This topic of conversation came up in one of my mommy groups the other day and it seemed like this advice was pretty well-received, so I thought I'd share it here too. And hopefully articulate it a little better than I did in the group, haha.
I think every momma stresses about her baby getting enough of the proper nutrients and eating healthy, especially once they are more on solid foods than they are on breast milk or formula. I used to pore over the recommended food lists on www.wholesomebabyfood.com and write out extensive, very specific grocery lists. And I used to constantly stress that Anna wasn't getting enough of certain vitamins, iron, etc. And given how often I over-hear the question, "So....what's your kid eating nowadays?" when I'm hanging around other moms, I don't think I'm alone in getting into food ruts with her.
Then one day, I was in the produce section with the Bean, and they didn't have several of the vegetables that I had written down on my list. And I was frustrated. And then suddenly, I remembered an old diet trick that I once heard. Following that old advice has made feeding Anna SO much easier, less stressful, and more enjoyable for her too.
The advice was to focus on colors, not food. Just focus on making your plate (or high chair tray) as colorful and fresh as possible. Generally, if you get colors, you get nutrients. So now instead of writing out long grocery lists for Anna, I just wander around the produce section and pick up as many different colors as I can. I make sure she gets green, orange, yellow, red...and even pinks and purples! Browns and whites are given in moderation (toast, Puffs, meat, oatmeal, etc.).
I also try to get something new for her every time we go to the grocery store...and a few have been new for me too!
I try my very best to limit the amount of pre-packaged, processed food that she eats. Puffs are the one exception and those are usually her walk-time treat. I also cook with a lot of vegetables for our dinners, so it makes it really easy to pull out some veggies as leftovers for her lunch and dinner the next day. Even if we're out and about, I'll pack diced apples, orange slices, or cooked peas and carrots as a snack. I think being so vigilant with her diet is helping us eat healthier too!
One last trick with all these fruits and veggies is that a lot of them freeze well - just dice them up, stick them in a freezer bag or container, and you can pull them out as you need them.
Hopefully my color trick is useful, and bon appetit, babies!