A question for all the seasoned parents: is there a secret to raising a good eater? When my daughter was ready to start eating solids, we made the decision to try baby led weaning. For those unfamiliar, baby led weaning means babies feed themselves finger foods right from the start (as opposed to being spoon-fed purees). In theory, the major benefits of baby led weaning are healthy eating habits and the opportunity to expose babies to a variety of foods, including taste, texture, aroma and color. However, if you go down this road, you also have to be comfortable with gagging as part of baby led weaning includes the practice of chewing skills.
This stage occurred for us in pre-Covid times, so my husband was working in Philadelphia and often did not make it home until after our daughter’s dinnertime. It was up to me to A.) serve up this variety of food and B.) stay calm when any gagging occurred. Neither of which are my strong suit so I ended up using a hybrid approach of purees and simple finger foods. Today, I would classify our (now) toddler as a mostly good eater but she’s selective. I’m able to sneak peas or beans into her macaroni and cheese, but broccoli is out of the question. And while I only have about a 20% success rate with meat, she loves pesto sauce, oatmeal and a large variety of fruit. Grapes, pineapple, berries, bananas and watermelon need zero cajoling but any fruit with skin (nectarines and apples) requires meticulous peeling before she’ll even consider a nibble.
So, last weekend when we went apple picking, I couldn’t help but feel a smidge of dread about our early fall activity. I knew we would be carting home a bushel of apples that would all require the peeling skills of a master pastry chef. And you know who is always selected for that job: Mom. Well, imagine my surprise when our little sprite plucked whole apples right off the trees, practically eating them down to the core without a single complaint of that dreadful skin. Hmm, perhaps I should have just considered planting a few apple trees years ago and trusted the process from there!
P.S. Check out the DELISH recipe we used for our apples!