{The Highchair Chronicles} Let them Eat....Everything!

{Quentin eats, photo by Jennifer Martine}

Babe: Quentin
Mama: Jennifer
Q's Birthday: September 17

Isn't it strange that you can actually make a friend through Twitter? Jennifer Martine is my first and best twitter friend. {I guess that makes us BTFs}. I knew her name because she photographed the gorgeous photos in my friend Louisa's luminous book, Lucid Food. I started following Jennifer on Twitter to keep up with her pretty pictures, and when we figured out we had babes  about the same, age, we started talking purees. Before long, we were trading photos of our kiddos feasting on their first forkfuls of our yummy creations. Today's Jennifer's birthday, and I thought it would make her day to share a classic shot of her feeding her beautiful boy, Quentin, who just turned one, and along with it, what she's learned since he first hit the chair. I love her breezy, mother's-instinct-is-best approach to feeding, and I think you will too: 
"When I started feeding Quentin solids I couldn't believe how quickly he took to it. Maybe we got lucky -- he's just a product of two foodie parents -- I don't know.  But I do think there had to be something about the encouraging (nom, nom, nom) sounds I would make and the smile on my face that made him feel comfortable about it. I also did my best to time the feedings after a small bottle so that he wasn't totally starving and frantic but also got his taste buds going. I would mash up banana and avocado, add some whipped up peas and just experiment away. Sometimes, I would just think in general of the equation of something sweet + something savory+ something really healthy. Broccoli+Apples+Banana or Squash+Banana+Avocado. Then we started whizzing up some of whatever we were eating like pasta or chicken and potato. Only a couple of times Quentin not like the texture of something or if it was too bland he would get bored. I was amazed at how easily he took to different flavors,even spicy or garlicy stuff, he just loved it all! 

Then as he got more into it I started giving him things he could feed himself like big slices of oranges, teething biscuits and and those puffs you can buy that dissolve easily. As he got more experienced I tried different textures and chunkier mixtures. You could tell that he was learning how to chew things long enough to swallow and I trusted him to figure it out. It was hard at first not worrying that he was going to choke on something all the time and I had to give him the chance to learn how to chew big bites. Now he eats with abandon. Savory, spicy, sweet, sour. He eats what we eat, we feed him off of our plate, we let him try to feed us, etc. etc. We just make it fun, we don't stress and let him taste just about everything." 
There are many awesome ideas for feeding your babes that come from Jennifer and her hubby Tyler's experience feeding Quentin, and their attitudes around food, but here are my two faves: 

Rule #2: Let them taste everything {as long as it's safe}: 
Yes, there's a little list foods that are generally known to be unhealthful, too acidic or higher risk for allergies for babes under one {like citrus, peanut butter and cows milk}. Talk to your pediatrician for guidance. Beyond that, feed your babies FLAVOR!  Don't assume they won't like a food because it's too "grown up" or because you don't like it. Babies like sweet, sour, spicy and savory--even garlic-- just like we do! 

Rule #3: Create a formula that works: 
When you start combining foods, create a go-to formula that makes meal planning and preparation easier, like Jennifer's": something sweet + something savory+ something really healthy. Try Broccoli+Apples+Banana or Squash+Banana+Avocado or Pears, Peas and Avocado. 

What are your food formulas and favorite combos to keep your little ones engaged in their thrones? 


Kruane said...

Lovely post!

My little ones are well beyond purees, but are still exploring the world of food. And what Jennifer says is true. If it has flavor they usually like it.

At the puree stage, once the little ones could eat eggs, I used them as a vehicle for new flavors. My docs recommended eating scrambled yolks before whites, so I would blend egg yolks with a new flavor. Broccoli purees, sweet potatoes and even a few spices and herbs, like cumin or basil. Once they could eat whole eggs, I continued to introduce different flavors this way.

The best stage is when the whole family eats the same dinner. Puree/smash or cut up what you're eating for the little ones...easy and wholesome.

Sarah Copeland said...

Love your ideas Krista! We're big on eggs in our house! Scrambled with garden goodies, soft-boiled, yolk custards (no dairy) with herbs, and we just introduced Greta to egg-salad made with organic yogurt instead of mayo. She loved it, and felt like a real big girl eating a sandwich. So fun.

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Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.