Many parents are excited when their child starts on solid foods, but they often aren’t sure just where to start or what foods are most appropriate.
According to the Raising Children website, these are the current basic guidelines for starting your baby on solids.
- You may start introducing solid foods when your baby shows signs they are ready. This is around six months old, but not before four months.
- Baby’s first foods can be smooth, mashed or in soft pieces. Your baby can then go on to minced and then chopped foods.
- It’s a good idea to introduce different foods to your baby in any order, as long as you include-iron-rich foods. Be aware that here are some foods to avoid until they are a certain age.
- Continue to breastfeed or use infant formula until your baby is at least 12 months old.
- All babies should have foods that commonly cause allergies before the age of 12 months.
We’ve brought together a few baby vegetable puree recipes to help you along!
Stage One is where all babies start as they are getting weaned. Food at this point should be very smooth and without lumps or too much other texture. For some vegetables, you might find that you need to run your puree through a fine sieve to ensure it’s smooth enough for your child. Make sure you chat with your doctor about the ingredients before you introduce them to your child, as some might not be appropriate for very young babies.
1. Spinach and Apple Puree
Apple and spinach puree is a really easy puree that gives your little one a massive hit of good vitamins and minerals from spinach, hidden by the mild sweetness of the apple.
To make this puree, just steam a peeled, cored and diced apple (sweet varieties are best) along with a cup of spinach leaves. Then puree until smooth, adding extra liquid as needed. To mix things up a little, you can add either a small amount of ginger when you’re steaming (remove prior to pureeing), a small amount of lemon juice, or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
2. Sweet Potato Puree
This particular puree is perfect for preparing in bulk for your little one. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and their mild but sweet flavour makes them a favourite of folks of all ages.
To make this puree, wash, peel and dice your sweet potato, then steam until soft. Drain the vegetables, then run over with cold water to stop the cooking process, before pureeing until smooth. Add liquid as you go. To mix things up, try adding things like cinnamon, applesauce, yoghurt, pumpkin, peas, and much more to the mix.
3. Carrot Puree
Another vegetable rich in beta-carotene, carrots should certainly be considered in your child’s diet, with some exceptions. Some doctors recommend caution when dealing with carrots due to the potential nitrates present in the vegetable, so consult them before you feed carrots to your child.
To make your own carrot puree, wash, peel and cut the carrots before steaming. Steam until tender, and drain carrots and rinse in cold water prior to pureeing. Carrot puree can be mixed up a little by adding fruits like mango or peaches, as well as extra greens like potato, broccoli and more.
4. Zucchini Puree
By itself, zucchini puree is not really anything special in terms of taste. However, it is a good source of potassium, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene, so the key is to make it taste better.
Don’t peel the vegetable, but steam it as you would with other veggies until it’s very tender and puree it. You probably won’t need to add any other water, as zucchini has quite a high water content. Partner zucchini with potato, sweet potato, carrot or squash to provide flavour.
5. Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkin is a clear favourite among starting vegetable purees because of its sweet flavour and smooth consistency when pureed. It’s also a great nutrition-filled addition to your child’s diet, packed with beta-carotene and more.
To make a pumpkin puree, wash, peel and dice the pumpkin before steaming it well until tender. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking, and then puree. You can also bake whole pumpkins, and then scoop the flesh straight out of the skin to be pureed. For different flavours, mix with cinnamon, nutmeg, pear, peaches, broccoli and more.
6. Apple and Parsnip Puree
Apples of all kinds have a delightfully sweet flavour that makes them a favourite with babies, but as we saw with our apple and spinach puree, it’s extra veggies that make all the difference.
In this case, two peeled, cored, and diced apples are steamed together with one medium sized parsnip, also peeled and chopped. Pureed until smooth, with a little extra liquid as required, you get a flavourful puree that’s ideal for stage one.
7. Kale and Pear Puree
In the world of adult nutrition, kale is considered a super food, but it’s just as good for kids as well. Kale is high in essential nutrients, including vitamin A, C and K, as well as fibre and protein. Add in pears and you also have potassium, and more vitamin C and fibre, along with a mild, sweet flavour that babies love.
Choose ‘baby kale’, a sweeter and more tender variety of the leaf, and steam it along with the peeled and diced pear. Puree, adding liquid as required.
Stage Two and Three:
8. Avocado and Banana
Avocados generally aren’t introduced into a baby’s diet until they’re older than 6 months, but once introduced, there are so many possibilities. When mixed with bananas, they can certainly be a stage one food if finely pureed, but we like the soft lumps as they get babies used to texture in food.
To make this puree, just mix one ripe avocado with one ripe banana, both peeled and cut. You can just mash with a fork (finely) or use a processor. That’s it, no cooking required!
9. Broccoli and Cheese
Cheese is a really healthy food for babies, providing they have no dairy allergies, and it can be introduced into their diet as early as 8 months. Always start with milder cheeses, but don’t necessarily shy away from stronger flavours as they get adjusted.
Cheese also goes great in purees at stage two, along with well-steamed broccoli. To this mixture you can even add potatoes and cauliflower, depending on what yummy nutrients you want to include.
10. Meat Purees
It’s not recommended to introduce meat to your baby’s diet until after 6 months. It is after this age, their iron stores begin to deplete and need to be replaced. Iron rich meats like beef, and other proteins like chicken, are perfect for a baby’s diet, providing they’re prepared right.
Puree as fine as possible, and try to ensure that the mix is one part meat to two parts vegetable. Meats are better suited to stage two and three eaters, as they have more texture and lumps.