Exploring and Enjoying Food with Baby
Mealtime is also a great time to explore the tastes and textures of foods. We’ve been having a lot of fun with this lately. I pull the high chair up to the counter so that BabyC can watch me prepare food. Fruits have proven to be the most exciting. Try handing your baby a fresh peach, a kiwi fruit, or even plopping a whole cantaloupe on her tray. Let her smell it and feel the texture of the skin. When I put the cantaloupe in front of BabyC, she was clearly impressed with the weight of it. She tried to pick it up with both hands, but it was too heavy for her. She looked up at me inquisitively, and I agreed with her, “That is a very heavy cantaloupe, isn’t it?”
Next, I cut the fruit open on the counter while BabyC watches. Then I show her the inside of the fruit and let her touch it and smell it again. By this point, BabyC is usually really excited and ready to eat. Finally, I cut the fruit into pieces that are a little more manageable for her, and we both sit down to enjoy eating together. What a great way to engage all your baby’s senses!
To further cultivate our baby’s understanding of food, we have also visited several local u-pick farms this summer. Many of us will take our kids to a pumpkin patch in a month or so for some classic photo ops. Pumpkins are really fun, but right now is harvest time for lots of foods that your kids already know and love, so it is a perfect time to visit a local farm and learn more about where your food comes from. We visited Detering Orchards just outside of Eugene last week. They have lots of u-pick fruits and vegetables in addition to a gorgeous farmstand where you can buy pre-picked produce. What I love about this farm in particular is that their crops are so diverse. We went out to pick apples but then stumbled into some gorgeous fields of cabbages, broccoli, and beets, and then we wandered over to the peach trees.
We also had a 2- and a 4-year-old with us, and they loved checking out the veggies, especially hunting for ripe beets. (I’m not sure the beets were supposed to be u-pick, but how can you deny a 4-year-old that is really excited about beets?) BabyC had a great time, too.