How to Offer Our Plant-Rich Meals to Serve Your Child’s Growing Needs
You’re busy—we get it. With the Once Upon a Farm Plant-Rich Meals we’ve taken a little off your plate and put it on your kiddos’. These nutrition-packed meals can be prepared in minutes and modified to feed the needs of your growing child.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solids to your baby at around six months, and that’s when our meals can start being served. Puréed, mashed, or offered as finger food—let’s talk through how our ready-to-cook meals can work for your little one.
Letting your baby start solids via self-feeding can be a great approach. According to Cinthia Scott, RD, CLC (@the.baby.dietitian), this can be developmentally beneficial in “fostering intuitive eating and self-regulation skills, whole foods in their natural state being consumed, prevention of picky eating and texture aversion, and helping develop as well as strengthen a child’s jaw and oral muscles.”
Baby's First Foods
When introducing solids, many parents choose to start with purées. No matter how you serve these first foods, Scott reminds us, “Children should be introduced to nutrient-dense, developmentally appropriate foods to complement human milk or infant formula feedings.”
Purées aren’t a required phase for starting solids, she says, but if you do start there, “always encourage letting your baby self-feed no matter what type of texture you are providing.” Let things get messy!
It's Texture Time
When you’re ready to introduce textures, simply cook per package instructions, then mash up our meals. You could serve as finger foods if everyone’s ready. “If following a more traditional texture advancement (purées to mashes to finger foods, etc.),” Registered Dietitian Nicole Lattanzio (@infant.nutritionist) says, “It’s best to advance to more than a thin purée after a couple weeks with the goal to be working on finger foods by 8 months of age.”
So, whether you’re mashing meals, or going straight to finger foods, you don’t need to stay in the purée phase for long. Texture-wise, Scott says, “Children are perfectly capable of handling soft, mushable finger foods even without teeth! Their gums are all they need to mash the food and safely swallow.”
More, More, More
Hesitant to offer multiple foods at one sitting? Don’t be, Scott says. “Low-risk or non-allergen foods can be introduced together starting on day one of solids.” When it comes to allergens, Lattanzio tells us, “It is wise to introduce top allergens separately and for several days before advancing. This ensures that if there is a reaction, we can pinpoint to which top allergens it is.”
Experimenting With Flavors
When it comes to adding in more bold flavors, “Apart from salt and added sugar,” Scott says, “all spices are up for grabs!” This helps babies become accustomed to flavorful food and develop their palate from a young age. We’ve made this part extra easy by incorporating spices and herbs into many of our meals (this one has cardamom; this one has mint).
Moving on Up
One of the best things about our Plant-Rich Meals is that they’re made to grow with your child. As they move into toddlerhood and beyond, their favorite veggie combos can move with them. Adapt our meals by pairing with a protein of choice or using as the base of a recipe. Quesadillas and egg bites are two of our favorite ways to use our Black Bean and Red Pepper Meal, for example.
Ready to Start?
If you’re considering adding Once Upon a Farm Plant-Rich Meals to your child’s plate, first make sure they’re ready to begin eating solids—in whatever format. As Lattanzio says, “This means learning the signs of readiness, having a highchair that fits your baby, learning the different ways to start, and deciding what works for your family.”
Now the question is: Which meal will they try first?
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