Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Why Home Cooked Meals Are Best for Babies and What to Do If You Just Dont Have the Time


Our second guest blog post is by Kerstin Kühn, an internationally acclaimed food writer and journalist, and obsessive foodie. Inspired by her daughter, Maxine, for whom she created a magical range of homemade baby purées, Kerstin took the plunge into mompreneurship and launched Little Foodie Club to teach more babies about healthy, adventurous eating. She has made it her life's work to help other moms (and dads) to feed their babies the freshest, tastiest and healthiest food possible even if they don't have the time or inspiration to cook it themselves. Her curated meal plans, developed in conjunction with leading pediatricians, expose babies to an evolving range of delicious flavors and organic ingredients from the very first mouthful. 


As adults, we care about what we eat. We buy organic vegetables, pasture-raised meats and generally aim to eat freshly cooked meals over store-bought ready meals, not only because it tastes better but because we understand that processed foods aren’t good for us. They’re full of additives, preservatives, sugar and salt and excess consumption of processed foods, we know, can lead to all sorts of health problems. 

So why do so many of us not apply the same logic when it comes to feeding our babies? 
 
There have been a variety of scientific research projects dedicated to what determines our food preferences and why some people prefer healthy over unhealthy foods. Many of these studies have found that this starts at the very beginning and our diet during infancy can significantly shape our lifelong eating habits. It has been shown that babies who are repeatedly offered a variety of fresh, home-cooked vegetables as opposed processed vegetables out of a jar or pouch, are more willing to try, accept and like vegetables when they grow up. 

It makes sense: Imagine you have never eaten food before; you have never experienced the taste of anything. Your palate is essentially a blank canvas, experiencing every single new taste for the very first time. Each time you taste something, it leaves a lasting imprint on your palate – in scientific terms it affects your neurophysiological make up, which means your palate slowly grows used to the foods that you are being exposed to and you start to like and prefer these foods as they’re the only things you know. 

So if a baby is introduced right from the very start to fresh vegetables and given a variety of different fresh vegetables during the introduction to solids process, his or her palate not only grows used to eating fresh vegetables but will grow to like and prefer fresh vegetables to other foods. What’s more if a baby’s palate gets used to experiencing new flavors on a regular basis, he will grow up more willing and open to trying new foods when he’s older as, right from the start, he’s gotten used to trying new foods. 

On the flipside, if you expose your baby to rice cereal during the introduction to solid foods, you're getting his palate used to flavorless carbohydrates. Studies have shown that babies who are started on solids with rice cereal are more likely to be obese later in life and grow up to prefer carb-heavy foods like white bread or plain pasta for instance. 

What about vegetables out of jars and pouches – they’re organic and good for babies, right? Not right at all.  

Commercially made baby food is mass produced, includes bulking and thickening agents like water and refined starches that are devoid of any nutrients and to achieve a shelf life of two or three years, it is heated up to extreme temperatures which not only kill all possible bacteria but also all nutrients. In fact the nutrients that are listed on the back of a baby pouch are added synthetically at the end. There was a study in the UK a few years ago that examined commercial baby food and found that it has less than 50% of the nutritional value than home-cooked baby food. So your baby would need to eat twice the amount of baby food out of a jar to get the same nutritional value as the same food made fresh. 

And that's just the start of it. Scientific research has found that some commercial baby foods contain dangerous toxins such as lead or arsenic. Studies have also shown that some manufacturers replace real food with water and thickening agents meaning their baby foods only provide a fraction of the nutrients of home-cooked baby food made from fresh ingredients.  

When it comes to taste, commercial baby food has no resemblance in taste or texture to the real deal. Mixed with water and fruit, and dumbed down in taste and texture, it gets babies’ palates used to a watered down or sweetened version of what vegetables really taste like. And when kids eat the real deal – a real piece of broccoli as opposed to a puree out of a pouch – they are overwhelmed by the intensity of the flavor of real vegetables and they reject them in favor of blander tasting, processed foods. 

So not only is home-cooked, fresh baby food much healthier, it can also help to lay the foundation of healthy eating habits for a lifetime to come.

Little Foodie Club baby purées are the real deal: handmade in small batches from fresh organic ingredients and free from anything artificial, preservatives, sugar or salt. Our recipes are unlike anything else out there, with smart ingredient combinations and complimentary herbs and gentle spices creating truly delicious dishes that tantalize tiny taste buds. Our diverse and unique range of baby purées takes care of a baby’s complete dietary needs while at the same time helping to develop a healthy and adventurous palate. If you don't have the time or inspiration to cook baby food but want to feel confident that your baby is getting the best food possible, Little Foodie Club is the service for you. 

Non-Toxic Munchkin followers can receive a 20% discount on their first month of any new Little Foodie Club subscription meal plan with promo code: NONTOXICMUNCHKIN.  Head over to Little Foodie Club's website  (its super easy to use and figure out what works best for your little one- and you can cancel any time) to sign up and try it out!



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