When baby is ready for solid food, pediatricians often suggest processed rice cereal…white rice cereal. The boxed instant kind is easy on mom, but not best for baby.
David Ludwing, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children’s Hospital. Boston, says there’s no scientific basis for the recommendation that rice is healthier for babies. He says, “That’s a myth.”
By the time baby is sitting up in a highchair, his/her first finger food is a French fry. Why is that? Because it’s what you’re eating! Change what you’re eating, and you will change what baby eats.
Kylie is eating oatmeal, her mom made from whole oats.
If you want to avoid a picky eater, purchase and then eat whole foods yourself. What your baby sees, smells, and tastes will help him/her cultivate their taste buds. Baby has a natural desire to emulate you.
Alan Greene, a pediatrician at Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children Hospital, is encouraging parents to abandon white rice in favor of brown. He’s begun a new campaign, “WhiteOut”, for babies. Greene says that babies are getting hooked on highly processed white rice and flour. This may lead to a lifetime of bad dietary habits.
What we feed babies in the early days, matters for a lifetime. Greene’s WhiteOut is a grand initiative. It’s not only easy to remember, but a healthy cooking philosophy. Cooking brown rice, thinning it with liquid and pureeing it will not only be healthier for baby, but cost a fraction of the processed boxed cereals.
Baby’s First Whole Foods
My 12-month-old grandson, Tristan is staying at our house for over a week. His Granddad and I are having a wonderful time entertaining the little guy. He feeds himself (sans spoon) and pretty much eats the same foods we eat.
The only difference is the food needs to be mashed or chopped really fine: bananas, peas, avocados, and beans. He has scrambled eggs or whole grain oatmeal for breakfast. Sometimes a little chopped chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans for dinner. These foods are easy to puree, especially if you have an inexpensive baby food grinder.
Baby food grinders cost about around $15. They hold a couple of tablespoons of food. You can even grind the food right at the table.
For easy finger food, either chop food really small or get out your hand grater. Wash, peel and then grate carrots, apples, pears, cheese, cucumbers, etc. Tristan loves them all.
This photo of Tristan was taken last October.
Front of the Label Hype
Food manufacturers know how to market to new parents. Call something “nutritious” and even slap the “organic” label on it, so parents will feel good about feeding it to their baby. Processed food is processed food, no matter who the intended market may be.
Happy Baby Organic Puffs is promoted as “finger food for babies.” The label says it’s made with whole grains and fortified with iron, vitamin D, calcium, B vitamins. Rice is the first ingredient. You’d think it was a whole grain, but it’s NOT brown rice. Brown rice is the fourth ingredient. If brown rice is fourth, then white rice is what’s listed first. The key is the word “fortified” on the front of the label. If it’s “fortified” then nutrition is lacking in the product. Don’t be taken in, it’s a white food. This is like purchasing organic potato chips. Because it’s “organic”, it makes you feel better about your choice for junk food.
Dr. Greene’s WhiteOut food philosophy is not only healthy for baby, but for the entire family. Eat brown rice and whole grain brown bread. White potatoes are the least nutritious (so forget mashed potatoes and French fries), substitute orange sweet potatoes. Forgo white pasta, for whole wheat. Pass on white sugar and anything made with white flour (cookies, pancakes, donuts, frozen waffles, and bagels). Your entire family will be healthier for it.