The Healthy Baby Meal Planner: Mom-Tested, Child-Approved Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler

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9781439102787: The Healthy Baby Meal Planner: Mom-Tested, Child-Approved Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler
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An all-new version of the definitive guide to feeding babies and toddlers is now available—featuring gorgeous new photos and brand-new recipes children will love! More and more parents are turning away from feeding their children processed foods laden with empty calories and are instead looking for wholesome, tasty alternatives they can prepare at home. With nutritional expert Annabel Karmel’s The Healthy Baby Meal Planner, parents will learn how to foster healthy eating habits in their children that will last a lifetime. Organized chronologically from infancy to age two, it features dozens of Karmel’s triedand- true recipes along with twenty-five brand-new ones—all easy-to-prepare, delicious, and kid-approved. In her trademark warm and accessible style, Karmel teaches parents which foods are appropriate for each stage of a child’s development; how and when to introduce fruits, vegetables, and other solid foods; and how to create and present nourishing dishes that tempt even the fussiest of eaters and make mealtimes exciting for toddlers. For parents of children with food allergies and special nutritional needs, she also provides a comprehensive list of ingredient substitutions. The Healthy Baby Meal Planner is an all-in-one resource full of simple cooking techniques, money- and time-saving tips, serving suggestions, guidelines for preparing meals in advance, plus advice on freezing and reheating. With instructive charts, sidebars, and a wealth of beautiful, full-color food photographs, The Healthy Baby Meal Planner is the perfect gift for parents who want to give their little ones the best possible start in life.

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About the Author:

  Annabel Karmel is the mother of three children, a bestselling author of over twenty books on nutrition and cooking for babies and toddlers, and the UK's leading expert on feeding children. She is the food writer for Scholastic Parent and Child magazine, and works with leading US parenting websites like Family.com, Sesame Street, and Baby Center. Annabel has also appeared on many TV programs, including the Today Show, The CBS Early Show and The View. Please visit her website at www.annabelkarmel.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER ONE

THE BEST FIRST FOODS FOR YOUR BABY

Many mothers feel that, once their baby is three months old, they should be starting to feed him solids. In fact there is no 'right' age as every baby is different.

Physiologically, there is no rush to get your baby started on solids. A baby's digestive system is not fully matured for the first few months and foreign proteins very early on may increase the likelihood of allergic food problems later. However, be warned, socially there is a kind of competitive spirit amongst mothers to get their child on to puréed steak and fries as soon as possible! I would advise that, provided your child is satisfied and growing properly, you should wait until he is between four and six months old before starting to give him simple solid foods.

Milk is Still the Major Food

It is very important to remember when starting your baby on solids that milk is still the most natural and the best food for growing babies. I would encourage mothers to try breast-feeding. Apart from the emotional benefits, breast milk contains antibodies that help protect infants from infection. In the first few months, they are particularly vulnerable and the colostrum a mother produces in the first few days of breast-feeding is a very important source of antibodies which help to build up a baby's immune system. (There are enormous benefits in breast-feeding your child even for as little as one week.) It is also medically proven that breast-fed babies are less likely to develop certain diseases in later life.

Milk should contain all the nutrients that your baby needs to grow. There are 65 calories in 4 fl oz (1/2 cup) of milk and formula milk is fortified with vitamins and, for babies over 4 months, also with iron. Cow's milk is not such a 'complete' food for human babies so is best not started until your baby is one year old. Solids are introduced to add bulk to a baby's diet, and to introduce new tastes, textures and aromas; they also help the baby to practise using the muscles in his mouth. But giving a baby too much solid food too early may lead to constipation, and fewer nutrients than he needs. It would be very difficult for a baby to get the equivalent amount of nutrients from the small amount of solids as he gets from his milk.

Do not use softened water when making up your baby's bottle or repeatedly boiled water because of the danger of concentrating mineral salts. Babies' bottles should not be warmed in a microwave, as the milk may be too hot even though the bottle feels cool to the touch. Warm bottles standing in hot water.

There is no fixed rule as to how much milk a baby should consume during the day. However, it is important to make sure (especially as it is highly likely that a bottle may not be finished at each feed) that up to the age of five months, your baby drinks milk at least four times a day. If the number of feeds is reduced too quickly, your baby will not be able to drink as much as is needed. Some mothers make the mistake of giving their baby solid food when he or she is hungry, when what he really needs is an additional milk feed.

Although most babies of six months are perfectly able to drink pasteurised cow s milk and many mothers, especially in other countries, start their babies on cow's milk this early, it is best to continue with breast or formula milk for one year.

Dairy products like yogurt and cheese can be introduced after six months and are usually very popular with babies. Choose whole milk products rather than low-fat.

Fresh is Best

Fresh foods just do taste, smell and look better than jars of pre-prepared baby foods. Neither is there any doubt that, prepared correctly, they are better for your baby (and you), for it is inevitable nutrients, especially vitamins, are lost in the processing of pre-prepared baby foods. Home-made food tastes quite different from the jars you can buy. (If you were ever to try a blind tasting of popular brands of baby foods, you would know that it is very difficult to recognise what particular food each jar contains!)

There is also a very limited variety of single fruit and vegetables. Most of the jars available contain bland combinations of foods puréed to the same consistency so that it is difficult for your child to differentiate one food from another. It can be quite a problem getting your baby to accept the coarser texture of home-made purees once he is used to the very smooth texture of commercially prepared baby foods. It s best therefore to start cooking for your baby yourself right from the beginning. I believe your child is less likely to become a fussy eater if he is used to a wide selection of tastes and textures from a very early age. You can 'train' your child to enjoy the flavors of fresh spinach or apple and pea purée rather than crave candy and doughnuts. Why give them sugary and fatty foods when healthy food can be just as enjoyable?

Your Baby's Nutritional Requirements

The following six are essential nutrients that a child needs for a healthy diet and to promote growth.

PROTEINS

Proteins are needed for the growth and repair of our bodies, any extra can be used to provide energy (or is deposited as fat).

Proteins are made up of different amino acids. Some foods; meat, fish, dairy produce including cheeses, and soybeans, contain all the amino acids that are essential to our bodies. Other foods; grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, are still valuable sources of protein but do not contain all the essential amino acids.

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates and fat provide our bodies with their main source of energy. The former also provide fiber which adds bulk to our diet and acts as a natural laxative.

There are two types of carbohydrate: sugar is one and starch (which in complex form provides fiber) is the other. In both types there are two forms - the natural and the refined. In both cases, it is the natural form which provides a more healthy alternative.

SUGARS
Natural
Fruit and Fruit juices
Vegetables
Vegetable juices
Refined
Sugars and honey
Sweetened cordials and sodas
Sweet gelatins
Jellies and other preserves
Cakes and cookies

STARCHES
Natural
Whole-grain breakfast cereals, flour, bread and pasta
Brown rice
Potatoes Legumes, peas and lentils
Bananas and many other fruits and vegetables
Refined
Processed breakfast cereals (i.e. sugarcoated flakes)
White flour, breads and pasta
White rice
Sugary cookies
Cakes

FATS

Fats provide a concentrated source of energy. The body also needs to store some fat to prevent excessive loss of body heat. Thus a certain amount of fat is essential in everyone's diet. Foods that contain fats also contain the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. The problem is that many people eat too much fat and the wrong type of fat.

There are two types of fat - saturated, which mainly comes from animal sources, and unsaturated which comes from vegetable sources. It is the saturated fats which are the most harmful and which may lead to high cholesterol levels and coronary disease later in life.

It is important to give your baby whole milk for at least the first two years but try to reduce fats in cooking and use butter and margarine in moderation. Try to reduce saturated fats in your child's diet by cutting down on red meat, especially fatty meats like lamb; replace with more chicken and fish. This may in fact be a good time to review the whole family's eating habits, and to cut out all that butter on Daddy's toast in the morning!

FATS
Saturated
Butter
Meat
Lard, suet and drippings
Eggs
Cheese and full-fat yogurt
Cakes and cookies
Hard margarine
Whole milk
Unsaturated fats
Sunflower, grapeseed, safflower, sesame, soy, canola and olive oils Soft polyunsaturated margarine Oily fish (e.g. mackerel)

VITAMINS

The possibility of vitamin deficiencies in the developed world should not be ignored. The children most at risk are those who follow a Vegan diet (i.e. no animal products at all) and those drinking cow's milk from the age of six months. Pediatricians recommend that these children should take a daily vitamin supplement until they are at least two.

For most children eating fresh food in sufficient quantity and drinking breast or formula milk until one year of age, vitamin supplements are unnecessary.

There are two types of vitamins - water-soluble (C and B complex) and fat-soluble (A, D, E and K). Water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored by the body so foods containing these should be eaten daily. They can also easily be destroyed by overcooking, especially when fruit and vegetables are boiled in water. You should try to preserve these vitamins by eating the foods raw or just lightly cooked (in a steamer, for instance).

There is some controversy over whether vitamin supplements can improve your child's IQ. As vitamins are necessary for the correct development of the brain and nervous system, it is important that a good supply of all vitamins is taken. However, a good balanced diet should supply all that is required and an excess of vitamins is potentially harmful. Good sources of all the major vitamins and minerals are given in the tables to the left.

VITAMIN A
Essential for growth, healthy skin, tooth enamel and good vision.
Liver
Oily fish
Carrots
Dark green vegetables (e.g. broccoli) Sweet potatoes
Oranges
Squash
Tomatoes
Lentils
Watercress
Apricots and peaches
Whole milk and eggs
Butter and margarine

VITAMIN B COMPLEX
Essential for growth, changing food into energy, for a healthy nervous system and as an aid to digestion. There are a large number of vitamins in the B group. Some are found in many foods, but no foods except for liver and yeast extract contain them all.

Meat, especially meat juices (so use in gravy) and liver
Fish
Dairy produce and eggs
Whole-grain cereals
Wheatgerm
Dark green vegetables
Potatoes
Yeast extract (e.g. Vegemite)
Nuts
Legumes
Bananas

VITAMIN C
Is needed for growth, healthy tissue and healing of wounds. It helps in the absorption of iron.

Vegetables such as: broccoli; Brussels sprouts; greens; bell peppers; potatoes; spinach; cauliflower.
Fruits such as: oranges and other citrus fruits; blueberries; melon; papaya; strawberries and tomatoes

VITAMIN D
Essential for proper bone formation, it works in conjunction with calcium. It is found in few foods, but is made by the skin in the presence of sunlight.
Oily fish
Liver
Oils
Eggs
Margarine
Dairy produce

VITAMIN E
Important for the composition of the cell structure, and helps the body to create and maintain red blood cells.
Vegetable oils
Margarine
Wheatgerm
Nuts

VITAMIN K
Aids in blood clotting, maintains bones, and is present in the intestine.

It is found in most vegetables and whole-grain cereals.

CALCIUM
Calcium is needed for strong bones good teeth and growth.

Dairy produce, especially milk Canned fish with bones (e.g. sardines, but only for older children)
Dried fruit
Bread and flour
Broccoli
Legumes

IRON
Iron is needed for healthy blood and muscles. A deficiency in iron is probably the most common and will leave your child feeling tired and run down.
Liver and red meat
Oily fish
Egg yolks
Dried fruits (especially apricots)
Whole-grain cereals
Lentils and legumes
Green leafy vegetables
Chocolate

WATER

Humans can survive for quite a time without food, but only a few days without water. Babies lose more water through their kidneys and skin than adults and also through vomiting and diarrhea.

Thus it is very important that your baby should not be allowed to dehydrate. Make sure he drinks plenty of fluids. Cool, boiled water is the best drink to give your baby on hot days particularly, as it will cool the body down quicker than any sugary drink.

It is really not necessary to give a very young baby anything to drink other than milk or plain water if he is just thirsty. Fruit sirups, cordials and other sweetened drinks should be discouraged to prevent dental decay. Don't be fooled if the packet says 'dextrose' - this is just a type of sugar.

If your baby refuses to drink water then give him unsweetened baby juice or fresh 100 percent fruit juices. Dilute according to instructions or for fresh juice use one part juice to three parts water, gradually increasing to half and half.

The Question of Allergies

It is fairly common for babies to inherit food allergies from their parents, and where there is a history of a particular food allergy, that food should only be introduced singly and with great care.

The commonest foods which carry a risk of allergic reaction in babies are cow's milk and dairy products, eggs, fish (especially shellfish), some fruits, nuts and foods containing gluten. Some babies (and older children) can also react to artificial food colorings and additives. The commonest allergic problems which may be triggered by adverse reactions to food are: nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; asthma; eczema; hayfever; rashes and swelling of the eyes, lips and face. This is one reason it is unwise to rush starting your baby on solid foods.

There is no need to be unduly worried about food allergy, unless there is a family history. The incidence of food allergy in normal babies is extremely small and, with the tendency to a later introduction of solid food between four and six months, they have become even less common. However, it is still children under the age of eighteen months who are most likely to develop an allergy to a particular food. Although a lot of children 'grow out of it' by the age of two, some food allergies - particularly a sensitivity to eggs, milk, shellfish or nuts - can last for life. If your child has an allergy, do tell friend's mums and the school when he is old enough.

Never be afraid to take your baby to the doctor if you are worried that there is something wrong. Young babies' immune systems are not fully matured and babies can become ill very quickly if they are not treated properly and can develop serious complications.

LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

Lactose intolerance is not actually an allergy. Children who suffer lactose intolerance lack the substance lactase, an enzyme present in the superficial layers of the small bowel, which breaks lactose down to simpler sugars. Lactose is present in all milks and these babies will not be able to drink breast or cow's milk. A soy formula is given.

Some children who are lactose intolerant are able to eat dairy products like cheese and yogurt with no ill effects.

COW'S MILK PROTEIN ALLERGY

If your baby is sensitive to cow's milk, consult your doctor who will probably recommend a soy-based milk formula. Unmodified soy milk is not suitable as it is nutritionally inadequate. However, some babies who...

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