Ahh, introducing solids! Such a fun and exciting (and downright messy) stage of a baby's life. There's no right or wrong way to go about it and you can try some popular approaches such as baby-lead weaning or taste-testing lots of different foods. Whatever you decide, it’s a great idea to try baby with a wide range of flavours and textures and a lot of parents start with pureed foods. Pureed fruits, vegetables and meat are not only healthy and full of important nutrients, but pretty cost-effective too – you will need a blender, but you don’t need a fancy one just for making baby food. Any brand will do the job.
Here are some easy ideas for those first purees.
Apple and pear Pureed fruit is a great introduction to solids foods. Apple and pear are easy to puree – peel two apples and two pears, chop and place into a pan and cover with water. Simmer until the fruit is soft. Drain away any excess water from the pan. Then, puree the fruit in a blender and pour into ice cube trays or silicon muffin trays and freeze. Once bub gets a bit older, you can add the pureed fruit to Weetbix or other low sugar cereals.
Other fruit purees Strawberries and other berries make great simple purees, and you can mix them with kiwi fruit, banana, apple, pear…the combinations are endless. Most fruit purees are ok to freeze.
Sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot Babies seem to like sweet vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot, so I turned all three into a lovely, orange puree for my daughter. You can add broccoli or peas and corn to mix things up a bit. Peel the vegetables, chop and boil. Place into the blender and mix until soft. As babies grow, you can alter the puree’s consistency from smooth to lumpy to help them get used to eating thicker textures. This is a great puree to freeze and have on hand for a quick and easy lunch.
Sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot make an easy, nutritious puree.
Chicken with vegetables Chicken is such a versatile meat for pureeing and makes a tasty companion for vegetables. For a first chicken puree, try something simple like chicken and sweetcorn, sweet potato or mushroom. I found that boiling the chicken and then adding the vegetables was the easiest method, and I added a bit of the water to the mixture when blending. This puree is fine to freeze but just be sure to thoroughly re-heat it before serving to bub.
You can either use plain or herb-seasoned chicken, or add your own homemade chicken stock. This is really simple to make – place the chicken carcass in a pot of boiling water and add onion, cloves and any other herbs you desire. It freezes well in an ice cube tray.
Avocado and Banana Mmm…sounds delicious….right? Well, it’s not my cup of tea, but these two seemed to be a winner with my daughter. They even make a super-easy, healthy lunch on the run – just buy a banana and an avocado, peel and scoop out the avocado stone and mash together. Simple. I didn't find this puree great for freezing, so avoid making a big batch.
Having some frozen purees on hand makes life a little easier.
Potato, peas and broccoli I found that broccoli tends to turn a bit gluggy and mushy when blended by itself, so I mixed it in with other vegetables. Simply peel and boil the potatoes and add the peas and broccoli, and then blend until soft. This puree is ok to freeze.
Food made with love.
Making your own baby food is really easy, totally nutritious for your baby and could even help you save a bit of money on the weekly grocery bill.