Thursday, March 17, 2011

Division of Responsibility and Baby’s 1st Lentil Veggie Stew

Good morning and Happy St. Patty's Day!!

I was recently reading this book on baby recipes (go figure eh? Haha) and there were some stats on what the average toddler eats, I almost fell off my bike while I was reading (I will sometimes double my cardio w reading) so I had to look up the study for myself so here it is…

Feeding infants and toddlers study: what foods are infants and toddlers eating?
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, January 2004, Vol 104, supp 1, p 22-30

This was a descriptive analysis, based on a national random sample of 3,022 infants and toddlers age 4 to 24 months.

Here is a summary of the results:
  • 18% to 33% of infants and toddlers between ages 7 and 24 months consumed no discrete servings of vegetables
  • 23% to 33% consumed no fruits
  • French fries were one of the three most common vegetables consumed by infants 9 to 11 months of age, by 15 to 18 months, french fries were the most common vegetable
  • Almost half (46%) of 7- to 8-month-olds consumed some type of dessert, sweet, or sweetened beverage, and this percentage increased as age increased
  • By 19 to 24 months, 62% of toddlers consumed a baked dessert, 20% consumed candy, and 44% consumed a sweetened beverage

Here is a summary of the applications:

  • parents and caregivers should be encouraged to offer a wide variety of vegetables and fruits daily, with emphasis on dark green, leafy, and deep yellow vegetables and colorful fruits
  • offer desserts, sweets, sweetened beverages, and salty snacks only occasionally, offering nutrient-dense, age-appropriate foods as alternatives (eg, fruit, cheese, yogurt, and cereals)
  • water, milk, and 100% fruit juices should be offered as alternative beverages
  • family-based approaches to developing healthy eating habits may be helpful as family food choices influence what foods are offered to children

Ok so what are your thoughts?

I am glad that I have had a few days to digest this because I was unable to respond earlier as my jaw was on the floor, maybe that is because I am somewhat naive we know that the rates of childhood obesity have soared in recent years I guess I just didn’t think that it would happen that young…but of course everyone is different but I honestly can’t believe by 18 months french fries were the most common vegetable I am assuming they weren’t sweet potato fries? Haha and sweets and candy oh my!!! This research is going on 7 years old so it would be interesting to see how that has changed in recent years – sounds like a PhD dissertation… ;-)

So how much should a ‘toddler’ eat? What is a toddler portion?

I said that I wasn’t going to call Julia a toddler until 18 months but it seems as though I am… kinda but not really :-) 

As we have learned 1st hand in recent weeks, toddlers can become very picky eaters, they will have their favourites and eat nothing else as a mother (or father) you want to make sure that they eat something so how do you not fall into the trap of catering to their eating?

On average a toddler serving is about ¼ of an adult serving, so we first need to know how much an adult serving is as many people are not sure what constitutes  a serving size, for example according to Canada’s Food Guide 1 piece of bread is 1 serving therefore; ¼ slice of bread is a toddler serving. With this in mind it is important to have realistic expectations of how much your toddler should eat, it is also important to make every bite count towards their daily nutrient requirements, so we want to focus on healthy food choices you give your child choices and then they will decide on how much they will eat, this is the concept of 'division of responsibility' which Ellyn Satter has devoted a program of research to.  In brief parents decide what to buy where and how and when to serve it children will decide the amount if any they will eat, this can be a challenging concept to get your head around, but at the same time you are helping your child to become a competent eater.  Below is quoted from Ellyn's website:

Fundamental to parents' jobs is trusting children to decide how much and whether to eat. If parents do their jobs with feeding, children will do their jobs with eating:
  • Children will eat
  • They will eat the amount they need
  • They will learn to eat the food their parents eat
  • They will grow predictably
  • They will learn to behave well at the table 
Well that all sounds simply... but when your child is refusing everything that you give them and then you start catering to the things that they will eat you have missed the boat on division of responsibility so I think that this is a great concept but it takes some practice to follow.

So now that we have established the division of responsibilty what are the daily nutritional requirements for toddlers this is a vary brief overview I will follow up posting more detail.

6 servings of grains 
3 + servings of fruits and veggies
2 servings of protein 
3 servings of milk (1 serving = 1/2 cup of milk)
Well I hope that clarifies some things about feeding toddlers.
So now on to the recipe of the day I guess you could even call it "IRISH" stew to fit for St. Patty's day haha...

Simply Pure Baby’s 1st Lentil Veggie Stew

This simple health stew doubles as a perfect meal for the rest of your family, full of veggies, protein, fibre and flavour.  You could even prepare the night before and put in your slow cooker on low for a ready to eat meal at the end of a busy day.

1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup of veggie stock (homemade)
¾ cup grated celery root
3 bay leaves
½ tsp dried rosemary
¾ tsp turmeric
6 red potatoes washed and sliced, skin on
6 carrots peeled and sliced
2 cups of frozen peas (fresh would work)
2 cups of frozen green beans (fresh would work)
2 cups of cooked lentils I used brown lentils (depending when you add them you could use uncooked but would need to increase the water accordingly)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
4-6 cups of water for desired thickness (may also use stock)

1)      Sautee onion, garlic in evoo, once fragrant stir in grated celery root, rosemary and turmeric, once mixed add stock and bay leaves.
2)      Add in 4 cups of water, potatoes and carrots bring to a boil, simmer 25-30 min until soft depending on the size of your veggies, add peas, green beans, lentils and additional water as needed for desired consistency
3)      Once warmed through add fresh ground pepper to taste, reserve a portion for yourselves add the remaining into your food processor or use a hand held blender and puree to desired texture, fill ice cube trays, freeze and store

-          You could grate all your veggies for quicker cooking, I was making this to double as our meal so it worked out to puree it afterwards
-          Add 1 cup of chopped parsnips, turnip or sweet potatoes may have to adjust water
-          Next time I may add some barley to make it a complete meal with a serving of grains, for now I stir in some of Julia’s barley cereal and it works wonderfully 

This is the 1st time that I have ever made "stew" to be honest I don't even really like the word "stew" I just think of some bowl of over cooked veggies with chunks of meat in it haha... but this recipe changed the meaning of "stew" for me so I know have this idea to create a Caribbean type stew... here is the end product Before Puree...
 After Puree:
Side by Side:

I froze the extra portions in my ice cube trays as I would anything else... freezes well and Julia (& daddy) loved it a perfect well balanced family meal.

Duty calls I can hear my princess waking up we have some St. Patty's day surprises to do for daddy so we must get busy, here are your questions for today.  

What do you think about the results of the toddler eating study? Do you think that it would be different if repeated now? And "division of responsibility" any thoughts?

I leave you with a flash back to last St. Patty's day... I wonder how that hat sizes up now only one way to find out... stay tuned!!


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