Food for Babies
When introducing food to a baby there are many wonderful and healthy options that can be made simply and quickly right at home!
Typically babies are ready to ditch the liquid only diet around 4 to 6 months old. This is the perfect time to try fruits and some veggies.
There are other foods that are important for babies to get exposed to as well but it’s better to wait until the 6 to 8 month milestone. Broccoli and beans are not suggested until after 6 months due to the possibility of uncomfortable gas and meat is slightly harder to digest until this stage.
Introducing New Foods
When introducing new foods it is always a good idea to do it one at a time so you can get to know your babies digestive system. Different foods are tolerated differently.
Trying a new food once a week is a good schedule that is easy to follow, even when you are severely sleep deprived. A simple way to do this is, every Sunday a new food is introduced in addition to the previous foods that have worked just fine.
It won’t take long for your baby to let you know exactly which ones he/she prefers.
Preparing Fruits for Babies
The process of preparing different fruits is very similar
Fruits like apples, pears, and peaches have a high water content so they cook fairly quickly in the oven or microwave.
To make an applesauce any baby will love, simply peel and slice 1 medium sized apple, combined it with one tablespoon water in bowl and microwave for 4 minutes.
If you prefer to use the oven, place the apple and water in an oven safe dish and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Allow the apple to cool for a few minutes so it will be easier to handle.
Place the cooked apple and 2 tablespoons of formula or breast milk in a food processor and puree until you have applesauce. It is quick, easy, and nutritious.
Fruits like pears and peaches have softer meat in them so it only takes about 2 minutes to microwave them and only about 1 teaspoon of formula or breast milk is needed to achieve the right consistency.
Other than that, the rest of the steps are the same as with an apple.
Bananas are one of the easiest foods to prepare and babies love their sweet taste!
Simply mash a ripe banana with fork until creamy and serve. The riper the banana, the easier it is to mash and the sweeter the taste.
Bananas make a wonderful addition to other foods as well. They can be added to formula or breast milk, applesauce, pears or chia gel.
Chia Gel for Babies
Chia seeds are a super food for all of us. They have so many nutrients that babies need to thrive it can’t be left out of the early exposure line up.
Chia gel is very easy to make and has no taste so it will adapt to whatever it is paired with. To make the gel, combine ¼ cup of Chia Seeds in 1 cup of water, stir after a few minutes, cover and refrigerate overnight. The gel is ready to go for breakfast.
Chia seeds will absorb any liquid to create the gel so formula or breast milk works great too!
The avocado is another fruit that is very easy and super nutritious.
Simply cut the avocado, scoop the meat out of the skin and mash it with a fork until it’s creamy.
Adding a teaspoon of formula or breast milk is always a good way of making this healthy food even more beneficial for the baby.
Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are typically two of baby’s favorites and they are loaded with essential nutrients necessary for development and growth.
There is no need to peel the sweet potatoes before cooking, the skin helps trap the steam inside and cook faster.
Using the microwave is the fasted and most energy efficient way to prepare a sweet or baked potato. Start by poking holes in a medium sized potato with a fork to allow the steam to escape. Microwave on high for approximately 7 minutes, allow it to cool for 5 minutes before handling. Baking potatoes aren’t as dense as sweet potatoes so they might not take the full 7 minutes to cook depending on their size.
When it is done, simply scoop the soft insides out of the sweet potato and place it in the food processor with 2 tablespoons of formula or breast milk. Puree until you have the perfect meal achieved.
If you prefer baking them in the oven, poke holes in the skin as described above and bake for 45 minutes or so at 350 degrees. Time varies due to the size of the potato.
Perfect Pumpkin for Babies
Pumpkin is much easier to prepare when it is cut into pieces with the skin left on. These can also be prepared in the microwave or the oven.
When using the microwave, cut the pumpkin into pieces, remove the seeds and strands and place in a microwave safe bowl.
Add ½ cup water, cover and cook on high for 10 minutes with the skin down in the water. Carefully use a fork to turn the pieces over so the meat is in the water and cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.
Allow the cooked pieces to cool before handling. Simply scoop or cut the cooked pumpkin away from the skin, place it in a food processor or use a hand mixer with 2 to 4 tablespoons of formula or breast milk and puree. The amount of liquid added depends on the amount being blended at one time.
When baking pumpkin, cut and remove seeds as mentioned before and place in a deep baking dish about ¼ full of water. Bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, follow the same steps as when cooking it in the microwave.
More Vegetables That Are Quick and Easy To Prepare
The process of preparing carrots, broccoli, zucchini and green beans is very similar
Boil 1 cup baby carrots, (or pieces of whole carrot) in 2 cups of water for approximately 15 minutes or until soft.
Combined cooked carrots and 1 tablespoon formula or breast milk in a food processor and puree to perfection.
When cooking broccoli, green beans or zucchini, they only need to boil for about 10 minutes to get soft enough to puree. These veggies aren’t as hard as carrots.
The procedure for getting them ready for the baby to eat is the same as it is with the carrots though. Add the cooked vegetables and 1 tablespoon formula or breast milk in a food processor and puree until they are ready to go.
Perfect for Babies First Meats
Chicken, turkey, and red meat are amazing sources of protein, iron and phosphorus. The nutrients in these meats significantly help growth and development.
Chicken is the meat that is most commonly introduced first to babies.
To start, remove all visible fat from a 6oz piece of raw chicken.
Combined chicken and 2 tbls apple cider vinegar in zip-lock bag or bowl and marinate for 20 min. The vinegar will help break down the fibers in the meat so it is easier to puree. This will not affect the quality of the meat or the taste.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook in a small pot with 1 cup of Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth. Boil for 30 minutes or until the chicken is fall apart tender. Combine chicken and 6 tbls formula or breast milk in food processor and puree to desired consistency.
The same procedure applies to turkey and red meat. The boiling time may vary depending on the cut and amount of meat. Check with a fork to test tenderness and adjust the time accordingly.
Allergies and Other Precautions
If there is any family history of allergies to strawberries, shellfish, or nuts, contact your pediatrician before trying these foods.
They may have some suggestions about certain precautions to take and allergic symptoms to be on the look-out for.
Some have suggested that an early introduction to peanut butter can actually reduce the risk of a peanut allergy developing but if you are concerned, it’s always a good idea to consult a pediatrician first.
Whole nuts should be avoided due to the high risk of choking.