My second child is just over a year old, thus I now have the experience of raising two babies on a raw/living food diet. It feels like uncharted territory in many ways, but I’ve learned a lot throughout the journey.
Germinate Seeds and Nuts
I always soak nuts and seeds in water for at least a couple hours before preparing them. This brings them into a living state and makes them easier to digest.
Practice Proper Food Combining
Following this practice allows of easier assimilation of nutrients and boosts digestions. Here’s a chart that illustrates the concept.
Blend Nuts and Seeds
Even toddlers with a mouthful of teeth probably don’t chew nuts and seeds well enough for optimum digestion. I blend nuts and seeds into pates, sometime adding in veggies.
Be Aware of Choking Hazards
Carrots, grapes and nuts are notorious for being choking hazards for babies. Exercise caution for anything larger than a pea. I shred carrots and dice blueberries for example, and let my little guy feed himself.
Smoothies are an ideal food for a baby, especially if they are made with a water base (less sugar) and contain blended leafy green veggies. I put them in a sippy cup for my son and let him slurp away.
Avoid Very Sweet Foods
I don’t give my son dehydrated fruits and other highly sweet foods, so his palate doesn’t get used to really sweet tastes. Fresh fruit are healthy in moderation.
Make Meal Times Fun
I try to avoid power struggles whenever I can and make meals fun. I don’t offer my son a meal when he is really tired or force things on him that he really doesn’t like. For example, he doesn’t like a hard plastic bib and will spend the entire meal trying to remove it.
Offer a Variety of Foods and Textures
Even if your baby seems to only like specific foods, it’s good to offer a variety. Early eating experiences are as much about learning and exploring as they are about ingesting nutrients. Some babies will take to a given food after trying it (and turning it away) numerous times.
Foster Feeding Independence
There are numerous benefits to allowing a baby to feed themselves (aka baby-led weaning). Many boast that it decreases choking, boosts fine motor skills, and encourages healthy eating habits. Although it is very messy, it can also save time. I primarily encourage my son to feed himself by giving him finger foods, putting soups and drinks in a sippy cup, and loading a spoon for him to feed himself.