In my first blog post, “From Dr. Wife to Mrs. Mom,” I made mention of things that I would’ve regretted missing, had I decided to continue working the way that I was. I wrote about how I would’ve missed Micah’s first steps, his first Christmas, and his first words. Included in that list, was also the possibility of missing his first time tasting solid foods. To most, this might not seem like a such a huge deal, but for whatever reason, to me it was. Maybe it’s because I’m a foodie myself, or because nutrition is super important to me. Either way, I knew it was something I couldn’t miss!
When Micah was about 5 months-old, we started him on purees. The AAP recommends beginning solids at 6 months, however, he was beginning to show an interest in the foods my husband and I were eating, he could sit up on his own, and our pediatrician had given us the green light to go ahead. Needless to say, we were more than excited (more like I was excited and DJ just smiled and nodded every time I spoke about it)! I began to consider my options in terms of what foods I would give him: store-bought versus homemade, organic versus non-organic, etc. Being the health-nut that I am, given the fact that I wanted to know exactly what was going in my baby’s food, and that I wanted his food to be as nutrient-dense as possible, I decided to make my own food, using as many organic and non-gmo ingredients as available to me.
Before getting started, I did some research to find great baby food storage options and bowls/plates/spoons that were non-toxic and BPA free. I found these awesome glass baby food storage jars with airtight lids made by OXO and these bowls, plates, and spoons, made entirely out of bamboo. We’ve been using all of these items for months now, and absolutely love them! The storage jars are especially convenient for having with you on a day out or while you’re traveling.
Now for the fun part! Here are a few recipes that I came up with and that Micah really loves. Before I get started on that however, it’s important to note that when starting your baby on solids, you should first begin with single-ingredient purees, feeding only that ingredient for a couple of days, in order to easily identify a trigger, in the event that a food allergy appears. As baby gets older, you can continue to diversify their diet.
The nice thing about making your own baby food, is that you can tailor it to your child’s needs. For example, around the 6 month mark, Micah was underweight, so I made sure to add ingredients with a lot of healthy fats. Some of the high-fat, high-calorie ingredients I would use were whole milk yogurt, hemp seeds, coconut milk, and avocado. This breakfast favorite of Micah’s uses most of those ingredients. Use as much or as little of each item as you’d like!
Fruit Puree with Yogurt
Blackberries (Have fun using any combination of berries or fruits: strawberries, blueberries, bananas, mangoes, peaches, etc.)
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Mix with whichever plain yogurt you prefer just before serving.
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recently began recommending the early introduction of allergens like peanuts in order to decrease the risk of developing a food allergy later. This recipe uses one Micah’s favorite foods–peanut butter!
Peanut Butter Puree
Flax seed Meal
(Feel free to add other complementary ingredients such as spinach, kale, and/or beets)
Cut apples and carrots into small cubes. Steam until soft. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
This one is a dinnertime favorite. As Micah got older, I began using more seasonings in the puree as well. However, we are still not including salt, or added sugars for that matter, until he is a bit older. Another note on this is that I’m a vegetarian, and we are raising Micah as such, so I often incorporate ingredients like beans, lentils, tofu, eggs, hemp, cheese, and yogurt for protein. Feel free to use whatever meat (chicken, beef, turkey, etc.) instead of/or in addition to the beans as you’d like.
Cooked brown rice (Feel free to use other whole grains as well, such as couscous, farro, quinoa, etc)
1 can Garbanzos, otherwise known as chickpeas
Spinach (or kale)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 slice of onion
Hearty pinch of curry powder
Cook brown rice as directed. Briefly steam spinach, garlic, and onion. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth.
I hope the overall idea you’re getting here is that there’s so much variety and freedom available to you in terms of the ingredients you can use. Just be sure to incorporate a healthy balance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
Most, if not all, of the ingredients I use tend to be organic. If you’re interested in using organic ingredients, I’ve found that Trader Joe’s has an awesome selection for a much more affordable price than the average grocery store. That being said, by no means do the ingredients used have to be organic. At the end of the day, it truly boils down to personal preference and affordability.
Lastly, as you’re introducing new foods to your little one, it’s not uncommon to get some constipation here and there. That certainly happened for Micah, especially with oats. So keep some dried, sulfite-free prunes on hand to blend with water and mix with applesauce to get things going. I’ve found this to be way better than prune juice, in terms of efficacy.
Above all else, have fun! And if you have any other puree recipe ideas, I’d love to hear about them!