Saturday, December 8, 2007

Food for Tot

Being Mom to a firstborn, I try to be extra careful with everything. I believe most new parents tend to be so with their firstborn, too. Of the many topics that we share among first time parents, I realise that food and nutrition is the one of those that comes up on a frequent basis.

While I am not sure what you might be feeding your toddler, I have a feeling, given the Malaysian culture, that you are giving him or her porridge/congee.

Well, to me, variety is the key word here and there are days that Arthur goes without a single grain of rice. I just mix it here and there... of course, researching that a particular food is actually OK to be given to toddlers before I do so.

One of the main replacement for rice for Arthur is this:

This is couscous. I am surprised not many people know about this. So far, everyone who asked me about the kind of food I am giving to Arthur looked at me with a blank expression on their face at the mention of this food. It is from the pasta family and is a very good option to rice, if you ask me. If you know pasta enough, you will know that it provides a lot of energy and can be very tasty... I have started giving it to Arthur ever since he started solids (at about 7 months... at 6 months, we started giving him a new food a week, to test on allergies, and added on...).

The preparation of couscous is fairly simple. It cooks sooner than rice and have more benefits than rice. I usually just cook the soup base (this is usually a mix of a variety of vegetables) and put in the couscous last... boil it for another 3 minutes and voila!

One reason why not many know about couscous is because it is not widely available in Malaysia. For your information, places like Jusco and Cold Storage would have them stocked along their pasta section... definitely hard to get from your local mini market. Most of the brands... Zara, Barilla, San Remo etc. are the same. You just have to read the preparing instructions. While some cooks in just 2 minutes, others might take a little longer. For me, where possible, I get the organic ones.

If you need more information on couscous, you can email me at In time, I shall be posting some recipes here, too.

Another 'hot topic' of toddler food among my friends seems to be multigrains. This is our attempts to nutritious food for toddlers. Unlike couscous, the contents of multigrains varies from one brand to another. These can vary between rice, brown rice, black rice, wild rice, oats, barley, flaxseed, millet, sunflower seeds etc. etc. There are usually a combination of 5 different grains.

While some of my friends started giving it to their babies since they are about 7 months old... Due to it being 'multigrain'.. I was afraid there are too many things to look out for at one time... I only started giving it to Arthur when he is almost one year old.

Pictured above is just one of those available in the market and what I am giving to Arthur, from recommendation by a good friend of mine. If you wish to try this out, please note that multigrains take a little more work than plain rice or couscous. You need to blend it with a blender (after cooking) to ensure that it is soft and smooth enough for your toddler. That is another reason why I resisted giving it to Arthur when he was younger.. I don't really like to blend food... to me, blenders are for juice and sauce..

As Arthur is now more experienced with different food textures (at 17 months), I do not need to do this anymore. I just need to ensure that the grains are cooked long enough to be soft enough for him to chew.

As I am already taking photos of food... for those who'd asked me and those who wish to know... my fridge will always consist of these fresh produce to make food for my tot:

Green capsicum is missing from there.. need to restock. Weird enough, green capsicum is one of Arthur's favourite. He chose to have it in the first place.. we were shopping in the vege department (he was about 11 months then) and he took a capsicum (while sitting in the trolley) and put it into the trolley... I was surprised how he did that and decided to buy it and give it a go... even more surprised was I when he shows his great preference for food with capsicum!

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