We’ve all heard the warning, “introduce baby to vegetables before fruits or she will only want to eat sweet foods”. And well intentioned parents, who fed their baby bananas as one of her first foods, fret over visions of a future obese child who crosses her arms at the sight of a carrot and screams for Twinkies.
A reader submitted this challenge to the veggies vs. fruits first debate:
“I fed my baby fruits to start and she now eats everything and she is 4.5 years now. Broccoli, peas, spinach, green beans and more are some of her favorites. I used the Super Baby Food book by Ruth Yaron as a guide. The author claims she introduced fruits before veggies and her kids went on to eat Brewer’s Yeast later in life!”
Ruth Yaron is the author of the illustrious tome Super Baby Food, subtitled “Absolutely everything you should know about feeding your baby and toddler, from starting solid foods to age three.” And boy is it! You would be hard pressed to find a parent or physician on the planet who doesn’t think that Super Baby Food is the bible of baby-feeding books for our generation. Yaron not only advocates for homemade baby food. She includes a comprehensive education in food properties, metabolism, eating-safety, vitamin and mineral supplements, and age-by-age digestive development with food recommendations. As a little bonus, at the back of the book she includes a one to two page write up on every common fruit and vegetable that includes: appropriate age for feeding, equivalents (fresh vs. dried, pitted, etc.), when its in season, ripening and storage, how to prepare and serve, how to freeze, and, often, how to grow. This book is truly a marvel and trusted by millions.
So what does old Ruthie have to say about fruit vs. veggies first?
She says, “Best First Foods for Baby”: ripe avocado, ripe banana, iron-fortified rice cereal, and pureed sweet potatoes. Once baby is introduced to solids she suggests adding a few different kinds of grains plus: apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, and prunes. After 6-months of age she gives the nod to mango, papaya, pears and, wait for it… our first honest to goodness vegetable… winter squash. (Botanically speaking, squash is actually a “fruit”, but why split hairs?) This from a woman who swears her kids happily gobble up Brewers Yeast every day.
She gives a little history on the human sweet tooth that is worth mentioning because it sheds some light on our oh so human predilection for Krispy Kremes.
“In the environments of our ancestors, complex carbohydrates were plentiful and easily acquired from the abundance of plant life. Foods containing fats and sugars were more scarce, so nature (knowing that a variety of foods helps to insure a balanced diet) supposedly built into our taste buds a love for the rare fats and sweets. Hence, our ancestors had a great desire for them, and would go through more difficult maneuvers to obtain them.” – Ruth Yaron, Super Baby Food
Just for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that Ms. Yaron is 100% wrong about her recommendation for fruits before veggies, and feeding baby fruits first will make her refuse veggies in favor of fruits for the rest of her natural born days. So what?! Fruits are extremely healthy. If you have created that kind of a monster you are still an excellent parent. You can’t go wrong here.