Skip to main content

What should Henry eat?

After starting things off with a splash of lemon, I wanted to know what we should actually start feeding Henry. Lemons are a great source of Vitamin C and a squeeze of lemon juice is a nice option for flavoring other foods, but I’m not planning to feed him lemons every day. Henry is going to need something more. So where do we go from here?
Everyone I talk with seems to have a different approach for introducing babies to solid foods. There are an overwhelming number of rules and recommendations, many of which conflict with each other. Sorting through the information is daunting and confusing. One pediatrician recommends rice cereal first, while another says whole grain oatmeal is more nutritious. One expert says to try homemade purees, while another says that babies can have large finger foods. One friend says bananas and mangoes are good starter foods, while another says to avoid fruits first since Henry will develop a sweet tooth. Green vegetables first, then yellow, then orange. Stick with bland food that is easy to digest or offer lots of herbs and spices to make food more interesting. No salt, no sugar, no nuts, no honey, no milk, no strawberries, no eggs, no citrus, no soy, no kiwi, no shellfish, no gluten. What’s a mommy to believe?

There are good reasons for health concerns with giving cow’s milk, salt, honey and other sweeteners to children under one year of age. Milk can cause internal bleeding. Salt can harm immature kidneys. Honey can cause botulism. And sugar, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners are empty calories that don’t provide any redeeming nutritious qualities.

Many experts recommend introducing only one food at a time, then waiting two days, four days or even a week between new foods to test for allergens. But our pediatrician suggested that this is both impractical and unnecessary.

First, it could take several years to introduce Henry to food if we actually wait a week between each ingredient. I’m going to need a giant spreadsheet to keep track of every food he tries. If I make my signature carrot cake for his first birthday, it will take three months just to test out each of the 14 ingredients. Additionally, our pediatrician said that most food allergies typically take several exposures and a few weeks to show up so it can be very difficult to pinpoint which food caused a reaction.

Second, it’s very unlikely Henry will be allergic to the vast majority of foods, especially meats, fruits and vegetables. I can understand being careful with foods that have a higher chance of allergen – for our family that’s shellfish, peanuts, and dairy. Overall, peanuts, tree nuts and seafood are the most likely foods to cause serious, even life-threatening, allergic reactions. We’ll be cautious with those foods, but otherwise the advice to introduce only one food at a time seems overly paranoid.

The other recommendations about which foods to start first are just suggestions. There are no hard rules that parents need to follow. It does not matter whether Henry starts with grains, meats, fruits or vegetables. Once he starts eating foods, it is most important to offer him a wide variety of delicious, healthy food. 
I am planning to start Henry with vegetables, and then move on to the foods that we are already eating. I don’t see the need to buy special foods for him, whether that’s rice cereal, jars of pureed baby food, or even Cheerios. It should be a lot easier to just make him a portion of what will be on our family’s menu. A little meal planning will also help to ensure we have an assortment of different foods to offer him throughout the week.


Popular posts from this blog

Ready for Kindergarten

It's back to school season and Henry starts kindergarten on Monday!
It should be an easy transition for him since Henry will be in the same classroom with the same teacher as his preschool year. For the past three weeks, he has been lamenting that school is better than summer break and he wants to see all his friends again. His goal for the year is to learn to read so he can devour Pokemon cards and comic books. I love that he is excited to be back at school. 

The format and frequency of this blog will be changing this year. Henry has asked that I not take daily photos of his lunches. He says that he would still like to share pictures of his favorite lunches on occasion. I also plan to write a few product reviews of lunchboxes and water bottles. 

Our family is in the process of moving to a new house this month as well, so my focus is on getting us settled into the new space. As a result, I won't be writing much on the blog in September but hope to post at least once per month sta…

Henry's Lunchbox - Last Week of Preschool

This week, Henry packed four school lunches and purchased one cafeteria lunch. It was his last week of preschool. He is so excited to be a kindergartener now.

In case you missed the first post in this school lunch series, you can learn more about our family's lunchbox guidelines here.


Seasoned Almonds
Provolone Cheese
Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Candy
Apricot Slices

Most of the Almonds
Half the Cherries
All but one bite of Cheese
One Apricot Slice


Henry's Lunchbox - The Purple Lunchbox

This week, Henry packed four school lunches and purchased one cafeteria lunch.

Henry's favorite lunchbox this year has been his purple Bentgo Kids container. He chose the color himself. He especially likes all the sections in the box so that he can have lots of different foods at lunch. In January, I even purchased a set of silicone muffin cups so that he would be encouraged to use his Planetbox Shuttle as often with its single divider.