Baby-led weaning encourages your baby to
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Baby Led Weaning First Foods
Once your baby shows signs they are ready for solid food (they are sitting up without support, developed fine-motor skills to self-feed and they’re willing to chew) then it’s time to start considering which foods to offer your little one. Naturally, this can be quite a daunting stage for parents with many unsure of where to begin when it comes to introducing their little one to solids. We have outlined 10 of the best foods for weaning with nutritional information and recipe ideas for each.
Apples are a fabulous fruit to offer your little one. Apples are high in fibre meaning they’re easy to digest and an ideal food for a developing digestive system. They can be warmed or given raw. Their sweet flavour will be appealing to your baby so apples can be combined with other foods to help introduce new flavours.
Why not try apple and cinnamon wedges? Begin by coring an apple and then cutting it into slim wedge slices. Heat some coconut oil in the pan and fry the apples over a low heat. Sprinkle cinnamon over the apple slices and continue to fry for 5 minutes.
Apricots are packed with vitamin A and C. To avoid excessive exposure to sodium or preservatives you are advised to use fresh apricots opposed to dried ones. When selecting apricots for your little one, choose ones that are plump and orange-yellow in colour. Apricots tend to be juicy and are best eaten sooner. Keep apricots cool and once they’re ripe keep them in the fridge to maintain the fruit for longer. There are three main ways to prepare apricots for your little one: baking, steaming and blanching. For baking, halve the fruit and remove the pit, place the ‘open’ side down in a pan with 1 inch of water and bake at gas mark 5 until soft and tender. For steaming follow the same steps as baking but place in your steamer until tender. When blanching, drop whole, cleansed fruits into a pan of boiling water until fruits de soft then slice once the they cooled down.
Avocados are one of the best first foods to offer your baby because of the texture and creaminess. Additionally, avocados contain ‘good’ fats and have a high nutrient content to support your baby’s brain and physical development. Slices of avocado are wonderful first foods for baby-led weaning because of the consistency. However, avocado can easily be blended with other foods to create tasty purées with a creamy consistency.
Avocados are great to eat on their own with no preparation however you could try you little one with peachy avocados. Begin by peeling, pitting and cutting 3 peaches into chunks. If needed, steam peaches until tender. Peel, de seed and cut avocado into chunks. With blend or mix the avocado and peach and let baby use a spoon or fingers to feed themselves.
Bananas are quite the superfood when it comes to baby’s first food: the contain potassium and fibre and are also high in vitamins B2, B6 and C. In addition to being nutritious, the soft and mushy consistency makes it an ideal first finger food but equally a versatile fruit to mash and blend with other foods. They’re a great fruit to take with you if you’re heading out with little one; their protective jackets mean they require no preparation or washing- you can simply peel and serve. As an alternative you could try frying bananas for your baby. Begin by heating coconut oil or butter in a frying pan, slice the bananas into thin sticks and add to the pan to sauté. Sprinkle with either cinnamon or ginger if desired and serve or mash and serve.
Carrots are easy for babies to digest and they are packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. When it comes to preparing carrots for your little one, steaming is the best option. Ensure you peel the skin as babies can not easily digest the skin. Also, unless you have purchased organic carrots, the skin will contain high levels of chemicals so it’s best to peel and wash the vegetables before slicing and offering as raw snacks or preparing into a dish. Baking carrots can create a new taste and texture that your little one will enjoy: peel carrots and cut into thick slivers. Oil a glass casserole dish and place the carrot slivers in. Baked at gas mark 4 for 45 minutes. Finally you can purée or slice and serve as finger food.
Sweet potatoes are a wholesome food to offer your little one: high in vitamin A, beta carotene and potassium. They also contain good amounts of vitamin E, calcium and folate. Sweet potatoes are packed with so many vitamins and nutrients that they are such a good food to offer your little one. The versatile consistency and sweet taste will likely make the vegetable a favourite for preparation and eating. Baking sweet potatoes is the best method of preparation: it brings out their sweet flavour whilst retaining the nutrients.
Oatmeal is a wonderful first breakfast for your little one. Oats are high in fibre, calcium, protein and even some B vitamins. Steel cut oats are healthier and more nutritious than rolled, quick cook or instant oats. Steel cut oats retain the most nutrients because they are not highly processed. The best way to prepare oats is in a pan with water over a low heat. Alternatively you could use a crockpot or a rice cooker. You could also experiment with overnight oats which require minimal preparation: simply mix oats and oat milk in a container and leave overnight in the fridge. You can then add other ingredients such as mashed banana, berries and ground seeds to start to introduce new flavours to your baby.
Peaches are high in vitamin A and C and fibre. Peaches are a great food to relieve constipation. Their sweet taste makes them a delicious food for your baby either on their own or mixed with other foods such as bananas, avocados and oatmeal. Peaches do tend to lose nutritional value with prolonged cooking so it’s best to eat raw or after a quick steam. If you are offering your baby peach slices with the skin then washing the fruits first will help to remove the pesticides. One easy and tasty peach snack is peachy bananas. Simply peel and pit 1 peach and steam the slices. Mash the steamed peach slices and add in half a ripe banana and combine together. You may wish to blend the two together to create a smoother consistency to suit your baby.
Pears are high in fibre, vitamin C and potassium. Pears are a great fruit to offer your little one as a remedy for constipation. Additionally, they are gentle on tummies and are therefore wonderful for babies who may suffer with reflux. Pears are nutrient dense; meaning there are more nutrients per calorie than calories per nutrient. As a first food you may wish to peel the skin of the pear, however the skin is easily digestible so this isn’t necessary once babies have been exposed to a few solids. Like with most fruits, pears can be sliced and given to your baby as finger food, alternatively you could try baked pears. Halve and core pears, place them in a shallow dish with 1 inch of water. Add a dash of cinnamon or vanilla or ginger.Place the dish in the oven on gas mark 4. Bake for 25 minutes then mash and serve with oatmeal or on its own.
One cup of peas contain more protein than a tablespoon of peanut butter. Peas also contain calcium, vitamin A and C and iron. Steaming or boiling the peas in a small amount of water is the best way to prepare the peas. To add more flavour to the peas you could cook them in vegetable stock. Once peas have been steamed or boiled purée them with some of the left over water. You may wish to add more water for a thinner consistency and put the mixture through a sieve to separate and of the skins that remain. You could try and add milk and butter to the mixture for a creamier consistency and even add other vegetables.