It's no secret that what Norah eats (or for that matter, doesn't eat) occupies about 75% of my brain at any given point in time. She likes a lot of things and will almost always try anything, she just doesn't eat very MUCH of anything. She loves good healthy food and she loves cookies, but won't eat a large quantity of either. As a result, I feel as though I need to make every bite count.
She enjoys snacks and especially when we are out and about, I am happy to oblige. These are two of her favorites:
That's Safeway Organics brand apple cereal bars on the left and Earth's Best Organic Smiley Snacks on the right. Sounds healthy, right? I mean, it's organic after all. You would think that until you took a look at the ingredients list. There are 24 ingredients. There is a long list of things I recognize (apples, oats, honey, wheat flour, cream of tarter, etc.), an even longer list of things I don't. This includes such appetizing treats as rice starch, glycerin, pectin, evaporated cane juice, soy lecithin, carrageenan, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrocholoride, thiamin hydrochloride and cyanocobalamine. The smiley snacks read in a similar way. Now, don't get me wrong, there's no high fructose corn syrup or anything and I know that there have to be some chemicals if it is going to survive on a store shelf, but I realized maybe that was the problem. Maybe I didn't need to be feeding Norah anything that is so preserved that it can stay fresh on my kitchen shelf.
It's not convenient, but I am looking for other ways to feed her healthy and delicious snacks that are as chemical free as humanly possible. The other day for a play date I made Cheerio-peanut butter balls, which could not have been easier. Basically, you combine a half cup of creamy peanut butter with half a cup of organic rice syrup over low heat and then pour the mixture over 4 cups of Cheerios. The mixture was thicker than it was supposed to be and didn't pour very well. I ended up basically making peanut butter balls and then rolling them in Cheerios. Here's the final product:
I had a lot of Cheerios left over, further evidence that I did something wrong.
But the most important critic seemed to think they were delicious (please note she is wearing crocs under Dad's flip flops).
I also made a batch of whole wheat flour and oatmeal cookies. There is some hidden good stuff--namely mashed banana and pureed zucchini. The cookies are sweetened with a little bit of brown sugar and raisins. They were not sweet at all. In fact, if someone gave me one and said it was supposed to be my dessert I would be pissed. But Norah LOVES them, so mission accomplished.
Unless we grow our own produce (I wish!) and raise and slaughter our own meat (gross!) we aren't going to be 100% chemical free. But, if I can make little changes like this it will be a huge step in the right direction.
(PS-I just read a disturbing article about BPA-you know, the bad stuff in plastic. Almost all baby bottles, and kid utensils, plates, bowls, etc are now BPA free. But it still exists in the most unlikely of places. Did you know that canned tomatoes have dangerously high levels of BPA? Crap.)