When I titled my last post on feeding babies as "part 1," I honestly thought the series would begin and end there. Just Part 1. Thanks for humoring me. But it turns out a good number of you enjoyed those notes I had mustered from feeding Curran and said you were looking forward to said series. So here we are! Our little guy is a huge part of my everyday life and feeding him consumes a good part of his waking hours so I'm learning things along the way.
For frame of reference, Curran is almost one year old (what?! I know). From about 6 to 9 months old I could get him to eat a puree of just about anything. I assumed I had the worlds greatest eater, I coudn't mash up my greens and lentils fast enough, and then he learned he could say no. Around 10 months he got a little more opinionated and now turns his head and spits things out so we are compromising - you still have to eat fruits and vegetables but everyone is entitled to not like things. I try things out a few times, with days between, before I take his refusals seriously. I usually have better luck with things he can pick up himself (cue the baby-led weaning advocates) so am including a few recipes here for finger foods that work well for us and a smoothie for good measure. Again, I know each baby is different. I got away with throwing steamed vegetable cubes on his tray for a couple weeks but he has since caught on that those things are straight up boring and I don't blame him. But you should still try it before your mini person wises up. He was crazy about blueberries for a week and now won't touch them. I think giving things a break keeps them from burning out and then you can try again. I am not a master, but appreciate other moms sharing ideas and feedback so I figured I would throw my two cents in.
When we were on the road, I used some store-bought organic baby food squeezer packs and he loved (loves) them. Great in a pinch, no junky fillers, but I still find it much more cost effective and less wasteful to make food for him myself. I bought these reusable Squooshi packs and we both get what we want. Other things I find easy for on the go are the Dr. Praegers vegetable patties (they are in the frozen section at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and other grocery stores, and I just let them thaw in the fridge or my bag), clementines and mandarins, blueberries, cooked rice-pasta (the fusilli shape are easy to grab). These are the things I throw in my purse when we head down to the park or are running errands and I know we'll be out awhile. Nothing ground breaking but the gamut of finger foods for someone with limited teeth is trickier than I thought. Anyway. Included are some niblets that Curran will eat (for now) and I hope this may help a few of you out in your quest to feed your little one well.
Makes 2 small
I give him half and then save the other half in the fridge and it keeps just fine for a day or two. The trick to not having chunky greens is blending them alone with your liquid of choice until they are completely smooth. Like spinach milk. Then you add in the rest of the ingredients to blend. Both spinach and romaine are considered 'sweet' greens so their flavor adds no bitterness here.
- 1 cup baby spinach and/or romaine
- 3/4 cup coconut water or almond milk, as needed
- 1 ripe pear, cored
- 1/2 cup frozen mango
- 1/4 of an avocado
Into a blender, combine the spinach/romaine and your liquid of choice. Run the blender until the greens are completely blended in. Add the pear, mango, avocado and more liquid as needed and blend until smooth.
Mini Sweet Potato Muffins
Makes two dozen minis
I made these for Curran but Hugh has eaten half of them so don't perceive these as strictly kid food. They have no processed sweeteners, so the banana and bit of maple keep these just sweet enough for your little person. Pumpkin puree will work in place of the sweet potato flesh if you have that handy.
- 1 large, extra ripe banana
- 2 eggs
- flesh of one small steamed or roasted sweet potato (about 1/3 cup)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or warmed coconut oil
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/3 cup almond meal
- 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- turbinado sugar, to sprinkle on top
Preheat the oven to 360'. In a large mixing bowl, mash up the banana with the back of a fork. Add the eggs and whisk well to mix. Add the sweet potato flesh, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, maple and olive or coconut oil and whisk to blend well. Add the whole wheat, almond flour, oats and baking soda and mix gently until just combined. Do not overmix.
Grease a mini muffin tin well with coconut oil spray or butter. Fill each well 3/4 full and sprinkle a little turbinado on top because even if you don't want them eating a lot of sugar, you have a heart and it's just a teeny bit. This makes two trays full. Bake for 16-18 minutes until just done. Wiggle them out of the holes to let them cool.
Black Bean + Green Bites
Makes two dozen
The first time I made these, Curran loved them. Now it depends on the day. If your baby likes yogurt or hummus, put a little dollop on top of these and it helps hide the green flavor. Parmesan cheese is very low in lactose so even for dairy sensitive babies, this shouldn't cause much of an issue.
- 6 ounces baby spinach (or any other tender green)
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup flaxmeal
- 1 cup cooked and drained black beans
- pinch of salt and garlic powder
Just barely steam the spinach. Let it cool and squeeze out the excess water. Into a food processor, add the squeezed spinach, egg, olive oil, parmesan, flaxmeal and beans, and a pinch of salt and garlic powder. Pulse a few times to combine. Preheat the oven to 375'. Line your baking tray with parchment. With damp hands, roll the mixture into small 1/2" balls and place them on the baking tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes to cook and remove to cool. The bites will keep for a week in the fridge or half may be frozen.