12 August 2007

Pureed vegetables disappear into more easily-accepted foods

Liz is doing what she must to get the vegies in:

My one-year-old is going through some sort of regression that only permits him to eat macaroni & cheese (with homemade cheese sauce I learned from Parent Hacks, thanks!), yogurt, applesauce and crackers. I was having a nervous breakdown because of the lack of veggies in his diet, but every time I offered them they'd end up in my lap.

Out of desperation I went back to my days of making baby food, and steamed and pureed a bag of organic frozen veggies (carrots, peas, green beans, cauliflower...) and froze them in ice cube trays. I store the cubes in freezer bags and now I just defrost one or two and mix into his apple sauce, yogurt, even on the mac and cheese. He doesn't notice the veggies are in there, so he eats every last bite!

Wow. My four year-old is STILL in that mac and cheese "phase." Maybe I'll try this, too.

Related:
Green Mac-n-cheese
More on hiding, er, integrating vegetables into kid-friendly food
More clever vegie hacks

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Can't beat the spinach smoothie. I also have an easier time getting my 16-month-old to eat veggies if they're fresh and not cooked too much. Steamed broccoli is his favorite - it comes out sweet. When I microwave it, it gets bitter and he won't touch it.

Can you re-freeze if you steam first? That would be super! I know that the proverbial "they" forbid re-freezing frozen and then thawed stuff, but if you cook in between is it kosher?

Just a thought - often the children who won't eat anything but dairy and wheat (mac and cheese, crackers, yogurt) are the ones who are sensitive to dairy and/or wheat. I don't know why, but it's often true.

It's rather difficult to remove wheat and dairy from the diet, but if you want to try, try removing them separately. If you don't notice anything, put that food back into the diet and remove the other. Look for differences in behavior, sleep patterns, energy, and whether they'll eat other foods.

If neither separately is a culprit, then it's time to try removing both separately.

When we did this with my grandson, it was a small miracle of better behavior and improved sleep patterns.

I've used a lot of recipies from http://wwww.wholesomebabyfood.com, and they say it's ok to re-freeze if you cook it in between.

When I make mac and cheese, I add shredded or grated carrot and frozen, chopped spinach that's been thawed and squeezed dry. I also add cooked ground beef and use Barilla Plus macaroni (since I have trouble finding whole wheat elbow macaroni - the Barilla has more fiber than regular pasta). With low-fat milk (I do use whole-fat gouda), it ends up being a pretty healthy one dish meal. (I've actually posted the recipe here: http://chieffamilyofficer.blogspot.com/2006/03/macaroni-cheese-plus.html. Note: the recipe calls for whole milk since that's what my son was drinking back then, but low-fat or nonfat works just as well.)

I've made peas-n-carrots pancakes (and various other purred veggie 'cakes). My son (18mo) loves them! I just use a pancake mix and put in the purred veggies as the liquid. I usually put in a bit more milk to thin the batter out a bit. Yes, the pancakes are funny looking, but they don't really taste much different...yes, I tried them.

The lazy man's parent hack for this is just to add baby food to your foods, sauces, etc. Already pureed, though probably not quite as healthy as the do it yourself approach.

I should have added that although my son will sometimes try to eat around the veggies and meat, he can't help but get some of it into his mouth. This is pretty much the only meal I can get him to eat where he actually eats the veggies. (I tried using carrot puree as a "dipping sauce" last night for chicken taquitos and fish sticks - he's too smart for me.)

My standby is using the Magic Bullet to pulverize peas & put them in spaghetti sauce. I keep meaning to do it with spinach, but never remember to buy it!

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