Starting your baby on solid food can often seem like more of an art than a science. There's no “right” way to go about feeding, and you'll get helpful advice from your doctors, friends, and parents. The discouraging part is that most of what you'll hear will directly conflict with something else you've read or been told! This book will navigate these waters with sound, simple reasons for introducing or delaying some particular foods.
Remember, your baby's first foods don't have to be bland and boring, so forget about serving rice cereal at every meal. While grains are a wholesome part of a baby's diet, they don't need to be the staple of your young one's existence. You'll learn to make your own baby rice and baby oatmeal, but cooking for your baby goes far beyond these basics.
As you'll soon find out, cooking for your baby can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Many recipes in this cookbook require only one ingredient, which is exactly how it should be in the early days of your child's life — no one wants their baby eating strange preservatives with names too long to pronounce. This cookbook does away with all those “extras” and will teach you how to serve fresh, healthful meals every day of the week.
Any good cookbook will help you create a variety of meals. What's unique about this book is that everything is tailored to simple, healthful foods that can be prepared quickly and easily. No running to the market for some odd ingredient that's only grown in one tiny corner of the universe! With a few exceptions (such as homemade grape juice, soy milk, and yogurt), these recipes are easy, they make sense, and they can be fed to the entire family. Plus, you'll feel good about what you're feeding your growing baby!
In particular, this book includes recipes that are easily scalable so that you can make full-fledged meals for the rest of the family. Just take out a portion for your baby, then add spices and other flavorings to the rest of the meal to make it enjoyable for adult palates. These recipes may encourage your entire family to try flavor combinations or healthy ingredients that weren't part of your former cooking repertoire.
Also included are nutritional tips about why particular foods have been chosen or paired in the recipes. For example, some nutrients are better absorbed when taken in combination with other foods — vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, for instance, and beans and rice together make a complete protein. Some ingredients, such as parsnips or kiwi fruit, may seem exotic, but your baby doesn't know that! They're chock-full of vitamins and other nutrients. So try them, and you and your baby may discover a new favorite together.
It's important to get your baby used to eating a wide variety of foods, textures, and tastes in her first few years. Studies have shown that good, healthy eating habits need to start early. Many toddlers become picky when they reach two or three years old, but if you've had your child eating a wide range of foods, she'll be more likely to choose a few healthy ones later in life. Your child's first few years represent an important window of opportunity to establish healthy patterns that can help sustain your child for the rest of her life. So get that food processor ready, and prepare to purée!