By Lisa Cain, Ph.D.
One thing that new parents need is time. It is a rare commodity when you are working, parenting, and getting very little sleep. If you are parenting a 6 month old or older, you now have the added responsibility to feed actual food to your baby. Will your baby like the Kung-Pao chicken you order from that great Chinese restaurant? Well, probably not for a few years.
It is probably time to put the take-out menus back in the drawer and use your kitchen again. You know which room I am talking about, the one with the large cold box and the other box that heats things up in seconds. There should be something called a stove in there and (hopefully) some pots and pans. Your mission is to start to eat the way you would like to see your child eat when he/she grows up.
Why start cooking now? Well, many research studies have shown that the biggest factor determining the eating habits of children is the eating habits of their parents. You eat fast food, your child will eat fast food. You eat brown rice and tofu, your child will eat brown rice and tofu.
The problem is, at the end of the day when we are all wiped out, the last thing we want to do is cook. Usually at 5:30 or 6:00 PM, your child is really cranky. It take self discipline and planning to cook. But you can do it! Not only that but you can have your “perfect” parenting moment where you feed your homemade baby food to your baby.
Cooking homemade baby food is actually really easy. The key is to just plan meals for yourself that will incorporate some of the foods that your baby can eat, and then feed some to your baby. You do have to go shopping and cook, but, with some planning, it should take you less time than waiting for the pizza delivery. Cooking a meal will be less expensive and more satisfying.
Below is an example of cooking for yourself and baby. This recipe includes a super easy pasta recipe for adults, a kind of grown up macaroni and cheese. It also includes 2 foods that you could serve to an 8 month old baby: spinach and ricotta cheese.
1 pound penne pasta
1 10 ounce package frozen spinach
15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Serve ricotta cheese right out of container. For spinach, thaw and mash to baby’s current favorite consistency.
Cook pasta and spinach to package directions. Squeeze water out of spinach. In a large bowl, mix pasta, spinach, 1 cup ricotta cheese, and parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste.