Your baby's life is full of wondrous little stepping stones that
ceremoniously usher him through the first year. As a parent,
nurturing your baby from the inside out is naturally a top
priority. When the time comes, a part of nurturing includes
nourishing your little one with quality starter foods that will
help him grow and thrive.
Preparing foods for your baby doesn't have to be from the baby
food aisle to your little one's mouth. In fact, many of the foods
you plan on making as a meal for yourself can be made for baby as
well. If your kitchen is equipped with a stove, blender and a few
common seasonings and foods, you're well on your way to becoming
your baby's favorite chef.
Traci Danielson Mitchell is a Chicago-based nutrition coach and
health writer. She provides family nutrition services through her
company, DM Nutrition & Fitness. Reach her online at www.dmnutrition.com or
e-mail her at [email protected].
Four to six months
Somewhere between four and six months your baby should be ready
to start on solid foods. Even though we, as parents, are excited to
see our baby's eyes light up when he eats something he likes, it's
a good idea to start with basic rice cereal. Rice cereal is
gluten-free and is less likely to be allergenic than oatmeal or
barley. After you're confident your baby is managing rice cereal,
it's probably safe to introduce a new cereal, such as oatmeal or
Love oatmeal in the morning? So will your baby. Try this
flavorful breakfast blend to start off the day.
1 c. boiled water
½ c. ground old-fashioned oats
½ banana, chopped
¼ tsp. cinnamon
4 to 8 oz. breast milk or prepared formula
Grind one half cup of old fashioned oats (or substitute instant
oats if grinder is unavailable). Add oats to blender along with
water, banana and cinnamon. Blend until smooth and thick. Gradually
add in breast milk or formula until desired thickness is achieved
(semi-liquid cereals are best for very new eaters). Serve
immediately or freeze for later. Makes between four and six
Eight to 10 months
By this time, your baby should be regularly eating fruits,
vegetables and grains. Adding protein to your baby's diet is an
important part of fulfilling his increasing nutritional needs.
Small amounts of protein, including meat, poultry and even cottage
cheese should be added on a daily basis. Your baby can eat nearly
the same thing as you, just a smoother, mellower version.
Grilled Chicken with Dill Mashed Potatoes
4 oz. (or about one adult serving) chicken breast, cooked and
1 c. mashed potato (prepare with water instead of milk or
¼ c. breast milk or prepared formula
½ tsp. fresh or dried dill
Add mashed potatoes to blender along with the chicken breast and
dill. Begin blending and gradually add in breast milk or formula
until desired thickness is achieved. Start with a smoother blend
for younger eaters and chunkier blend for older eaters. Serve with
a side of mashed peas or carrots and you've got a great meal.
Ten to 12 months
It's time to add some more texture to your baby's diet.
Watered-down cereals and overly pureed vegetables are slowly
becoming a thing of the past. Your baby's palate is ready for
something more adventurous. Here's a recipe your entire family,
and, with one simple modification, your baby, will enjoy.
Turkey Spinach Casserole
1 lb. ground turkey, cooked
4 c. baby spinach, chopped (fresh)
2 c. whole grain pasta, cooked (preferably macaroni or
1½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. onion, chopped
1 c. chicken stock (preferably organic)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine and mix turkey, spinach,
pasta, onion and chicken stock in medium-size bowl. Consistency
should be relatively thick. Pour mixture into casserole dish. Top
mixture with cheddar cheese. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove
cover and continue baking for 10 minutes.
While this wholesome dish may be ready to serve for adults,
there's just one more step before it's ready for baby. Quickly
blend (with a standard blender or hand blender) enough for baby to
eat, adding just enough water to smooth out the meal a little
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