Teaching Vivi About Nutrition

Judging from the response I get when I tell someone what Vivi’s diet is, I’d say she’s a bit behind the curve. By 9 months, she’s only had breastmilk, homemade vegetables, a few fruits, egg yolk, beans and chicken.

The more I figure out my own struggles with food, the more I am convinced I want to give her the best shot at this whole food thing. Which means giving her as much healthy foods that she can learn to love, before introducing less healthy options and ruining any chance of her ever touching spinach.

It’s always been a joke in my family that my mom made us bran muffins for our first birthday. Everyone thought she was nuts, overprotective or just a little too uptight. If you know my mom, you know she is none of those things…like at all. But she just thought “these kids are going to be just as excited for a bran muffin as they would be for icing. Why introduce icing now?”

I have thought the same things and probably seemed pretty naive to most moms sharing my thoughts on food while I was pregnant and unexperienced but I still feel the same way. If you are REALLY determined to feed your child a certain way, don’t be scared off by our culture and how it’s inevitable our kids will eat whatever is fast and easy.

It’s definitely not the easiest thing making all of Vivi’s food, but it’s important to us.

We waited till 6 months and had great results as far has her handling the food, not choking much and not spitting or dribbling out food. You can start earlier though if you like. There is a selfish part of being slow to start Vivi on solids. Going from nursing (which requires no prep besides a few painful weeks of learning ; 0) to feeding a 3 times a day can be a big adjustment for moms too.

We started slowly adding one feed for the first month, then two and three and this week, a snack. If you are just getting the hang of nursing and books are telling you to start food at four months, don’t rush it if you aren’t ready. Breastmilk or formula is the bulk of where they get their nutrients in the first year anyways. Selfishness is also part of the reason I don’t want to introduce her to sweets yet. I’d like to delay any candy tantrums as long as possible! 

I think palettes and habits are learned young. One of my most vivid memories as a child was being at a relative’s house and her saying “don’t tell your mom I’m giving you ice cream!” With the biggest eyes, I dove in and never looked back. Y’all it sounds completely silly, but ice cream is one of my biggest weaknesses. I can’t blame my lack of self-discipline on one vivid memory from my childhood, but it did affect me and affects how I want to help shape Vivi’s view of things.

Here are a few principles about food I’m hoping she will learn from how we view food:

1. Healthy foods can be delicious and should be the main part of our diet.Tyler whips up the most amazing brussel sprouts. I want her to try things without assuming all healthy food is gross.

2. Processed or fried foods are not the devil and fine in moderation. I definitely don’t want our kids to be afraid of foods or judge others when they see them eating things we limit.

3. God gave us food to nourish our body and make us strong. After two exhausting months, I have been reading and researching about benefits of food and it definitely helps to make the right choices when we know certain food will give us energy and others will zap it. We are already seeing this true in Vivi. The doctor attributes her light weight to the fact that she has so much energy. And also why she’s such a good napper.

4. Treats are a treat, not a right. Some of the kids I used to babysit were allowed one treat a day. The kid got to pick whether it was a popsicle after lunch or some Easter candy. Because they were aware of the rules and got to choose for themselves, they never whined or begged for anything beyond that treat and I wasn’t having to constantly tell them no.

5. When you are old enough to ask for it and choose it, you are old enough for it. Vivi won’t be having a sip of our soda just because we want to see her reaction. Sometimes I definitely have the urge to just see how she would react to some things. I bet she’d make the cutest face! ; ) We’re going to wait though. Once she’s aware of what things are and requests them, then we will talk. There is a whole world of sugar comas that could await her. We’ll hold off while we can.

As I worked on this blog post, I have been working on my own principles for food. Y’all it is soooo much harder to do at my age. And it can definitely control me. I’m hoping teaching these principles young will give Vivi a lifetime of freedom with food.

Obviously, anything dealing with parenting and how we raise our kids can be a hot button issue. I certainly don’t judge anyone who does things differently. This is something I personally have been convicted of based on my own lack of discipline and not wanting to see my kids struggle with the same thing. Or at the very least, create a good foundation for her to come back to after she discovers the taste of the sweet nectar of the god’s that is Barq’s rootbeer. ; )

What are your thoughts?? What principles do you hope to impart on your kids about food? Any advice on how to do that in our processed food world?

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