Not being a Mom-type, I don’t really pay that much attention to what babies do. As long as they don’t do it on me, it doesn’t usually hit my radar. Usually. Last week, I heard about an interesting campaign launched by Dr. Alan Greene, author of Feeding Baby Green and other books about baby-raising, that caught my short attention span.
WhiteOut is an initiative to eliminate white rice cereal from the grocery store shelves and
our your babies’ bellies and to educate parents on the benefits of choosing brown rice cereals and other foods. The intent is to ensure babies get the maximum nutrition possible in their early years and to help them develop tastes for real foods.
Being baby-less, I didn’t realize that white rice cereal is the #1 source of calories (not counting formula or breast milk) for most babies in their first year of life and has been for the past 50-60 years. Dr. Green says that 98% of us ate this stuff when we were babies. I honestly don’t remember. Then again, I don’t remember going on my first diet at the age of 6 months, but my mother swears it’s true. (Seriously, she and the pedi-guy switched something in my formula/milk rations because I was gaining weight too fast. I’m sure it had no effect on my future years as a serial dieter. No pun intended.) When the white rice cereal trend started, though, the foods were less processed than they are today
Now, I have nothing against white rice, nor am I ready to blame the entire childhood obesity epidemic on its consumption as a baby breakfast cereal (juices, fast foods, and sugary cereals have their places as culprits), but I do believe the (sort of) current theory that our tastes and preferences are formed at a very young age, which is one of Dr. Greene’s arguments against white rice-based baby cereals.
All of this could be disproven or superseded by the next new thing very shortly, but I wonder what it could hurt to try to do as Dr. Greene suggests, “Let every baby’s first grain be a whole grain.”
Or no grain. In his FAQ, the good doctor recommends mashed avocado, sweet potatoes, or bananas–foods the itty bitty one has seen his/her parents eat. (That presumes the parents aren’t chowing down on chili mac and french fries five nights a week.) Starting kids out with whole grains and real foods may just set them up for a bright and healthy future. Surely it couldn’t hurt.
Be sure to check in on our growing Potluck table. Michele (Healthy Cultivations) and Debby (Debby Weighs In) were kind enough to stop by and share some tasty-looking treats! Not one grain of white rice between them!