Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My kid food manifesto and some snack ideas

I have few food rules when it comes to feeding Abby. As with all of my parenting, I start with a vague idea of what I want, adapt where necessary, stay flexible, and carve out a groove, developing and solidifying my tenets over time. I have noticed certain things I seem to be veering toward and they are:

* Provide a huge variety. Keep trying. I want her to eat widely and not be afraid of food or trying new things. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen!

* No added unnecessaries as the norm. They are ok as an exception/special occasion. Not super-fanatical about this, but as I'm in the kitchen half my life anyway, it doesn't hurt to make treats from scratch for her.

* Water or milk to drink. She has either organic cow's milk, soy milk or formula in her bottles. We rotate so she gets used to it all. (not being pretentious with organic bizzo, I just try to buy organic dairy wherever I can. Or stuff from local dairies). She has formula for the one day a week she's at day care, and I personally find it can be useful for added iron + things that veg kids might miss out on. Especially the ones who only eat toast and grapes for a month. Anyway, no juice. I really want to avoid a sweet drink habit for as long as I can.

* No food specifically aimed at gender differences because of my massive personal bias about that. Cheese for girls? Effing ridiculous. 

* Food as close to either it's natural state or what we eat as adults as possible. She's had whole grain bread (WITH the crusts) and natural yogurt and things like that right from the very start. May as well get her used to it now so I'm not forced to cut wonder bread sandwiches into butterfly shapes into high school.

* Food is good, fun, shared with family and hopefully never to become a battleground. They say pick your battles, and food won't be one of them for me.

Pretty normal stuff, I guess. Food is just a huge deal for me in my life and I suppose I think about it more than usual. But part of my wanting to keep food fun, and partly because I'm terrifically laid back inherently lazy, I'm not obsessive or hypersensitive to it. As long as she eats well most of the time, I'm doing my job.

Anyway, onto the snack stuff she's been eating lately...

Cheerios, bananas, halved grapes. Ate the lot. Yes, banana. She's into it now.

A bit of everything to keep it interesting. An apricot, a prune, some dried apple and raisin, a couple of yogurt buttons, sliced pear, grissini, organic puffed rice (from the bulk bins at the health food store) and a kiddo gingerbread man cookie. (Little Bellies brand)

Plain corn cake, string cheese (hated it), blueberries.

Banana chia muffin and kiwi. Loved it all.

Yogurt buttons, flourless orange cake (courtesy of Styling You - delicious!) And Nutri Grain. Not overly a fan but wanted to offer something other than Cheerios for once!

Anyway, there you have it. What she eats and why she eats it. Hope it provides a little inspiration! And as usual, I'd love to hear what you do, and if you have any food rules :)


  1. Great post, you've given me some great snack ideas for my 16 month old daughter. We just got back from Greece where she was introduced to a whole range of new food and has developed a taste for olives which is fantastic as neither her Dad or I like them. She eats them and then spits out the pip!! My general food philosophy is no added sugar, home made (where possible) only water or milk to drink and as close to fresh and natural as possible. Little Miss just had a breakfast of banana, strawberries and a mandarin.  Yep, she loves her food! A x

  2. Love these ideas!

    I think the older Riley gets (even though she's currently in a somewhat fussy period) I realise that more and more as long as things are on offer she will eventually grow out of her sauce must never touch pasta thing (or whatever else it is!) Much better to just let it be and she'll work it out in her own time.

    I switched over to whole milk for both when they were 1. For Riley because if I'd continued to give her formula she would never have eaten anything! And for Piper because she eats so much anyway that it wasn't really necessary. Plus I'm cheap. And milk is cheaper than formula. 
    I do things very differently with Piper and it's hard to tell if she's more adventurous with food as a result or she's just a different character. Either way the fact that she guzzles down curry and broccoli and mushrooms and just about anything you put in front of her is nothing to sneeze at.

  3. I hope Abby likes olives! I love them. Sounds like our philosophies are very, very similar. Love that fruit for breakfast!

  4. I think we'll have more fussy periods too... you just never can tell, can you? Although I do love a kid who eats curry! haha I nerdishly caluculated the cost per bottle of formula vs milk, and because I buy organic milk, the price was .2c difference. Plus neither Matt or I drink cow's milk so we wanted her to drink soy. But I also didn't want her to be that weird kid who only has soy in the fridge when friends come for sleepovers - social suicide! I remember going to friend's houses and dying if they only had skim milk. gross!

  5. I am loving your philiosophy on food with your little one...when my husband and I have children one day, this is exactly what I would love to provide for them...home made food, not too much sugar and pleanty of variety! My husband came from a family that only ever had steak, eggs and potato for dinner, and he was always afriad to try new foods....after 7 years though I have managed to turn him on to more veggies, and different cuisines. I'm sure your darling little girl will grow up enjoying her food just as much as her Mama and Papa.
    x Molly

  6. Oh no! How boring! I have friends like this, and I guess that's what prompted me to not cut her food choices short so early. It's so hard to try new things as an adult, I'm impressed your husband eventually relented! Imagine life without Thai food...

  7. flyingdrunkenmonkeyJuly 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Love your approach! We did Baby Led Weaning with Lily and I think it's the best thing we ever did. She's currently going through a defiant age but will normally eat anything we put in front of her - we always get comments when she's eating sushi and she loves chilli and fetta and all things that people don't expect "babies" to eat. As I said she's being defiant now and will only eat noodles or bread or yoghurt but I know she can and will eat other things. It's so damn important to me that she grows up with a love of good, healthy food. She also really loves to help in the kitchen and will probably cook from a really early age - something I didn't do. I suppose it helps that Mr Monkey is a chef :)

  8. flyingdrunkenmonkeyJuly 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Oh and wanted to add that I also don't give Lily juice - she either has milk or water. (except for a Boost when we go shopping but she doesn't know that's juice! :p). My mum gave her juice once when I wasn't with her and now she asks for juice every time she's with Granny. 

  9. Ha isn't the phase weird?! Abby went from eating everything, to that whole toast and grape phase. Now she eats everything again, except for cheese and pear. I sort of did mostly baby led weaning, especially from about seven months on. I was interested in seeing what she chose and interested in seeing how she developed if she was left to her own devices. I'm so glad I did, because she eats totally independently now and that's going to be awesome when the new baby comes. It's been a messy journey but a productive one! There's not much I won't try on her. And I love when she sits on the bench and "helps" me... I just about die and think I should have 20 more kids :)

  10. sar - AccidentallentilJuly 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    My philosophy's pretty similar to you. Though my 16 mo would eat ONLY cheese if she could. So.much.cheese. It was one of her first words. One thing i remember reading about a LOT was that you should sit down and eat with your kids. That happens at breaky for us but who wants dinner at 5pm? so that doesn't happen. So far it doesn't seem to have ruined her.

  11. Haha we're the opposite! I use her breakfast time to get some stuff done, but I do try to sit with her while she eats at night... cos I ain't eating at 5pm! It's easier now she eats at little table and chairs instead of a high chair. It's actually really cute :)

  12. We're going through such a tough phase at the moment (literally nothing other than veg risotto, ravioli, toasted cheese sandwiches, weetbix, eggs & peas) and it's doing my head in! It's so hard to deal with as it's all healhty (only use wholegrain bread) but she's not getting enough variety. I'm taking a few idea's from this post and hoping for the best :-) xx

  13. My toddler turns 3 tomorrow and he is still only allowed milk or water. Sometimes on a Sunday morning I'll make fresh juice and water that down a bit for him but that's it.

    As for food rules, I have always encouraged him to try different things and have always offered different foods. He loves olives + sushi and has since he could chew! He goes through fussy stages with certain foods but I just keep offering them and he eventually eats them again.

    The baby is finally getting the swing of finger foods now which is lots of fun. Love seeing what you're feeding Veggie Baby for some inspiration!

  14. Finger foods are super-fun! but oh so messy. Oh my goodness :)

  15. Jess @ myheartisyourhomeSeptember 15, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Can I ask where you get your yoghurt buttons from? I have been looking for them in the supermarkets ever since reading this months ago, but I get lost in those places so still havent managed to find them! Do you know what other things they are normally sitting with?

  16. I've not seen them in the supermarkets! Only the yogurt balls in the health food section. I get these from my health food store, out of the bulk bins!