Disclaimer: For those of you who know me well, know I preface things far too much. It’s a character flaw, I’m aware. But we live in a world where we jump to conclusions when people state opinions – if I say I like chocolate ice-cream than of course, logically, that means I HATE vanilla…WRONG! This is not how I feel at all, ESPECIALLY around the topic of parenting. Everyone must pick what’s best for their family and their child AND respect others’ choices as well. Just because Brandon and I have made certain choices for RA does not mean those who choose differently are wrong. And, just as an aside, if you haven’t heard it yet today, know that you are an incredible parent and your child is so stinkin’ lucky to be loved by you!
Anyways, one way in which our life on the farm has impacted how we parent has to do with what we choose to feed Romney Ann. It’s not easy and they are not hard and fast rules, but maybe if you’re looking for some ideas on how to make different choices revolving around food for a little one, this might help.
Food is certainly where it all began for our farm. As we continued to learn more about commercial agriculture the more we became picky about the food we purchased and ate in our home. Our nation’s food industry is continually making it more and more difficult to make healthy choices regarding our food, but it isn’t impossible. It does take more effort and planning though, but if you ask me, for our health and for the environment, it’s worth it. These choices Brandon and I were making regarding what we ate were always important to us, but it stepped up to a new level when Romney Ann came along. It is even more important to us to make sure what she eats is as good as possible, as often as we can control it. Here is a little bit about her food journey and what we have done to make it a little more manageable with our crazy schedules.
Up until she was 6 months old, Romney Ann was exclusively breastfed. Once she turned 6 months, we began to introduce foods to her, and we did so with the Baby Led Weaning method. Generally, a child is ready for this around 6 months, but every child is different. The markers we looked for to see if RA was ready were: can she sit independently, can she bring food to her mouth without help, and does she have her first tooth (some say this is necessary, others do not)? This method is all about feeding whole food to your child, not purees, and it is important that your child feeds themselves. One “selling point” for this method is that there is no need to prepare special food or buy baby food from the grocery store. The baby eats what you eat. The only way RA’s meals looked different from ours was the way some things were cut so they would be easier for her to hold onto and manage.
For us, this method made total sense and didn’t require much extra effort at all. We just fed her little tastes of what we were already preparing. She was still nursing, so these meals did not have to be very substantial. But, around 10-11 months old there was a real jump in how much she was eating and it quickly got to where she was eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and nursing. While still sticking with the Baby Led Weaning method, it only got more difficult when we had to prepare and pack meals and snacks for Romney Ann to take to daycare.
Making RA’s lunch everyday has added a bit of chaos to our already crazy mornings, but we stick with easy staples. She loves meat, so usually one-night during the week, most often Sunday, we make sure to cook extra to send with her throughout the week. A few extra hamburgers, another chicken breast, some added ground beef, whatever it might be. We also want to send her with vegetables. It’s great if we have some extras from dinner the night before, but just keeping it simple, we can’t go wrong with some steamed veggies. It only takes 10 minutes and RA loves steamed carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. She usually also gets a fruit or two. It is kind of like we meal prep for our 1 year old. The meat we prepare and send is always meat raised here on farm and her veggies and fruit are sourced from local farms, if possible, and if not, we buy them fresh from the grocery store. Nothing fancy, just keep it simple.
Snacks are what I struggle with the most. Snacks for when you’re on the road, at church, running errands – it’s so hard. Most baby food snacks are slap full of so much sugar it’s outrageous and they’re incredibly processed so they can have a longer shelf life. We totally fall back on the snack staples of cheerios and cheddar bunnies, but I also found this awesome recipe that is super easy to make, and Romney Ann loves them! They are Avocado and Banana Muffins.
1 cup of Flour
1 cup Rolled Oats
1 tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Baking Soda
1 Large Banana
¼ Cup of Milk
113g of Fruit/Veggie Puree (we have used the Peter Rabbit Organics pouches)
Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl.
Mix all wet ingredients in a second bow.
Add and thoroughly mix wet ingredients in with dry ingredients.
I rub a little bit of coconut oil on the muffin pan to help them slip out.
Pour into muffin pan and bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
Makes 12 regular sized muffins.
We usually let them all cool and then put them in a freezer bag and freeze them. When we need a snack for Romney Ann, we just pull one out and pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds and then maybe pop it in the toaster for a little bit. These are great to take with us out and about. She will eat them warm, cold, and room temperature. Because we can freeze them, they’re a great option to make a couple batches at a time and have a stash of them available for whenever we need them.
Like everything regarding a healthier lifestyle, it’s all about baby steps. Maybe you can make these muffins, or find a similar recipe your child likes, and substitute it for just one snack a day. Do you or your child eat eggs in the morning? Maybe you can source them from a local farm? They’re way better for you! It’s strawberry season and it’s a wonderful outing for a family to go, either pick or pick-up, a fresh basket of strawberries! Start small and grow from there. Don’t get so overwhelmed by it all but do recognize that what we put in our bodies is incredibly important. Good luck and I hope this helps!