Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler book review

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Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler--From First Foods to Meals Your Child Will Loveby Jeannette Bessinger and Tracee Yablon-Brenner. This book turned up this summer and caught our attention. It focuses on changing the tide in childhood obesity, by teaching first eaters to appreciate and develop a taste for nutritious healthy foods.

Rather than focusing on so-called "kid friendly" entrees and snacks or just hiding the healthy parts, the authors advocate a wide introduction of healthy foods to an early eater to expand their palate as they are just beginning to enjoy solid food. The message is simple--feed your children the foods you eat, prepared as closely to the way you eat them, as soon as you can safely introduce them. The book also includes countless ideas for first foods, as well as recipes that can carry on for older children to enjoy, cooking tips, tricks and definitions, and an inventory of kitchen tools that will help make the process easier.

The recipes are divided by age and by category, with the 18 months & up category providing great options for the whole family. We sampled several of the recipes--crockpot oatmeal, meatloaf muffins made with ground turkey and a variety of seasonal veggies, lentil soup, and pumpkin spice bread. Even though there are no toddlers in the house, my 5 and 8 year old were more than happy to eat, and enjoy, the recipes. The crockpot oatmeal was ideal for a busy morning and yield leftovers that reheated well. Lentil soup and meatloaf are always favorites, and we loved the combination of vegetables suggested. The pumpkin spice bread was a perfect treat, without excessive amounts of added sugars. We even discovered several fruit purees that have great potential to be used on our dehydrator for homemade fruit rolls.

The book concludes with a large list of resources, websites, products, and companies that offer great food choices for children. The author also tackles the questions many parents have that often aren't answered--Should you buy only organic food? Is it healthy to restrict a toddler's calorie intake? Is a vegetarian diet good for a very young child?

Reading back through my many bookmarked pages, I wish I had read this when my own children were younger. There are so many ideas, food choices, and combinations offered in the book--some of which I never thought of and others I didn't know how to prepare. I would have loved the guidance in introducing many of these at a younger age. Buy on Amazon $10.17

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