Foodie babies share small plates. (pg. 3)
“Foodie Babies Wear Bibs” by Michelle Sinclair Colman, Illustrations by Nathalie Dion
I just love Dion’s illustration on this page with baby flinging peas from her spoon across the room at Mom. And the fact that Mom is trying to dodge them just cracks me up! This illustration is the classic example of what every new parent imagines introducing solid foods to baby might look like. While I luckily haven’t had to dodge foods from K yet, I’ve been able to watch K enjoy “small plates” every day. When looking more carefully at Dion’s illustration, what I love even more is the fact that there is an array of colorful, healthy foods on baby’s plates! In fact, I think this is K’s favorite page in this book for that very reason. Every time (or should I say a million times) we read this page, she makes sure to point out each type of food on the plates, signing and saying each word. In today’s post, I’ll share two simple ways we can “share small plates” that encourage a fun, healthy mealtime!
A R a i n b o w Of Foods Getting a rainbow of colors onto your little foodie’s plate not only ensures your little one is getting a rich variety of vitamins and nutrients but also makes eating a fun learning experience. And by colors, I’m not referring to breaking open a package of rainbow colored goldfish crackers. I’m talking about fresh colorful produce prepared so that it’s soft enough for baby to eat. Here are some great options of each color K enjoys:
Red/Pink/Purple/Blue red bell peppers, radishes, beets, purple yams, purple potatoes tomatoes, red carrots, strawberries, Pink Lady/ Macintosh/Fuji/Gala/Braeburn/Jazz apples, strawberry guavas, pear, cherries, red/purple grapes, plums, pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries, figs, pummelos and watermelons.
Orange carrots, sweet potatoes, orange bell peppers, pumpkin, kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), grapefruit, peaches, apricots, oranges, tangerines, mangoes, persimmon and she has yet to try papayas and kumquats.
Yellow/White corn, yellow carrots, butternut squash, yellow bell peppers, white mushrooms, cauliflowers, onions, potatoes, lemons, pears, Asian pears, pineapples, pineapple guavas, lychee, Golden Delicious/Pippin/Ambrosia/apples, oro blancos and bananas.
Green avocado, beans, peas, zucchini, broccoli, cucumber, spinach, kale, chard, lettuce, cilantro, parsley, Granny Smith apples, green bell pepper, celery, cabbage, limes, kiwi, green grapes and she has yet to try artichokes.
Brown Shitake mushrooms, crimini mushrooms, brown potatoes and dates.
While it does take time, energy and a lot of thought into making sure your little one has a rainbow to eat, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to make things easier on me. A few times a week, I steam/bake a pound of carrots and sweet potatoes and keep them in an airtight glass container so they’re ready to cut/mash. I always have a bag of frozen peas in the freezer and pop a handful onto her plate to get some green in (she loves them frozen)! With whatever veggies, fruit and leafy greens I have available in the fridge, I have her place them into the blender (after washing/peeling of course) so that she sees what will go into her breakfast smoothie. A few times a month, I make a crock pot soup that incorporates an array of colors for our family to enjoy (lasting at least a few days). And if we ever need some extra color, I add a dash of cinnamon, curry, pepper or chopped herbs on top!
Paint a Picture Get creative with your little foodie’s meal by arranging it into a picture your little one would be able to recognize (so for you Picasso’s out there…you might want to tone your creative eye down to a simple picture you might find in a “Baby’s First Picture Book”). One of the pictures (above) in Lois Ehlert’s “Eating the Alphabet,” reminds me of how much fun food on your plate can be. It was neat to see K piece the picture together for the first time and watch her eyes go back and forth between the fruits and veggies, see her lips form into a smile and then finally hear her let out a little chuckle while looking back at me to see if I saw the funny face that she saw! Since I haven’t yet painted a picture on K’s plate (I’m saving this tactic for if or when she isn’t as interested in eating her food) I can’t even say this will work from experience. But, I can bet you a million dollars this would at least get your little one to smile at the food 🙂
How do you share small plates with your foodie baby?