Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pasta, Potatoes, and Yogurt for Babies

Here is an excellent question I recently received:

Dear Mommy Plus Two- I hope you don't mind me asking you a few more questions... So, my little guy is now 8 months and the baby food recipes are getting a little bit more substantial (but enjoyable). Many of the recipes call for yogurt, potatoes and/or pasta. So, for yogurt and pasta (stars), do I just buy the general "people" kinds? Are there certain baby yogurts to mix in? I know my pediatrician said he could have food with milk products, but just not actual milk... Also, I have seen potatoes on the "dirty dozen", so I am assuming I should go organic for those. So far, I have only found organic sweet potatoes, but I will check the farmer's market tomorrow. If you have used organic potatoes, where have you found them?
Thanks again for your time, Cate

 My answer is based on my research, my personal opinions and my personal experiences. I do not represent any company or product.

I don't mind you emailing, calling, texting -- I love talking about little ones -- I am glad my research can help another mommy out. Really -- anytime. As far as pasta, I would use any tiny pasta you want. The stars are good for you to feed the baby. If you want your son to practice feeding himself, I would buy a bit larger pasta –penne or small farfalle (bowties) -- the stars are too hard to pick up, and he will not be able to use a spoon at first. I would put some butter and Parmesan cheese on the noodles -- he'll love it.

As for the potatoes -- If you are just doing potatoes as a side, I would stick with organic sweet potatoes like you have been doing. They have more vitamins -- and he'll move on to white potatoes as he gets older -- everywhere you go out to eat, there are white potatoes. If he is still eating pureed food, this is how I would make the sweet potatoes. Wash them, stick a few holes into them, place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour (until fork tender). Once cool enough for you to handle, peel skin off, and puree (might have to add a touch of water if it is too thick). Then you can serve some to your little one and freeze the rest in ice cube trays. Once it is frozen, pop them out and store in a freezer Ziplock bag.

But when you want to move on to pieces of potato for him to feed himself (I am not sure if he is there yet), I would roast the potatoes. My kids are 3 1/ 2 and 2 and they still love these. I even make them for family dinners – adults love it too. Wash the potatoes, peal them, wash them again, cube into bite sized pieces, place some tin foil on a baking sheet (for easy clean up), place potatoes on foil/ baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, dash of salt, dash of cinnamon spice, and maybe even a bit of maple syrup (organic grade B Trader Joe's house brand—it’s the best). Mix potatoes with your hands to season fully. If you are not sure you want to try cinnamon and maple syrup, you should know they are both good for you and help to make the potatoes super tasty. Maple syrup contains manganese - good for antioxidant defense. Roast potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until fork tender. He will be able to feed himself these super yummy potatoes.

One last note about potatoes. If you are using potatoes in a recipe and not as a side, the recipe is probably calling for a non-sweet potato -- a white potato. I would buy organic white potatoes. I have found them at Whole Foods. If you are looking for a great recipe for lentils and potatoes, I can share that with you -- just let me know. I would also say – look at my blog entry that highlights the chicken soup recipe. This was a staple for my children. I always had ice cubes of chicken soup on hand. I would toss 4 cubes in a bowl and microwave them – instant homemade soup for dinner. I made my regular recipe – but for the kids I would really dice up the chicken, potatoes, and carrots.

As far as yogurt, I would not buy baby yogurt; there is usually too much sugar. I would buy organic, plain yogurt. I love Brown Cow yogurt (you can find it at Whole Foods). Little guys can eat the full fat version. Another brand that is a bit easier to find is Stonyfield. I would go with plain yogurt. There is plenty of time in your little one's life to eat fruit sweetened yogurt. I figure you cannot go backwards; after you eat fruit yogurt or vanilla yogurt, you cannot teach someone to eat plain. Both of my kids loved plain -- they don't know the difference when they are young. Now they eat flavored yogurt, but I still feed them plain because I don't want them to lose the taste for it and you can always add some fresh or frozen blueberries. Yogurt is such a good source of dairy and protein. My daughter has never been a big cow milk drinker -- so yogurt has always been a source of dairy for her.

Hope that helps – once I get to talking about feeding the little ones it is hard for me to stop. If you have any other questions, let me know – I love sharing. Happy Eating Baby Guy.

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