I would have never thought of cooking meat and fruit together although I verily enjoy fruit salsa or fruit chutney as a condiment to meat dishes. Then, there came the baby and the time to introduce her to solid proteins. Her pediatrician recommended mixing fruit puree to meats when we first introduce chicken or beef to our then 7 month old baby girl.
Starchy sweet potatoes are so versatile. Although yellow-orange flesh is most common, there are many varieties of sweet potatoes with flesh and skin that can be white, cream, yellow, deep purple, orange or pink. Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene and provide children with sizeable amount of daily vitamin A needs. In order to enjoy the full benefit of beta-carotene, it is important to add some fat in sweet potato dishes. Recent studies show that, a healthy amount of fat(0.15 oz) per meal significantly increases uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes.
No doubt, the past generations were introduced to solids much earlier than we introduce solids to our infants these days. According to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies should only be breast-fed and/or formula fed and healthy babies do not need water/juice until solids are introduced. They get all the fluids they need from the breast milk and/or formula.
Babies love the sweet taste of fruits. Some fruit needs to be first cooked and then puree before offering to baby’s such as apple, pear, etc. Others can be just mashed and given to babies. For example, mangoes and bananas do not need to be cooked first. Ones baby’s adjusted to one fruit for at least four days a new food can be introduced. Also, mild herbs and spices, say mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc., can also be added to enhance the flavor of a fruit if you wish. When it came to choose the first fruit, we choose apples for our daughter.
Cinnamon powder (Optional)
- Wash and cut apples into quarters. Remove the core.
- Simmer apple quarters in VERY little water until tender.
- Let cool the apples, peel and either mash or puree depending on the age of your child.
- Offer as is, or add to yogurt and/or oatmeal.
i. Instead of simmering, the apples can be baked in 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes depending on size and oven temperature.
ii. Apple belongs to the “dirty dozen” family, so I would recommend peeling them before simmering if not using organic apples. I use all organic produce for the baby and peel the apple skin after cooking to retain more nutrition.
iii. Following the same process, other fruits such as pears, plums, peaches, etc. can be puree.
iv. I do not add additional water in the food processor, but can be added if necessary.
v. Apple puree freezes very well.
One full weekend..yes an entire Saturday and Sunday. That’s what my husband and I spent researching, stressing and thinking about what to introduce our little angel as her first solid. Should it be rice cereal, fruit or veggie?
We knew we want to start between 4.5 and 5 months and want to feed her organic, homemade meals – those were the easy decisions but was immensely confused about what to introduce first. After going through loads of articles, books we took the safest route and started with rice cereal. Once she adjusted to rice cereal, we introduced one veggie puree a week until she was six months old.
Butternut squash puree was the first vegetable we introduced when the baby was 6 months old. Pretty much all her vegetables were smooth puree until she turned eight months. We introduced a food every 5-6 days and always made sure she had tried each ingredient separately before offering combination meals.
What was your choice of first solid for your precious little one and was it an easy decision to make? Let me know.
1 Butternut Squash
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper
- Clean and cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds.
- Place squash, flesh down, on the baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes until tender.
- Scoop flesh out or cut into cubes. Discard skin and puree in blender
i. Depending on the size of the squash and oven temperature, the baking time may vary. Squash is done when the skin wrinkles.
ii. Use water and/or breast milk/formula to achieve desired consistency.
iii. Following the same process, other vegetables such as carrots, beans, peas, corn, cauliflower, sweet potato can be pureed.