips, etc.!

I do plan to have several options available as part of the meal, so if my kid(s) dislike something they aren't forced to eat it. They'll have to try it, but I won't be a "finish your plate" parent. I will be a "try it" parent.

So far, we've been lucky and my son has eaten and liked pretty much everything we've given him. The few things he didn't like the first time (like bananas), he's warmed up to. Hopefully when he turns into a stubborn toddler, any pickiness will be temporary.

Will it work? Only time will tell, but I think we're off to a pretty good start!

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