It’s time to introduce your baby to her first solid foods. You don’t want to feed her processed junk, but you don’t have the time to puree and freeze like some parents do. Fortunately, there’s a great way to make homemade baby food a part of your everyday routine. The key is conscious menu-planning for the rest of your family. As you introduce your child to new tastes and textures, you can create meals for her from your own lunches and dinners with very little effort.
Initially, you’ll want to introduce one food at a time to watch for signs of allergies, but many staples of your diet are unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction. Beans, green vegetables, root vegetables, squash and lentils all make great first foods. When you’re making your own dinner, cook extra portions of the same vegetables for your child. Cook the baby’s veggies longer than your’s, so you can mash them with a fork. Your child can enjoy the same tastes that the rest of the family does.
Spice it Up
When you were pregnant, your amniotic fluid took on the flavor of everything you ate. Breast milk also picks up the tastes of the foods and spices you consume on a regular basis. So spice your child’s food as you would your own. If you feed her something bland and tasteless, she’ll likely reject it since she’s already used to your cooking.
Once your child has tried a few vegetables, you can start making her more exciting food. Soups and stews are a great opportunity to give your child a really delicious meal. In my own family, vegetarian lentil soup is a popular homemade baby food. The vegetables are cooked soft enough for easy eating, and the combination of flavors makes a wonderful meal for all ages. Just make sure that you cool your baby’s soup to room temperature, to avoid a burned tongue. I’ve also had good luck with butternut squash soups and garlic mashed potatoes. Just make sure to keep your dishes meat- and dairy-free during the first few months. Use olive oil instead of butter, and mash the potatoes in their own water.
Babies Mimic Their Families
If your child is uninterested in trying your homemade foods, ditch the high chair. At this point, your child is still getting most of her calories from breast milk or formula. Your main goal should be to expose her to the tastes and textures of healthy food. She’ll enjoy her meals more if she shares them with you. At meal times, sit your baby on your lap, put her soft food on a plate next to yours, and give her a spoon to hold while you feed her. Letting her join family mealtimes at a young age will encourage a life-long love of healthy, homemade food.
How do you prepare homemade baby food for your children? Share hints and recipes in the comments!
Image Source: Kim Love on Flickr