Last Update: July 20, 2023
Welcoming a new member of the family can have its blissful moments (all-day snuggles and baby smiles come to mind), but it can also be a recipe for overwhelm, especially when you’re a first-time parent. With so many decisions to make and approaches to take on everything from sleeping to diapering, we have a soft spot for brands that help make this stage feel a little bit simpler. That’s why we love FoodieKid, a parent-centered brand that meets you wherever you are on your feeding journey.
It all started with founder Christine Topalian, a busy working mom who—like all parents—wanted her kids to have a healthy start in life. Her first child snubbed pre-made baby food and her second refused to eat purées, which led to plenty of frustration as Topalian realized how time consuming the process was to make customized meals from scratch. Enter Simple Starters, a line of frozen, organic baby meals providing stage-less choices for your family, no matter where you are in the process. “Seeing how different my children were really solidified my opinion that the ‘staging’ that baby food companies define for parents was arbitrary and wouldn’t necessarily work for every kid,” she recalls. “I could see that what was missing was a flexible product that allowed a parent to determine the texture of the food they would offer their babies.”
FoodieKid is all about making mealtimes flexible. Whether you’re doing purée feeding, opting for baby-led weaning, or doing a combination of both, you can choose thicker purées (fork-mashed and chunky), finger food (meant to be eaten soft, as a whole ingredient) and smooth purées that can be made thicker or thinner as needed. Everything is frozen, prepped, portioned, and ready to eat in minutes.
If it sounds too good to be true, it’s definitely not, which might be some of the best news for worn-out parents everywhere. To get the scoop on baby-led weaning and pick up a few expert tips, we spoke with FoodieKid’s nutritionist Nicole Silber to learn more.
Baby-led weaning is a method of introducing solid food that skips over the purée and spoon-feeding stages, relying solely on the baby’s natural instinct to feed themselves. The term was originally coined in 2005 by Gill Rapley, a public health nurse in the United Kingdom. And although FoodieKid doesn’t subscribe to a single method of feeding, they’re happy to offer wisdom to parents choosing to go this route, as it offers a variety of benefits, like letting babies be in full control of their eating, to pace themselves, and choose how much they want to eat. “Babies pick up their food and feed themselves, which allows them to experience food using touch, and also helps to boost hand-mouth coordination and babies’ palm and pincer grasps,” Silber shares. “It’s great to allow them to use all their senses.” Another benefit of baby-led weaning is allowing parents to share their food with their babies, which means you can skip the added step of blending and puréeing ingredients to make “baby food.”
Before getting started, here are a few tried-and-true tips to remember throughout the process.
Something else to remember about baby-led weaning is that it might not be for every baby or parent, and that’s more than OK. Silber is quick to note that there’s nothing wrong with feeding babies with traditional purées and adapting some of the baby-led weaning concepts to your family, like letting babies explore their foods and honoring their hunger and fullness cues. Bottom line: use what works for you, experiment as needed, and don’t worry about the rest. Fed is always best!
No matter what your preference is when it comes to feeding, FoodieKid takes all the fuss out of meal times so everyone at the table can enjoy some quality time together. Time to stock the freezer. That’s right, we said freezer. While we’re accustomed to seeing shelf-stable jars and pouches on grocery shelves, FoodieKid is stocked in the freezer section.
“The freezer is the ultimate natural preservative and the easiest way to get fresh cooked food on your table in minutes,” Silber says. “The size of our dice is best for babies who can use their pincer grasp (9-11 months) but can be offered to babies as young as 6 months. As your baby grows, you can use the veggies to create fun new foods too.”
Every recipe includes organic, flash-frozen ingredients that are prepped, chopped, and ready for you. The food is not puréed on purpose—it’s diced—so parents can decide what’s best for their family. Once the packet is cooked, you can choose the texture, consistency, and flavor of the food—no staging required. “If a parent is doing traditional feeding, they can blend the ingredients into a purée and if a parent is doing baby-led weaning, they can easily use the prepped ingredients as they are,” Siber explains. “At the end of the day, we believe a parent knows their baby best and should be able to make the call on the food they eat.”
This bundle is always ready for a quick side dish and offers nutritious veggies like sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash, and carrots. For more advanced eaters, turn them into veggie patties and serve with a dollop of yogurt or hummus.
Put a California spin on mealtimes by blending this pea, zucchini, and green bean mix with half an avocado and turning it into a delicious avocado veggie toast.
Carrots, lentils, red peppers, spinach, and oregano add rich flavor to your meals. Get creative and turn this pack into soup, protein bites, or even a vegetarian bolognese tossed with tender pasta.
When it comes to continuing to innovate and craft new recipes, founder Topalian is continually inspired by the FoodieKid community. “I love to hear that we’re helping ease the heavy load that is parenting in year one,” she says. “One mom messaged us that Simple Starters gave her more confidence when feeding her baby. Another told us it was time and sanity saving. Our goal is to make feeding fresh, homemade baby food as easy as possible, so when we hear this feedback we know we have a winning product.”
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