Posts Tagged 'new foods'

10 Days or 10 Years

 

I have been advising parents and child care workers that a young child (ages 1-5) may need to see a new food 8-10 times before they may choose to eat it.  This
recommendation is based on peer reviewed studies from the best nutrition based
journals.  I guess none of these studies had enough time or money to study children over ten years.  Well I did. Granted my study population consists only of 1 child, my son.  However I have seen remarkable new food preferences and habits develop over the years, with a crescendo this year when he voluntarily started asking for and eating broccoli, eggs, and mixed green salad that includes raw spinach, carrots, jicama, red peppers and other vegetables.

My son’s case is even more poignant, as for 3 years he had not grown in height and he preferred fun foods to most healthy foods.  Last fall he was diagnosed with
Crohn’s, an autoimmune disease that strikes at the digestive tract.  Many children with Crohn’s have stunted growth.  Then my son started receiving treatment for Crohn’s.  He started to grow (3 inches in 9 months), and started to eat a wider variety of foods.  I believe that now that his body can absorb the nutrients it needed to support growth; it demands that he consume them.

So, keep eating what you want your child to eat.  Offer a variety of foods.  Give no food more or less distinction beyond being a healthy food or a food just for fun.
Then sit back and watch the show.  I have seen my daughter gravitate to dairy foods, which she had previously shunned, as she reached her pre-teen years.  This is a time when the body needs more calcium and without knowing this she asked for cheese, pizza, and yogurt.  My son has gone in and out of wanting raisinsin his lunch.  When he didn’t want them he told me that he hates raisins.  But then some months later he would ask for them.

Keep doing what you know you should do.  It may take 10 days or even 10 years for the message to sink in.  But once a child chooses to eat a food, they will eat it for a lifetime.  This cannot be said for foods a child is forced to eat.

 

Beverly Pressey is a Registered
Dietician with Master’s degrees in Education and Nutrition and
specializes in working with care givers of babies and children.  Beverly
has worked with individuals, presented at conferences, consulted with child
care centers, taught continuing education and college classes, and presented at
numerous parent groups.  As an experienced counselor, cook, teacher,
speaker and a mother of 2, she has a realistic understanding of infant/child
eating patterns plus the perspective of a busy parent.  Beverly lives in
Seattle, Washington, find out more about her and her book at www.creatinghealthyeaters.com

 

 

 

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Berry Season

Yes, it is finally spring.  Even if your weather is not as spring-like as you may like, there are other signs.  Spring foods are showing up in the markets.  Asparagus is one indicator.  But think strawberries if you are feeding children.  Even some of our youngest eaters, perhaps at age 9-10 months, can eat bits of fresh strawberries.  After strawberry season look for raspberries in June, blueberries in July, and blackberries in August.

Serve the berries as soon as possible after purchasing, fresh is best.  Even better, pick your own berries.  Look for “U-Pick” farms in your area.  The native wild strawberries (small and irregular in shape) are the sweetest.  You can easily find blueberries and blackberries growing wild.  Blueberries are easy for young children to pick as many are low to the ground.  Blackberries may be difficult as the plants are covered with prickers.  One way to allow small children to pick these with more ease is to take a shears and cut off a large branch from the blackberry bush.  Lay the branch on the ground and let the kids pick, or eat, blackberries from this branch.  Let your child really taste the natural sweetness of the fruit.  Why alter a berry by covering it in sauce, cream, or baking with loads of sugar?  If you find you have picked too many berries to eat within the next several days, they freeze well.  Lay the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  When they are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag. 

There are also some great children’s books about berries.  My two favorite are “Jam Berry” and “The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear”.   Both books have beautiful pictures of ripe berries.  “Jam Berry” will be enjoyed by even the youngest baby as it has a wonderfully entrancing rhythm and rhyme. “ The Big Hungry Bear” has a delightful, yet suspenseful story that can be enjoyed by the reader as well as young children.

New Foods For New Babies

Food introduction for new parents can be daunting.  There are many books, charts and experts to tell you what to do and how to do it.  But by observing your child you will know more than the experts.  To get started, here are several simple reminders:

  • Make sure your child is ready for solids.  You will know when this happens as your child will, all of a sudden, intently focus on you when you eat.
  • Offer any food that is the proper consistency.  (Think applesauce, or a little thinner.)  You don’t have to start with rice cereal, or offer vegetables before fruits.  Meats or fish, if they are moist and the consistency of applesauce are as good as pureed carrots or blended bananas.  The only food NOT to offer is honey, either room temperature or cooked into a food.  Honey may contain a heat-resistant botulism that can be fatal to infants.
  • It is not your job to get your child to eat.  Just offer a small amount of food on a small spoon—if your child opens his or her mouth, put the food in.  If your child pushed is out with their tongue or gag after 2 tries, stop.  Decrease the thickness of the food. 
  • A grimace is not an indication that your child does not want the food again.  Watch what your child does when you offer the next spoonful.  Only top feeding when your child does not open his or her mouth when the spoon approaches, pushes the food away, or keeps looking away. 
  • Offer only one new food every 3rd day.  After each new food look for signs of allergy, including but not limited to vomiting, rash, swelling of lips or tongue, or diarrhea.  If there is any breathing difficulty, call 911 immediately.
  • Mindful parents don’t entertain at mealtimes and don’t distract the eating process with games, video or music.  Let your child set the pace of the feeding.  Let them decide when they have had enough to eat, whether they ate nothing or more than they have ever eaten before.
  • Your child knows best what they need.  Remember that children’s eating patterns are inconsistent.  Eating a certain amount one day does not mean that the child will usually eat this amount.  Eating or rejecting a food one day does not mean they will eat or reject the same food any other day.  Food acceptance and quantity will change day-to-day and meal to meal. 

New Foods for New Babies

Food introduction for new parents can be daunting. There are many books, charts and experts to tell you what to do and how to do it. My book “Simple and Savvy Strategies for Creating Healthy Eaters” condenses this information and makes eating with your new eater stress free and fun. To get started, here are several simple rules to remember:

• Make sure your child is ready for solids. You will know when this happens as your child will, all of a sudden, intently focus on you when you eat.

• Offer any food that is the proper consistency. (Think applesauce, or a little thinner.) You don’t have to start with rice cereal, or offer vegetables before fruits. Meats or fish, if they are moist and the consistency of applesauce are as good as pureed carrots or blended bananas.

• The only food NOT to offer is honey, either room temperature or cooked into a food. Honey may contain a heat resistant botulism that can be fatal to infants.

• Don’t entertain, just offer a small amount of food on a small food—if your child opens his or her mouth, put the food in. If your child pushed is out with their tongue or gags after 2 tries, stop. Decrease the thickness of the food.

• A grimace is not an indication that children do not want the food again. Stop feeding when your child does not open his or her mouth when the spoon approaches, pushes the food away, or keeps looking away.

• Offer only one new food every 3rd day. After each new food look for signs of allergy, including but not limited to vomiting, rash, swelling of lips or tongue, or diarrhea. If there is any breathing difficulty, call 911 immediately.

• Let your child be involved in the process. Don’t let them be distracted with TV, videos, games, toys, books or loud music. Let them set the pace of the feeding. Let them decide when they have had enough to eat, whether they ate nothing or more than they have ever eaten before.

• Remember that children’s eating patterns are inconsistent. Eating a certain amount one day does not mean that the child will usually eat this amount. Eating or rejecting a food does one day does not mean they will eat or reject the same food any other day. Food acceptance and quantity will change day to day and meal to meal.