I found myself SO confused as to what Hanley should/should not be eating when he was showing signs that he was ready for solid foods. I figured, if I, a Holistic Health Coach who directly specializes in nutritious food doesn’t know what to be feeding him, I can’t imagine how other parents feel. That’s when I hunkered down and did some serious research. Luckily, it’s much more simple than most of us think. Here are some basics to start you and your child on a healthy path.
Fats are baby’s best friend.
Babies need fat for their brains to develop just as we adults need fats to keep our brains nourished and healthy. Human beings thrive on fats, yet many of us are still not eating enough of them. Bringing it back around to the gut issue, fats help to feed that healthy gut flora that we so desperately want to cultivate. Here are just some examples of healthy fats to incorporate into every meal, when possible:
- Grass-fed butter
- MCT oil
- Coconut oil
- Quality lard
- Whole eggs
- Sardines and/or salmon
It’s essential to incorporate healthy fats into each one of your baby’s meals. It doesn’t have to be very much, but just be sure they are there. In fact with any new food (for baby or us), it’s always best to start small and work your way up with it.
Add collagen powder to everything.
Collagen is a powdered supplement that is easy to implement into your daily routine, along with your child’s. Not only does it promote vibrant skin and hair, it also protects the health of our tendons, cartilage, bones and joints, all while healing the lining of our gut. I’ve been putting a scoop or two into my smoothies, kefir, oatmeal, baked goods or tea for years and it’s just rocked my health! Once Hanley started having solids, I found myself adding collagen wherever I could to further help to heal his gut lining. I still give it to him (and will until he leaves my home for college – HA!). I also mix it into my husband’s morning coffee (and he has no idea, since there isn’t much of a flavor). My two favorite brands are Vital Proteins and Great Lakes (the green bottle) because they come from happy, healthy, grass-fed cows – quality is everything when it comes to a collagen powder (since it’s an animal product) so please don’t just buy any that you find.
Ditch as many packaged, processed foods as you can.
Remember the acronym J.E.R.F. and make it your mantra around food and stick to it! If you do need to grab a packaged food out of convenience, be sure the ingredients are recognizable to you. Also, check that they contain little sugar (and certainly no artificial, refined, high fructose corn syrup, etc.), and don’t contain potential allergens (dairy, gluten, soy). It’s important to realize how foods that are marketed to babies and children are mostly designed to promote company profits rather than the healthy growth of children. We need to be diligent consumers. Babies and children need to eat the foods that we eat…it’s that simple. They don’t need special puffs, bars, or pouches that are specifically made for them. While they are fun and convenient, they are expensive after a while. Wholesome foods are all that they need, and they’ll be better off…and so will your wallet.
Be weary of gluten, even too many grains.
Gluten is inflammatory. It’s an anti-nutrient. There has never been a time where someone has been deficient in gluten…like they need it in order to be healthy. In fact, it makes people unhealthy. Modified wheat (as we have here in the US) also destroys the delicate lining of the gut and does not promote the health of our good gut bacteria. So, when our child’s gut is so new, why would we feed them a food that may actually compromise it? Due to the rise in people finally making the connection that gluten does not serve their bodies, there are many gluten-free options out there. While it might seem like a better option, it’s just a packaged product filled with other potentially inflammatory grains, poor quality fat and loads of sugar. These ingredients are simply added to improve the taste. Remember the “low-fat” options we were bombarded with? Food manufacturers took out the fat and added loads of sugar and other non-healthy ingredients to make them taste better. Hmmm…I’m thinking instead J.E.R.F…
Add in plenty of nutrient dense foods. Hopefully you purchased my eBook, and are already familiar with this topic. Nutrient dense foods include:
- Antioxidant-rich fruits
- Liver or any organ meats
- Bone broth
- Fats (above)
- Fermented foods (click here)
- Probiotic-rich foods (click here)
- A variety of vegetables
If your baby or toddler is specifically having issues with digesting foods right now, offer them easily digestible foods such as bananas, papaya, avocado, squash or sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, kiwi or warm bone broth.
This information is here to help support your along your child’s health journey and not to replace any medical advice or diagnosis. Be sure to keep in constant contact with your child’s pediatrician and most importantly trust your instincts as a parent. Know that I’m always here for further assistance. Wishing you and your child a happy and healthy gut!
I hope that you found it helpful. If you haven’t already purchased my e-Book, please use the code babyfood5 for $5 off. Thank you for your support.