Making the transition to solids a little easier
The first 12 months is the fastest growth period in a human’s life, and feeding your baby properly is critical for normal growth and development. Most of us understand this, but what foods are best for our babies to grow them into healthy and strong toddlers, and how can we prepare those foods without wearing ourselves down?
According to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), at 6 months of age, your baby needs additional iron from food and is physically ready to take on the challenge of learning to eat. Breast milk or formula, however, continues to be the most important source of nutrition. By about 12 months, your baby should be eating foods similar to those eaten by the whole family. This includes breads and cereals, fruit, vegetables, legumes, dairy foods, meat, fish and eggs.
Just a note here to watch out for the store bought cereal’s sugar content, as this can be very high, and certainly much higher than you may anticipate.
At Baby Bistro, we are keen advocates of organic foods and meals which don’t contain any added flavourings, colourings or preservatives. We love to make our own porridge with oats or quinoa and love to add our own other ingredients, depending on what we feel like. On our site, you can read the recipes for Quinoa Porridge Bowls, Brown Rice Porridge Breakfast Smoothies, and more.
All of our products at Baby Bistro are organically grown, and this provides quality in our baby starters and baby mains products, along with our products for older children. Keeping in mind that everyone’s child is different, here are some basic tips which outline the types of foods your child can start to enjoy between the ages of six and twelve months and how to prepare those foods easily.
Start with single foods
When you first start to feed your baby, and you have determined they are ready and interested, it’s a good idea to start with single foods, like pureed vegetables or fruits. It’s important to try one particular food for three days, to ensure your baby doesn’t react to it in any way, before introducing the next food. This way, if there is a problem, you’ll know exactly which food triggered it.
Home-made baby cereal is a great source of vitamin B, iron, magnesium and fibre and the best part is, you know exactly what is going into making it. Commercially made baby cereals can include a range of unnecessary ingredients, may be highly processed and don’t even taste good. When making your own cereal is so easy, using brown rice and a high powered blender or food processor, it makes sense to make it yourself. Making a batch of cereal and freezing it in moulds is a great way to have it on hand whenever you need it.
At Baby Bistro, we have a great range of organic baby starters which include apple, broccoli, carrot and pear options, and more. With no preparation necessary, these are great for your baby when starting out. These purees are also a great base for creating flavours in other family meals, like this Pasta Pie using our pureed broccoli.
After the initial introduction to solid foods, it won’t take long before you can mash rather than puree, and can start introducing a range of chicken and other meat, or finger foods, like toast.
Something to encourage from around 8-9 months of age, is self-feeding in babies. Pieces of cooked vegetables and bread crusts are good starters, as well as giving your baby a spoon and letting them try to feed themselves some yoghurt, porridge or pureed fruits or vegetables. Self-feeding allows your child to start choosing what they like, and exploring new and interesting foods as well as encouraging their fine motor skills. They might make a mess, but that’s all part of their journey into food, and encourages them to experience new foods, even if they don’t end up eating them.
At this stage in your baby’s development, you may like to try some different flavours. Something like our Chicken and Chia Baby Main is a great option, and contains a broad range of organic vegetables, including organic pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, leek and corn, along with organic chia and free range chicken. Your baby will love the flavour and the texture – you might even steal some for yourself! Find your closest stockist here.
To meat or not to meat?
It is now widely accepted by health advocates that your baby can start enjoying meat in their diet as soon as they are eating solid foods. Meat is best prepared in a highly pureed consistency at first and is a great source of iron and zinc which your baby needs by the time they are 6 months of age. Chicken is a good meat to start with, as it’s easy to make soft and doesn’t have a strong flavour that your child may not be used to yet. Something like a pureed chicken risotto, or casserole would be ideal for baby to try. You could use your slow cooker to cook a chicken casserole for the rest of the family, and spoon out and puree some for baby before serving. The slow cooker will make the chicken very tender, and retain the moisture as well. Or you could try this very simple recipe:
Chicken with Apples
– 1/3 cup chopped & cooked boneless chicken
– 1/4 cup cooked apple (no skin or seeds), very soft
To prepare, simply puree chicken with cooked apple in a food processor or blender until desired consistency for baby is achieved.
Recipes to try
Why not purchase a tub of our Vege Lentils and team it up with some pasta spirals for older children to have with it, or you could flake off some salmon and rice for baby, whilst the rest of the family enjoy the whole food.
This beautiful Roast Winter Vegetable Risotto, would be perfect for the whole family – and you could puree a serve for baby to enjoy as well.
And since we are here, why not try this wholesome and super easy breakfast recipe – for you. Whilst you take the time to prepare healthy meals for your child, don’t forget about looking after yourself!
Saving food in the freezer
If you are going to take the time to make healthy choices for your baby, make some extra serves and freeze them in ice cube trays for the next meal. That way, you can just heat and eat, saving energy and time. Check out this information about how and what you can freeze well.
We love to hear new ways to cook, serve and store foods for children just making the journey into eating solid food. Leave your tips in the comments below so everyone can share in them.