When I decided to cloth diaper it was one of many decisions that stemmed from my desire to raise a healthy baby. I knew that the amount of chemicals in disposable diapers were harmful to our children, so it seemed logical to cloth diaper in an attempt to keep more natural fibers close to my son’s little bum! But what about the chemicals in our foods- the ones my son will eventually eat as he transitions to solids- and the meals that I eat in order to nourish him through breast milk?
Take an inventory of the grocery shelves and food pantries in America and you will see an overwhelming supply of processed, chemically enhanced food. The added preservatives, salts, and sugars are enough to make you wonder if some of these substances should even be called food products! If we’re making the choice to cloth diaper– whether due to financial, environmental, or health reasons, it makes sense to look at our diets as well. Although my son is not eating solids yet, I have a line-up of healthy, natural recipes that can double as both a serving of baby food for him, and a satisfying meal for our family.
The next time you’re in the kitchen, take a good look at the foods you’re feeding your family and see if you can incorporate more fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Then, open up the pantry and make something healthy and delicious that the whole family can share! I know our family is feeling happier and healthier due to our decision to cloth diaper and eat whole foods. It is all about making choices that are a little more natural, and it starts with a few baby steps anyone can take:
- Replace one processed snack with a whole fruit or vegetable each day, i.e. an apple with nut butter
- Eat at least one meal a day that the whole family can share (see recipe below)
- Replace processed, refined sugar with Agave nectar, 100% maple syrup, or honey (honey should not be consumed by children under 1 year of age)
- Switch from refined white flour to 100% whole grains or from white rice to brown rice
- Get your kids into the kitchen and cooking with you- whether that means wearing the baby in the sling while you wash lettuce, letting your toddler “make music” with pots and pans as you prepare dinner, or helping your older child to slice strawberries and mix pancake batter- cooking is fun!
Recipe: Baby’s Sweet Potatoes (baby food) and Curried Lentil Stew (family meal)
I love this recipe because it is delicious and healthy. You get protein and fiber from the lentils, vitamin A from the sweet potato, anti-inflammatory properties from the curry powder, and fruit and vegetable servings from the onions, tomatoes, peas, and apricots. Plus, you’re already cooking sweet potatoes, so why not feed the baby a nutritious meal as well?
Curried Lentil Stew:
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups diced tomatoes (or 2 cans)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, diced and steamed (reserve 1/2 of one for baby food puree)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/4 cup dried apricots
- 1 T curry powder
- 1 bay leaf
- Drizzle olive oil in a stew pot on medium heat, sauté onion and carrot until tender.
- Add chicken broth, red lentils, diced tomatoes, bay leaf, curry and apricots- bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender
- Stir in 1 diced sweet potato and peas until heated through
- Make Sweet Baby Sweet Potato Puree (recipe below) for baby and enjoy as a family!
Baby’s Sweet Potatoes:
- 1/2 large sweet potato
- 2 T breast milk, formula, or water
Take 1 cup of the steamed sweet potatoes from the above recipe and mash together with breast milk or water. You may use a fork, blender, or food processor to achieve desired consistency.