Friday, 29 October 2010

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Organic Raw vegetables/Økologisk Rå Grøntsager/有机生菜 [yǒu jī shēng cài]


Raw vegetables are the best and healthiest fast food for kids. But it requires that the kids have acquired a taste for it. Thus, it is very important to start young, already when they are babies. Working mothers will appreciate babies with this skill, since they don't have so much time to devote to cooking, especially during the "peak" hours after work and before dinner time!

How to get babies to eat raw food without giving them diarrhoea?
1. Babies have to be at least 8 months old, when their digestive tracts are more matured. I am a bit more cautious, but I also think I started a bit too late when J was 10.5 months old. Actually it was his teacher that suggested it, as I otherwise have forgotten about it.

2. Once solids are well-established, start by giving babies COOKED finger food. When solids are well-established, you know that your baby's digestive tract is able to handle the solids that you are feeding them.

3. Once cooked finger food is well-established, you also know that they are now able to chew well, you can now move on to giving babies RAW finger food. Start by giving them finely grated raw vegetables as shown on the first picture. If you are not so comfortable with finger food, you can blend the raw carrots into a puree and give it to baby. Test for 3 days and see how their body react to it. Do they experience any diareahea? If not, move on to the next step.

4. Once they have graduated from beginner's class, move on to the intermediate stage by grating the raw vegetables a little more coarsely. J is currently at this stage. If your baby is taking this well, then move on to the last step.

5. Once this is accepted, give them baby carrots. All the while, supervising them. Never leave them unattended when they are eating, whether the food is raw or cooked. Congratulations! Your baby has now graduated from the raw food class :-)

My policy is that all food and snacks are to be consumed on a baby high chair. This reduces choking risk, as the baby is sitting up-right and not moving around.

Since raw vegetables are consumed raw, try to buy organic if you can.

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Additional Information:
The Danes are very daring when it comes to feeding finger food and raw food to babies. In general, the Nordic Europeans are very good in this area compared to other Europeans, Americans or cautious Asian moms like me.

Traditionally, the Chinese eat their vegetables cooked, thus, there isn't a culture of preparing raw vegetables for babies. This is something I am learning from the Danes, and I am now starting to train J to eat raw vegetables.

Why do I do so?

1. It makes life easy for me when he is older, if he has a tastebud for raw food, especially vegetables. Raw vegetables are very easy snacks to serve.

2. In general, raw vegetables are very nutritious, as the nutrients are not lost through cooking. If J can learn to like them, I don't have to resort to biscuits, cakes, Oreos cookies and other unhealthy processed stuff as snacks for him during in-between meal time. This goes for organic biscuits - they are at best treated as treats, not regular snacks, and I have not given them to J yet.

Be patient with yourself and your baby. J is a slow developer in this department compared to the Danish kids. He is already 11 months old now, and he has just reached stage 4. But it is alright, as J and I are enjoying the journey... and soon he will reach stage 5 :-)

References:

http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/veggiefruit.htm#nogo?

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