Sweet potato is a perfect first baby food and it is great for toddlers too!
Sweet potatoes are one of our favorite “first foods” for baby. But once your baby reaches a year old into toddlerhood there is no reason to stop feeding her sweet potato! Make sweet potato fun to eat for her by preparing Mr & Ms Sweet Potato Heads! Sweet Potato heads are delicious, nutritious and super fun to make. It might look like mashed sweet potato alone but it is actually a delicious combination of sweet potato, yogurt, organic honey, and a bit of orange juice combined for the filling of decorated “potato heads.” Use “decorative touches”: olive eyes, carrot stick hair, and avocado mouth was used in this picture. Have fun creating your own. Full recipe below.
Mr/Ms Sweet Potato Heads Recipe from Super Baby Food
(remove the organic honey for baby under one)
Slice 2 cooked sweet potatoes in half. Scoop out flesh, being careful to keep skin intact to be used as a bowl later. Mash flesh and mix with:
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
Replace mashed sweet potato mixture into reserved skin bowls. Use “Decorative Touches” to make eyes, nose, mouth, hair, etc.
Send us your own Mr & Ms Sweet Potato Head creation and we will will post them on our Facebook Page and pick a few winners from the entries for a free copy of Super Baby Food, 3rd edition.!
Beets are so darn healthy for baby (and you too!) because they contain calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and high fiber. With such a great nutritional report card, I know you are excited to get started feeding beets to your baby. Cooked beets can be fed to baby from 9 months old. A beet is a root vegetable and as such, nitrates are an issue. Babies who are under the age of 6 months old have not developed the stomach acids necessary to fight beet nitrates. Since I do not recommend feeding cooked beets to your baby until the age of 9 months your baby will be safe from nitrates.
How to prepare beet baby food
Beets can be baked, boiled, or steamed and then peeled and pureed. Note that you need a little time on your hands to cook beets:
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. Pureed beets will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
Mix: some great foods to mix with pureed beets: sweet potato puree, applesauce, and yogurt!
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.
Storing for later use: 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.
Beet Baby Food Fun Facts:
Leafy green beet tops are edible
Lemon can help remove beet juice stains from your fingers while preparing cooked beets
Beets in your diet can: prevent cancer, boost your immune system, and reduce blood pressure later in life
Beets may put your baby in a good mood…a substance fond in beets, betaine, may relax the mind thereby improving your mood.
In a pinch, canned beets have lots of nutrition too…not as much as you would preserve making them yourself but enough to make it worth your while.
Gross but interesting fact: beets are a good indicator of the time it takes food to pass through your baby…let’s put it this way…you can’t mistake it!
Kale is a great choice for baby food, starting at 9 months old
Kale is a super duper green and a great food to your feed your baby at 8 months and older. When you see this great big bunch of kale in the grocery store, though, the thought of preparing it might might seem a little overwhelming. Do not fret.
Kale Baby Food Puree How-to Video
This quick video shows an easy way to prepare kale baby food puree. Remember to mix the pureed kale with a fruit, such as a banana, or yogurt in order to cut the strong flavor.
If you have discovered any tricks to preparing kale baby puree, please share it!
Give Brussels Sprout Baby Food a Try
Brussells sprouts are probably not the first vegetable that comes to mind when choosing a baby food for your baby. They have a bad reputation. Most of us remember being forced to eat them as children. You probably also remember their unique smell as they boil. I am here to suggest that you give them another try. Brussels sprouts are so full of nutrition and goodness. A member of the cruciferous family, brussels sprouts are considered a Super Green Veggie, chock full of vitamin C, folate, lutein other goodies that are too good to miss!
Preparing Brussels Sprout Baby Food
Babies eight months old and older are ready for cooked brussels sprout. (raw brussels sprouts are a no-no for baby) tasty brussels sprouts start with selection. Pick small sprouts whose leaves are tight, firm, and bright green. Select the smallest ones you can, they are sweeter and will have a milder flavor. Pick off any yellow leaves and trim close to the stem. It is important not to overcook your brussels sprouts as they will become mushy and the flavor will be too strong. Best to steam them whole for 15 to 20 minutes until the stem end is done…then puree and add to cereal or yogurt or freeze using the food cube method for a later time.
Preparing Brussels Sprout to Freeze for the Family
I found a terrific blog post on blanching brussels sprouts to be frozen and used either in a family recipe immediately or frozen for future use. MommaToldMeblog describes with some great pictures an easy way to blanch the brussels sprouts, place them in an ice bath so that they do not overcook, and freeze at the height of freshness for future use.
How do you like to prepare your brussels sprouts?
Quinoa – Grain or Seed
Quinoa, commonly referred to as a grain is actually a seed! It is a very special seed. Quinoa’s 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.
Feed Quinoa to baby
Recommended to start to feed baby at 8 months old, Quinoa can be a super porridge base and 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, try a banana, vegetables, or yogurt is always a good idea.
A Super Baby Food fan, (thanks, Amanda) suggests preparing quinoa by blending cooked quinoa with 1 steamed squash, 1 steamed zucchini, 1 banana and a dash of nutmeg with about 2 oz of formula or breast milk. She swears the the taste and texture is perfect for an 8 month old!
Feed Quinoa to Family
Recipes using quinoa instead of meat for protein needs can be very tasty. Here are a few ideas for quinoa recipes for the family:
Vegan Quinoa Stuffed Peppers by Greatist.com
Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna by VegetarianTimes.com
Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-fry by Skinnyms.com
Please share your family recipes using quinoa. Thanks!
Kale is a super duper green and can be fed to baby, cooked, at 9 months old. Raw kale should not be fed before your baby is 10 months old. You already know that kale is crazy-good for you and your baby. Here’s why: It has phytonutrients, crazy amounts of vitamin K, fiber, iron, and calcium. “Phytonutrients are certain organic components of plants, and these components are thought to promote human health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and teas are rich sources of phytonutrients.”
Kale has a very strong flavor, though, so add a cube to super porridge or mix with banana to make it deliciously palatable for baby!
- swish Kale leaves in a sink full of cold water
- remove the stems –I go into a detailed method for removing the stems that is detailed (and entertaining) on p. 195.
- Chop into bite sized pieces
- Steam the kale leaves or sauté in 1/2 cup boiling water in a large shallow pan. (a frying pan)
- Stir just until kale leaves turn bright green.
- Remove from pan and place in blender (blend in the water from the leaves)
- Puree and freeze using the Food Cube Method for up to 2 months.
Share your kale baby food puree recipes, tips and/or food combinations.
I have said it again and again on this site that an avocado is a great first baby food. Not only is it easy to prepare, you simply have to slice open a ripe one and wash or puree with a bit of breast milk or formula, it is also crazy nutritious. This original fun fruit, and yes, it is a fruit, is said to have all the nutrients one might need to survive. It is a pretty powerful food! Avocados are an excellent source of unsaturated fatty acids and have a higher proportion of this “good” fat than any other fruit except for the olive. It is a great source of fiber, folate, and vitamin K and touted for it brain development qualities.
When selecting avocado look carefully for damage, which shows up as soft dark spots in the skin. When picked up, an avocado should feel heavy for its size. If you are not going to eat the avocado for a few days, select one that is firm but not rock hard and ripen it at home by setting it on your counter at room temperature for up to 6 days. Avocados are ripe when they yield to gentle pressure and feel soft all over.
After ripened, store the avocado in the refrigerator in the vegetable crisper for up to two weeks. Store cut avocados by leaving the skins on and keeping the pit in the uneaten portion. You can brush the fruit with lemon juice (if your baby is old enough for citrus) to keep it from turning brown. You CAN freeze avocado but the texture, once thawed, will be mushy. If you are freezing mashed avocado (without any breast milk or formula added) your baby might not even notice the difference!
Avocado preparation ideas
Scoop the ripe flesh out of the skin of the avocado and fork mash. For a younger baby, you can puree it in blender or food processor, it won’t take long, and add a bit of formula or breast milk to thin to desired consistency and feed right away.
Try mashed avocado with banana, tofu, and cottage cheese to mix up the flavor and texture for your baby. Of course, mashed avocado is a great addition to super porridge as your baby gets older.
Mash and spread avocado as a “vegetable” spread. Use spread for the entire family as a mini dip for vegetables or as the secret ingredient of a fantastic sandwich.
Avocado is becoming a much loved ingredient for smoothies. It gives the drink a creamy texture much in the same way yogurt might and of course, the nutrients are hard to beat.
The nice folks at Babble.com share 10 smoothie recipes featuring avocado. Avocado can be mixed with fruits including: blueberries, peaches, raspberries, pineapple, and cucumber. Spinach makes an appearance in these smoothies as well as chocolate!
Grow your own avocado plant
You can not open an avocado without having to maneuver around that huge seed! Did you know that the seed WILL grow into an avocado plant? Chances of the plant bearing fruit is pretty uncertain and could take years, however the plant itself is quite nice looking. I have some detailed instructions in the latest version of Super Baby Food that tell how to grow an avocado plant. For a quick look at what a growing avocado plant might look like check out La Femme BEEBO blog that features a great picture of a growing avocado plant from the seed.
I would love to hear how YOU have added avocado to your baby’s diet. Share your ideas here.
All About Spinach: Spinach Baby Food Puree, Spinach baby Food Preparation, Spinach Baby Food Storage and Selection
Popeye was right, spinach is good for you.
Greens are all the rage and with good reason, they are so darn good for you and for your baby. Spinach is a super green that packs a nutritional punch, it is loaded with calcium, vitamin A and iron among other nutrients.
What you should know about homemade spinach baby food
Baby must be at least 9 months old to eat cooked greens, 10 months old for finely chopped raw greens. A young baby (0 -6 months) can not handle the nitrates found in spinach and other leafy greens. Spinach is one of the EWG’s Dirty dozen as well so buy organic!
Selecting and storing spinach for baby food
Buy organic spinach leaves that are loose and not in plastic bags, if at all possible. Leaves should be young and tender with no thick veins, bright green, crisp and not wilted, insect-free, and have no bruises, decaying spots, or slime. Rush home from the market and cook and freeze greens the second you walk in the door. If you must store them first, wrap them in white paper towels and place in organic, bleach-free wax paper-lined plastic bags in a cold part of the refrigerator or vegetable crisper. Use them fast, within a day or two.
Preparing spinach baby food
Examine the spinach leaves and discard leaves with a lot of yellow or decay. Trim any thick stems or small blemishes before cooking. To remove any leftover sand, try placing the leaves in a large bowl filled with luke warm water so any sand falls to the bottom of the bowl. Fish out the leaves and place them in a new bowl that is filled with cold water for one more rinse. Coasely chop cleaned leaves, if desired.
Steam the spinach leaves in a covered container for about 5 minutes for whole leaves, 3 minutes for chopped leaves. Steaming in an uncovered container will reduce the strong flavor of the greens but might also mean the escape of nutrients. Drain the steamed leaves, reserving the cooking liquid to be used for pureeing.
Place steamed greens in a blender or food processor with a bit of the reserved liquid. Place pureed baby food in a stainless steel cube tray and freeze for later use or storage using the Food Cube Method.
Other spinach baby food meal options
Spinach has a strong flavor as do many nutrient-filled greens. Adding spinach to other great foods is a terrific way to make it more palatable for your baby. Mixing pureed, cooked spinach with banana, sweet potato, oatmeal super porridge are just a few ways of masking spinach’s strong flavor. Adding cooked or raw spinach, when baby is old enough, into a smoothie concoction is another great way to serve spinach and its good for Mommy too!
Spinach Fun Facts
In addition to spinach being so nutritious, did you know that spinach can be terrific for your skin? According to this post by Care2.com, eating spinach can leave you with a glowing completion on the outside as well as healthy on the inside. This post lists 8 great benefits from eating spinach!
Have you experimented with spinach baby food? Any tips on preparing, storing, or serving spinach baby food that you would like to share?
If you are a fan of Super Baby Food you know that feeding your baby and toddler is not simply for nutrition but also for supporting development, learning, and bonding with Mom and Dad. In addition to the signs of readiness that must be present to begin “solid” food, there are some additional “fun” guidelines for when you get started feeding solid foods, too. One of my favorites, “Do Play with Your Food,’ allows parents and caregivers to “let go” a bit at feeding time allowing baby to develop, explore, and discover on his own in addition to adding to his nutrition. In this post, I elaborate on the “Do Play With Your Food” directive AND include a fun recipe that illustrates the point – “Canoes for Riding the Rapids” featuring banana, tofu, ground seeds, and wheat germ.
DO Play with Your Food
Babies are messy eaters. It is perfectly normal for a baby to dip his fingers into bowls of food, suck his fingers and fist, squeeze and smear food onto his face and the tray with his palm and fingers, mash it into his hair, spit it out or let it drool down his chin, blow it at you or on the wall, throw it on the floor along with cups and bowls, and spill his drinks. Be assured that to everything, there is a learning purpose. Your baby is not doing these things to provoke you—he is experimenting and learning about his environment and the texture and feel of his food. She explores her food just as she explores her toys. Restrain your impulse to be neat and encourage self-feeding. Your baby doesn’t need Miss Manners’ approval.
The right recipe can make eating and learning fun
Try this recipe for your older baby (>1 year) or toddler and watch as he discovers and learns all while eating great food!
Canoes for Riding the Rapids
A slightly curved, shorter banana is good for this recipe. Wash the outside of a banana. Make a vertical slit down one side of the unpeeled banana leaving about 1⁄2 inch uncut at each end. If the banana is curved, make the slit on the “upside” so that it’s shaped like a canoe. Open slit and carefully scoop out the flesh.
Fork-mash half of the banana and mix with 1⁄2 cup of mashed tofu, 2 tablespoons of ground seeds, 1 tablespoon of wheat germ, and honey to taste. Spread banana peel open gently and make bottom of canoe flat by pressing with fingers so that it will be stable, being careful not to rip ends.
Return mixture to inside of banana. You can trim around the slit with a sharp knife to make the opening wider.
Use the other half of the banana flesh to shape fish and rocks, roll in wheat germ, and place them around the canoe. These “dangerous” rocks must be avoided to prevent the canoe from breaking apart.
Make oars out of carrot or celery sticks.
Please feel free to add your own recipes that allow baby to play with his food!
Yogurt with Active Cultures
When it comes to yogurt, some experts recommend waiting until babies are 8 months old, others say yogurt is OK to introduce as early as 6 months. Ask your pediatrician for his opinion before you start feeding your baby yogurt.
When you do decide to begin yogurt as part of your baby’s diet, be sure to select yogurt with live probiotics by looking for words like “active yogurt cultures” or “healthy live bacteria cultures” on the label. Probiotics are absolutely necessary for a healthy immune system. These healthy, good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in your body in check. If the bad bacteria overtakes the good, all types of infections may occur, including the fungal infections thrush and candida.
The first probiotics in baby’s intestines come from mom’s vagina during birth or bacteria in the operating room during a cesarian section. Then baby gets additional probiotics from mom’s breast milk, formula, and the environment.
Read the ingredients list on the label to make sure it is plain yogurt. Babies need fats, so buy the whole fat or low-fat varieties and not the non-fat type. You could also make your own yogurt by hand. I have detailed instructions on how to make your own yogurt in the new edition of Super Baby Food. A quick set of yogurt making instructions as well as pictures can be found on the TheFrugalGirl blog.
Greek yogurt is another choice. It is thicker than regular yogurt and more appropriate for a Stage 2 eater. Before the advent of Greek yogurt, manufacturers would strain the whey from regular yogurt to make “yogurt cheese,” which is similar to Greek yogurt.
Yogurt – Flavor Your Own
Much of the “fruit” yogurt in supermarkets have gobs of unhealthy sugar and flavors added to them, even the yogurts that have healthy-looking pictures of fruit on their containers.
Ignore everything on the carton except the nutrition facts panel and the ingredients list, and this goes for all foods in packages at all stores, even health food stores. Flavor plain yogurt with the age-appropriate real fruit and veggies you freeze using the baby food freeze cube method.
TIP: Yogurt (and other light colored food) is a great food to have fun mixing food colors into, and I do mean food coloring, like the liquid from canned beets, turmeric, frozen berry juices. Let your child mix them together into yogurt for fun new colors and for learning color combinations.
Other Probiotics Food Choices
Examples of other foods that contain probiotics are kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods. All these foods in the supermarket might be fakes–they can contain only dead bacteria–including baby yogurts that are shelf stable. Buy only the foods that indicate that their probiotics are still alive and kicking, with your doc’s approval.