Guest blogger: Healthy beginnings for children


I’m Heather, an Ohio transplant who moved to the South for love and warm winters. I write on health and fitness as well as Strongman competition at GenXXL.com. Twitter: @heathergenxxl

Do your kids eat veggies?  Do they ask for them? I have three small children, ages 5, 3, and 2, with a fourth on the way.  Because they’ve grown up being served fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack, their go-to question is, “May I have a piece of fruit?”.  This isn’t some weird anomaly, my children have been trained to eat well and enjoy it. 

There are many ways to help your children learn healthy eating, and I’ve got some ideas for different age groups in this post.  I hope you find something that will help you with your own family!

1.  Most importantly: start young.  Kids who don’t know anything different won’t argue. 

If you’ve got a baby that’s ready for solids, don’t start with rice cereal.  Start with mashed avocado and then bananas.  They’re perfect first foods, can be mashed on demand, and come in their own portable packaging. 

Making your own baby food is fast and easy, and significantly less expensive than store-bought.  I recommend Ruth Yaron’s Super Baby Food, though I skip the advice on soy (read why here).

2.  Don’t give them any other options.  There are many ways to determine dinnertime boundaries.  In our family, the rules are easy.  You don’t have to eat anything, everything is optional.  However, if you choose not to eat, there will be no treat.  I also will not prepare a different meal. 

I’m not a nutritional purist who doesn’t allow junk food, but I have rules.  Treat is usually a square of organic chocolate, strawberry soup, or grapefruit chia.  Since my husband chooses to eat junk food, occasionally he will give them 2-3 jelly beans.

Didn’t start early?  It’s never too late.  My husband grew up eating canned vegetables, and thought he didn’t like veggies for this reason. 

I remember once we went out to dinner at Leona’s in Chicago.  We has only been dating a few months, and I was excited to tuck into a huge bowl of pasta. 

It had artichokes, asparagus, fresh mozzarella, and red sauce.  It was beautiful, a sight to behold.  I (lovingly) offered husband a bite of my beloved asparagus, and he sneered, literally sneered, at me. 

Fast forward ten years.   It took some doing, but he’s on board.  He’ll eat any vegetable I prepare, though he still doesn’t ASK for broccoli.

3.   Roast or saute your vegetables. These are the two ways to prepare veggies that almost no one can resist.  The first is roasting, because it brings out the natural sweetness.  The second is sautéing with onion and garlic in olive.  Give it a shot!

If you’ve got a really reluctant child, I suggest beginning with the sweetest and mildest vegetables.  Slicing sweet potatoes into rounds, drizzled with olive or coconut oil and salt, then broiled for 10-15 minutes makes a sweet and simple veggie side.

We choose not to eat corn or potatoes as “vegetables”.   I don’t really enjoy white potatoes, so we don’t typically have them in our home.  I love a cob of corn in the summer (that’s the Ohio girl in me), but if we have it, we also have at least one green vegetable.

4.  Add chopped, sauteed veggies to pasta sauce.  You can puree it if you have to, but I prefer it to be chunky.  We make it a game to identify what sort of veggie we’re eating in the sauce.  Is it a carrot?  A bell pepper?  A chunk of zucchini?

We also love taste tests.  The farmer’s market is a wonderful way to try new things, so if you have access to one, it’s a great place to spend a Saturday morning.  It’s also amazing for children to be able to ask questions of farmers.  You’ll find they’re generally obliging to children’s curiosity. 

When I was in third grade, my teacher had a taste test of then-exotic foods.  She brought jicama, papaya, kiwi, pomegranate, and starfruit.  It was such neat experience, and I still remember what it was like to put that first piece of kiwi in my mouth.  I want my children to have those sorts of experiences with food, too!

5.  Cut your vegetables into fun shapes.  I have an inexpensive tool called a spiralizer that makes wonderful noodles out of zucchini.  I serve these as “pasta” with whatever sauce I’d normally use.  You don’t have to cook them, just slice and cover with sauce.  If the sauce is hot, it will soften the zucchini a bit.   My kids weren’t sure at first, but now they ask for “green noodles” regularly. 

The best part?  It takes all of five minutes from start to finish!  While the sauce is on the stove, I spiralize the noodles, make a salad, and we all sit down.  Voila!

6.  Drink green smoothies.  After my third child was born, I was about eighty pounds overweight.  Having three children in less than four years and working from home full-time had really taken a toll on my eating habits *cough* Taco Bell *cough*. 

I got serious about nutrition somewhat by happenstance.  I  was reading a blog called Walk Slowly, Live Wildly, and Sara mentioned green smoothies.  Intrigued, I clicked over to one of her other blogs called Happy Foody to read about her green smoothie challenge. 

Appropriately challenged, I decided to make one for myself.  I didn’t have a high-powdered blender at the time, but I made it work in the one I had.  From that day on, I was serious. 

I started grinding my own grains for bread, incorporating 10-15 servings of raw fruits, vegetables, and greens into my daily diet, and put us on a mostly vegan diet.

That’s not to say there weren’t hiccups.  I made a couple of gross dishes.  My dehydrator doesn’t get as much use as it should, and we still eat some meat and dairy.  However, I lost ninety pounds in nine months with a combination of good nutrition and lots of exercise.  And to think, it all started with a smoothie!

Here’s my go-to smoothie recipe for beginners.

1 large handful baby spinach
1 c. water

Blend until well mixed.  Add:

2 ripe bananas
1 apple
1 orange
1 c. strawberries
½ c. blueberries

Blend until smooth and enjoy! 

It’s easy, delicious, and has 6-8 servings of fruits and veggies.  This recipe makes about 6 cups. 

I tend to have a quart per day as a meal, then give each of the kids a pint.  They love their green smoothie mustaches!  I’ve got more green smoothie recipes to share if you’re interested!

7.  Final tips:  Do NOT hide vegetables.  That perpetuates the belief in children that they don’t LIKE vegetables.  It also treats children like they’re unintelligent, which drives me up a wall. 

Allow children to help prepare food.  Of course small children can’t use sharp knives, but they can tear lettuce for a salad.  They can use descriptive words for each vegetable that you’re cutting to expand their vocabularies and palettes at the same time.

Don’t eat fast food regularly.  When children become accustomed to the fat, salt, and artificial ingredients of those foods, they believe that they like them.  So much of the way we eat is based upon conditioning.  Let’s condition our children well!

I hope you’ve found at least one new way to help your children love vegetables.  I’d love to read your tips and comments!

Links:
Super Baby Food: http://www.amazon.com/Super-Baby-Food-Ruth-Yaron/dp/0965260313/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268251477&sr=8-1

(read why here) on soy: http://genxxl.com/diet-nutrition/soy-myth-vs-fact/

Leona’s: http://www.leonas.com/

spiralizer: http://www.amazon.com/World-Cuisine-Tri-Blade-Plastic-Vegetable/dp/B0007Y9WHQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1268257219&sr=8-1

Walk Slowly, Live Wildly: http://walkslowlylivewildly.com/

Happy Foody: www.happyfoody.com

green smoothie recipes: http://genxxl.com/diet-nutrition/a-new-look-at-smoothies/

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32 Responses to Guest blogger: Healthy beginnings for children

  1. Stephanie April 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    great post… my favorite way to remember that it is okay to give just healthy choices is — "the starving will eat anything" I have found that letting my kids get hungry is important. They've been taught by society that anytime you are a bit hungry to eat a snack. We've been working on letting them get hungry so they'll eat a whole healthy meal. What a difference it makes to cut out or limit the snacking.

  2. Andrea Leigh April 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    Fantastic blog post! I'm a nutrition consultant and this info is very helpful. I get tired of reading the same advice over and over again, but you've given us something new… or at least a new twist 🙂

  3. Zaira April 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    Great post. I agree with and practice it all! Last night our 2 year old ate all his carrots, beans, peas and corn before even touching his rice or chicken. If avocado had been on the plate that would have gone first!

  4. Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    stephanie, what you said is so true! Children have food avaliable to them too often, and are often not even hungry when they eat. Eating has become something to do, a form of entertainment almost. How spoiled we are as a nation! This mind set goes along with schools catering to what they think the children would like to eat,(rather than what is actually good for them!) such as artificially colored and sugar laden milk and pop tarts for breakfast. Eww! Even a crackhead mom knows better then to feed her kids that crap!

  5. Ashley April 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    I don't have kids yet, but my friends do, and this is something I tried to tell them when they complain their kids don't like veggies: if you don't give them choices, they will learn to eat what you give them. You know how I know that works? Certainly not because my parents did it. They let me eat all the junk I wanted. While I am pretty thin (which one of my friend's pointed out, as if this is synonymous with "being healthy"), I've had all kinds of health problems, including Crohn's, that I think could have been avoided had I eaten better as a child. Not only would my health had been better, but I would have developed habits of good eating. I am thankful I was diagnosed with Crohn's because it opened my eyes about food, and I changed my ways. (I do slip up. *lol*) Now I do eat veggies more often, less meat and dairy and processed foods. (I've always liked fruit, but it was always viewed as too expensive in our house.)

    I feel much better now! My husband and I have already decided that when we have kids, we are monitoring everything they eat and encouraging good habits like these. 🙂

  6. Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    No offense lady, but you are the worst type of snob. Smug and secure behind your McMAnsion, sneering at anyone who doesn't follow your "My life is better than yours" rhetoric. I wish white whiners like you would cease to exist.

  7. Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    This is an awesome post. Thanks!

    I did Super Baby Food (also minus the soy) with both my boys. I am in no way a food snob or a healthy food junkie … but I would love it if my boys ate better than me.

    Super Baby Food porridge was wonderful. It introduced them to many fruit and veggie tastes. I saved a ton of money and made my own baby food, frozen in ice cube trays. It really didn't take much time, and was so much healthier.

    My boys are 8 and 2. While they each have a few veggies they don't like (we all have preferences!), they generally will eat what is put in front of them. It's awesome!

    Also, with the toddler, we use hunger as our friend. Before the family sits down to dinner, he's usually starving. I put him in the high chair with a bowl of veggies. Magic! He eats them all!

  8. Abigail April 18, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Thank you!! I've never understood the commercials where the mom is trying to hide the fact that the kid is eating vegetables! My kids love their fruits and veggies. Snacktime for my 3 yr old daughter is usually cucumbers, carrots, or apples. She can eat an entire cucumber herself. And she loves asparagus! She really just eats whatever I do and when I do, it's all about setting an example!

  9. heather April 18, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    Thanks for everyone's comments so far! Stephanie and anonymous 9:29, I agree about meal times. The kids heave three meals and two snacks, and I have three meals and 1 snack. I'd like to cut back to just the three meals after I have this baby!

    Andrea, just followed you on Twitter. Glad to hear your professional opinion!

    Zaira, love all the vegetables you offer in just one meal! And to think I usually only present two. 🙂

    Ashley, my parents did the best they could, but I grew up pretty poor. I'm so glad to see that you're making choices that will make your life better!

    Anonymous 10:53, I don't have a starter castle. Being a single-income household and married to a public school teacher, we can't exactly afford luxury. However, we do make nutrition a priority!

    Anonymous 10:58, agreed that they all have different tastes! Each of my kids gets one "refuse" food. My oldest will not eat onions, middle won't eat asparagus, and the baby does NOT like green beans. As they get older, I hope their refusal food changes, as their three are three of my very favorites!

    Abigail, agreed, the commercials make me crazy. They just reinforce to children to defy their parents boundaries and defend their immature tastes. I know lots of kids (outside of my own) with very sophisticated palettes because their parents expose them to new things. Wonder of wonders! 🙂

  10. Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Some of these seem like really great tips and some of them just sound, well, elitist. Where we live a single avocado costs almost $2, strawberries and grapefruits are incredibly exotic and expensive and it's hard to find olive oil, much less coconut oil. I'd love to see more tips from people who live in colder, less exotic areas… What to do to get kids interested in apples and potatoes and kohlrabi and onions and rhubarb, for instance.

  11. Lauren April 18, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    I recently heard about the green smoothies and really want to try them but when i was looking up info about them i found out that people with hypothyroid shouldnt eat greens like spinach kale and broccoli. i have a VERY bad underactive thyroid and im trying to figure out if there are any greens i can safely have. im pretty sad because broccoli is my favorite vegetable ever 🙁 if you know any more info about this please let me know!

    one thing i do though is i do hide vegetables in my daughters food and this is why. everything i read SAID that if you offer them veggies as babies first they will prefer them. NOT true because when my daughter was a baby her favorite food was peas, avocados, pureed spinach etc and now she wont even touch those if they arnt in something. i do still offer visible veggies at EVERY dinner and im so proud because my 2 year old will atleast try them and i dont push her if she decides she doesnt like them at that moment but I dont give up just incase she decides she likes them one day but i dont mind putting some chopped peppers in her pasta or peas in her mashed potatoes because i want to keep the "holes" in her diet filled and I know I'm offering her whole vegetables way more than I hide them in her food so its not some "sin" to do that lol

    besides i too like my sweet peas in my mashed potatoes 🙂

    thanks for the post.

  12. Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Aren't you supposed to start babies with rice cereal just because its easily digestable? I thought you were supposed to start with that, go to veggies and then fruit. Introducing fruit first only makes prefer the sweet stuff. Plus, you want to be able to identify any allergies along the way.

  13. Stepshep April 18, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Re; Anon @April 18, 2010 1:53 PM

    I don't think recommending avocados is elitist in the bit (current Ohioan). Where the heck do you live that strawberries are incredibly exotic? I assume not in the United States? I'm pretty sure this post was geared towards food available to Americans as it was written by an American. Maybe don't be so quick to be insulted. PS Avocado in Ohio is about $ .85 a pound, so fairly cheap.

  14. Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    For those who are thinking "Where the heck do you live that strawberries are incredibly exotic? I assume not in the United States?" and thoughts along those lines, there is something called FOOD DESERTS. And there are A LOT of food deserts in the UNITED STATES.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_desert

    Sure, strawberries aren't necessarily 'exotic', but to those who don't have access to fruit and vegetables such as this, then it might as well be exotic. Even if there IS a store to provide food to a neighborhood, how do you know it's affordable and healthy? I live in an urban environment and I am very lucky to be around many grocery stores (independent stores and chains). However, the fruit and vegetables aren't always in good condition in some of these places. What if you're surrounded by stores that always provide sub-par fruits and vegetables? What will you do? I doubt people have time to hunt down these things because they have families and work to take care of. Isn't it why conveniently packaged food and fast food joints make so much money? Because it's cheap and convenient plus more bang for your buck.

    If you had to choose, a bag of avocados or a meal at McDonald's? People usually get the meal for their families. I find that the assumption that this post was written by an American that is supposedly geared towards 'food available to Americans,' is really odd. This is a conversation on school lunches and it is quite an international thing, as demonstrated by the various contributors who have written about their food experiences. And also, not everyone is fortunate to have access to food, let alone good, healthy, affordable food.

  15. Heidi April 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    I disagree about not hiding vegies in food. Like Lauren said, I want to make sure that they get a variety of vitamins which they won't get when they only eat broccoli or zucchini (their two faves). Fruits and vegies need to be offered, but if they don't choose them or only take a few bites, you can rest assured that they have received what they need. If you as a parent is relaxed and not stressing over what they eat, that provides a much calmer eating environment. When it comes down to it, kids are picky and unpredictable eaters.

    While I think the rest of the post is great, not all kids are the same. I started my sons off with avocado, bananas and peas and then offered a large variety of foods as they became older babies. Now that they are ages 3 and 6, they are picky as hell and won't touch half the stuff they would as babies. And no I haven't resigned to giving them McDonalds or chicken nuggets since they won't eat all the good stuff.

    I think one thing that is important to point out that was left out, was that YOU as a parent need to be a good example. If you eat it, with time and patience, they will come around to it and eat healthfully too. My 6 year old's favorite choice side dish for his school hot lunch (which he only gets one or two times a week) is broccoli.

  16. Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    Wow. The elitism and snobbery in this post is disgusting. What if you live in an inner city in Middle America? Or in a low income part of the south? Why does this blog and this incredibly elitist post pander to the upper middle class but not the true middle class or low income class? I really wish I could live in the fairy tale bubbles you people do.

    I really think that this country has made eating well and healthy into a privilege and not a right. It's why our school lunch program is now an abyss; we've made healthy eating seem unobtainable to those who actually need it the most.

    I think that this poster would never set foot into an urban or low income area to make healthy eating obtainable. Food snobbery is absolutely disgusting and this poster proves it.

  17. Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Stepshep said…

    Re; Anon @April 18, 2010 1:53 PM

    I don't think recommending avocados is elitist in the bit (current Ohioan). Where the heck do you live that strawberries are incredibly exotic? I assume not in the United States? I'm pretty sure this post was geared towards food available to Americans as it was written by an American. Maybe don't be so quick to be insulted. PS Avocado in Ohio is about $ .85 a pound, so fairly cheap.

    Before you preach from behind your sub development, Avocados here in New Hampshire are over $2 a pound.

    Just because it's 93 cents a pound in your Whole foods, doesn't mean it's the same across the country.

    Some of you need to pull your heads out of your asses.

    I'm sure all of you who buy organic also drive gas guzzling SUVs and consume Starbucks at least twice a day and don't bring a reusable cup. Hypocrites.

  18. Rebecca April 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    Love this post – such great advice!!!So true about teaching kids at all ages and talking openly about food – it doesn't always work in this house, but the least we can do it try

  19. Kelly B. April 18, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    Great post! My own blog is based on what I'm feeding my kids, and we are a very ordinary, middle class family on a tight budget. My kids will eat anything because I started them that way from day one. http://www.graysonandharper.blogspot.com

    I TOTALLY agree with not hiding vegetables in food. In fact, I think I'll blog about the subject tomorrow.

  20. Blake April 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Love this. My daughter (14 months) loves avovado, green beans, sweet potatoes, asparagus, fruits, etc. People are always shocked that she eats them. It's funny. Thanks for the links too!

  21. Stepshep April 18, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

    ACK! Anonymous people are getting mad at me. To specify specifically where I live: Lima, Ohio where the average household income is $27,000 and my avocado pricing came from phoning the Walmart across the street…no Whole Foods here. Drive a Ford Taurus (late 90s) and hate coffee period (so no Starbucks, though I think we have…2 in the whole city?). One at the college bookstore in a township outside the city and another in one of the hospitals. That's besides the point. My comment wasn't meant as an insult, and it appears it was takes as such. All I was saying is that calling someone an elitist because they recommend a handful of foods (I find I like frozen starwberries better than "fresh" ones anyways) without knowing the person and seeing that they obviously had good intentions in writing it…I thought the attacks on her character were misplaced and tried to say that in an ineffective way.

  22. Another Suburban Mom April 18, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

    Great post. Can I also recommend the power of cheese.

    Getting my son to eat veggies was torture, but now I grate some fresh Parmesan or cheddar on his veggies, or give him a little goat cheese to dip the veggies in and they are getting eaten.

  23. Samantha April 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    I REALLY recommend AGAINST giving an infant mashed avocado and banana. It's VERY unhealthy for them. Even for adults, avocados are very fatty. Giving an infant mashed avocado is begging for gastrointestinal distress and potential steatorrhea.

  24. Laura April 18, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    I'm not sure why you guys are arguing over the availability of avocados. It was a SUGGESTION. If you don't have avocados then find something else. The author suggested avocados because they can be easily mashed, as can bananas.

    The main principles of the article are still the same:

    1. Start young
    2. Don't give them another option
    3. Roast or Sautee rather than fry
    4. Add to Pasta sauce
    5. Cut into fun shapes
    6. Puree them into smoothies

    No one is saying you have to buy them organic at whole foods and donate to "Save the Whales" on the way out.

    And what is with all the people claiming this post is snobbish? Like people who eat avocados are rich and live in mansions in California?

    I eat (and love) avocados because I live in Fallbrook, California which is where they are grown locally. I eat them because they are LITERALLY the cheapest produce available. Avocados here cost less than lettuce. I don't consider myself to have some sort of "snobbish" lifestyle either. With a husband deployed to a combat zone in the middle east and no job, I really would beg to differ with anyone who calls me an elitist because I live in an area with avocados.

    But if you don't, use the resources you have and make it work. Don't use "I don't have access to reasonably-priced avocados" as an excuse.

    I've never been in a store that didn't sell bananas or at least apples and lettuce. Or even the frozen vegetables. Start there. Start each meal with a simple salad and tell them they can't start eating the actual cooked meal until their salad is finished.

    Put some extra veggies in spaghetti sauce, like carrots, or even frozen veggies. Those are pretty cheap. Or just buy "chunky" sauce (better than nothing).

    And just a tip for people who shop in bulk, what I do if I see certain veggies on sale is I buy a bunch, blanch them, and freeze them. I got 3 lbs of strawberries from Costco the other day for $5. Do I really need 3 lbs of strawberries this week? No. But I bought them, washed them, cut them, and then froze them. I do the same thing with squash, broccoli, bell peppers, and carrots.

    So you CAN shop in bulk, shop sales, and buy the available produce and still make it work. You don't need to be a "food snob". I think this post was great.

  25. Laura April 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    Samantha, that's actually not correct. Avocados do have a high fat content for a fruit, but it's the mono-unsaturated fats, which are actually a nutritional requirement and help in brain development and growth. They're also very high in nutrients and vitamins and minerals.

    For an adult, an avocado is actually a GREAT food to eat, as it is cholesterol free. Don't be so scared of the fat content, as it's the good fat (yes, there is such a thing as good fat).

    Feeding a baby a diet of all mashed avocados isn't going to be good, but neither is feeding a baby a diet of refined baby cereals and sugary mashed baby foods.

    Infants do NOT need to be on a "low fat" diet.

    The point of starting with mashed avocado and banana is to get them acquired to the taste of vegetables, so you don't have to feed them THAT much.

    I'd suggest start by mixing mashed avocado with a little applesauce, banana or even some yogurt and go from there.

    Infants eating avocados is perfectly acceptable. Plus the soluble fiber content actually makes them very digestible.

  26. Kelly B. April 19, 2010 at 12:16 am #

    From Dr. Sears, http://www.askdrsears.com/html/3/T032000.asp

    Avocados are, in our opinion, an ideal food for babies. The avocado's smooth, creamy consistency makes it a fresh fruit even a baby can enjoy. Low in sodium and cholesterol-free, avocados contain such valuable nutrients as vitamin A, vitamin B-6, folic acid, niacin, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Ounce-for-ounce avocados contain more potassium than 45 other fruits, juices, or vegetables, including bananas, peaches, carrots, and green beans, and they are one of the only fruits that contain monounsaturated fats, which are essential for your baby's development. Avocados are higher in calories than any other fruit or vegetable. This is a plus for babies, since feeding infants calls for nutrient-dense foods , foods that contain a lot of nutrition per unit of weight and volume. Ripe avocados can be served without any cooking; a time-saver for mom and dad. To prepare, cut in half around the entire circumference of the seed. Grab a half in each hand and twist to remove the seed. Scoop out the meat inside and mash with a fork, or simply spoon-feed directly from the shell. For variety, avocados can be mixed with apple or pear sauce, cooked squash, or sweet potatoes. One of the reasons why avocados are one of the Sears' favorite foods for babies, infants, and children is their versatility. You can do so much with them, as can babies. Avocados can be spread, scooped, mashed, and made into guacamole for children (avocado dip without the strong spices).

  27. Aaron April 19, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    I love point 2. I was a really picky eater when I was growing up, but I ended up getting knocked out of it when I went away for two weeks and literally had no other options to eat than what I was served. If I thought I wouldn't like it, tough, because it was either that or eat nothing.

    That small stretch alone did wonders in making me more tolerant about what I eat.

  28. Anonymous April 19, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    I couldn't see any credentials for the anti-soy propaganda. However, soy is a legume and eaten as a whole food is incredibly healthy. Even tofu is much less processed than a lot of other options.
    See T. Colin Campbell's website. He is a career nutrition researcher at a top nutrition school. http://www.tcolincampbell.org/courses-resources/article/soy-and-your-health/?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=76&cHash=ddcd58da85

  29. Anonymous April 19, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    Many people read this blog, so your first suggestion about skipping rice cereal bothers me. I'm afraid too many of them may take your advice. First, there are many different versions of cereal to choose from, even organic kinds. Basically, you are suggesting people go from formula or breastmilk to a smashed avacado or banana. Babies need to be introduced to solids at a very slow rate. Not every baby's digestive system is mature enough to handle fatty (good fat included) foods yet. The rice cereal gets them accustomed to the idea of solids and swallowing. You forgot to say that if you do decide to go straight to the avocado or banana, to puree it and add a liquid until it pours off the spoon. You do need to introduce one type of food at a time, as mentioned above, to look for food allergies, hence, the 4-day rule. I'm all for sharing baby food recipes and getting your kids to eat healthy ideas, but your first suggestion can be risky. At the very least, add a sentence that says, "after you have consulted your pediatrician." I don't want to come off mean, I think your other ideas are great. However, it can be dangerous to not give the full information. Especially when you proclaim this opinion to be the most important.

  30. dailygreenbar April 19, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    I agree about green smoothies (water/greens/fruit -and you can use avocado) They are an easy way to get kids/teenagers into healthy great tasting fresh food-I have seen both these age groups asking for more once they get over the color! They are also perfect for schools -easy quick minimum of preparation and nutritionally packed. The ultimate healthy fast food!
    The greens can be grown locally or at the school garden as part of the curriculum. They just have to be "marketed" the right way for instant appeal.

  31. ElleBee April 19, 2010 at 1:19 am #

    While I don't agree with the blatant bitterness/anger (and "anonymous" commenters make me crazy), I totally understand the premise behind folks' frustration. Yes, fresh fruits and vegetables are more expensive. Yes, sometimes they're more difficult to get, depending on your location. The bottom line, though, is this: vegetables and fruits are good for you and your children.

    I do most of my shopping at Aldi (www.aldi.com), take advantage of the Angel Food Ministries food program (www.angelfoodministries.com). My husband and I have two children and one on the way. I work full-time and my husband is on medical disability. I buy a lot of frozen vegetables and even some canned ones. We usually keep fresh tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and yes, avocado (my husband is Mexican, avocados and tortillas are staples in our house) on hand. We make it a point to have apples and bananas almost all the time, and grapes, pears and oranges make their appearances as well. It's really a matter of prioritizing grocery budgets for us.

    The important thing is to eat fruits and vegetables. If your only options are frozen or canned, they're certainly better than nothing. At every meal, we have at least one, if not two vegetable options. My four year-old would eat broccoli every single day. Both boys could sit down and eat a whole large cucumber each. When my oldest was starting on finger foods, he would eat canned sliced carrots like candy. He'd have eaten a whole can if I let him!

    I'm thrilled that my boys love vegetables. Yes, I'd love to be able to give them the very best, freshest produce all the time. It's not practical (and sometimes not available). This doesn't mean that I can't give them healthy choices. A serving of canned green beans or frozen broccoli is better than no vegetables at all.

  32. Mrs. Q April 19, 2010 at 1:45 am #

    Thanks to all the posted!

    I'd like everyone to keep in mind that this is one poster's opinion and she is not a medical doctor. While she may advocate bananas or avocado as a first food over rice cereal, most people consult with their pediatrician about what is right for their baby. For example, the advice we received from our doctor was rice cereal and mashed bananas.

    Commenters who point out their opinions are fine, but I hope everyone uses critical thinking skills to make their own decisions regarding what they feed their children with the medical advice of their pediatrician.

    Also I love anonymous posters who attack others! Don't get your undies in a bunch — it's one blog post.

    On that note, I'm closing comments on this one! Have a great night!

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