quinoa for moi!? ten surprising first baby foods
rethink first foods with these solid choices
Your baby is ready for their first food bite. This is one for the books! Well, the baby books. It’s a lot of pressure, but don’t worry because we’re about to make choosing the right foods for your baby exceptionally easy. Until recently, the answer was always white rice cereal. But according to new research (as well as our very own pediatric adviser Dr. Alan Greene), that’s neither necessary nor a good idea. Babies can actually take their first steps on the road to a lifetime of healthy eating with almost any food you can puree. And feeding babies many flavors from the start will set them up to seek out and appreciate a wide variety of foods (and nutrients!) when they’re older. We realize this broadens the horizon. In case you’re drowning in a sea of choices, here are our Top Ten Favorite First Baby Foods. As you offer these first foods to your baby, why not let them feel, touch, and smell as well as taste. It’s all an important part of this amazing process. So is seeing mom, dad, sister, brother, and friends eat the same thing. Watching others eat well teaches babies to eat well. It’s called imprinting. So dig in and make your own mess.
WHOLE GRAINS, BROWN RICE, BARLEY, QUINOA, OATS
Bye-bye white rice, hello great-for-you whole grains. Cook until soft (in a food mill or a blender), blend with a little breastmilk or formula. Great to mix with fruit or veggie purees, as well as spices and herbs—from mint to basil to cinnamon.
Mash up nature’s perfect packaged food, add a little liquid for consistency, and see what baby thinks! No cooking necessary—making them great for on the go, too.
Scoop this no-cook nutritional powerhouse straight from the skin and mash with a fork. Make it smooth to start, and then go chunkier as baby grows.
Yams and babies are a traditional match–with good reason. Baked or steamed until soft and pureed, they make a nutritious, colorful, and slightly sweet base to mix with all kinds of other foods. You can also boil them in chicken stock. Try all of the varieties.
Like sweet potatoes, winter squash is baby food heaven. There are so many kinds–and flavors–to choose from. And it’s so versatile. Bake, boil, steam, or cook in a meat or vegetable stock of choice, then puree. As you start to layer in other flavors, butternut, pumpkin, acorn, delicata, and more will be your mainstays. They pair well with just about every herb, spice, vegetable, and meat. Get to know them!
COOKED ORGANIC AND/OR GRASS-FED MEAT AND POULTRY
Having bone broth on hand to add to purees and cook whole grains in is a great way to introduce baby to meat. Try making your own (yes, it is different than stock).
COOKED WILD SALMON
Unless your child shows signs of allergies or is under 6 months, there is no need to delay introducing cooked fish as a first baby food. Simmer in water with little dill and even garlic, then mix with some cooking water to desired consistency.
CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLE LIKE BRUSSELS SPROUTS, BROCCOLI, OR CAULIFLOWER
Arguably not what most parents would think of as a first food, but why not see what baby thinks? Or sprinkle a bit on top of pureed whole grains for the flavor.
ORGANIC WHOLE-MILK YOGURT
If baby tolerates dairy and is over six months, cultured yogurt is a great way to get in probiotics! For flavor try mixing with fruit or veggie purees.
Virtually any soup from asparagus to zucchini can be blended into a flavorful first baby food—to the delight of babies and adults alike.