Monday, October 10, 2011

Holy Guacomole - Avocados

I absolutely love avocados! Mostly with some garlic, onion, lemon juice, and a few other seasonings and dipped up with a tortilla chip, but avocados nonetheless.

When I began doing research on introducing new foods to infants, I decided I wanted to try veggies, rather than fruits, first, in order to curtail the tendency to foster a sweet tooth in my son. My husband and I make every attempt at a healthy, well-balanced diet, and neither of us is what you'd call a picky eater (although my husband is definitely more choosey than I) so I wanted to expose my son to a plethora of tastes, colors, and textures when it came to his meals.

So, while I wanted to offer fruits secondary to veggies, I was also keenly aware of the fact that, at four months, the majority of my son's calories should come from formula. I wanted to offer him a "power food" first, to make each one of those calories count, since he'd likely only take a spoon or two before turning back to his bottle. 

Avocados are one such food. And unlike other traditional first fruits (apples, pears, bananas) they don't have an overly sweet and fruity flavor. Avocados are naturally quite creamy, not unlike the rice cereal Bunkey had been eating twice a day for the last month, and they don't require cooking, a bonus as I begin our journey to table food! According to Momtastic
"Avocados are often called one of nature's perfect foods because they are said to contain everything a person needs to survive. A wonderful "good fat" food for baby's brain and physical development..."
Avocados are sodium- and cholesterol-free and contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals, not to mention that they are an awesome source of essential fatty acids (the "good fats", also known as omegas, of which avocado is a great source of both Omega-3 and Omega-9).

OK, enough of the research regarding the awesomeness of avocado! How did I prepare it for my son? Simple!! I cut an avocado in half, removed the pit, and scooped the flesh into the mixing bowl of my Beaba with a spoon. I added a few teaspoons of prepared formula to the mixing bowl, and pureed to desired consistency (very creamy, in the case of my son!). I did stop to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl several times throughout the process, to ensure I got all the chunks pureed completely.
Step 1: Cut avocado in half length-wise
Step 2: Remove pit by whacking with a knife, twisting, and 
pulling the pit out (attached to the knife) 
Step 3: Cut meat into large chunks 
Step 4: Give it a spin in the processor, adding
milk/formula as necessary (my babe likes it very
smooth, so this is better than mashing with a fork
Step 5: Separate into individual servings (this is about 
1/2 of what I made)
And what were the results? Well, for some reason, I couldn't stand the idea of feeding Bunkey avocado for breakfast. I don't know why - he certainly wouldn't know any better. But I just couldn't do it. But I knew that doctors suggest feeding new foods early in the day so that if a reaction does occur, you can catch it, rather than missing a middle-of-the-night reaction due to a later feeding. So I gave Bunkey rice cereal with his 6:00 am bottle, which is what we've done for the past month. With the 10:00 bottle I offered half of the avocado mixture, which was gobbled up without any emotion from Bunkey. Apparently he liked it. He got a bit constipated, so with his 2:00 pm bottle, I mixed a tablespoon of prune juice into the formula (we've done this many times before, so it was nothing new for him). At 6:00 pm, the last bottle of the day, I plopped Bunkey into his high chair and got the remaining half of the avocado out of the fridge, instead of a second helping of cereal. He took a few bites, and then started gagging in rejection. I thought he was choking at first, but when I checked his mouth, everything had gone down, and it became apparent he was gagging because he didn't like something. I decided to give him a break and slow things down, so I let him take several long drags on the bottle. After a few minutes, I tried the avocado again, chasing the spoon with the bottle. That seemed to work, but after a few more bites, he started screaming in protest. I couldn't figure it out. He liked it at lunch time, or at least appeared to. So the two textures couldn't be different. The only thing I could come up with was that the cooler temperature of the avocado from the fridge didn't appeal to him.

On Day 2, I pureed the crap out of the mixture and got it as creamy as I possibly could. I added a bit more formula than on Day 1. At 10:00 he made some faces at the new taste, but ate every last bite nonetheless. With his evening meal, I took the container out of the fridge a bit earlier to bring the food up to room temperature. He balked a little bit, but not nearly as badly as the night before. He ended up eating all but one tiny little bite! So, I'm thinking that it was a combination of the temperature of the food and the fact that we're adding a third meal, so he needs to adjust to that. I am trying to maintain a diet that includes four bottles (32 oz) of formula each day until at least six months so that I know he's getting what he needs in addition to being introduced to the new foods!  With two mostly successful days under our belts, we'll continue with the avocados for the remainder of the week. Hopefully Bunkey will learn to love this super food as much as his mommy!

So, was it worth it to make my own?  You bet!  At $0.79 each, I was able to get two servings our of one avocado.  You might think $0.40 per serving is a bit steep (it sorta is), but in my grocery, jarred avocado is not available, and if it were it'd probably be one of the foods that are $0.49 per jar.  And you simply can't ignore all those great nutrients!!

Next up....sweet potatoes!!

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