Keep Food Choices Healthy When Transitioning Your Baby to Solids

When children are very young, they are often exposed to a wide variety of vegetables in the form of pureed baby food.  And, most joyfully eat their green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots while their mothers, smiling warmly, feed them spoonfuls of nutritious vegetables delivered with zooming airplane sound effects or encouraging baby talk.

Then, once the child moves to more solid foods, they become exposed to more convenience and processed foods.  And, suddenly, mommy is not feeding them with fun games any longer.  Doctors recommend tiny no-choke hazard soft finger foods.  And, these tiny soft foods are not easy to prepare at home.  It requires a great deal of cooking and chopping lean meats into tiny pieces.  Continuing to provide toddlers with healthy options becomes a challenge because parents don’t have extra 20 minutes at each meal for chopping all the foods into tiny pieces.  Therefore, when parents are pressed for time, children begin getting exposure to low-nutritional-value convenience foods.  Chicken nuggets cut into tiny bite size pieces, are easy soft finger foods, that seem harmless, but are often laden with large amounts of salt, sugar, fats, and chemical additives.  Macaroni & cheese, another soft finger food that seems harmless, is coated with a powdered cheese substance that in some brands contains over 30 ingredients other than cheese.  French Fries, deep fried in oil, coated in a heavy dusting of salt, and cut into small bits, makes for easy crispy yet soft finger foods.  Breakfast cereals, heavily marketed to parents and children with clever cartoon graphics, are “healthy” or “fun”, and provide an interesting textural crunch, and are so easy to pour out of a box, when parents, are pressed for time in the mornings.  But, that seemingly harmless, convenient bowl of cereal delivers a large helping of habit forming refined sugar and/or HFCS to your child as a morning boost of sugar energy.

These easily accessible convenience foods, fed to children on a daily or weekly basis, condition the child’s taste buds to crave salt, chemical seasonings, and fats.  In comparison, the unrefined, steamed vegetable, with little or no salt, sugar, fats or chemical additives are not surprisingly considered unappealing to your child.  How can the vegetable compete against all the marketing and research conducted by huge corporations to ensure that you purchase their product and allow your child to consume it.

Parents can retrain their children’s taste buds to enjoy their vegetables, but it does require strict house rule that all family members keep junk foods and convenience foods out of your home.  Then parents can use the same methods large food companies use to get you to eat their products. Parents can add flavor enhancers, salt, sugar, and fats to the vegetable recipes you prepare for children at home.  Reintroduce kids to vegetables that are prepared with flavor aids of salt, cane sugar, or butter.  Parents will know how much salt, sugar, or butter is in a dish that is prepared at home.  And, once your child becomes accustomed to eating their vegetables again, then you can gradually reduce those flavor enhancers.

Categories: Parenting

Author:Rebecca Rogers

Author-Food Journalist-Food Photographer

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