What's Cooking? Simple and Nutritious Baby food Recipesby Dianna Graveman
Today's parents have more choices--and more resources--than ever before when it comes to feeding their babies. Forget the processed baby food in the grocery aisle; fun and easy recipes for making your own meals and snacks are a few computer clicks away.
Check out these recipes and resources and start cooking up something of your own!
1. Steam, boil, or bake veggies or fruits like carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, peas, and apples. Put them in a blender or food processor and add water. If your baby has recently started eating solids, make sure the food is very mushy. Strain the food, if necessary, to remove any stray peels or seeds. Freeze the extras in ice cube trays for appropriate portion sizes and lasting freshness. Place in freezer bags or other containers to store for later. Make sure to mark the container with the date of preparation. When ready to serve, let the cubes thaw or defrost or heat in the microwave.
2. Fresh bananas, avocados, mangoes, papayas, or kiwi are healthy and simple--no cooking required! Just puree as above. If desired, thin with breast milk or formula, portion out, and go! You can also freeze these snacks in ice cube trays for future enjoyment. In a pinch, canned green beans work well, too.
3. Experiment with fruits and vegetables like apricots, blueberries, plums, zucchini, asparagus tips, sweet peppers, and winter squash. Get creative with fun and interesting combinations like cooked rice, bananas, and cinnamon. While many pediatricians will recommend waiting until 8 months or older to introduce spices and herbs to babies, others will suggest it is okay to do so earlier, as long as your child does not have digestive problems or known allergies. Just as with other foods, it is probably bets to introduce one at a time with a 3-4 day wait in between to identify any possible food allergies.
4. Try this: Roast some blueberries and one or two bananas (with skin) at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. The blueberries will burst and the banana skins will turn brown. Remove the banana peel and puree the bananas and blueberries together.
5. Ready for meat? Chop 1 cup cold, cooked, boneless chicken into pieces. Add 1/4 cup water or the juice left from cooking the chicken. Blend or puree until the mix is powdery. Add water to create a smooth consistency that is appropriate for your baby. Add pureed veggies to the mix, if desired.
Note: Pediatricians in the U.S. are beginning to recommend the introduction of meats much earlier than 8 months, but typically, most experts suggest meats be introduced between 7 and 8 months. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician.
A few important tips to remember: thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables to remove dirt and pesticides, even if they already look clean. Remove the peels. Buying organic fruit will ease or eliminate the fear of pesticides, but it is more expensive. Always use what you buy within a few days. And if fresh produce isn't available, frozen fruit and vegetables work, too.
Mother recommended resources:
Start Fresh: Your Child's Jump Start to Lifelong Healthy Eating, by Tyler Florence. Florence is a chef and founder of Sprout Baby Food (sproutbabyfood.com). Says one mother, "His book and line of baby food is the best!"
Wholesomebabyfood.com: Here you'll find plenty of advice, step-by-step instructions, recipes, and "The Wholesome Baby Food Quick Start Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food."
Nurturebaby.com: Check out this site for recipes divided by appropriate age and food type. You'll also find allergy-free recipes, as well as a Super Mac & Cheese recipe for your 6-9 month old and a delightful dish for your 9-12 month dubbed "Confetti Pasta." Sure to be a favorite!
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