Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Babyfood: Finger Food and "why organic?"

These are some of the foods that I use for finger foods:

(I always take the skins off)
Banana
Avocado
Tofu
Cheese – Kraft makes cheese crumbles with no added growth hormones which are a great size
Cheerios or the organic alternative
Rice puffs – similar to Krispies
Kiwi
melons
Pears
Peaches
waffles cut into sticks
whole grain toast plain or with a very thin layer of fruit puree
quesadillas filled with a protein (usually chiken and/or black beans)and cheese. Sometimes I'll add a few onions and green peppers diced very tiny
Cheese sticks - make sure they're soft cheese

And the messy ones...
Cherries
Blueberries

The following are best steamed and peeled - I use a microwave steam bag.
Apples – steam on HIGH for 3 minutes
Plums
Peeled eggplant
Asparagus – may cause some gas
Carrots – overcook these until really mushy
squash of all kinds
pumpkin
broccoli – may also cause gas
Sweet potato cubes and fries – steam on HIGH for 5-7 minutes (fries are better baked)
New potato cubes - leave the skin on for most nutrients
Black Beans
Green Beans - overcook
Peas - squish first so they don't roll all over
Whole Wheat Pasta - spirals are easier to pick up than anything smooth
Rice balls - use sticky rice
Chicken chunks
Garden Burgers

Most of the steamed produce will stay fresh 4-5 days in the refrigerator, or 2 months in the freezer.

And some combinations:
peas and carrots
fruit salad
cereal and banana
fruit and cottage cheese
Apple cinnamon oatmeal - sticks to a spoon well
black beans and rice
chicken and broccoli (and sometimes cheese)

Make thick "soups" with carrot, pea, bean, etc puree and chicken paired with other veggies. If you're introducing using a spoon, these stick pretty well if you add more protein and veggies than puree. Be prepared for a mess. It makes for great pictures though.


When making our babyfood menu, I try to pair foods that tend to constipate with those that do the opposite. I'll also try to balance out the nutritional values in the foods that I combine when possible so that they're more well rounded. (ie not too many carbs, balanced vitamins, etc)

For breakfast I'll generally feed whole grains and fruits and/or yogurt
Lunch is a protein and a veggie
Dinner is fruit, protein, and a veggie


For slippery foods: crush graham crackers, cereals, puffs, or yogurt bites and then roll some of the fruits or veggies in them. For veggies, many are tasty rolled in parmesan cheese. (even for adults!)Banana (which is super slippery ) is tasty rolled in ground up peach yogurt bites for example.

Why Organic?
Some people have asked me why I chose organic produce over regular fruits and veggies. For me, it's just a personal preference. I like to limit the exposure to chemical pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones if possible because a baby is more sensitive to toxins and hormones than adults are. Will it make a difference? Who knows, but it's an easy precaution to take and doesn't require extra work so why not? Plus have you tasted organic produce? Some it really does taste better.

If you're not totally on board with eating organic, you can also pick and choose. These are some of the items that tend to have higher chemical/hormone exposure:

meat/poultry/eggs/dairy products
apples
pears
peaches
nectarines
cherries
grapes
strawberries
potatoes
celery
bell peppers
spinach

These are some of the items that you could probably get away with not using organic:
bananas
kiwi
mangos
papaya
pineapples
asparagus
avocados
broccoli
onions
cauliflower
sweet peas
sweet corn
(Lists created from info on freshbaby.com)

In the end you just do what you can with the resources you have, right? Truth be told, I do use frozen non-organic cherries in Pickle's diet. I pitted all of those cherries for her babyfood once and I'm not doing it again. Hello, I'd rather spend the time snuggling the kiddo. If they come out with frozen organic cherries then great! I'll use those. Until then, thank you Dole.

Oh and another great resource for finger foods: http://fingerfoods.wetpaint.com/?t=anon

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