There are a few baby food brands out there to choose from like Earth’s Best and Only Organic, but at some point in time you will have to transition your child to your cooking. My philosophy is why wait, start as soon as possible, and build on their palate over time. How do you do this? It is really simple. Take all the basic ingredients you are making for your meals, puree them and slowly add flavors to the food.
(Photo: pureed purple fingerling potatoes with olive oil, milk*, salt, pepper, and chives sprinkled on top.)
For example, you can take butternut squash or a pumpkin and cut it into small cubes, no seeds or skin please. Toss it in a medium sized bowl with olive oil; add a little salt and pepper as they get older. Take a cookie sheet and lay them out evenly. Place them into the broiler and let them toast on every side until they have a nice light brown color. Now, throw them into a blender and puree them, you can add a little milk* or water to make them smooth. For more complex flavors as they get older, you can start to add parmesan cheese, fresh sage and garlic. Another flavor note you can add to the dish is tomato sauce and soft pasta. Tomato sauce combines really well with pumpkin, and it will add more nutrients to your child’s diet.
You can do this with just about everything you eat from chicken to zucchini. The trick to making baby food is food combing. (Savory and sweet, salty and sweet, spicy and sour, etc.) Yes, your child will eat all of these, just be sure to start them off with subtle flavors and slowly build. When it comes time to eat solid foods, your child will already have a favorable taste for your cooking.
The most important thing, make it fun. If tasting food is a fun game, you will teach your child to be adventurous while you expand their palate. The other good side is you will quickly find out what your child likes and dislikes, and this will help make meal time an enjoyable experience for everyone.
What foods to feed? Depends on your child’s age.
- Babies 4 to 7 months: feed them simple-grain cereals, pureed or mashed fruits and vegetables, be sure to watch out for allergies when introducing new foods to their diet, and make sure your child is ready. They should be able to sit up with support, holding their neck upright and steady, have good head control, and doubled their birth weight.*
- Babies 9 to 12 months: soft, mashed or pureed fruits, vegetables, meats, and soft pasta. Try not to over cook your vegies to make them soft as you’ll lose flavor and nutrients. It is better to mash them or puree them and make a sauce for pasta.*
- One year and older: make sure to consult with your pediatrician before you introduce cow’s milk or milk products, and gradually add more complex flavors and foods to their diet.*
*Always follow your pediatrician’s guideline when starting to introduce foods.