Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Name is Kim, and I'm a Rule Follower

When JD was younger, We made all of his food.  It was pretty simple; we bought fresh versions of what we saw in the baby food isle, steamed it, pureed it, and froze a couple month's supply.

Now that he's older, things are a little more complicated.  He generally eats what we eat (and almost as much of it) at the major meals, but snacks are tough.  There are many days that by the afternoon snack I find myself thinking, "He already ate yogurt, cheese, applesauce, a banana... what else can I feed him without caving in and giving him a Grammy Sammy or some other prepackaged snack?"

I have a couple faded post-its on my laptop listing the 5 worst and 10 best things to feed your toddler that I stuck there as a guide (along with the address of a website I've been meaning to check out for at least a year and my favorite fortune cookie saying of all time: "There are two ways to shine...You can be the candle or, the mirror that reflects it."  The incorrect comma placement makes it even better). I don't remember where I found these lists, but they lead to some pretty serious mommy guilt.

5 Worst
Soda- We were never big soda drinkers (unless it's mixed with Jack Daniels) and never have it in the house. Hubby realized as people were arriving for the holidays that maybe we should have some in the house for others, but we would never serve it to our toddler.
Juice- Juice?!?! I thought juice was good! I love juice! But because of this list, JD's only experience with juice was a bit of OJ when he was congested and we were trying to hold back on the milk.
Crackers (including Goldfish)- If this is a top 5 worst, why do they make those cute Goldfish holders I see at Buy Buy Baby? We do occasionally cave and give JD crackers, but only as a last resort when he has already sampled every other snack option in the house and is STILL signing "more".
Processed Meals- Another one that is hard to live by religiously, but makes me feel incredibly guilty when he points to the freezer for an Amy's Vegetarian Lasagna. It is organic, which has to make it one of the better processed food items, right?
Gelatin- JD has not had jello yet, mostly because I know he will love eating and playing with it, and that will make following these rules more difficult.

10 Best
Squash- During the fall, I stock up on squash at the farmers' market, but the rest of the year we are totally squash-less.
Dark Green Leafy- To me, this means spinach, and I wish it would just say spinach, because I frequently find myself standing in the grocery checkout line feeling guilty about my lack of another dark and leafy. We eat spinach pretty frequently, or at least much more frequently than my family did when I was growing up. It is getting increasingly difficult to get JD to eat it alone, but he will eat it on pizza, in ravioli, and pureed in those Happy Baby pouch things. (Do they count as processed? crap!)
Blueberries- Another seasonal favorite. This past summer, I had to empty the pint containers into smaller bowls in the fridge so I could show JD that they were "all done". Otherwise he would frantically sign "more" until he ate them ALL.
Meat- Why so vague? I know enough about healthy eating to know the kinds of meat they mean, but when JD eats bacon, part of me is checking off this list in my head.
Garbanzo Beans- I am pretty sure we have never had these in our house. The name intimidates me. I need to work on this one.
Lentils- I have learned how to make a mean lentil soup that JD really likes. Score!
Broccoli- There is no cute name for this veggie that makes JD even remotely interested in eating it. I even tried chopping it extremely fine and adding it to his favorite dish- macaroni and cheese- and he still pushed it away.
Avocados- cute video here.  It hasn't gotten much better, but we keep trying.
Prunes- I have no problem feeding them to JD, but please don't make me eat them!
Mandarin Oranges- Another one of JD's favorites, except I don't really know if it counts when you suck on them and then spit them out.

So that is where we stand when it comes to food.  Both my brother and my sister are extremely picky eaters, so I know we are very lucky.  Please share your tips and/or lists of food for toddlers!

**After posting this, I realized that I neglected to mention that I broke the biggest rule ever!  A pediatrician (not our usual, but the one who saw us for JD's 1 year well visit) told us not to introduce peanut butter until he was 4!  FOUR!  My twitter friend, Suzanne, told me that was nuts, so we caved when he turned 18 months.  At his check-up today, the nurse reminded me we should continue holding off on shellfish and peanut butter, and because I am scared of breaking rules, I nodded.


  1. I still maintain holding off on peanut butter until he's FOUR is crazy. My kid would starve without peanut butter. I can't understand why the rules would be so different at your doctor's office then at mine, where they suggested MORE peanut butter after he lost weight at 12 months.

  2. Try pureeing those veggies still and sneaking them into regular food. Spaghetti is easy to sneak veggies into, pureed. There is a book called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfield that has a ton of recipes where you puree veggies and sneak them into anything from muffins to pancakes to meatloaf.

    Peanuts are a major allergen, but I was told 2 not four, unless there is a presence of allergies of peanuts in the mom or dad.

  3. I tried to feed my kids exactly what we were eating, just in pureed form. That way they got used to our flavors and the kinds of foods we eat. When they got to the finger food stage I just stuck a toothpick in everything they ate and they thought it was so fun they'd eat it. So I guess, just make food fun. I would agree with all the foods on the list that aren't too great for your kids but lets be real. Once in a while they have to have some Goldfish on the go! Just think fresh food and it makes it easier. I'm a rule follower too. It makes life a burden at times, don't ya think?


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