One of the World’s Healthiest Foods is Good for Babies and Toddlers Too

It’s turf season and we’re knee-deep in it!

Our Saco River Valley turf flies out of here at this time of year and in all the excitement, it’s easy to miss the quieter activity on the farm.

Potato Plants Frank Shaw's PointIn particular, our potato crop is in active growth now, blanketing the fields in rich dark green while the tubers gather in the goodness of our carefully tended soil.

What I see growing out there in the fields are among nature’s most perfect foods. Honestly, it’s an honor to be able to grow them.

I know I’ve gone on about the amazing health properties of potatoes before and I can assure you that I will again. Right now is no exception!

As growers of one of the healthiest foods on the planet, we are also top consumers of that very same food. And I don’t mind saying that we consume these delicious potatoes in the most healthful ways as well as in more decadent ways. You can find our best french fry recipe here.

I’m raising two boys that already have an understanding of and appreciation for potatoes. They are following in the family tradition like their father, their grandfather, and their great grandfather.

I’m proud of the fact that my boys know where their food comes from. In a world where the bulk of what we eat is shipped perhaps thousands of miles from somewhere else, I am comforted to know that a large part of our diet is grown right here, on our land, in Maine.

Much of what we grow is available to you, too. If you are not local, you can find our products or products grown on other family farms like ours in our Side Delights® Steamables and Side Delights® Gourmet Petite Potatoes available at many grocery stores. We also sell and ship heirloom dry beans, easy to purchase here.

Potatoes = Amazing

Did you know that potatoes are listed as being among the world’s healthiest foods? That would be because they are crammed full of vitamins, minerals, iron, and fiber.

Potatoes are a healing food for a number of ailments and conditions, and even are used as a poultice for various skin conditions. I recently read that they work well for reducing arthritis inflammation and help alleviate anemia.

The more you read about potatoes, the more astounding they are. Not to mention just plain delicious.

Healthy Finger Foods for Babies

I have found that potatoes make healthy food for babies.

When each of my boys turned 8 months, I followed the advice of the baby food charts and decided to start them on potatoes.

Brettsfirstharvestcrop_DSC0077In fact, my oldest boy turned 8 months at the start of the harvest season that year and we took him to the fields where he was able to pick his first potatoes!

Talk about making a direct connection to where his food comes from. We sure had fun that day!

Anyway, potatoes make good baby food.

The best way to make baby food with potatoes is to steam or boil the potatoes with the skins off. The skins are the most nutritious part of the potato but for a baby, they may pose a challenge.

Once the potatoes are soft, puree them adding some of the water they are boiled in, or even better, a little breast milk to make them the consistency of mashed potatoes.

This is easy to make, nutritious and inexpensive food for your baby. And best of all, it’s an excellent way to introduce your baby to vegetables that you probably wouldn’t try to feed them separately. I’ve exposed my boys to leeks, onions and peppers this way, not to mention the more common vegetables like broccoli, for instance.

Potatoes are pretty much neutral in the allergy department and that’s one reason they are on the “safe” list for 8- 10 month olds. Still, I know one person who is allergic to potatoes, so pay attention when you feed your baby potato for the first time. I also recommend you follow the 3-day rule when introducing new foods to your baby, and it never hurts to check with your doctor first if you have any concerns.

Not only are potatoes a healthy food for babies but they offer another benefit besides big flavor and high nutritional value.

_DSC0283wlogoWhen you add vegetables to the potato puree and put the concoction in front of baby, he/she feels compelled to pick out the colored bits. This actually has the benefit of improving your baby’s muscle coordination by developing the pincer function in their fingers.  It can also make for some cute photos if your child gets into his food as much as mine! As an added bonus, potatoes don’t leave stains on their clothes!

Learning to love potatoes (what’s not to love?) isn’t just for babies. Having potatoes around makes for healthy eating for toddlers too.

Healthy Eating for Toddlers

Here are a couple of thoughts for toddler treats:

  • Have small baked potatoes in the refrigerator. When your toddler is hungry between meals, offer a baked potato. Or, add a little cheese and salsa to the baked potato to make it super delicious. I say try the baked potato plain first. It’s quite tasty all by itself particularly when chilled and kept covered so it doesn’t dry out.
  • Make home-made potato chips or fries and bake them. (Try this easy recipe.)  Baking reduces the amount of oil that sticks to the potatoes making them much healthier, and kids (and adults!) love them.
  • And for a non-food toddler treat, check out this blog I wrote that tells all about how to create potato stamps –fun for kids and adults! Click here for the details.

Although right now it’s all about turf around here, our lush potato fields don’t let us forget the immense power and health benefits waiting underground. The summer sun is working its magic, building the world’s healthiest foods quietly and out of sight.

The sun is also helping build two little boys who will happily eat potatoes as their meals and as snacks.

In fact, we all will and we’ll love every bite!

2 Comments

  1. I just bought some of your fine potatoes at Hannafords in Ellsworth (late August 2016) Can you tell me what the name of this type of white potato is? It is really delicious. I am treating it like a boiling potato, not a baker, correct? Also, do you distribute your potatoes and beans throughout the State of Maine, including southern Maine? I am assuming the type of potatoes available change as the season progresses. Thanks for your good work and fine products.

  2. Hi Anne,
    The potatoes you bought were likely our Envol variety, as it is our early season variety. It is a great boiling potato. Although, my personal favorite is to roast them with a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper! We do distribute throughout Southern Maine, you’d be most likely to find our potatoes in Hannaford or Market Basket.

    As the season progresses we will move to our Norwis variety, with possibly a few others mixed in as well. The Norwis are a great all around potato. I fry, bake, roast, grill, and boil them. You name it I’ve tried it! Thank you for your kind words and inquires, happy eating!

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