Feeding the Beast

I spend a lot of time thinking about what to feed our daughter and how much to feed our daughter.  She’s almost ten months old and has been eating solids since she was six months old.  So far she’s been a pretty good eater but lately I’m noticing she tends to eat at two extremes of the spectrum.  Either she wants soft, easy to swallow purees that I spoon feed to her OR she wants finger foods that she can pick up and eat herself.  The latter of these seems to take forever and makes a mess, which honestly, makes me not want to do it but I know she needs to develop her skill in this area.  So I give her stuff like toast, scrambled eggs, cheerios, and puffs that she can pick up and stuff in her mouth.

I’m trying to ease her into table food but am still worried about some foods – are they too spicy?  Too much salt?  Does it have sugar?  She has no teeth – will she be ok or will she choke?  I’ve also found that as she’s eating more like us and less like a baby, I am buying more processed foods.  For example, over the last week, she’s had bread, butter, frozen peas and blueberries, canned lentil soup, store bought apple sauce, mixed grain cereal and canned pumpkin.  I actually don’t like giving her puffs – I feel like it’s just baby junk food.  The label says Organic, so I feel a little better but really, so what if it’s organic?  Does it have any natural nutritional value?  I’m still feeding her fresh foods like bananas, avocados, oatmeal, quinoa, eggs, edamame, persimmons, sweet potatoes, yams,  and zucchini but if I’m buying her store bought apple sauce, how is that any “better” than buying gerber baby foods?

I guess what I’m struggling with is what’s best for our baby to eat?  In general, I’m keeping her away from too much sodium, stuff that is barely food, and foods that have been stripped of their nutrients.  The crazy part is that most of what we eat DOES have sugar and it DOES have sodium and it IS stripped of so many nutrients.  I’m trying to give my family better food choices but it’s hard in today’s world.  We’ve developed a taste for unhealthy, non-nutrient-rich “foods.”  It’s been a week now that we’ve cut out refined sugars.  And every single day, I feel like drinking soda or an iced tea with high fructose corn syrup based flavors or some halloween candy.  I’ve committed to less fast food too. So what do I do?  I buy chips and some nacho cheese and eat it at home.  It’s my loop hole.  Reality is that it’s really tough for me to be good all the time so we’re taking it one day at a time.

What I’m hoping for is to have significantly reduced all that bad food by the time my daughter can recognize what we’re eating and ask for it too.  I just want her to have good eating habits.  But I also know that if I shelter her from normal foods too much, she might become an overly picky eater.  There must be a balance we can find.  i think the key is to make foods at home as often as possible.  Be in control of our food choices, rather than succumbing to whatever is convenient and offered out there in the world.  Although looking at this week’s meal plan, I realize there are very few veggies and fruits on the list.  And the holidays are coming up.  It won’t be easy to avoid all the sweets.  Man.  I thought feeding our little beast was hard.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize that battling what the beastly food industry is feeding us is harder!

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