The perfect baby food is the mothers milk, except when it’s not… blah, blah, blah. I get it. Once I figured out my opinion on breastfeeding, running the gamut from confusion, pain, anger, sweet tenderness, calm appreciation, and pain once again (hello teeth), and found a place for formula feeding in my life, the baby was old enough for a new feeding conundrum.
It really bothered me that one food company ‘made by moms’ followed the trend of always pairing a fruit with a vegetable. What if I want my baby to know what zucchini tastes like without apple, and carrots without mango? I took a look at jars and bottles on the grocery store shelf and went home to see if I could make something similar.
What other food should I feed baby? In my ‘Transitioning to Solids’ post, I promised to share some recipes, tips, and tools. So, if you are on your first baby, and have the same questions I did, I have some answers.
The first answer is: the banana.
I love bananas. They are inexpensive, come in their own container, can be mashed or diced, or fed whole (depending on age and ability). They can be found at pot-lucks, gas stations and fun runs. Whenever you need them, bananas are there for you.
My biggest tips for entering the world of baby food:
- Don’t make it harder than it needs to be- buy fresh produce on sale, but if it ends up being more work than is worth it for you, ditch it! Avocado was awesome, while green beans have been the most work for me, and baked squash the easiest to incorporate into multiple meals for the rest of the family.
- Microwave, Steam, Boil, Bake. The first food my baby ate was sweet potato steamed in the microwave. It’s better baked, but you do what you gotta do!
- Mash with a fork, blend with an immersion blender, or go fancy and buy a special mill at the store. Babies like texture, so I like to leave a little interest in the mix and sometimes, yea, I mash with my fingers!
- Storage can be what you want it to be: cheap 4 oz. containers from the grocery store work great for me, but you can go sturdy, or even glass if that is your preference. I haven’t yet tried squeezable containers (some people even use breast milk storage bags), or freezing in ice cube trays.
- Be smart: follow medical recommendations, refrigerate, freeze, and thaw as recommended, watch for allergies, but don’t be afraid to try new things (spices, textures, colors, cooked or raw)
Fancy Finger Foods: these non-recipes fit right into your life
- Cook 1 serving rolled oats according to directions (omit salt, and use water instead of milk).
- Include a hand full of apple or pear and a dash of cinnamon in the cooking process (remember to count spices as a ‘new food’ and watch for allergic reactions)
- Have a few spoonfuls yourself, or a whole bowl for breakfast. Baby might like to play with this, and eat a bit now or…
- Spoon onto a baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
- Bake at 300 degrees checking frequently, removing when it starts to turn golden brown and surface no longer appears moist
- Cut into 1 inch squares with a pizza cutter
- Let cool completely and serve or store ‘cookies’ in the refrigerator for a day or two
Black Bean Sweet Potato Cakes
- Heat sweet potato and black beans however you like (option: include cooked onions, garlic or spices like cumin)
- Mash well with fork
- Grease baking sheet
- Roll into 1 inch balls and press flat on baking sheet (the cakes will not rise, so don’t worry about spacing)
- Put under broiler and flip after 3 minutes.
- Cool until safe and enjoy!
- Eat the un-mashed ingredients with avocado, cilantro, lime on a corn tortilla– its a meal for the whole family!
My baby loves to gum these recipes, and I didn’t mind snagging one or two myself. Since my baby is only 9 months old, I have a lot of years of meal planning ahead of me.
What recipes do you make for your baby or young toddler? I’d love to try some out!