What you need to know about your baby’s diet

By Rae

In the last 2 weeks I have learned a lot about baby food and nutrition that has surprised me and been extremely helpful. I was able to raise Gronk’s iron level by 5 points in two weeks. Hopefully you have baby meal planning more together than I did but if you are in the same boat as me, this info might help you out!
Doctor’s Oders
At Gronk’s 9 month check up we learned he had very low iron levels. Our doctor suggested an iron supplement and looking closer at his diet.  I was full of questions and concerns of course. He gets formula which states right on the front of the label “with Iron”. Apparently this is not enough. Our pediatrician said to make sure he was eating lots of leafy greens and red meat.  She told us to give him the iron supplement with foods high in vitamin C, which helps absorption of the iron. Milk actually inhibits absorption.  That seemed easy enough. Then I began to look into his baby food.
What is in those pouches?
I got home and immediately went through my baby food.  Looking at the pouches it appears I give him basically a kale smoothie for breakfast. Then I looked at the ingredients. I was SHOCKED. I feel duped.  I am going to list some titles of various baby food pouches and jars, then I will list the first ingredient. The brands are not important, in fact these are all examples from different brands.
“Kale, Carrots, and Brown Rice” First Ingredient: Apples
“Chicken and Pasta Stars” First Ingredient: Carrots
“Sweet Potato, Mango, & Millet” First Ingredient: Apples
“Chicken Itty Bitty Noodle” First Ingredient: Carrots
WHAT?!
So basically I’ve been paying up to almost $3 a pouch or jar for what I thought was healthy, organic food for my kids and as it turns out it’s mostly applesauce and carrots.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not blaming the baby food, my lack of knowledge is my own fault.  I still think those convenient little pouches are a miracle of modern society and use them for travel and on the go snacks but I pay MUCH closer attention to what is in them.
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Recipes for Baby
My new weekly task of picking out baby meals, grocery shopping, and cooking in big quantities is laborious but I’m actually enjoying it! I focus on ingredients high in Iron and Vitamin C. I wanted healthy snacks and some sides to give him along with red meat. Here are some recipes I have tried so far and my personal opinion on how they worked out.
Note: don’t believe everything you read on Pinterest! There are some beautifully designed info-graphics about nutrition that are completely inaccurate.  Stick to trusted sources! Here’s one of my go-to sites:
Iron Rich Meat Balls
This was an easy to follow recipe. As promised, they freeze and re-heat well. Next time I make these I will make a second batch with some spice for the grown ups! My 9 month old LOVES these. I love that it is an easy and healthy dinner!
Spinach and Banana Toddler Muffins
These are a total winner. Call them “green” muffins, “dinosaur muffins”, “monster muffins”, or whatever works in your house. I didn’t freeze any because I consumed so many for my own breakfast. My baby and toddler both devoured them as well.
Easy Spinach Artichoke Quiche Cups
Talk about gourmet baby food!  I will have to admit to also eating these. They freeze well and re-heat in the oven which is so helpful for an easy breakfast or lunch!
Baby Cereal Pancakes
The recipe I used didn’t work out. Please share one you can recommend that is multitasking-mom proof!
Pea and Broccoli Fritters
Go ahead and make a double batch. Everyone in the house ate these which was quite shocking.
Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots
They barely made it past my husband and I to the kids. Make these ASAP!
If you have any great baby/toddler recipes high in Iron or Vitamin C please share! Like this post if you want to see more posts on recipe reviews related to this topic.

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