During my time of studying nutrition, I have really been enjoying the nutrition for kids, giving them a good start can save them and yourself a lot of troubles in the future. And now having my own bubs thats had just recently started solids I feel the need to share this great information. So I have decided to write a post to help any mammas feeling overwhelmed.
This is a big subject and it has so many opinions. So I will try keep this to the point and get as much necessary information in! The most important thing you can do for yourself and your family is research. Look into different lifestyles, look at the science behind it ,as well as what feels good for you. So assuming you have been through a pregnancy or are pregnant, that alone has so many opinions about what you should be eating so you and baby get enough nutrients, that is a whole other topic though! Then the decision breast or bottle? Then around 4-5 months and on, what do we feed these little humans? What is the best food for them? Oh so many questions!
Fruit as I believe is the perfect food. It has all the protein and starch broken down into easily absorbable amino acids and glucose molecules, loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many other necessary nutrients. Uncooked, ripe fruit will meet most of your child’s nutrient requirements. Raw fruit is closer in nutrient composition to mothers milk than any other food. Amazing right! It meets your baby’s need for a high intake of glucose with a low intake of easy-to-digest protein. As mothers milk is naturally very sweet, you will find your baby is attracted to sweet foods if you are breastfeeding. So what better food to feed them than ripe fruit which is naturally sweet containing no processed or refined sugar. If you have chosen to bottle-feed, that too is sweet and adding fruit to your babies diet will help get in any other nutrients needed.
Adding superfoods to your babies food once they are a bit older will maximize their nutrition, and so you know your child is getting the best nutrition there is. No more doctor visits or medical bills, just good clean healthy eating will keep your children healthy, full of energy and developing in the most healthy way.’
Your child’s glowing health and unhampered development will be your reward.’ A healthy baby comes from healthy and nutritionally aware parents’ .’Since a baby, both before and after birth, develops more quickly than at any other time of his life, his nutritional needs are of prime importance’ –Mary-ann Shearer.
When making your babies food try keep these few things in mind.
- 100% natural ingredients
- Organic where possible and Local where possible
- No additives, preservatives or stabilizers
- Properly combined meals for best digestion
- Adding super nutrition to your child’s diet
- No sugar, gluten or dairy
I believe you should do what you can to delay introducing solids into your babies diet too soon. The digestive tract will be healthier later in life and there will be less chance of allergies. I recommend introducing solids from 6-9 months in breastfed babies, and 5-9 months in bottle-fed babies, or when your baby starts to show interest in food. Also do some research into Baby-Led Weaning, it is a great source of information in trusting your baby to know when ,and how much they are ready to eat.
Lets talk about Digestion
“The food we eat needs to be broken down into its basic components for the body to be able to absorb them.” What this means is that we cannot use proteins or carbohydrates as they are. They must be broken down into their building blocks before they can be absorbed.
The building blocks of proteins are amino acids. Protein digestion requires chewing to start the process. Once you have mechanically broken the protein down into small pieces, the chemical process of digestion starts in the stomach where hydrochloric acid is released to activate the protein digesting enzyme, Pepsin. Further on in the small intestine, other protein-digesting enzymes are released to complete this process of breaking the protein down into separate amino acids. It is only at this stage that your body can absorb the protein. Raw protein breaks down easily and is therefore easier to digest. Unlike cooked protein, which coagulates when heated and becomes difficult to digest.
A similar process of digestion takes place with starches. As you chew starches, you secrete saliva together with the starch-digesting enzyme amylase and ptyalin. This is the first phase of starch digestion during which it is vitally important that starches are well chewed, in order to break the long chains of glucose into double chains. Once the starch enters the stomach, the ptyalin will keep acting on the starch as long as the acidity(pH) in the stomach does not drop below 4. 9 which it will do if protein is eaten at the same time.
Starches are further broken down in the small intestine to their simplest form (simple sugars). Only in this broken down form can the starches be absorbed and used. Foods classed as starches usually contain 20 per cent or more starch. Examples are Millet, rice and potatoes.
Babies have immature digestive tracts and are not really able to chew efficiently until they are between the ages of 1 and 2 years. So feeding your child concentrated proteins and starches before they have teeth is a waste of money and time.
Because they can not chew properly, the food does not break down efficiently and tends to ferment in the digestive tract. By-products of fermentation are alcohol, acetic acid and ammonia, all of which results in nappy rash, foul gas and stools, cramping, mucus, irritability and failure to thrive. Very often incompletely broken-down food molecules can be absorbed into the bloodstream and, because they are foreign to the body, result in an antibody reaction. In children this can easily develop into a variety of allergies to a variety of foods. It is very tempting to feed starches our babies. They are easy to cook and mash, and of course taste nice too. But it is suggested that you leave concentrated starches out of your babies diet for at least the first year.
Formula fed babies
‘We believe formula cannot match the nutritional quantity of mother milk and suggest adding the following in each formula bottle you make up.’ – Mary-Ann Shearer
– 2 Drops of Organic cold-pressed Flaxseed oil
-1/4 tsp Dried Barley grass juice powder
-Small pinch of Beet juice Powder or 1 Teaspoon(5ml) fresh
-1 tablespoon(25ml) fresh carrot juice or 1/2 tsp of dried carrot juice powder
This will help make up some of the natural unheated and unprocessed nutrients your baby most likely wont get if you’re not breastfeeding.
You can find all these products from The AIM Company
Some recommend first foods
5months + – banana, papaya, mango and soft pears.(at supper time when breast milk is lower)
7-10 months- can start adding a second fruit meal a day.
8-12 months- can then add a vegetable meal at lunch supper time, start with a raw veg like avocado or cucumber) or raw vegetable juice(carrot and apple juice)
After a year- can start introducing nuts with vegetables, and a bit of starch
Proteins like nuts and seeds, tahini, are easier to digest than animal protein. Start with a teaspoon or 2 of ground nuts almonds or cashews) or paste, work up to quarter of a cup of nuts and seeds a day, paste or ground amount is half of that).
From 18 months- a babies diet shouldn’t be very different form moms. Eat meals together. Be careful with starches, some babies digest them better than others, some might have to cut them out for longer until 3 years old or so.
The best advice, keep babies diet as natural as possible, they will thank you!
What TO feed your baby:
Chia seeds, good ratio of beneficial fatty acids, high in protein and fiber
Avocados, essential fats
Hemp seeds, perfect ratio of omega’s, high in protein
Fresh organic fruit, berries and vegetables
What NOT to feed your baby:
Honey, may contain spores of bacteria that can cause botulism.
Any food additives (especially avoid artificial sweeteners and flavor enhancers) Always check the ingredients.
White, refined sugar
Soy, even organic non GMO, mimics estrogen (female hormone) in the body causing a harmful hormone imbalance
Avoid animal products for at least the first year
– Fruit chunks, vegetable chunks
– Dehydrated coconut-oil coated banana chips
– Sun dried organic raisins or other sugar-free dried fruit
– Organic Rice cakes
Smoothies +- 6months
-Banana and strawberry
-Apple and pear
-Paw paw and banana
-Mixed berries and avo or banana and avo
Blend with water/coconut water/breast milk.
Chia Porridge 7 months and up
¼ Cup Chia seeds
½ Banana (mushed)
2 Cups coconut water
Soak chia seeds in milk for 15 minutes, add banana and serve!
Green Smoothie +- 9 months and up
Choose one of each:
Liquid of water/ coconut water/ Nut milk
Greens – Baby spinach, kale, barley life powder
Fruit – banana, blueberries, apple, pear, mango
Can add chia, hemp, flax oil, Chia, carob.
From 10- 12 months up
You can use grains like millet flakes, quinoa flakes buckwheat flakes and oat flakes to make a delicious porridge, adding in coconut water or a milk alternative like almond milk. You can also add chia seeds, goiji berries and hemp seeds! Yum!
Ingredients * Use organic where possible
1 Cup Almonds( soaked over night)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Powder or 1 Vanilla Pod
2 Medjool Dates (large)
1 Litre Filtered Water
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
I soak my almonds overnight, I do recommend it but you can decide(: Then add all ingredients to your blender and blend baby! Until smooth.
You will then need to pour it through your nut milk bag, put your pulp aside and you can freeze that until you need it ,or to use in my Almond oat and pecan biscuits .
Ingredients: *Use organic where possible
1/2 Cup Almonds(Soaked)
3/4 Cup Cashews(Soaked)
2Tlsp Coconut Oil
6 Large Medjool Dates
2Tbsp Carob Powder
1/2 Cup Desiccated Coconut (for rolling)
Firstly you want to soak your Almonds over night or at least 6 hours to remove phytic acid and they will then digest better. Soak Cashews for 1 hour. Remove pits from your dates, and melt your coconut oil (don’t heat) then place all your ingredients (except coconut) into a food processor and process until smooth. Then using your hands or a spoon roll into balls and cover with coconut. If the mixture is very sticky and warm allow it to cool in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and then roll.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and have found it to be of value for you and your family, I am so passionate about health and living life to the fullest insuring we feed our bodies with an abundance of natural foods, and it all starts with educating ourselves and doing the best we can . I recommend you read Mary ann shearers book- Healthy kids The Natural Way, which you can find here.
Source- Healthy Kids The Natural Way by Mary ann Shearer