purée your way: ten amazing baby food blends to try
culinary combos that set the stage for healthy habits
To get your baby on track to become a lover of good, healthy food, it’s important to start early. Nix highly processed foods in favor of homemade puréed baby foods and blends that combine nutritious and delicious flavors. Continually exposing your child to colorful and delicious flavors will set a pattern and help guide your baby to grow up and reach nourishing whole foods when they’re hungry. We have ten exciting baby food recipes for your baby’s first year. You can blend these to any consistency, but remember that a baby’s ability to chew and swallow varies widely in the early months of eating solids. Be sure to never feed your baby something chunkier than they—or their little teeth—can handle.
Think applesauce but with different fruit mixes. Hard fruits like pears and apples will need to be cooked first. Things like bananas and blueberries can simply be mashed. (Strain berries with large seeds like raspberries.) Experiment with different fruits, combinations, and even spices like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. As babies grow older, are able to swallow thicker textures (and get teeth!), let these soups and purees get chunkier, and try leaving skins on.
Whip a little unsweetened yogurt into your fruit soup puree and you’ve got a delicious smoothie. Add a drop or two of vanilla or some citrus zest for a fun flavor boost.
SUMMER VEGETABLE MEDLEY
Boil carrots, peas, green beans, and summer squash until cooked in just enough water to cover. Puree, adding some of the cooking water to reach your babe’s desired consistency. When she reaches the just-around-the-corner toddler years, this counts as sauce for pasta receipes.
Puree rich combinations of organic meats, vegetables, and herbs and spices into a satisfying blend that introduces a nearly endless variety of new flavors. Go for a classic beef stew with parsnips and peas. Don’t forget a fish stew, fragrant with coconut oil.
It used to be that people waited until after the first year to offer egg yolks. If you have no history of egg allergy in your family and your baby is healthy, and has not already shown an allergic reaction, then the new guidelines suggest you can introduce eggs as early as six months. Cook yours with some cheese, a bit of pureed broccoli, and maybe even a pinch of onion powder for a full-flavored, finger-friendly treat.
Bake any variety of squash or even yams. Mash together with some parmesan cheese and—if you dare—a pinch of mild chili powder. For a treat, combine with butter and cinnamon. Water can be added to make these purees less thick for the youngest among us.
These tiny legumes are really a perfect baby food. They can be blended with almost any steamed vegetable, fruit, or cooked grain for that matter. Add some basil and oregano for an extra taste bud-blooming kick. To work on the pincher grasp, put a few well cooked and unblended lentils on a high chair tray and watch your babe ‘go to town’.
Use organics ground turkey or grass-fed beef in any recipe that includes flavorful herbs and ingredients, like parmesan cheese, that together supply a complex taste profile. Blend for early eaters, and offer tiny non-choking-sized pieces to those toothy babies who are pushing twelve months.
Simmer bite-sized chopped vegetables like sweet red peppers, onion, carrot, and tomato together until soft. Add ground meat if you like, with herbs like parsley, basil, and oregano. Serve with whole-wheat pastina or small-sized gluten-free quinoa pasta and a sprinkling of cheese—try bolder Romano instead of parmesan. Can easily be blended or pureed.
Calling all mini Popeyes! Kale, spinach, beet greens and more, sautéed in olive oil with garlic until soft don’t need to be blended. But finely chopped or pureed with fresh tomato and maybe a whole grain of choice (have you tried barley yet?), they’re divine.