Giving Milena her first solid food was both exciting and terrifying for me! I loved watching her explore and taste and mush (we started with bananas), but as a new mom I couldn’t stop from thinking “don’t choke don’t choke don’t choke!”
I admit to staying slightly apprehensive over the last 12 months when it came to letting her try new foods. Is it okay to give her foods that include honey if it’s baked/cooked in? At what age do I stop cutting her grapes and blueberries? When do I stop cutting off her crusts (and did I ever need to do it in the first place?) Add in a milk allergy, and it’s really no wonder why her day-to-day menu is pretty much the same meats, veggies and fruits.
Which is why I was so excited to stumble across Bebe Meals a few months back. Here was a knowledgeable mama telling how to make healthy, delicious (often already dairy-free!) foods perfect for my daughter. And better yet, Bebe Meals is local!
Meet local mama Tara Verma:
“When I was pregnant I began to study nutrition and how food plays such an important role in our health and happiness. After my daughter was born I spent months researching, testing and perfecting my baby food making skills which are continuing to evolve as my daughter grows.
After some successful classes teaching baby food making and encouragement from friends and family, I started Bebe Meals in July of 2009 and am overjoyed to be able to share and inspire others.
You can find fast food on every corner and we are faced with an obesity epidemic in the United States and all over the globe. What is the best tool to fight back … knowledge. Educating ourselves on healthy eating and lifestyles is a gift we can pass on to our children. Join me in celebrating the excitement of healthy and delicious food for little ones and the whole family.”
Tara shares numerous recipes for bebes, toddlers, and preschoolers! They all sound so delicious and are such healthy choices. I love that each recipe includes an age recommendation on the side as well.
I intended to have Milena taste-test some of the recipes before I wrote this post, but currently she’ll only eat food if it’s on it’s own (not mixed with anything else). However, I myself found the Black Bean & Mango Quesadillas to be pretty tasty, and I’m still attempting to sneak some carrots into her peanut butter sandwiches thanks to the PB Carrot Pitas (so far she’s always noticed the bits of orange peaking out, however!). Angie’s Blueberry Pancakes are next on our list, and Milena generally devours any type of pancake (and all blueberries), so I’m sure those will be a hit!
You can find even more recipes on the Bebe Meals blog along with all of Tara’s restaurant reviews (we only post the local ones here on Raising Madison).
Bebe Meals is also on Facebook. Be sure to check out the photos while you’re there. The “Toddler Lunch” pictures gave me a lot of ideas for Milena’s meals (including dipping avocado pieces in crushed pretzels to make them easier to pick up and eat!) and showed me what a toddler-sized portion should look like (helpful since Milena likes to eat all of one food before moving on to another, so if the portions are too big, there’s a chance she’ll fill up on strawberries before she touches anything else!).
The pictures also caused me to rush to my nearest Target store and pick up some of the adorable divided plates Tara uses – perfect for toddler portions!
And, if you want to learn even more about how to prepare healthy meals for your children, Tara will be teaching two Bebe Meal Classes this August at Whole Foods Market (3313 University Ave):
Bento Box Lunches: Pack the Fun in Lunch Pack your child a fun, healthy and creative lunch by learning the art of making Bento Box lunches for your children. The Japanese style lunch art is a way to express yourself while making lunchtime exciting. Whether your child/children are at home or school this class is for you. Attendees will have a chance to put their skills to practice and make a treat to take home. (Wednesday Aug. 25th, 6:00-7:30pm; $15)
First Tastes: The Adventures of Baby Food Making
A whole “new” way to nourish and provide for your baby – make your own baby food! Travel back to your grandma’s days by preparing your baby’s meals in the safety of your own kitchen. Not only can you save money but you can also give your baby fresh, wholesome food made by you. Join me as I demonstrate the basics of how to make, store and serve your little ones their first foods. Information on the best fruits and vegetables for your little ones and sample recipes will be provided. Parents or parents-to-be will have time to share tips, ask questions and taste test some yummy creations as well. (Tuesday Aug. 31st, 6:00-7:30pm; $15)
To register for classes, call: (608) 233-9566
Have you tried any of the Bebe Meals recipes or taken a Bebe Meals class? We’d love to hear what you (and your children!) thought of them!