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10 Must-Have Baby Food Recipes

By Thepickyeater @pickyeaterblog

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10 Must-Have Baby Food Recipes

If you've found this post, it means that you're ready to take on a very fun part of parenting - making your own baby food at home! Trust me, this can be enjoyable and isn't difficult, even when you're busy or tired. There are really only three steps to making great baby food at home: steam, puree, and freeze. And once you've made a few basic purees, you'll be eager to try some more complex recipes with additional ingredients, or even create your own concoctions to suit your baby's tastes. Making your own baby food is a great way to discover which foods your baby particularly enjoys, as well as introducing them to a variety of flavors in a creative way that fits your budget, lifestyle, and locally-available ingredients.

These are some of my must-have baby food recipes for purees, made with healthy, easy-to-find ingredients. You'll never find added sugar in my recipes and I guarantee that making baby food at home will be cheaper than buying expensive pouches, which often contain significant amounts of sugar from fruit purees or even fruit juice concentrate.

If this is your first time making homemade baby food, check out my post about making healthy baby food at home. You won't need to buy any specialized baby food-making equipment for this, and you may already have everything you need at home. The main items you'll need are: a large pot, a steamer basket, a blender (I highly recommend the Vitamix), and ice cube trays (I always use Mumi&Bubi trays, which are specifically designed for storing baby food). Once you've got those in your kitchen, and shopped for some organic fruit and veggies, you'll be ready to start blending!

Now, let's get to those must-have baby food recipes! If you've read any of my other blog posts, you'll know that I am a big fan of veggies. This is especially true when it comes to introducing your baby to new foods. I can pretty much guarantee that your baby will happily eat fruit purees, because they contain a significant amount of natural sugar. Babies are naturally inclined to enjoy sweet tastes (remember, breast milk is full of lactose, which is a sugar!), so exposing them to low-sugar vegetables early on is really important for developing their palates.

I recommend introducing fruits and vegetables in the following order:

  • Avocado, carrots, green beans, sweet potato, butternut squash, pears, apples, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower.
  • Then introduce any other fruits and vegetables that you want, and eventually add in fish and meat.

Millennials may be famous for their love of avocados, but guess what? Babies love avocados, too! In fact, avocado was the first solid food that we gave Layla. It's incredibly easy to make an avocado puree, and it's highly nutritious, too.

Avocados really are a perfect first food - they are delicious, flavorful, and have a great texture. Even better, they're packed with 20 vitamins and minerals, including folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and iron, as well as plenty of "healthy fats" that will help with your baby's brain and nervous system development. Chances are, avocado will soon become one of your baby's favorite foods!Get the recipe here!

After avocado, carrot is an excellent food to introduce to your baby as you start giving them solids for the first time. Carrots are naturally sweet and are great for combining in purees with green vegetables in order to make them a little more enticing. All you need to do for this recipe is peel the carrots, cook them for 6-8 minutes, and then puree! Not only are carrots full of Vitamin A, which helps promote healthy skin and eyes, but they are also easy to digest and very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Get the recipe here!

Now it's time to bring in some greens! I recommend starting with green beans to introduce your baby to the taste of green vegetables. They are low in sugar but full of Vitamin A and fiber. I have to admit that Layla was not enamored with green beans from the start, until I started mixing them with organic plain yogurt. Once you've introduced green beans on their own, you can also combine them with carrots for an even tastier puree, but it's important that babies first get accustomed to eating not-so-sweet foods.Get the recipe here!

Orange vegetables like sweet potato, butternut squash, and pumpkin are super healthy options, packed full of carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. And what's more - babies tend to love them! You can prepare them so many different ways, including microwaving, steaming, or boiling. However, my favorite cooking method is to roast sweet potatoes in the oven so that they begin to caramelize, and then pureeing. Get the recipe here!

Butternut squash is a delicious and extremely nutritious veggie, packed full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. As with sweet potatoes, I recommend roasting the butternut squash in the oven for an hour so that it becomes caramelized. After roasting, peeling off the skin and putting the squash pieces into a blender can get a bit messy, so you'll want to make this in bulk. Don't forget to line your baking tray with parchment paper for easier clean-up!Get the recipe here!

Once your baby has developed a taste for green and orange veggies, it's time for a real treat - pears! Not only do pears taste great, but they're also full of nutrients like fiber and Vitamin C, which help to prevent constipation and promote a healthy immune system, respectively.

Pears are also fantastic for mixing with other foods that your baby might not be so keen on, such as green beans. We get through a lot of pear puree in my house (it's great mixed with oatmeal!), so I always make this in bulk. Get the recipe here!

Poor prunes - so unloved and misunderstood! If you find yourself walking past the prunes at the grocery store without a second thought, consider this: prunes are a fantastic food for babies! Quite simply, prunes are dried plums, and they're full of antioxidants. And just as their reputation suggests, they really do "keep things moving" so that your baby doesn't become constipated. I found that Layla was more interested in prunes when I mixed them with Fuji apples. This apple & prune puree is also great with yogurt, oatmeal, or combined with green vegetables to give them a little natural sweetness.Get the recipe here!

You'll be hard-pressed to find a more nutritionally-dense puree than this mixture of broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower, which is full of vitamins and minerals, including iron. This puree also contains loads of phytonutrients, which are known to have anti-cancer properties.

I recommend introducing this puree in small amounts, early in the day, because it contains a lot of fiber. Fiber is great, but it could potentially lead to gas or stomach upset if your baby eats too much, so you'll initially want to avoid this puree close to bedtime. Once your baby gets used to these veggies though, you can serve it anytime you'd like! If the taste of the greens is too overpowering for your baby, consider adding a little bit of organic plain yogurt and some pear puree.Get the recipe here!

This puree is guaranteed to be popular with your little one - it was certainly one of Layla's favorites. Zucchini and carrots are mild and fairly sweet veggies, and with the addition of two organic Fuji apples, this flavor combination is even more delectable! It's a perfect puree to mix with your baby's oatmeal. Get the recipe here!

Peas contain lots of vitamins, specifically Vitamin K, which is important for bone health, and Vitamin B6 and folic acid, which promote a healthy heart. In order to ensure that your purees retain as many nutrients as possible, avoid overcooking green veggies. Ideally, you should cook vegetables so that they stay bright green. Steaming them for just 3-5 minutes or boiling them for 3-5 minutes and then submerging them in cold water will help them to stay bright green and retain their chlorophyll. A word of advice: You may want to mix the peas with fruit or sweeter veggies in order to make them more appealing to your baby. Get the recipe here!

If you enjoy making these purees - and your baby enjoys eating them! - check out my Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook: Healthy Homemade Recipes for Every Age and Stage. With over 150 recipes for babies, toddlers, and older kids, you'll find plenty of ideas for purees that you can make in bulk, ahead of time, so that you never run out of your baby's favorite foods. It also includes guidance about mixing and matching ingredients to create the best-tasting purees, all while introducing your little one to a variety of flavors and textures. And for when you start to transition towards finger foods, you'll find plenty of toddler-friendly recipes that you can prepare in 30 minutes or less!

I hope this post helped you to navigate the wonderful world of making baby food at home. Just remember - this is an opportunity to experiment and enjoy introducing your baby to all of the yummy tastes, flavors and textures that solids have to offer! Have fun with it!

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