When choosing food for Lewis I try to stick mainly with things that are fresh, healthy, not too processed, etc. I also try to give him a lot of variety and introduce “new” things so that he can experience all different tastes/textures/etc in his food. When he has something more processed or unhealthy it is usually because he has seen Chris and I eating it (mac & cheese, etc.) or because we are outside of our usual routine and eating things we don’t normally have around (graham crackers for s’mores while at camp).
We give him lunch and dinner regularly every day, although most of his nutrition still comes from breast milk and his “meals” just supplement that. Because of this I don’t worry too much about giving him a fully balanced meal with fruit/veg/protein/grains/etc. He seems to get overwhelmed when I offer too many things at once and prefers to focus on 2 or 3 different things to eat. Instead of balancing out each meal I try to give him a balance through-out the day. If he has fruit and yogurt for lunch then dinner might be some kind of grain and veggies.
Of course he has his preferences and like so many other kids his favorite things to eat are fruit, yogurt, fruit, crackers, fruit, and cheese. He enjoys meat when we give it to him but we only eat meat a few times a week as a family, and although he enjoys it he will usually only eat a few bites because it is difficult to manage. Veggies he loves to snack on raw, but can’t easily eat more than a few nibbles with his four little teeth, and most of the time he thinks that cooked veggies are best for squishing in your hands and/or throwing onto the floor.
So, like so many Mamas before me, I find myself trying to think of new ways to get a few more veggies into his diet.
Earlier this week Chris and I were having salads for dinner, which is one of the few meals that he can’t really share with us. (Try chewing lettuce with just your front four teeth. Not happening.) Lewis had already had yogurt and blueberries for lunch and some pineapple and banana for a snack, so I really wanted to find a way to offer him some vegetables. I remembered we had rice cakes, and pretty much anything you give him smeared on a rice cake (or on toast, etc.) he will lick off and ask for more, so I started to try to think about what we could put on a rice cake.
My thoughts wandered to a kohlrabi we had from the CSA box, with no plan to use it. After looking around online I found a website where they mentioned how delicious a carrot and kohlrabi puree is. Perfect! The only problem is that since we did Baby Led Weaning and skipped purees I’m not that experienced with making pureed food. I managed to figure it out with help of my immersion blender.
We sat down to dinner and I handed him a spoon pre-loaded with the veggie mash. He happily popped it into his mouth, probably expecting delicious yogurt again. He then preceded to make a face and try to scrape the mash off his tongue with his fingers. Huh. I guess he doesn’t like that. I got out the rice cakes and give him a plain piece and one with the veggies spread on it. He ate a bit of the veggies off the rice cake, but mostly stuck to the plain one. I’m not sure if his reaction to the mash was due to flavor (but he likes both carrots and kohlrabi raw) or the texture, since he hasn’t been given much mushy or pureed food. Or maybe it was just the surprise of it not tasting like he expected.
The next day for lunch I mixed the leftover puree onto some pasta along with a splash of tomato sauce (which he loves and would eat straight from a spoon). He happily sucked the sauce off his noodles, so I will have to keep this in mind and try other combo-veggie sauces in the future. I ate some with him and even though I only added a small amount of tomato sauce it didn’t taste too different from normal pasta with sauce, so I think this is something we could have for dinner as a family in the future.