Help! My Chowpup Eats Everything!!
- Dipsy Sep 18, 2005 10:46 PM
(Assuming that this post belongs on Not About Food instead of Home Cooking?)
We came back from China two weeks ago with our new daughter, the most beautiful, head strong one-year-old on the planet. Her passions in life are music and food (and, sorry to say, Gerber Fruit Puffs). Her pediatrician says it's safe for us to feed her anything except peanuts at this point, but surely there are limits. It was cute to watch her enjoy bites of my foie gras, but will it give her indigestion? She made a stink at Blue Ribbon in Brooklyn and they brought her her own dish of oxtail marmalade. She's all over anything with flavor (fruit puffs notwithstanding) but I wonder if a baby's digestive system can really tolerate spicy foods? She laps it all up. God knows I have no desire to force feed her bland, flavorless food, but I wonder if there's any compelling reason to limit her intake of the really tasty stuff?
well, I would assume that if she is able to handle solid foods just about anything is fair game. Its a good idea to introduce new foods one at a time so that if there is an allergic reaction you have an idea as to what caused it. I wouldn't worry about upset tummies.....besides, you'll learn quick enough :-) I can remember being in India and watching my SIL feed her one year old all kinds of spicy curries.....He still loves her cooking! (As would anyone.....) Be happy your child is an adventurous eater, and please do nothing to discourage it!!
Sounds like you've adopted a Chowhound's dream child. Many congratulations.
Two good friends of mine adopted a baby in India, and as part of the process, was with her in India for awhile. While there, the baby was often fed spicy food and tolerated it well.
Now, seven years old, her tastes run to hamburgers and french fries. Although she still loves dosas.
Besides peanuts, the only thing I've ever heard that you should withhold - but only in the first year - is honey, due to a type of botulism that could possibly be present. But you did say your baby is a year old already, right? Anyway, take a look at this link from the National Honey Board.
Congratulations on your new addition!!
My son at 12-14 months loved chicken livers, salmon mouse, pepper jack cheese. When we first introduced solid foods he just ate what we ate, ground up, spices and all (and we like it SPICEY). He didn't turn his nose up at anything until well after 3. Except for allergy risk (peanuts, peanut butter etc), bacteria (raw honey) or toxins (mercury in tuna, swordfish) I wouldn't worry about feeding her anything and everything. Even with things like tuna/swordfish once and while won't cause any problems.
Up until the age of ten, when I discovered to my amazement that I did not like custard pie, the only food I had ever refused was when I was eight months old and we were snowbound in Maine with just two jars of baby food, both strained green beans. Guess what I decided I would no longer eat...
After the age of 1 practically everything is fair game. And in fact I believe peanuts are fair game after 1 if you've no history of allergies in either side of the family.
Otherwise, enjoy! DD turned 2 and suddenly has become rather picky. But I think babies enjoy strong tastes. DD has always insisted on extra sharp cheddar and garlic lovers humus.
(I'd love to hear the whole lovely story. My friend adopted a baby from China (18 months old). What a blessing you are offering her, and she you!)
My daughter ate everything, and my son was picky from the get-go. It certainly is more fun to have an "eat everything" child.
Congratulations! My granddaughter (a year and three months) is also from China, and also relishes virtually everything except bananas! (Seeing her when she was first learning about solid food, experimenting with Jell-O -- in the mouth, out of the mouth; in the mouth, out of the mouth -- was hysterical.) Just pay the usual attention to potential allergies and toxins (peanuts, honey) and choking hazards (now they say that popcorn is a problem), sit back, and let her enjoy her appetite. Later on, if she gets picky, follow the Golden Rule of letting her serve herself, and instruct her to "eat what you eat, and leave what you leave." You'll save yourself a whole passel of problematic power struggles. If there's one thing everyone should be able to control, it's what goes in or out of his or her own body. Have fun with your adventurous eater!
LOL....a variation of your "Golden Rule" of eating was in place in my family...only it was called "Grandpa's Rule": (my dad found a book which stated it as such, and loved to repeat it): "Eat It and Shut Up about it, or Don't Eat It and Shut Up about it." All we had to do when going somewhere where the possibility existed that strange foods would be served was to remind the kids that "Grandpa's Rule is in effect..."
You're ok, as long as you use common sense. No whole grapes or nuts, no peanuts until age 2 (high risk of allergies), cut meat up into manageable bites, etc. I personally wouldn't have given my son fois gras at 12 months of age, but that is more because it's an organ meat and oftentimes undercooked. Same goes for sushi and seared tuna -- even now, we avoid giving him raw and undercooked meats because of the risk of illness. He eats everything else, including raw onions, which he LOVES.
Only thing I might suggest is to limit the quantities of food. There was a very prevalent thought, I believe from baby-boomer era, that the fatter the baby the healthier. Also starting them as early as possible on "real food" was considered to be healthier. As it turns out, many of these babies had kidney dysfunction later on in their lives. I'm no physician, and I can't remember where the actual article describing this association was published.
My daughter is now 11 months old. After her 6 month checkup, I started introducing solids like fruits, yogurt, some cheese. At her 9 month checkup, the doctor said to just give her whatever we were eating or she would start grabbing it off our our plates.
So now, she truly eats whatever we're eating. Some of her favorites are tandoori chicken, spicy (moderately) turkey meatballs, and teriyaki steak. She eats lots of vegetables -- roasted carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, peas, and tons of fruit.
And true to what the doctor said, a few weeks ago, we were at at BBQ place with my parents and my daughter turned around in her high chair and grabbed a handful of garlic mashed potatoes off of my mother's plate. She loved them! (Although it's not the neatest thing to have a baby feed herself mashed potatoes!)
I do give her the occasional hot dog or chicken fingers, but that's mostly because I work full time, and sometimes I just need something for her quickly. Other than that, she's already on her way to being a chowhound!
I too am a working mom. You can avoid the hot dog/chicken finger trap with a little preplanning. My husband uses these for when I am not home for dinner or I use them when I get home late and the pup is starving and can't wait for the grownups.
About 1 Sunday a month I make and freeze the following. They are easy to reheat from the frozen state and are healthier then the store bought equivalents:
1) homemade chicken nuggets: all white meat chicken cut into nugget shapes then dipped in egg and rolled in parmesan/panko blend. Bake until cooked thru
2) homemade fish sticks: codfish loin cut into sticks, rolled in light organic mayo and then rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs. Bake until cooked thru
3) Nitrate free "pigs in a blanket": nitrate free turkey dogs rolled up in whole wheat biscuit dough. Freeze as is as you can bake from the frozen state
4)Homemade mini pizza's using whole wheat dough and a variety of healthy (usually veggie) toppings. Again, freeze in the raw state.