Never Too Young

Posted: July 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Ever since my peanut butter and jelly combo during my snack in yesterday’s 2147 calories (loving reading all your comments by the way!), I have had PBJ on the brain. it even inspired me to dollop some jelly on my regular bowl of oats alongside my big blob of peanut butter this morning.

pbj oats

If I felt like channeling Rachel Ray, I would say Yum-O! But, I don’t. She kind of annoys me. Then again, all Food Network chefs have something that annoys me slightly. Ironically, I miss Food Network most of all since giving up cable. I miss the EVOO/Yum-O comments, pounds of butter (Paula Dean), orgasming while food-tasting (Giada), crazy hair (Guy Fieri and “female Guy” Anne Burrelli), Mr. I’m-All-That (Bobby Flay), and I’m-a-Barbie-robot (Sandra Lee). And I really miss Chopped and Next Food Network Star!

Okay, that was a tangent. Where was I going with this post again? Oh, that’s right. Part two of WIAW – Baby' B’s version!

IMGP9900 (2)

Monday afternoon we had Braedon’s six month check up at the doctor office. Our doctor showed a little concern about Braedon’s weight because the kiddo ranked in the 44th percentile for height/length and only the 4th percentile for weight. She drilled me on his eating habits, to which I assured her the kid eats. He eats until his belly looks like it would pop with a pin and I can hear the food sloshing around inside of him. He is my child after all and we all know I don’t fear food.

I know full well the kid eats plenty. I’m the one in the kitchen blending and mashing up food like its my job for the hungry little mouth. I don’t mind, though. Blending and mashing up food like its my job helps us save money and I like being able to feed him some of the same things we eat, just blended. Mmmmm….blended green beans…


It’s really not bad to do! All I do is simply cook whatever foods his body can process at this stage until soft and blend with my trusty immersion blender. Right now that involves green beans and sweet potato mostly. Coming soon = corn, peas, carrots, zucchini, peaches, and more! I add a little extra breast milk or distilled water, if needed, to get the right consistency and voila! Homemade baby food! Some things don’t even require cooking, but just mashing up with a fork – like banana and avocado.


That’s not to say I don’t buy anything pre-made. We do like to have a few baby food containers on hand for quick emergency options. I buy natural applesauce because its much cheaper than trying to make my own with a dozen apples. Canned pumpkin is another good option. If you’re ever looking into making your own baby food, I cannot recommend the site Wholesome Baby Food enough! It has tons of info!


I really believe in putting in the effort to make my children’s food. I want them to get used to eating the things we regularly eat as a family. To see that food comes from a kitchen with real ingredients and not from a package all the time. I believe the tastes a child prefers starts early and I want to expose my children to nutritious foods as much as possible.

Makenzie has grown up loving oatmeal, fruit, non-kiddy-super-sweetened yogurts and cereals, broccoli, zucchini, green smoothies, beans, and so much more. I will always allow my children to enjoy “kid food” like cupcakes or Goldfish, but I want them to appreciate food revolving around wholesome choices for the body. And you can never start too young! So I mash and immersion blend away. Now time to prep B’s half a banana, 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato, and eight ounces of mommy milk. And she says the kid doesn’t eat. HA!

  • What were some of the foods and eating habits you remember from your childhood? Do you think what we expose children to at a young age has a big impact on their future eating habits?

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60 Comments to “Never Too Young”
  1. My husband and I gave up cable last year too! I’m so out of the loop in Food Network. I miss all of the learning that goes on just watching those talented teacher/chefs. 🙂 By the way, your PB&J oatmeal looks delicious! I did a post on my version: Mmmm!

  2. Mary says:

    When I was growing up, my mom made an effort to provide fruits and/or vegetables with every dinner. We had to eat some of everything that was on the table, even if we didn’t really like it. There weren’t any special meals just because of personal preferences.

    I definitely believe that young children’s eating habits are influenced by the examples set by the adults in their lives. I am very impressed that you make most of your baby food, and hope to be able to do the same!

    • Tina says:

      Same here. I work to include a fruit or veggie with each meal and most snacks. It’s a standard I hope she continues as she gets older to have a focus on produce. 🙂

  3. It’s so wonderful how dedicated you are to feeding your kids right and starting them out with good habits!!! I only hope that when I have children I will have the dedication to do the same. Though my family were never healthy eaters, my mom was always very insistent that we eat homemade food and not pre-packaged or frozen junk. That has always stuck with me, and I have her to thank for the fact that I do so much cooking at home.

  4. Love that you make his food – and is he really 6 months????? WOW

  5. I’m not a Rachel Ray fan, either. It’s her voice. Girl sounds like she’s been smoking 2 packs a day since she was 16. It’s not my favorite sound…

    I agree with exposing kids to everything when they’re young as to acquire a taste for it as they grow up. Not “forcing” it by any means- just “introducing” different things for their consideration.

  6. Anna Crouch says:

    Oh gosh, he is adorable! I could start popping out babies right now if I wasn’t starting school this fall….my husband and I are dying to start a family. I suppose I can wait 2 years until I graduate. Maybe? 🙂

    We don’t have cable either…and we don’t miss it at all. We pay a total of like…$13 for Netflix and Hulu plus, which we play through my husband’s xbox and Google TV box. Works for us!

  7. I sure HOPE that what we expose our children to has a big impact. I’ll let you know when my kiddos are teenagers. 🙂

    For me, I grew up eating Spaghetti-o’s, frozen foods, sugary cereals, Pop-tarts–basically a diet of processed foods. Seriously. I think I turned out okay. 🙂 I don’t think that’s healthiest way to eat, of course, and who knows how much brighter or more athletic I would have been on a fresh food diet! ha ha Seriously though, I guess nothing was ever denied my food wise, so I grew up able to make my own food choices…maybe that impacted me in a positive way? Not sure.

    • Tina says:

      I ate lots of prepackaged junky type stuff growing up too. I guess, like you, I hope the balanced and nutritious eats at a younger age will save them having to figure it out on their own later. LOL

  8. Sam says:

    this is so important!! i wish every mom in america would read your blog! good for you for taking the time to feed your kids the right way 🙂

  9. Krit says:

    His height/weight is proportionate, he’s not at the bottom of the percentile, and your husband isn’t very tall so I find that so bizarre she would care that much about his size??

    • Tina says:

      Yea. I wasn’t worried about it. M has always been small too. I know I feed my child. She let up more about it after seeing him sitting up and already army crawl scooting. LOL

  10. Baby B is so cute — and has good taste too! I love bananas and sweet potatoes 🙂

    I do think that we learn eating habits early and I think it is great that you make sure your kids are still kids but that they eat healthy too.

  11. I’ve never even thought of making my own baby food. I’ll keep this in mine for when I have little babies of my own 😀

  12. I don’t have kids yet but I love the idea of making your own baby food. Nice job!

  13. I just made a big batch food for my niece and froze it, I figured I could help out my brothers girlfriend and provide my niece with some healthy and natural food.

  14. Karin M says:

    Your food network chef analogies are hysterical b/c they are all so TRUE! haha

  15. Sarah R says:

    That little boy of yours is too cute! I agree with everything about this post. Indulge the children, but also give them real, whole foods. I’m a little anxious to start trying solids with William, but really looking forward to making all of his food. Our pediatrician was concerned with our little guys weight at the last check up but he’s still in the 50th percentile! Do we all have to be in the highest percentiles for weight? I don’t get it! As long as they are eating and gaining, I don’t see any reason to worry.

  16. Karin M says:

    I admire you for making your own baby food. I did it too, and never regretted it one bit. I had the baby food processor, which made it real easy. I too, don’t want to give my kid a lot of sugary stuff. I try to feed him healthy foods, carrots, apples, beans, homemade banana bread, etc. I feel, he will get eough sugar foods elsewhere, when he gets older. I do think, what we feed them as toddlers will predict their future eating habits.

    Your son is adorable! That is such a wonderful age.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    I grew up on the SAD. After flirting with it for years, I became a vegetarian when my daughter was born. Something about her animal-ness, the breastfeeding, and wanting to have answers for her questions (“why do we eat this and not that?”) inspired me! Anyway, she’s 14 months old now and I do think, and hope, she will be influenced by my husband’s diet and my diet, and that the healthy stuff we are giving her now will set the stage for her tastebuds for life. I know she may have her dalliances with meat when she has the choice to do so, but at least I’ve shown her how tasty and fun being veggie can be!

    She’s always been a little bit, too, hitting just the 10% percentile for weight. I don’t think there’s much that changes that. She ate an avocado a day (mashed with a banana and some nutritional yeast) from 6-12 months old and she just gradually, gradually gained. She’s my slender baby and I love her!

    • Tina says:

      That’s like M too. She was always small as well. I love the approach you take to food as well. 🙂

  18. I think all the Food Network stars are annoying except for Ina (Barefoot Contessa)! She is my favoriteeee 🙂

  19. Cat @Breakfast to Bed says:

    Such a cutie!!!! Sounds like great food to me!! I made most of my son’s food too, and he benefitted greatly from it. He’s also now a chili head. Hmmmm.

  20. Karen says:

    I really love that you make most of B’s food! I think that what we serve our kids definitely impacts their eating habits later in life. My kids rarely eat white pasta, white bread or white rice, they love sweet potatoes and salads, and they consider fruit a sufficient snack. Those are all things that I could not say about my own eating habits as a child. I love to eat fresh wholesome food and by showing my children how tasty and wonderful that food is, I’m hoping they will grow to appreciate it as well. That’s not too say they don’t have the typical “kid food” too – they definitely get their share of that (but it’s usually not at home).

  21. Cute pics!! I ate alot of fruit and vegs as a kid so that stuck with me into adulthood…and my love of ice cream 🙂

  22. Megan says:

    Adorable pictures! He’s so cute! I love this post, I’m really hoping that I can make my own baby food when the time comes around. I think that sometimes how picky a person turns out is based on the food they were given as kids, but my brother was only fed microwaved cheese sandwiches almost every night for dinner, and now, at 18, he’ll try anything once. But that’s because once he got older he was influenced by my older cousin. It can only help to expose kids to a lot of different foods and I plan do that with my own kids.

  23. I LOVE PB&J by itself, so I bet it’s a great idea putting them in oatmeal — another thing I love! Yum!

  24. Priyanka says:

    He is so cute! It was a nice change to see WIAW, baby edition.

  25. When I’m home from college and living with my parents I don’t have cable either! So rare to find others out there like that. And, there’s something about Rachel Ray that gets on my nerves too!

  26. Amy says:

    I can never get my oats to look that good!

  27. First of all, he is so flippin cute!

    Second, Im no expert, what with not having kids and all, but I think its a good idea to start them young. My parents fed me loads of vegetables when I was little, and I think that has a lot to do with why I love them so much.

  28. Lately all I’ve been watching on TV is the Food Network! Guy Fieri is the BEST! 🙂

  29. #1: I think it’s ridiculously awesome that you make your own baby food. Seriously.

    #2: I was re-introduced to PB&J freshman year of college and I’m pretty sure it’s the greatest sandwich. Ever. Particularly when it’s grilled. Ohhhhhhhh baby.

    #3: My parents would never buy my sister and me kid-friendly cereals. We were eating Cheerios and Rice Krispies like it was going out of style. Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, and all that was reserved for vacations. (My parents went soft on my brother, though. Resist the urge, Tina! On behalf of oldest children everywhere, treat your youngest like your oldest and do not cave to their pleadings for Eggos like my mom did! Or you’ll never hear the end of it from said oldest child…trust me. haha). I think being fed healthy food made a big impact on how I like to eat now.

    • Tina says:

      This reminds me of Peter’s baby brother that is 14 years younger. His parents give him all sorts of things the older siblings never got and they always give his parents heck about it. LOL

  30. Rebecca says:

    1. I love Guy Fieri. And Adam Richman (Man Vs. Food). They’re basically my favorites.

    2. ADORABLE baby B pics!

    3. I was raised in a house where, essentially, if you wanted a snack, you had to ask. As I got older (like, teen years-ish), that faded and my parents trusted that if I wanted food, I would find food. Cereals like Cocoa Puffs and Fruit Loops and whatnot were kinda rare (still are, unless my sister or I buy them ourselves!). We’d have them sometimes, but for the most part I think it was oatmeal or like Cheerios or something. PopTarts were big here, too, actually… and Toaster Strudels.
    My parents tried to get us to eat a variety of stuff when we were little, and even into our teenage years. Asparagus (raw and cooked; my sister and I prefer it opposite ways), calamari (yuck), different stuff like that. We were actually introduced to both of those things on vacations! Asparagus on a trip to Iowa to see family, and calamari when we were in California to see family. 🙂
    I mean, I know that people’s tastes can change over time–for example my mom never drank milk when she was younger, but she does now. (Of course that maybe has more to do with the fact that her uncle raised cows and the milk they had was the thicker, almost-straight-from-the-cow stuff… But still!) Or… I was never a huge fan of watermelon growing up, but now I love it! 🙂
    But yeah, I do think that exposing kids at a young age at least opens them up to being willing to try things in the future!

  31. Your philosophies on food for the kids is right on with how we want to feed our kids too. Sure they can have some goodies now and then, but for the most part we want to feed them wholesome, nutritious real food. I firmly believe they acquire a taste for foods right from the beginning so it’s important to start that healthy eating right from the start 🙂
    Oh gosh, I remember pop tarts, fruit roll ups, and many frozen treats from my childhood days…but my parents were very good about giving me healthy foods too and I had a pretty good balance of it all 🙂

  32. I think it’s terrific you make his baby food! I fully intend to do this too when we have kids:)

  33. Diane says:

    We also gave up cable last year and the ONE thing I miss is Food Network, too! And you hit the nail on the head with all the annoying quirks about each person!

    I’ve been making Drew’s baby food at home since the beginning, too! We keep jars on hand for nights when we go out to dinner, but otherwise it’s all homemade. And Wholesome Baby Food was my FAVORITE site!!!! Definitely a winner! Even though Drew’s eating a lot of table foods I still go there often to find out things like “when is it okay to feed my baby pineapple?” We did the homemade baby food both for saving money as well as because I just didn’t want to start out his life feeding him foods from a package. Give him what nature made! That’s why I chose to nurse him, too!

    I totally think what you feed kids early on makes a BIG impact. I grew up on fresh home cooked meals, but my husband grew up on things like Hamburger Helper and canned veggies. He actually doesn’t like a lot of the home cooked stuff I prepare and I can’t STAND his stuff either. I can just taste the chemicals and preservatives, I swear it!

  34. This is an important post! I don’t think I’ll be able to feed my kiddo things that are over processed. (the kiddo is just a sparkle in our eyes as of now…. so I’ve got time to figure it all out)
    Have you heard the great cereal debate with infants first foods? I don’t know if I’ll be able to feed my child a white baby food who I’ve heard dr’s refer to as carb sugar…. SO much to learn!!!

  35. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I LOVED your tangent about the different food network stars…you are hilarious! I definitely think that childhood food habits really do shape our future food habits! LOVE THIS POST and you have the most beautiful children ever!

  36. Michelle says:

    Umm who said he could be 6 months old??

    Livie is like Braedon. 95th percentile in weight when she was 2 weeks old. Off the charts at 2 months. 15th % at 9 months and she hasn’t gone up since!! Her Dr was like “holy wow!” but at the same time she was like – eh, it happens ESPECIALLY when they start getting active. The funny thing is that my girl can EAT. I wish I had her metabolism 🙂

    I really didn’t have time to make my own baby food for my kids, but they both nursed until they were two and ate Earth’s Best baby food. I did what I could do!! My Braeden is a weird eater. He LOVES veggies and fruit. He’s not a big fan of meat. Sometimes he doesn’t like Mac & Cheese (who is this child?) And he would rather eat peanut butter than anything else. Livie eats EVERYTHING. Seriously she is my human vacuum. Just like her mama 🙂

    That said – I think exposure is key. Taste buds change, and because of that I really want to teach my kids to be open minded (about more than food too!). I really hope (my) Braeden doesn’t hate tomatoes forever!

  37. Jennifer says:

    First of all, I really enjoy your blog and have been reading for a quite a while but have never commented. Like you, I also think that is a great place for information. I was curious if you have read about BLW (baby led weaning) on their website? The link is
    If you google BLW it you will find lots information online including some blogs of people documenting their experiences. I have 2 little boys(1 and 3) and did BLW with both. We skipped all purees/cereal and went straight to table food. It is a great approach to solids and I highly recommend it! No picky eaters at our house! 🙂 Thanks for all the great posts. Keep it up!

    • Tina says:

      I have heard of the baby led weaning. I want to look it into a bit more to see how it all works. After that, may give it a go. I do like the idea of not having to blend everything up. LOL

  38. I think what we expose our children to absolutely affects their habits. It’s because of my lifelong meat-and-potatoes diet that I’m just now learning to eat healthily. My cousin, on the other hand, raised her first son on a very strict diet (he was the first, after all), and when he was 5, he looked up at me and asked, “Miss Katy, may I please have a stalk of celery?” My only thought was oh no…what are you going to do with it? Turns out it was his favorite food…behind asparagus. What a blessing!

  39. Yep, we make all our baby food here! SO simple and easy to just mash up food with a fork or blend it real quick! We started solids at 6 months and now at 8 months my babe pretty much eats anything we do but just in small pieces!

  40. Christina says:

    Gaaah, I love (heavy on the sarcasm) those percentile charts! Our son is a few weeks older than yours and is similar in terms of height and weight. He’s happy, alert, active, eats and requires plenty of diaper changes. As a first time mom the numbers drove me a little crazy.
    Not only is Braedon a cutie, I am AMAZED at how clean he is while eating. His hands aren’t on the spoon, in his mouth or smearing the food into his hair. How is this possible?! 🙂
    Btw, I really enjoy your entries on self-love/reflection. Thanks!

  41. Nikki says:

    I’m also trying to expose my kids to lots of healthy foods. I love having kids that are happy eating a wide variety of foods. I smile when my 4 yo daughter is thrilled because there is homemade yogurt in the fridge (plain old white) and chooses it over a fruity custard sitting beside it. She won’t try my green smoothie, though she will share my salads. 🙂

    By the way, I just starting reading your blog recently and really enjoy it. I hadn’t made a green smoothie for a long time, and you got me started again. What a great summer treat it’s been in the heat of the day, lately!

    • Tina says:

      Awesome! Love green smoothies. 🙂

      Thanks so much for the supportive words. I always love hearing from readers. It’s fun to connect!

  42. Jennifer Rahn says:

    My 30th birthday present yesterday from Eric’s family was a 14-cup Cuisinart food processor, which I’ve been wanting for years. I made all of Addie’s food in a mini. This one is already a blessing. Henry had fres corn and spinach last night, thanks to the Cuisinart; he loved it. Our 6-month checkup (and our 2-year, a month early) is next week. I’m curious to see where Hen-Hen is on the charts. I have no idea! I’m pretty sure that Addie is near the 100% in height, though, and pretty healthy in the weight range. That girl has a hollow leg. From what I’ve seen, Hen-Hen does, too.

  43. Rachael Ray annoys me too!! We’re thinking about giving up cable because Ralph says I watch too much of “those” shows. I think he needs to reconsider because he’ll be missing “All Nazis All The Time” (History Channel) and Shark Week (Discovery). I think we’ll be keeping the cable!! 😉

  44. Lizzie says:

    Though I don’t have a baby (yet!), this is one of many things I am passionate about. I am grateful every single day that my parents brought us up to eat whatever they were eating and that my husband’s parents did the same for him (he didn’t know there was a kids menu until he was at least 10). Because of their effort we can travel anywhere, whether it’s a new restaurant downtown, a cafe in another country, or someone’s house and eat pretty much whatever is on the menu or offered to us. That doesn’t mean we don’t like certain things (olives? mushrooms? No thanks! :)), but it makes our lives, and the lives of people we’re dining/staying with, a lot easier. I hope that we can do the same for any children we have. Tina, you’re doing an awesome balancing act with your kids food – making it yourself, but also allowing for times when you might be busy or on the road. They’re lucky to have such a food-minded mama!

  45. Vicki says:

    Awww, he’s adorable. I have a ‘lil peanut, too, my seven year old is about 47 lbs. 🙂 Love your blog, BTW!

  46. doctors drive me nuts. They will ALWAYS point out when a child is a litte underweight but they never say anything to babies or children that are overweight. As long as braedon eats well, drinks at least 24-32 oz of breastmilk/day and seems alert, doesn’t sleep too much, and is happy…he is perfectly healthy!

  47. Jeannie says:

    Yes, I definitely believe that what children are exposed to early on helps define how they eat later in life. The whole reason why I started eating healthier when my oldest was one year old. I grew up eating junk and I wanted my kids to have a healthier start and understand what it means to eat healthy and what good nutrition is. Even though they still love the occassional fast food and won’t pass up cake, candy or other goodies, they are satisfied with the healthy eats we have at home. In fact, my sons can’t stand the taste of white bread! They are so used to whole grain bread. I have always made my own baby food too. I think it is best to instill healthy habits from the beginning because then their palates will be completed adjusted to nutritious foods.

  48. Lindsay says:

    I have always been in the lowest percentiles for my weight. When I was younger my mom was always criticized for the fact that I could not gain weight. My mom felt horrible, but she refused to feed me plain junk. Yes as I grew in height she began to introduce more “junk” foods, but everynight at dinner… I would sit down to a meal with proteins, carbs, veggies, fruit, and milk. I didnt have a choice of having McDonalds for dinner. I always had homecooked meals and I couldnt be happier that my mom was so devoted to nutrition! 😀

  49. Karolina says:

    My mom’s degree is in nutrition, and she holds pretty much the same philosophy on baby food as you do. While we were all in the lower half of percentiles for weight, we ate healthy food, and we all continued to like healthy food and make it for ourselves after we left the house! I don’t think you can expect a child to magically like healthy food after never eating it the first few years of life…

  50. 1. I have the immersion blender and I am in LOVE
    2. I absolutely love making baby food and feel all “awesome” when I do it
    3. I still buy some extras “just in case”
    4. Wholesome baby food is my fav site and I use it like the baby food bible
    5. I love that you case about their diets the way you care about yours
    6. I always worry about what I’m feeding to Peanut, the dogs, etc. because that’s what a parent does

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