I am a rule-follower by nature. As a first-time mom, I was quite set on following our pediatrician’s instructions, particularly when our twin girls were infants.
When it was time to introduce solids, I was extremely pedantic about the order in which our girls tried new foods…first green veggies…then orange ones…then fruit. I took copious notes (which I still have, of course!) to keep track of how many times the girls had had green beans, lest there be some type of allergic reaction.
Our girls are now 4 ½, and I guess old habits are hard to break.
No, I’m not still recording every bite my girls take, but I am still keenly aware of how many fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins they have every day. It started innocently enough…replacing baby food bananas with fresh diced ones…adding in some avocados to round out their green veggie intake.
The first few months of big-people food, we ate a lot of baked fish and baked chicken. It was easy for me to dice that for the girls and serve it with a side of veggies and fresh fruit.
It took quite a while for me to make the leap to casseroles and one-dish meals…does this mixture contain the proper amounts of protein and veggies? Do I need a veggie on the side? How do I log this into my spreadsheet?!?! (I’m
kidding about the spreadsheet…mostly.)
By the time the girls were about 18 months old, I was beginning to relax a little bit about what they ate. Looking at how I still plan most of our meals, my “relaxation” is probably relative.
Breakfast religiously consists of a protein, a grain, fresh fruit, and milk. I vary our proteins between scrambled eggs with cheese, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt; and our grains between oatmeal and cream of wheat. On the weekends I sometimes get a little crazy and make whole-wheat French toast to fill the grain slot.
About every other day, our lunch is two veggies and a fruit, usually with some cheese and a couple of wheat crackers. On alternating days, I will fix a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat with one veggie and a fruit.
I’ve relaxed my “rules” the most at dinner time. We sometimes stick with the baked fish / chicken + veggie + fruit model. More often, though, I make a one-dish meal…a soup or stew or baked pasta or stir fry over rice. I occasionally serve a veggie with that; we often have bread dipped in olive oil; and I always serve fresh fruit and milk.
This model works for us. I buy lots and lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and I try to limit processed foods as much as possible. Most importantly, my girls eat a wide variety of foods, and I feel like they are getting a very balanced diet.
It just struck me as funny a few days ago, though, when I made pulled pork barbeque in the crock pot and served it up to the girls…with a side of Brussels sprouts and diced mango. That’s not exactly the type of barbeque plate I grew up eating.
I’m not sure if my pediatrician would be proud…or a little frightened at my [still] literal interpretation of “the rules”.
MandyE is mom to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls. She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.