Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Book Review: Super Baby Food; A Day's Worth of Food for Isaac

I have been trying to educate myself as much as I can on nutrition so I can improve our eating habits and raise Isaac to be a healthy eater. One of my favorite bloggers, MckMama, is an inspiration in the area of childhood nutrition. She feeds her kids all sorts of healthy fare (and they gobble it up gleefully), so I snatched up her suggestion and bought the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.

Overall, the book has helped me a great deal. It has a section on making your own baby cereal (she calls it Super Porridge, which I'll get into later) that I have put to daily use in our house. She tells you how to incorporate stuff into your baby's diet that I wouldn't have known what to do with--lentils, dried beans, flax meal, wheat germ, kale, tofu, etc. On top of that, it's actually pretty easy, too! It's worth the time to read and learn how to make your own homemade "Super Baby Food." It's tons cheaper and healthier than that jarred stuff.

I can't recommend the book without a few caveats:
  • She recommends giving babies and toddlers nuts and seeds. In most pediatricians' eyes, this is a big no-no! She does encourage you to get your pedi's advice before starting any meal plan, but I wish she'd left out the nuts and seeds. When I asked my pedi about the book and whether I could give those things to Isaac after he turned a year, she looked at me like I was crazy. The only seed she approved was flax seed.
  • The book is not well-organized and is very wordy. She incoporates lots of "tips" which largely just take up space.
  • Sometimes she makes things sound overly complicated. She'll go on for a couple of pages about how to do something, when basically it can be summed up with, "Put the whole oats in the blender. Blend for 2 minutes. Voila! You have ground oatmeal! "
She advocates feeding the baby "Super Porridge" in the morning, which is the main meal. It's just cooked oatmeal, rice, or some other grain mixed with fruit, veggies, and/or other nutritional stuff. Here's what mine looks like that I make for Isaac:

He LOVES this. It's ground oatmeal, organic cherry applesauce, flax meal, and wheat germ. I change it up and use different fruits or grains, but this is the crux of it. (If you're interested, the oatmeal part is easy, but it does take a few minutes. Boil 1 cup of water in a small pot. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of ground oatmeal in the water. Stir. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occassionally.) You can't tell in the pic, but that's a big adult-sized cereal bowl. He eats the whole thing!!

Yaron recommends having a second meal based on yogurt, and we typically do that. I buy organic whole milk yogurt (whatever is on sale at Sprouts!) and mix it with whatever fruit I have on hand--some combination of peaches, bananas, strawberries, kiwi, or blueberries. I load it all in my trust mini food processor (this thing is the workhorse of my kitchen and gets used at least once a day!) and blend away.

It winds up looking something like this:

Making this for Isaac's lunch is good for me, too. After I make his, I make some for myself (with nonfat vanilla yogurt, fruit, wheat germ, flax, and sunflower seeds). Yum!!

Once your baby can handle a little bit chunkier food, you can just buy bags of frozen fruit (with no icky preservatives!) and keep them in the freezer. When it's time to make the yogurt smoothie, grab your frozen fruit, add a fresh banana or whatever you have on hand, and blend!

I also make my own veggie and fruit cubes. This is the part that saves me some serious money. For example, I spent about $4 on one big organic butternut squash, and I got this gallon-sized bag of baby food out of it. It's the equivalent of at least a dozen of those level 2 baby food jars.

Yaron covers pretty much every type of veggie and fruit puree in her book, or you can go here to learn how to make several of them. The easiest ones to me (and the ones that are almost always in my freezer) are squash, sweet potatoes, blueberries, peas, and carrots. I use these ice cube trays (I actually verified with the company that they contain no BPA) that have covers on them to freeze my purees, then I just store the cubes in freezer bags.

Isaac normally eats about 6 cubes of veggies at dinner, then finishes the meal off with some Cascadian Farms Purely O's (the best organic O-shaped cereal, with no sugar added). He has some of those or some other finger food at lunch, too. We'll be working in some more beans and tofu soon. He also has a scrambled or hard-boiled egg a couple of times a week.

Well, there you have it! That's what Isaac eats in a day, influenced greatly by Ruth Yaron's book Super Baby Food.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I miss having babies =)

I do like our new stage in life of no diapers, but I do miss having babies. I miss the babyfood, diapers and all the baby fun.

Enjoy them while they are little. I know my youngest is only 4, but he is not a baby and they do grow up fast.

Look at my Josh, going to be 11yrs. this May.