Healthy First Foods
Baby Food 101
New mothers and fathers come to Healthy Living every single day. They come with their newborns in strollers or wear them snuggly in carriers, shopping for nutrient-rich ingredients and clean products. Week after week they come back, and all the while newborn cheeks are filling out, limbs are getting chubbier, and eventually, gummy smiles show off a tooth or two. Just like that, six months have flown by and those babies, who are now wide-eyed with their heads held high, are ready for the wonderful world of solid food.
Hurray! We love this part.
Feeding your baby can be a joyous time of intimacy and connection. Introducing little ones to new food is a huge milestone and transition that can lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating. There are many delicious and nutritious foods that can compliment a baby’s diet of breast milk or formula. Here are some tips and guidelines on what to feed your infant when they are ready to take their first taste of different fruits, veggies, proteins and grains.
- Always consult your pediatrician before starting solid foods.
- Always feed your baby breast-milk or formula before their solids.
- With first foods it’s all about keeping it simple: start with single-ingredient foods with no added sugar or salt.
- Wait three to five days between the introductions of each new food.
- Start with pureed and very soft foods.
FOODS FOR BABY
SIX TO EIGHT MONTHS — Baby is holding their head up, gumming toys, smacking their lips and showing interest in what you’re eating. It might be time for them to try their first foods!
Great foods for babies six to eight months:
CEREALS & GRAINS: Rice, Barley, and Oats
FRUITS: Avocados, Apples, Bananas, Mangos, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Prunes, and Pumpkins
VEGETABLES: Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Carrots, Green Beans, Peas, Zucchini, and Parsnips
PROTEIN: Chicken, Turkey, Tofu.
DAIRY: Whole Milk Yogurt
EIGHT TO TEN MONTHS — At this time, baby might be crawling, pulling him or herself up and using their pincer grasp to pick up smaller objects. They might want to try feed themselves. Now is a great time to introduce small pieces of very soft,
overcooked food and introduce certain spices into their food (not spicy hot!) to accustom them the wonderful world of seasoning.
Great foods for babies eight to ten months:
GRAINS AND SEED: Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Flax, Kamut, Millet, Oats, Pasta, Quinoa, Rice, Wheat, Sesame, and Spelt
FRUITS: Avocados, Apricots, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Dates, Figs, Grapes, Kiwi, Mango, Nectarine, Papaya, Peaches, Persimmons, Plums, Prunes, Pumpkins
VEGETABLES: Artichoke, Asparagus, Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Carrots, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Fennel, Green Beans, Leaks, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Zucchini, Parsnips, Peppers, Summer Squash, Sweet Potato, Zucchini
PROTEIN: Beans/Legumes, Beef, Chicken, Whole Egg, Fish, Pork, Tofu, Turkey
DAIRY: Cottage Cheese, Cheese (no soft cheeses), Whole Milk Yogurt.
TEN TO TWELVE MONTHS: Most likely, baby has some favorite foods and is getting very good at picking up chunkier pieces of food that’s still on the soft side. But the excitement of trying new foods is only beginning!
CEREAL AND GRAINS: Any type.
FRUITS: Berries and citrus.
VEGETABLES: Corn, Cucumbers, and Spinach
PROTEIN: Whole eggs, any Fish
DAIRY: Whole Milk, Whole Milk Yogurt, Soft Cheese (after 12 months!)
For Babies at 6 Months
Simple Squash Puree:
1 butternut squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds. Rub with oil and place face-up on a baking sheet. Roast for 1-1.5 hours or until squash is very soft and a knife goes in and out with no resistance. Remove from oven and cool. Scoop squash out of skin and put in food processor or baby food mill. Puree until nice and smooth.
For Babies at 10 Months
Spinach, Apple and Quinoa Puree
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 bag spinach
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup yogurt or chicken stock
In a medium sauce pot, melt the butter. Add the diced apple and cook until very soft. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Transfer mixture to a blender and add the cooked quinoa. Use the yogurt or a little chicken stock to thin the puree so that it blends to a smooth consistency.
For Babies at 12 Months
Polenta and Peas
1/2 cup polenta
2 cups milk
1/4 cup peas
1/4 cup grated cheese – optional
Bring milk to a simmer. Whisk in polenta, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Turn burner down to the lowest setting and let polenta cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Mix in peas and cheese. Pour onto a lined sheet try and spread into a thin layer – about 1/2 inch thick. Cool completely in fridge. Cut polenta into strips or cubes for little fingers to pick up!