Raising a Less Picky Eater

Finally, an article that supports homemade baby food over packaged baby food.  This was from a blurb in my American Medical Association daily email updates:

Reuters (2/23, Rapaport) reports that, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, “babies who get homemade food may learn to like a wider variety of food types and be leaner than infants who eat store-bought products.” For the study, “researchers examined dietary data on 65 infants and assessments of body fat from exams when infants were 6, 9, 12 and 36 months old.” Reuters says that “when researchers scored babies’ diets based on how many of seven different food groups they consumed, the infants getting only homemade food achieved scores almost a full point higher than babies getting only store-bought foods.” Meanwhile, “at one year of age, babies who ate only homemade food had a lower percentage of body fat than the other infants in the study.”

I previously referred to an article that claimed the opposite:


I think it makes sense that feeding your kid ONLY pre-packaged baby food is probably not the healthiest.

WZW is 18 months old today!  It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since he started solid foods.  He eats mostly regular food, but for convenience we do still have baby food as well.  The pouches are nice for bringing on-the-go, since they don’t need to be refrigerated and can be easily kept in a diaper bag.  But they are more expensive.

Even though he eats most of what we eat, it’s still a lot of effort to figure out what to feed him multiple times a day, so we still give some baby food even when we’re at home.  We still like the Earth’s Best brand, because they have the glass jars that are way cheaper than the pouches, and come in 6 oz jars (rather than the 4 oz pouches).  So we’ll put them into the reusable pouches.  They also have flavors that aren’t sweet, which is hard to find when you look at the varieties of pouches in the stores or online.

We’re lucky that WZW has never been a picky eater.  Even from when he first started solids, there were only a few foods that he didn’t like.  He mostly eats everything, and since we eat a variety of ethnic foods as a family, he has tried a variety of flavors.  He doesn’t seem to be bothered by spice as well- he can handle it better than my parents can!  If anything, I worry about him eating too much, as he’s starting to need 2 yo sized clothes, thanks to his big belly.  I guess the pediatrician will tell us at his upcoming 18-month appointment if he’s getting too heavy on his growth curve.

I think for most families, doing all homemade food can be difficult.  But given the varieties of mostly sweet foods in the packaged baby foods, I think it’s good for parents to be aware so that they can feed their babies savory foods and add variety with homemade foods.  Otherwise the babies would get used to foods they like, such as apples and sweet potatoes that are often added to make the baby food more palatable to babies.

We definitely did what we could to encourage WZW to eat a variety of foods.  Supposedly different flavors and spice get secreted in breast milk, so I ate a variety of foods during his first 6 months when that’s all he was getting.  And since then we’ve given him a variety of foods, homemade (and restaurant made) and baby food.  But I think it’s also probably just him.  Many babies, when given new foods for the first time, don’t accept them until multiple attempts have been made.  Whereas for WZW, most foods weren’t a problem the first time.

For me and my husband, we’ve been using Cook Smarts more, so we’ve been eating more Paleo than before.  Thanks to my husband who has been cooking us meals during his off days, I have been eating less carbs than what had become my usual.  I’m still not quite there in terms of being completely Paleo- it’s still convenient to eat what’s available at work on days when lunch is provided.  While before, I would definitely pick a sandwich over a salad given the choice, I’ve been trying to go for the salads more often.

The problem is that the salads leave me hungry a couple of hours later.  I had forgotten about that- when I first went full Paleo, I was eating A LOT.  And then, as I got used to it, I found that I needed less food to feel satisfied longer.  Right now, while I’m still not full Paleo, I have to deal with the low carb meals (usually pre-packaged salads) often not keeping me full as long.  But I’m proud of myself for making some progress.  I’m still usually pretty exhausted from work and WZW to put any more effort into it, so any little bit helps.

In any case, last night we were eating a Cook Smarts dish, which was tamarind chicken with bok choy on cauliflower rice.  WZW was eating it all without a fuss, and even practicing his fork skills!  Made Mom and Dad proud to see their little guy enjoying his Paleo dinner.


The Parenting Gender Gap

I have come across a couple of articles recently that discuss how moms still do more of the parenting work than dads.

This first article was referenced in the TIME Parents newsletter:


It talks about how dads are putting in more time parenting compared to years past.  However, the time moms spend on parenting has also increased, so the gap persists.  The author talks about how there is more pressure on parents these days, requiring more intense involvement, which is why the time spent parenting for both moms and dads has increased.  Furthermore, a reason for the gender gap is that when dads spend time parenting, they are usually focused on the parenting task.  Moms spend more time alone with the kids than the dads do, and tend to multitask and do other activities concurrently, like laundry and grocery shopping.

There is also a portion of parenting that is harder to measure in terms of time, and that is the management/organization portion.  When it comes to keeping track of everyone’s schedules, appointments, and so forth, moms tend to do more of the worrying and thinking portion of the parenting.

Which brings me to the second article:


This is an article from TIME which focuses on this very part of parenting.  The article starts with a mom who says that she’s the one who notices that the toilet paper is running low, and makes sure the pantry is stocked with multiple varieties of peanut butter that the different members of the family prefer.

It talks about how the women tend to be the ones doing the researching, the worrying, the organizing.  All of this thinking.  The author says that we need to free women’s minds, and decrease this burden, which will hopefully result in more inspiring use of our thoughts.

These articles refer to households with a mom and dad, with both parents working.  The second article mentions that men still spend more time doing paid work, but the total time parenting + working is about equal.  It would be interesting to find out if it’s more equitable with same-sex couples.

I find it interesting reading these articles, because my household is not like the typical households mentioned above.  My husband also works full-time, but works less days, just way longer hours on the days he works.  As a result, he spends more time alone with WZW than I do.  He definitely multitasks, and does so better than I do.  Although it’s hard to get much done with a toddler around, my husband manages to fix things around the house (currently a never-ending job for a new home), cook, do laundry, and run errands, to name a few.

When it comes to restocking items, we each have our jobs- I keep track of the diapers, baby food, and many of the toiletries.  Since I never bothered to get a Costco membership, my husband does all of the Costco shopping, so he takes care of things like toilet paper, dish soap, etc.  He keeps track of a lot of things that need to get done around the house.  Since I rarely have weekdays off, it’s usually my husband that brings WZW to his doctor’s appointments.

I’m very thankful that I have a husband who does more than his fair share of the parenting, which allows me to focus on my job, and not feel resentful being burdened by as much of the not-so-fun side of parenting.

Because my son spends more time alone with my husband and our nanny than with me, there have been occasions when he cried when they left and I was the one staying home with him.  He has never cried when I left him with the nanny or my husband.  He readily waves goodbye.  So that part of it does hurt a little.  But just when I was thinking that, I took him to my parents’ place during a recent workday, and when I left, he got upset and that made me feel bad, too.  So he does recognize me as a primary caregiver, and it’s a good thing that I have a nanny and husband that take great care of him.

In any case, juggling working and parenting is tough for both sexes.  For me, eating healthy is still a challenge.  We’ve tried many services thus far.  Blue Apron was probably the first of its kind, which delivers the exact amounts of ingredients you need and gives you recipes to cook on your own.  They do have great meals but they take WAY too long to cook.  And the portions were often small (at least for my appetite).  We tried Gobble, which is similar but requires less time, since some of the items are already prepared for you.  However the food quality is not as good.  We still do Sun Basket regularly, which is a similar service and requires less time than Blue Apron and has Paleo options.  Their food quality is better than Gobble’s.

On Mondays, we do Munchery.  They are a food delivery service that I think is only available in major metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, etc.  They have pre-made meals, which for the most part are quite tasty, and all you have to do is heat them up.  It definitely makes life easier, especially since Mondays tend to be the busiest for us, but they don’t have Paleo options.  So most of the items have some carbs as sides, and given the price it’s kind of a waste of money if you don’t eat them.

We recently started doing Cook Smarts, and are liking it so far.  It’s a subscription service that charges $50 per year, and every week they have recipes including all Paleo options if you prefer.  The subscription gives you access to the recipes.  They make it very easy to decide how many (if any) recipes you want to make each week, and you can go to past menus.  Also, you get to decide how many servings.  We regularly make 6-8 servings to have leftovers.  Based on how many servings you decide, it generates a grocery list with the appropriate amounts.  If you make multiple recipes that week, many of the ingredients will be used in multiple dishes, which makes life easier.

So far we usually just do one, maybe two max, recipes per week and find that the dishes taste great, are Paleo, and not too difficult to make.  Best of all, because you do the shopping, you can choose to spend more money on organic items if you’d like, but overall save money compared to the delivery services.  Since we go grocery shopping anyway, it’s not any significant effort to add the additional items to our list.  They even have an option for weekend prep to make the cooking during the week less work.

Because it still requires time to cook, we’re not at the point that we can do it daily.  But it’s definitely a service that we’re finding to be worthwhile.

Since it’s been a while, here is a pic of WZW, now 17 months, getting very muddy in our new backyard: