|I have an eight-year old son, and I know how challenging it is to think about practical health decisions for our children. I should tell you at the very outset that we are by no means perfect in our approach to great nutrition for our son. If you’re looking for perfection, I’m not your guy. But if you’re looking for a tip or two, I may be able to help.|
The biggest question I get about kids’ health is “how do I get my kids to eat well?” and the second biggest question is, “Is the Phase One Diet the right diet for my kids?” along with “How young is too young for Phase One?’
Let’s work backwards. How young is too young for Phase One? Well, I could argue that the healthiest meal we ever get is mother’s milk. I’d call this the king of Getting Started Well Meals.
From there, I love the idea of focusing on Phase One fruits and veggies. We found an organic baby food company called Earth’s Best that we really liked, and we used them for years. I’d love to tell you how heroic we were in steaming our own vegetables and turning them into purees, but who are we kidding? I was working and my wife was a new mom living in a town where we had no family to help. We depended on Earth’s Best and a few others for the lion’s share of our son’s early post-nursing meals.
The exception was with berry smoothies I made. We have priceless photos of our son with his face covered in blueberry smoothie sludge. We put in as many different berries as we could find, along with some protein. He’d have a few sips early on, and more as he grew older, a perfect early meal.
Without really trying, we had a lot of Phase One choices to work with. Sure, there was always the occasional baby food with bananas and pears and other things that aren’t Phase One. But we weren’t worried about the details. We did the best we could, and that’s all anyone can do.
I don’t know your kids’ health history, and I don’t know “how young is too young for Phase One” because it varies for every child. In our case, we were pretty close to Phase One for the first five years or so. But your doctor may want you to add some more carbohydrates if they aren’t thriving and growing properly. Make sure to check with you doctor before making any drastic changes.
Instead of giving you a new rule to live by, I’m more concerned about what we all know could be a massive problem. You’ll see kids in strollers sucking on a bottle filled with soda. You’ll see babies being offered cupcakes and chips as an actual meal. All of us intuitively know that this may be starting our kids off at a nutritional disadvantage. Whether your kids are Phase One, Phase Two, or beyond, I think our hope is that we can edge them over to something much more reasonable than what the culture of our country now thinks is normal. Whole food, variety, veggies, low-sugar fruits, pseudo grains, etc; don’t these just sound like better choices than toaster pastries, soda, and snack cakes?
If you’re like most of us, you didn’t get started in an ideal way with your kids. Not to worry. You can start today! Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect. Nobody is. I’d recommend both of Doug and Denni’s cookbooks for recipes and ideas that will demonstrate how incredibly delicious Phase One and Two can be. And look for Earth’s Best at your local health food store or online.