Here are some things I love:
- Whole foods
- Encouraging great eating habits
- Women entrepreneurs
- Supporting small business
As I talk about all the time on the blog, habits are a powerful thing. They can allow us to thrive, and they can entirely get in our way. They're also tenacious. The habits we form as kids, especially around food, can stick with us throughout our lives.
All children are born with the ability to know hungry from full, too hot from too cold, appetizing from unappetizing... and each has his or her own preferences for taste and texture.
To some, it may sound counterintuitive, but developing a solid relationship with food from the beginning really depends on parents. If, as adults, we encourage the exploration and experience of tuning into the body's signals, and we create opportunities for children to eat real food, we can set them up to enjoy whole foods (read: not goldfish crackers) and appreciate the miracle that is their body for years to come.
I recently had the privilege of meeting with Michelle Marinis, founder of Petit Organics, to talk about her product line and the impact she's hoping to have (and has!) on the way kids in America learn to appreciate food. Petit Organics is not just home baby food delivery (which, by the way, is a genius concept and perfect for busy parents who struggle to find the time to shower, let alone purée). The company is active in the growing movement for whole food, plant-based diets, and more access to real, nourishing options for kids in this country. As Michelle pointed out to me over tea, "a third of the kids in this country go to bed without dinner". What can we - the most fortunate part of the population - do to help this?
For one, we can say yes with our dollars: yes to organic foods, yes to fresh options, yes to cultivating great habits and not sacrificing health for convenience. The more people who say yes to organic produce, the cheaper it will be, and the more accessible it will be for the portion of the population to whom it's not currently available (or not even considered an option).
Petit Organics - committed to the idea that "fresh is best" - aims to provide parents with baby and toddler foods - prepared in NYC and soon, other big city's kitchens - delivered within 24 hours of production. They are dedicated allergen free, and as I recently discovered, entirely delicious. Even for adults [especially for adults?]
As it turned out, I won a three day supply of baby food for being the 500th like on Petit Organic's Facebook. Thanks, universe.
Michael and I had a veritable tasting extravaganza over a couple of days to test out the products. May I just say: puréed food is awesome. (Everything has been going in the VitaMix lately, from curried sweet potatoes to pesto to black eyed peas.)
The P.O. line, in a few words, is wholesome, fresh, and entirely flavorful. I'd eat these for every meal if I thought Michael would be on board with soup-like textures forevermore. In any case, these are delicious options for little ones. (Bonus: Michelle frequently generates recipes for her site that incorporate the blends into "grown up recipes". As we discussed, it's all the same anyways: kids can and should eat what their parents eat [unless their parents subsist on Twinkies]).
Below is our grown up review of the different blends that arrived in our twelve pack (packaged beautifully in recyclable containers in a reusable lunchbag). Yay, environment! The name of each blend tells you exactly what's in it: the only addition to any product is purified water. What's neat is that these combinations would also make beautiful side dishes (or main dishes) if you're not cooking for little ones. Say you're planning dinner and don't want to eat solid broccoli for the fifth night in a row: why not combine it, even in a semi-puree with chunks, with some of the veggies listed below? See what inspires some creative cooking, and hey, if you are cooking for wee ones, you're all set!
zucchini with sweet potato: smooth, with the distinct creaminess of sweet potato. Michael likened it to "an early morning walk in the forest". I'm pretty sure I said, "If was a baby, I'd eat this." (And since I'm not a baby, I will also happily eat this as an adult.)
sweet potato: the clear winner of the bunch! Like a clean sweet potato pudding, this stuff tasted like the holidays in Pennsylvania.
carrots: bright flavor... these little suckers taste healthy! (Yay!)
broccoli carrot quinoa: you can make this. I promise. It's delicious! A fresh way to combine three nutrient dense plant foods.
sweet potato broccoli: creamy with a light broccoli flavor, this is terrific slightly warmed. Again, Michael's imagery: "Sunday night family time". Cute.
zucchini: the flavor absolutely 'pops' in this bright green dish of goodness! Springy and zingy, says Michael.
peaches: this tastes like apricot jam, but less sugar-tastic. It's mild and would make a great breakfast or dessert-y option.
pears, oats, and cinnamon: fresh, simple flavors; a lovely breakfast or dessert option.
apples: just like you'd expect! Kind of like the inside of a very healthy apple pie. Yum.
apples and carrots: this one tasted a lot like one of my favorite juice combinations. Clean, crisp, and cooling. This, too, could be an "anytime" food... although I'd hazard that's the case with all of these blends. Dinner for breakfast, lunch for dinner... I encourage flexibility!
If you're experimenting with new foods for your little ones, or you're in need of a glorious time-saver, check out Petit Organics' website, along with Michelle's blog. She has been kind enough to extend a first-time order discount to the From the Ground Up community, so please take advantage of it and indulge in some whole-food deliciousness. (Even if you're not feeding it to kids, let's be real: someone else cooking is always a nice treat!) Heck, it's the Vegan Month of Food -- why not check out some great #plantbased goodness?
The code for the discount at checkout is fromthegroundup20. Enjoy!
(Please note that I don't receive a commission on sales of Petit Organics products. I write this simply to recount my experience with a meaningful local company (and one heck of a cool lady) that share my values on organic food and accessibility to health. Support small business. Eat real food. Feel awesome. Everyone wins!)
If you're introducing solids and not sure where to start - or baffled by your child's picky eating - let's talk! Great habits and good nutrition might be just a conversation away. Schedule a nutrition strategy session here.