As a mom (especially for the first time), anxiety can seem like a constant state. Is this normal? Am I doing this right? We've all been through this. One of these stressors can be making sure our children are getting the proper nutrition.
For moms of picky eaters, it can be even more complicated to ensure they're getting proper nutrients. Chicken nuggets are fine once in awhile but not every meal. On the other hand, we also want them to eat--something, anything. It can be a constant battle! The key is making healthy foods actually taste good for them.
Introducing "Little Foodie Club." This service is a new LA-based baby food delivery company designed to help parents to palate-train their babies. In other words, it's food designed to train your little ones to actually enjoy the healthy foods they are eating.
The club offers two different meal plans for babies aged 6-9 months and 9 months +. All the purées are handmade from scratch using only fresh organic ingredients and incorporate complementary herbs and gentle spices as well as bone broths for seasoning to give babies a taste experience like no other baby food out there.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the founder, Kerstin Kuhn. See the interview here:
1. What made you want to start "Little Foodie Club?"
I have been working as a professional food writer for over a decade. As part of my job I’ve been lucky enough to travel and eat my way around the globe, meet top chefs and dine at their restaurants. I have been able to acquire an international perspective on food and food culture and through all of this I have developed a deep love affair with food. I love learning about ingredients, dishes and flavors but also love eating and more than anything I love to cook. When my daughter Maxine was born I knew I wanted to pass my love of food on to her. It was my biggest nightmare to end up with a fussy eater so I started doing an enormous amount of research into how to raise a child who loves good food. That's when I came across the concept of palate-training. Through creating all my own recipes and successfully palate-training her, I got inspired to launch a baby food business helping other parents who don't have time or inspiration to cook for their babies.
2. Why is palate training so important? What are the benefits?
Palate-training basically means that during the first months of a baby eating solid foods we can train their palate and influence their future eating preferences. The way it works is that during these vital first few months the kinds of foods that babies are exposed to will be the kinds of foods they will like later on. So if you want your baby to grow up to love real fruits and vegetables and be open to trying new foods, you have to palate-train them with real fruits and vegetables and an evolving and ever changing variety of different tastes, textures and flavors right from the start.
On the flipside if you consistently expose your baby to foods out of a jar or pouch, you’re conditioning their palate to prefer processed foods. The purées out of jars and pouches have little or no resemblance in taste or texture to those made from fresh ingredients so it’s no surprise that babies who are exclusively fed these bland and often tasteless manufactured purées often turn out to be kids who refuse to eat real vegetables and instead demand processed foods - like chicken nuggets.
3. Are there any foods that are better to palate train with than others?
There really aren’t any foods that are better than others. What matters is that your baby’s food is made from fresh ingredients and put together with care in a way that brings out their best flavor. Of course, certain foods like red meat for instance are vital in a baby’s diet because they provide essential nutrients like iron. But the most important thing when introducing your baby to solid foods is to make sure you give them a constantly evolving variety of different ingredients and flavors so that they get used to experiencing things and develop an adventurous sense of taste.
Little Foodie Club’s meal plans comprise an ever-evolving range of different flavors. Our carrot purée is made with chicken bone broth and a hint of turmeric; our apple purée is infused with rooibos tea; and some of our bigger dishes include things like a baby Bolognese – pasta with slow-cooked beef sauce; and a sweet potato, spinach and garbanzo bean coconut curry. This is baby food with a culinary touch developed to expand babies’ palates and introduce them to the wonderful world of flavors and teach them to love healthy and delicious food right from the start.
4. How can you join Little Foodie Club?
Little Foodie Club offers a variety of different options ranging from a full-month subscription, which gives you a total of 40 meals per month, to our taster pack of three signature flavors. We really encourage parents to sign up to the subscription service so they can get the most out of our program and truly palate-train their babies through consistent exposure to our carefully developed meal plans. But we understand that’s a big commitment so we also offer half subscriptions and one-off orders. All you have to do is visit our website and choose what works best for you.
5. Do you have a favorite recipe?
Iron deficiency is a common nutritional problem in early childhood, so introducing your baby to red meat – a rich source of iron – is very important. This beef casserole is slow-cooked with carrots, tomatoes, and Italian herbs. It's delicious!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 8oz ground beef
- 1 cup strained tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp basil
- ½ thyme
1. Place a large heavy-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat.
2. Add the olive oil and then the onion, celery and carrot.
3. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to stir for another 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the beef and stir until the meat is browned all over.
5. Then pour in the strained tomatoes and add the herbs and bay leaf and give it all a good stir.
6. Reduce the heat to low-medium, place a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for about an hour until all the flavors have developed into a wonderfully rich sauce.
7. Leave to cool then place in a food processor and purée to your desired consistency.
For more information and to join Little Foodie Club, visit the website here.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.