I mentioned previously that Veronika has no interest in purees; this girl wants finger foods, or at the very least, to hold her own spoon! I’m more than happy to let her develop these fine motor skills and important life skills, so I’ve delved into Baby Led Weaning. I’m no expert, so please consult elsewhere for detailed advice on this method of feeding your baby, but here are a few fun meals she’s dined on in the past month.
In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons mashed banana and 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin. Stir in 1 teaspoon sunflower butter.
Spread thinly on one slice of toasted bread, and cut into strips.
Peel 2 pears and cut into strips. Place on a baking pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes, until very tender.
Note: this works equally well with apples, or with a combo of the two!
In a saucepan, combine 1 cup brown rice and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spoon into bowls and cool to room temperature. Put it in clumps on baby’s tray; Veronika loves to pick up handfuls of the sticky rice!
Black Bean Mash
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Drain and rinse 1 (15-ounce) can of black beans and add to the pot; cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until warm. Transfer to a bowl and mash until smooth.
Just set out little blobs on the tray…
And watch your little one go to town!
For this one, I highly recommend quick-cooking barley, which cuts the wait time by almost a third when you’re getting dinner ready for everyone in a hurry!
Combine 1 cup quick-cooking barley and 2 cups water in a pan. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12 minutes ,until the water is absorbed.
Roasted Apple, Sweet Potato & Cinnamon
This dish introduced Veronika to a little spice! In a baking dish coated with cooking spray, combine 1 peeled and sliced apple, 1 peeled and sliced sweet potato and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, tossing to coat. Cover and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes.
You can cook your own quinoa (buy it in bulk and cook according to package directions), or buy it prepared in microwavable containers. Because quinoa is so crumbly, I find it easiest to serve by coating avocado wedges in it!
Refried Pinto Beans
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 of a chopped onion and 1 minced garlic clove; cook for 3 minutes. Add 1 (15-ounce) rinsed and drained can pinto beans and 1 teaspoon cumin. Cook for a final minute, until heated through. Transfer to a bowl and mash until smooth.
You can also mix in 2 tablespoons of rice for every 2 tablespoons pinto beans – baby’s first rice and beans!
To make it smoother, mix with 2 tablespoons prepared barley cereal and 2 tablespoons applesauce:
Graduate from watery infant oatmeal to the real deal with this recipe! In a saucepan, combine 2 cups water and 1 cup quick-cooking oats. Bring to a boil; continue to cook for 1 minute, until thickened. Let cool before serving.
Chunkier than an apple puree, this is a great “next step” towards one day eating the apple right off the core. Peel and chop 3 sweet apples. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until very tender. Transfer to a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.
Banana-Blueberry “Fruit Salad”
Okay, maybe it’s just pieces of fruit on a plate, but this mix of foods on her tray is so intriguing to Veronika! Be sure to cut blueberries into safe pieces to avoid a choking hazard.
Zucchini Sticks with Oatmeal:
Cut the ends from 1 zucchini, and cut into 2-inch sticks. Steam for 6 minutes, until tender. Dip into prepared iron-fortified infant oatmeal cereal and serve!
Butternut Squash and Corn Mash
In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash, and 1/4 cup frozen corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl; mash with a potato masher. Veronika eats fistfuls of this off her tray!
To mix it up for breakfast, prepare grits instead of oatmeal! In a saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 1/4 cup corn grits. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Let cool before serving.
I still occasionally try to serve Veronika a puree, as well, venturing into “big girl” flavor combos. A few she has enjoyed:
Apricot, Pear, and Barley Cereal
Stir together 2 tablespoons prepared infant multigrain cereal with 2 tablespoons apricot puree and 2 tablespoons pear puree (you can make your own, or use canned organic baby food in a pinch).
Apricot & Banana Mash
This one is chunkier now that Veronika is older. Combine 2 tablespoons pureed dried apricots and 2 tablespoons mashed banana.
Fall Harvest Puree
Stir together 2 tablespoons apple puree, 2 tablespoons sweet potato puree, and 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin. Veronika also likes this with a little quinoa stirred in!
Apple & Banana Oatmeal
Combine 2 tablespoons apple puree, 2 tablespoons mashed banana, and 2 tablespoons iron-fortified infant oatmeal.
Mango & Banana Mash
Stir together 2 tablespoons mango puree and 2 tablespoons mashed banana. A taste of the tropics!
To end this post, let’s talk about snacks! It’s time for me to start thinking about an emergency snack stash in my purse not just for my big kid, but for my baby, too! At just shy of 8 months old, I’ve begun carrying mini rice cakes in my purse for her.
If she gets cranky (or if big brother starts eating a snack and she wants to join in!), I’m at the ready.
She looked so delighted the first time she got a snack on-the-go that it was priceless!
Other good options at this age include safely cut pieces of fruit, puff cereals, or squeeze pouches.
One note of caution: Be sure you don’t give your baby a snack in the back of the car until you’re sure they can safely chew and swallow. Otherwise, an “emergency snack” becomes an emergency snack in a whole other sense of the word.