Purple beets have such a lovely spring color. I thought it would be nice to do an informative post on beet baby food – How to select the beets, how to prepare them, how to store them and why they are so gosh darn good for your baby.
How old to feed baby beets and why are beets so good for baby
The prevailing wisdom tell us baby must be 8- 10 months months old to eat cooked beats. I say keep it safe and use the nine month mark as your guide. Raw and grated beets, a bit more rare to feed baby, is for the 10-11 month old. Although beets are not one of EWG’s dirty dozen, there is a nitrate issue with beets. By 9 month’s old however, that nitrate risk is no longer an issue. Beets are so darn healthy for baby (and you too!) because they contain calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and high fiber. With such a great nutrition report card, I know you are excited to get started feeding beets to your baby.
The ins and outs of feeding your baby beets
Grated beets can be fed to your baby raw. Cooked beets are tasty and very colorful. They can be used as a decorative touch or even a food coloring in baby’s food. Beets do stain, so use a good bib when feeding your baby beets. Beet stains are impossible to get out of cloth, plastic surfaces and wood. Stool alert: Be aware that several hours after your baby eats beets, her stool will be quite red in color.
Choosing and Storing Beets
Equivalents: 6 medium beets = 1 pound = 2 cups sliced.
In season: Available year round; peak June through October.
Choosing: Beets are sold with or without their green tops. The tops, called “beet greens,” should be fresh-looking, thin-ribbed, and deep green, with no brown or red edges, and with no trace of slime. If they are a little wilted, the flavor of the red root should not be affected because the greens rapidly deteriorate while the root remains good. Beet greens are edible.
Beets without their greens should have at least 1⁄2 inch of stem left on top and their bottom roots should be at least two inches long. The bulbous root should have a lush, deep red color and smooth, firm skin with no cuts or soft spots. Roots should have no scaly areas or circles on the top and they should be a nice round shape, not elongated.
Buy small to medium-sized beets, as large beets tend to be tough with inedible, woody cores.
Storing: As with other root vegetables, immediately remove the greens so that they do not pull moisture from the root. Leave an inch or two of stem on the root, or it will bleed during cooking. Store beets in the refrigerator wrapped in organic, bleach-free wax paper and then in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.
Preparing and cooking beets for baby food preparation
Preparation for cooking: Scrub well under cold-running water.
Steam: Wonderful for holding in nutrients but you need the time, it takes about 60 minutes!
Boil: Simmer whole beets for two hours. Peels will easily come off and juices will be better retained in whole beets.
Bake: Wash thoroughly, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 90 minutes to two hours—the larger the beets, the longer the baking time.
Peel and purée: After cooking beets, remove stems. If you wish, slip off peels under cold running water before puréeing.
Freezing: Use the Baby Food Cube Method or Tray-Freeze Method, and keep for up to 2 months. Remember to store in a stainless steel ice cube tray and then store in a organic waxed paper lined plastic freezer bag.
For even more information, take a peek at Super Baby Food, 3rd edition. It includes a complete alphabetical list of fruits and vegetables with same information included as shown above!
This Giveaway is Closed..Winners shown below. Thanks for participating!
I am so lucky to be exposed to some terrific baby food products because of the writing of Super Baby Food. One of those great products is Amara, an organic dried baby food product. Busy moms are always looking for ways to feed on the go when necessary – for day trips or traveling or simply when in a pinch. Amara organic food pouches are a convenient, clever way to feed baby organic food. With this giveaway, Amara is offering five winners their apple and banana baby food pouches.
Amara dried organic food is easy to prepare. Amara tells us, “Simply add breast milk, formula, or water and it’s ready for your baby to eat! Our lightweight pouch slips into your pocket or purse and is the perfect way to guarantee a wholesome meal for your baby without the hassle.”
You can learn more about Amara and the products they offer at their baby food link.
The Amara giveaway will reward five winners each with both a banana and an apple serving. Giveaway begins today and ends March 20th at midnight…tell all your friends! Winners must live in US or Canada to be eligible to win!Pin It
Vitamin Supplements for Baby
My fans are the best…very smart and very hip. Recently, I was asked a question about suggestions for vitamin supplements for baby. As I write in Super Baby Food, I always suggest checking first with your pediatrician and here is why. There are very specific amounts of vitamin D, zinc, iron and other nutrients recommended for babies at certain ages by the American Pediatric Association. I wrote about vitamin D and breastfeeding in a previous blog and want to mention how important iron supplements are for your baby too!
It is very important that your baby gets enough iron, but not too much. Too much can cause baby constipation and other problems. Iron is very important, though. Red blood cells need iron to transport oxygen throughout baby’s body for growth and development. Iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in babies, which is why many commercial baby foods are fortified with it.
How can you be sure that your baby is getting enough iron?
The new mandatory Nutrition Facts Panel on packaged foods makes it easier to see just how much iron your baby is eating. Fresh homemade food does contain iron, but if your baby is eating all homemade baby food, and especially if your baby is a vegetarian, ask your pediatrician about over-the-counter supplemental iron drops.
Have you recently got a advice from your pediatrician on vitamin supplement drops for your baby? Share with us!Pin It
I know YOU love and trust Super Baby Food and YOUR stamp of approval is all I need. It is nice, however, to be recognized by the rest of the world.
To celebrate the awards and Valentine’s day I am giving away 5 copies of the new edition. Contest will end Feb 17th and is open to US and Canada residents. Check back here for the winners on Monday!
This offer is now CLOSED. Thank you for all your wonderful comments. Winners have been contacted by email.Pin It
Happy New year, Super Baby Food fans! It is a whole new year and you have decided to try making your own baby food. Good for you and your family! You will soon learn that it is much easier than you thought to make organic, homemade, tasty baby food. Before you get started, though, here are a few safety measures to keep in mind and put into practice when making your own baby food. For those of you who already do make your own baby food, consider this a mini-refresher course. Please add your own additional safety ideas and tips in the comment section.
Baby Food Preparation Safety TIps
- Wash your hands…So simple, I know, but always the first step! Wash, wash, wash!
- Wash your produce – both fruits and vegetables – even if it is organic…wash, wash, wash. As you may already know some fruits and vegetables are ‘dirtier” than others…Check out EWG’s dirty dozen and clean 15 for a refresher.
- Thoroughly clean all food preparation surface areas and utensils with hot, soapy water – the counter surfaces, the high chair tray surface and all of your utensils and operating equipment, including blenders, food processors, etc. (For more information on high chair safety click on the link.)
- Beware of bacteria! Moisture and warmth can equal bacterial growth! Yuck! To get food cooled as quickly as possible, store it in small and/or shallow containers (you know from the 3rd edition of Super Baby Food that I prefer glass or stainless steel containers)
- Do not leave prepared baby food at room temperature for more than a few minutes. Serve it right away or freeze it for later use.
- Thaw all foods in the refrigerator and never refreeze food that has been cooked then frozen and then thawed.
Baby Food Precautions
- Baby food can be spoiled without necessarily smelling bad. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Any leftover homemade or commercial baby food or juice that has come in contact with your baby’s saliva must be discarded.
- Commercial baby food jars (I know you are only using commercial baby food in a pinch;)) must “pop” when opened to insure the content’s freshness!
- If commercial infant/baby/toddler cereal has been mixed with liquid, serve it immediately and discard the leftovers.
For many more safety tips on baby food preparation safety and baby food safety, be sure to check out the new edition of Super Baby Food, now available on Smashwords! There are three chapters in an entire section of the book dedicated to safety. It is very important! Please share your own safety tips developed along the way with me!
Super Snacks are an important part of the Super Baby Food diet. Both in the morning and in the afternoon, super snacks (finger foods) can be fed to your older baby or toddler to maintain a balanced nutritional diet every day.
Just as breakfast, lunch, dinner, breast milk and/or formula meals are important, so too, is the importance of the super snack. The common baby and toddler snack ideas are well known and include: cheerios, oatios, whole grain crackers, soft ripe pieces of fruits, etc.
Below are some out-of-the box super snack ideas that might turn your usual idea of “snack” for baby on its ear! Have you considered…
- small tofu chunks
- crumbled egg pieces, cooked solid or scrambled
- well-cooked, small wheat pasta pieces
- bits of well-cooked french toast
- small lumps of cottage cheese, mixed with wheat germ, rolled in a ball
- small pieces of soft cheese
- Clean and cook vegetables until they are soft and cut into small pieces no larger than a Cheerio.
Have you come up with some super snack ideas that your baby loves? Share them!
Spirulina is a nutritional enhancer that can be added to baby food (and adult food) and adds super nutrition to any meal. It is a blue green algae that springs from warm, fresh water bodies. This sounds exotic, but was is really exotic is what it can do for your baby and for you! Spirulina is a terrific source of protein, reinforces the immune system, protects folks from cancer, contains GLA, an essential fatty acid that is found only in mother’s milk and is a fabulous source of vitamin B and B complex to boot.
It is very easy to add spirulina to baby food and adult meals, simply sprinkle into your recipe and let the nutritional benefits abound. For baby, at about 6 months (ask your pediatrician, of course), start with just 1/4-1/2 teaspoon stirred into pureed foods, cereal and/or smoothies! For adults, try 1 to 2 teaspoons a day. Spirulina powder, like as found at GNC (Spiru-Tein) is also a popular way for adults to add spirulina to their diets! Just add one scoop and you are ready to go.
As if the nutritional benefits were not enough to get you excited about adding spirulina to your diet, I found an article by terranut.com that extols the following benefits of Spirulina, you can read the entire article at the link.
Terranut tells us that spirulina benefits include:
1 Cleansing: Spirulina promotes the body natural cleansing processes. You feel fitter, more cheerful, and you have more energy.
2. Restoring: Spirulina compensates for deficiencies in the diet and stimulates the metabolism. Your physical condition improves noticeably and you recover faster after exertion.
3. Fortifying: Spirulina boosts resistance and activates the body natural defense mechanisms. You feel stronger and are better able to cope with the pressures of everyday life.
Because of its cleansing, restoring and fortifying functions, Spirulina has a wide range of applications. It gives you new energy without taking pep-ups and makes you more alert and stable.
I know you are excited now! Who does not want to feel peppy and more alert and stable.
To feed spirulina to baby try combining:
1/4 Cup applesauce
1/2 tsp spirulina
1/2 mashed avocado
As you can guess by the above example, the possibilities for baby food recipes using spirulina are endless. Mamanatural.com posts a fantastic recipe for a tropical spirulina smoothie that she swears her picky baby loves! If you would like more example of adult spirulina recipes, I found a post by naturalhealthychoices.weebly.com that lists several great ones including Spirulina Salsa, Guacamole, and Vegetable spirulina Stir Fry.
Have you discovered any great spirulina baby food recipes? Share them!
Quinoa, a seed, is a complete protein perfect for baby food
In my last blog post I covered chia seeds, flaxseeds, and tahini (seasame seeds) and revealed how they may be prepared for baby food. I saved another seed for it’s own blog post becasue of the sheer overwhelming healthy, nutritive value of it…You might have guesssed I am talking about quinoa.
Quinoa, commonly referred to as a grain is actually a seed! It is a very special seed. Quinoa’s roots are Incan and its nutritive value, particularly its protein value is out of this world. It is considered a complete protein (all of the essential amino acids are represented and in correct proportions) and 1/2 cup will fulfill a child’s daily protein needs.
Quinoa fun facts:
- Quinoa is the seed of the Chenopdium or Goosefoot plant.
- Quinoa is pronounced “Keen-wah”
- Quinoa has a mild and slightly nutty flavor
- When quinoa is cooked whole it has the texture of couscus
- Beets, spinach, and swiss chard are all relatives of quinoa
- Quinoa varieties include pale seeds, red seeds, and black seeds
- Quinoa can be toasted, sprouted, grinded and then cooked or cooked whole.
For a baby, the healthy effects of eating quinoa are fantastic as you may have already guessed. I suggest grinding the quinoa to a powder, just as I suggest preparing super porridge brown rice cereal or super porridge oatmeal. Cook the powder (1 cup ungrounded) in two cups of boiling water, whisking throughout the cooking process to prevent lumps. As always, you may cook the quinoa whole and then blend to desired consistency for your 8 month old. Mixing the quinoa porridge with fruit, vegetables, or yogurt is always a good idea.
Unprepared quinoa should be stored in a cool dry place. Quinoa super porridge may be frozen. Moms have had some terrific results with freezing quinoa but the defrost time may be a longer than with super porridge. You may also prepare a few 1/2 cup batches and place in the fridge for a few days at a time. There are unlimited baby food recipes that you can create using Quinoa. Have you had any luck preparing quinoa for your baby? Share your recipe with me!
Seeds are a super healthy part of your baby’s Super Food Diet
Seeds may be the very last food on a parent’s list when considering first solid foods for their baby and then later, their toddler. They might want take another look at seeds and add them to the very top of their list! Seeds are jammed packed with precious nutrients that can provide an easy healthy boost to any meal.
The history of the seed
It makes sense that seeds are chock full of goodies. Think about it. If a seed is placed in the ground, it grows! If a seed is placed in water, it sprouts! Nature must have put a concentrated store of nutrients in the seed, which can grow a new plant with no soil and nothing more than plain water. The seed is the nucleus of a plant, the part that maintains survival of the species, and the part that is most important to nature. If there is a variation and lack of nutrients in the soil, the other plant parts suffer at the expense of the seed. In infertile soil, the roots forage for every trace nutrient they can find in order to first form the seed. The seed is life itself! Fascinating, is it not?
How to add seeds to your baby’s prepared food
There are many seeds that you could add to your child’s diet. I would like to share three in this post: chia seeds, seasame seeds (in the form of tahini), and flax seeds. Most pediatricians agree that you can add these three seeds (one of a time, of course) to your baby’s diet at eight months of age. Check with your pediatrican before feeding as always. I suggest grinding chia seeds and flax seeds immediately before serving to your baby, as the unground seed could be a choking hazard and the most nutitinonal value will be delivered when the seeds are ground. As well, seeds become rancid quickly so best to grind and serve!
Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, and Tahini (seasame seeds in paste form)
Chia Seed Nutritional Value
Chia seeds have become very popular and it is no wonder. Just some of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds include: Omega 3 Fatty Acid, anti-oxidants, fiber, and protein. Grind chia seeds to a fine powder and sprinkle on your baby’s yogurt, oatmeal super porridge, and atop soft or pureed fruit.
Flax seeds contain omega 3 fats, manganese, Vitamin B1 and antioxidant properties, just to name a few of its goodies. I recommend grinding flax seeds in a blender immediately before feeding and then add to scrambled eggs, yogurt, pancakes, etc.
Tahini (Seasame Seeds in paste form)
Tahini touts iron, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, B1, and dietary fiber as a few of it’s beneficial nutrients. Since tahini is sesame seeds ground into a butter it is super convenient to easily add to your baby’s yogurt, super porridge, practically anything that you can add a spread to!
If you have experience feeding seeds to YOUR baby, share what you have found works best. What other foods can you stir ground seeds into?
‘Tis the season for apples, that is for sure! Apple puree is a terrifc choice for a first food as part of a healthy Super Baby Food Diet. Apples are so nutritious. You can feed apple puree to baby starting from 6 months.
Apples are steeped in vitamins and minerals……They don’t say “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away” for no reason!
Livestrong.com tells us that apples are a good source of vitamin C. Our bodies “needs vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, to synthesize collagen, a component of tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, skin and cartilage. Vitamin C also helps repair and maintain bones and teeth and helps wounds to heal. As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects DNA by reducing the harmful effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that help age the body and contribute to the development of diseases.” All pretty good reasons to eat apples, right?
To begin making apple puree for your baby choose from these sweeter apples:
Golden delicious, Red Delicious, Braeburn and/or Gala apples. Honeycrisp and empire work, too!
Select Apples that are smooth without bruises and very firm…no yielding when pressed!
Remember that apples are part of the “dirty dozen” (pesticide risk) according to the EWG so an organic choice is best!
Apple Puree for Baby
- Wash and Peel 2 Medium sized apples
- Core and chopped apple into pieces
- Place apple pieces in covered pot with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water
- Cook over low-medium heat for 4 minutes
- Pour apple pieces and water / juice into blender to Puree
You can freeze puree using the Food Cube Method for up to two months.
Serve apple puree alone as part of a super meal or add to super porridge!
What is your favorite way to pair apple puree with other foods for your baby? Have you ever tried to pair apple puree with a vegetable?