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!
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!
Dr Greene.com recently asked Ruth to be a special guest perspectives blogger on their informational website. Ruth was more than happy to provide 5 terrific blog posts sharing all kinds of great, detailed information on finger foods and tips for getting started with finger foods for babies and toddlers. In case you missed it, here is a description and a link to each fantastic blog post.
Super Baby Food is happy to be a part of the Dr. Greene team! Be sure to check out some of the other terrific information on Dr. Greene’s website.Pin It
Martha introduced Ruth and prepared a recipe for baby “pink applesauce” that is now featured on her website. We thought it would be fun to ask Ruth a couple of questions about her visit with Martha. Her answers may surprise you. The answers are also a great conversation starter for those holiday dinners when you need something witty to contribute to the conversation.
You can visit the Martha Stewart Website for more information on the episode that featured Super Baby Food here.
Question for Ruth:
Can you tell us one thing about Martha Stewart that you didn’t know before you met her?
I never knew she was a professional model. She has photos on the walls in the hallway behind the stage. She is as beautiful in person as she is on TV and in the pictures of her in the media and in her books. She is a natural beauty.
Question for Ruth:
What was your favorite part of meeting Martha Stewart?
Meeting THE Martha Stewart. I loved watching all the activity behind the scenes while the show was being taped. Every one of her staff was professional, very kind, and organized and they all worked together perfectly, like a well-oiled machine. They were all very capable and extremely efficient without rushing anyone, and they had a great sense of humor and an easiness about them. They enjoyed me kidding around saying stuff like, “What do you say when you meet Martha Stewart? ‘Hello, your majesty!’ with a curtsy? (which I did NOT say to her, by the way).” It was really an all-around fabulous experience and I had fun being a part of it.
How is that for some Martha Stewart Trivia? Martha was, indeed, a model for Chanel. Check out this link which shows the proof!
Thanks to all the Super Baby Food fans who tuned into the show and told all their friends. You are the best!Pin It
We had a blog request for the Egg-less Salad Spread recipe found in Super Baby Food p.317. We are happy to oblige.
Egg-less Salad Spread
1 pound tofu, crumbled
1/4 cup tofu mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 green pepper, minced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon tamari
Flour for baking regular yeast breads pretty much has to be flour with gluten because the it’s the gluten (the protein in the flour) that raises breads. The gluten has to be developed by kneading. Bread rises when yeast eat starch and produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct and form tiny bubbles in the bread. The developed stretchable gluten stretches to accommodate the bubbles, blow up a bit, and cause the bread to rise. So gluten is necessary for yeast breads that rise.
Wheat is the grain that has the most gluten. Wheat flour used in yeast breads can be processed white flour or whole wheat flour–whole wheat flour is more nutritious but doesn’t rise as well as white flour. Many recipes for homemade whole wheat bread or breadmaker recipes usually contain only some whole wheat flour, the majority being white flour. White flour makes a light loaf. Whole wheat flour doesn’t rise as well because of it’s course bran.
Quick breads, on the other hand, don’t really need the gluten as a leavening agent (an ingredient which makes dough rise). The baking powder or baking soda reacts and bubbles up and causes the quick bread to rise a bit. No gluten is needed because the powder/soda instead causes the bread to rise.. So you can use a GF flour to bake quick breads but not yeast breads. You can use just about any flour–rice flour, garbanzo bean flour (the Spice Goddess on the cooking channel is big into garbanzo bean flour), quinoa flour, millet flour, and any flour that does not contain gluten. Your natural foods store will have a nice variety and there will probably be an employee who can help you.
Good luck in your baking! Thanks for writing.
If you have your own question for Ruth, share it in our Superbabyfood.com contact form.Pin It
Moms are talking about: Baby Food Snacks
It’s not unusual for a baby to eat only one major meal a day, with the rest of his food coming from snacking. Snacks are necessary in a baby’s diet and should consist of smaller portions of the same healthy foods that are part of larger meals. A baby may not begin eating three baby-sized meals until he is 10 months old, although he may start as early as 4 months.
When Should Snacks Be Offered to Your Super Baby During the Day?
Snacks should be offered at scheduled, predictable times every day and not at random. Snacks should be eaten in the feeding area, as main meals are, because they ARE meals.
Read more about Super Snacks at the Super Baby Food Blog.
The following are some example of Super Baby Food Snacks:
- SOFT pieces of wedges of ripe peeled and cored fruit
- SOFT pieces of cooked, diced vegetables
- Oatios or another brand of health store equivalent of Cheerios
- Small lumps of cottage cheese
- well-cooked pasta pieces
- cooked brown rice or other grains
For a complete list of Super Baby Snacks as well as recipes for Toddler Hors d’oeuvres, check out Super Baby Food!Pin It