Being a nurse, health is my ‘thing’ and I take it pretty seriously. Where possible (not always possible in PNG), I will prepare Organic meals to ensure the best nutrition possible and I will also take part in preventative health. I am not one to pop a pill for this or that as I believe that our bodies don’t get enough credit for their ability to repair when fuelled correctly- don’t get me wrong! I still strongly believe that there is a place for modern medicine and it is incredible in what it can do however I do not believe it is the only option and in some cases can do more harm than good (when used incorrectly for example). We need to look after our bodies as well as our mind (mental health) and spirit (that higher power- in my case this is God). I hope that I can pass this on to BG as she grows up so that she learns to find that delicate balance between all three.
My contribution to BG’s bodily health involves making baby food (and I buy a fair bit too!). I do this because I like giving BG a broad variety of foods to ensure she is getting the right nutrients she needs for her little growing body. I also make it because there is only 1 brand of organic baby foods I can buy over here and if she only ate what they were offering, she would only eat 3 different meals and two of those are very similar- Chicken Vegetable Dinner or Chicken and Sweet Potato Dinner.
When I first started making baby food, I bought the Avent Steamer Blender so that I could quickly and easily prepare nutritious meals for her. Cooking with the steaming method is very healthy because you can use the smallest amount of water in you cooking and then use that water to thin out the puree at the end ensuring that ALL the nutrients make it to her plate. Sometimes I will stew some foods or boil but I always try to ensure that ALL of the water it is cooked in is used in the puree.
The first meals I prepared were the usual pumpkin puree, apple puree, pear puree, carrot puree and so on. As I slowly built up her repertoire of foods (waiting on average 4 days between introducing another- it helps to figure out if there are food intolerances or allergies), I began to experiment with mixing more than one to make an all-in-one meal for her.
The first all-in-one meal BG had from my kitchen was Lentil Soup which is full of all the good stuff including protein (and lots of it), iron (needed from about 6 months), fiber and vitamin B- and that’s only the lentils! On top of this, she gets the benefits from carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, celery and sometimes spinach (if I can get it here in PNG). BG absolutely loves her Lentil Soup but maybe that’s the ¼ Italian in her genes coming out?
Now our food repertoire includes (recipes to come):
Frozen Fruit Smoothies– Pear & Apricot, Apple & Pear, Apple & Blueberry, Pear & Prune, Apple & Banana, Peaches & Pears, Lychee, Strawberry & Apple
Chicken soup with Quinoa or Barley
Canellini Bean soup
Black Bean, Banana and Quinoa porridge (HUGE amounts of iron in this one)
Pumpkin and Veggie soup with Quinoa
Red Lentils with Potato, Tomato and celery
Notice all the Quinoa? I will often add this to really bulk out the soup and make it into a proper meal. Quinoa is also a super food, is low GI, gluten free, has little taste (very slightly nutty) so can be added to anything, lots of fiber, complete protein* and only takes 15 – 20 mins to cook!
What do you put Quinoa with?
*complete protein means that it contains 9 essential amino acids which are essential for good muscle growth- just what our littlies need!