One of the most difficult transitions for mother and baby is the one from the first diet of liquids only, to one which includes solid foods. This period can be stressful, confusing and nerve-wracking to say the least! The massive array of advice both from family and friends and on the bookstore shelf can be intimidating and make for a frustrating experience. Too often pediatricians send confused mothers away with little guidance, leaving them searching for more information and instruction.
The Healthy Baby Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel will definitely help alleviate much of the confusion, and really is a must for the kitchen shelf. The book is a sensible, practical and informative guide which can lead you from that first cereal feeding to a healthy and varied diet for even the pickiest toddler.
The book begins with a useful section which describes in detail, the process for preparing, cooking and presenting the very first foods, including cereal, fruits and vegetables for the beginning eater. Often the most difficult part of beginning to feed solid food is deciding which foods to start with and how to prepare them safely and properly. Karmel gives detailed, yet simple instructions for preparing "the mush" (as she calls it). And beyond the usual one ingredient offerings, Karmel serves up some great ideas for mixing already introduced ingredients for the baby that is between the introduction stage and the finger food stage. Recipes for things like Sweet Potato with Cinnamon (p. 36), Trio of Vegetables with Ricotta (p. 51), and Cauliflower Cheese (p. 54), are sure to make mommy's mouth water right along with baby's.
This book offers wonderful meal planning and preparation advice. Karmel explains how to prepare large quantities and freeze them for your baby. Another good feature of the book is the coded symbols at the bottom of the recipes and meal selections. At the bottom of each page there is a happy face, sad face, and, in some cases a snowflake. These symbols have spaces next to them for check marks. A happy face indicates a winning food. A sad face indicates a food that most likely landed on the floor or the front of your shirt. And the snowflake indicates which foods can be stored in the freezer. Karmel also has indications on recipes that contain peanuts and may present an allergy problem. The book is visually pleasing with darling illustrations throughout by Nadine Wickenden.
Perhaps even more helpful (at least for us mommies of toddlers) than the instruction on the introduction of solid foods comes in the final section of the book. Here Karmel offers advice and recipes for the toddler, who as many mommies know is an entirely different creature. What to do when that eager and open little mouth suddenly clamps shut at the sight of any and all unknown foods? Karmel presents some wonderful tips along with recipes that are big enough to feed adults too. Finally, we do want our toddlers to eat what we eat so we don't have to go on preparing them their own meals. And (of course) we want them to eat foods that are healthy. While some recipes (like Sauté of Chicken Livers with Wheat Germ) seem like a sad face waiting to happen, most of the recipes like Chicken Fillets with Mango Chutney and Apricot (p. 148), Animal Pasta Salad with Multi-Colored Vegetables (p. 163) and Pear, Apple and Raspberry Crumble (p. 167) are sure to keep both toddlers and their parents smiling, full and satisfied.
Each section of this book includes tips on everything from those first bites to getting a picky eater to indulge. Karmel also presents the best way to prepare meals which are not only healthy, but fun and visually appealing as well. It is so important to start our children eating healthily and well and The Healthy Baby Meal Planner is a good guide to rely on to help you navigate this experience successfully and with greater confidence.
Bookreview by Nancy Gazzola and Elsie Bustamante
• The Healthy Baby Meal Planner at Amazon U.S
• The Healthy Baby Meal Planner at Amazon UK
• The Healthy Baby Meal Planner at Amazon Canada