Baby/Toddler Food, How To

3 Simple Baby Foods You Can Easily Make at Home in 2 Minutes or Less

Before I start, I feel like I need to say up front that my intention isn’t to ignite a firestorm on the topic of babyled weaning (BLW) vs purées. I’m not preaching purées over BLW. We personally have used a combined approach. If you read my prior post in this series, you’ll realize that my point in writing this baby food series is to encourage mama to feed baby using foods already in the grocery budget, rather than using purchased “baby” foods. Obviously, if you’re practicing BLW you already know this. :-)

Avocado - Baby Foods You Can Make on Your Own in Less than 2 Minutes

Here are a few alternatives to packaged baby food, each of which takes only a minute or two to prepare.

Avocados

This is an incredibly nutritious food, and is an excellent choice for baby’s first food. (Yes, as baby’s first food! Contrary to common belief, babies don’t need to eat white rice cereal. White rice has very little nutritional value, and (hey, it’s a fact) contributes to constipation.)
Avocados contain healthy fats, which are essential for the development of baby’s brain and central nervous system. They are also a good source of vitamin K, B6, and folate.

As far as preparation, you really can’t get any easier than avocados. Wash, peel, and mash some up with a fork. Or, if baby is feeding herself, you can cut ripe avocado into little pieces. Easy peasy!

Canned Pumpkin/Winter Squash

Purchase plain canned pumpkin in the baking aisle. It’s the same pumpkin they use to make jarred baby food, except without the additives. And, it’s a fraction of the cost. Win!

Of course, it doesn’t have to be canned. If you have the time and desire, you can halve, deseed, and oven roast your own winter squashes. Prepared this way, it can also work as (a messy) finger food.

Nutritionally, winter squashes are a good source of both vitamins C and A, which are excellent for the immune system. It’s also very easy on baby’s digestion! (I like to stick to pumpkin and squashes rather than sweet potatoes or yams, because the latter are much higher in sugar.)

Quinoa Flakes

Quinoa’s recent surge in popularity is for a good reason. This unique food — actually a seed, not a grain — contains all nine amino acids and is, on its own, a complete protein.

Quinoa flakes are extremely easy to prepare, since you just add water and cook for 90 seconds. You can mix cooked quinoa cereal in with any other food to add protein to baby’s meal.

Don’t be scared off by the relatively pricey cost of quinoa flakes (~$5/box). A single box goes a very, very long way when you’re just using it to feed baby; one has literally lasted us for months.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. As this series on baby/toddler food progresses, I’ll talk more about practical ways to feed baby with the same ingredients you’re using to cook the family’s dinner.

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Life in Photos

Guacamole, anyone?

I keep looking at this avocado we bought at the Farmer’s Market yesterday. I can’t help it. It’s the biggest avocado I’ve ever seen in my life! Maybe this is old hat to Floridians, but in all my trips to good ol’ Denios in California, I’ve never encountered an avocado of such Biblical proportions. I felt a little like Caleb and Joshua, coming back from Canaan with those ginormous grapes.

I can already taste it with a little bit of tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, lime & sea salt. YUM.

Gina and Aveline with Florida avocado

Florida avocado size compared to hand

Life in Photos

Aveline’s Introduction to Solid Food at 5 Months (with Video)

So, if you saw my Facebook or Twitter over the weekend, then you’ve already gotten your fill (no pun intended) of Aveline’s foray into food. I just might have gone a wee bit overboard with the photos, the status updates, and the steady stream of emails to our respective families in California and the Midwest.

Introducing baby to solids -- photo of baby Aveline ready to take her first bite of avocado at five months old

But I couldn’t help myself! I was excited.

Now I know some books say to delay solids as long as possible to prevent food allergies. But there are other studies which argue that earlier introduction of solids might actually minimize the chance of food allergies.  And the British Medical Journal recently challenged the recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for six months. Their analysis on the topic has become a heated source of debate among those who make their living creating these guidelines.

In light of my own food allergies, I’ve been reading and fretting over these studies, trying to make a decision whether or not to let Aveline have food. All this reading suddenly seemed pretty silly when my mom simply said, “I think you’re over-thinking this. Just do what makes sense.”

Aveline’s been so hungry lately — grabbing for the food on our plates, nursing hourly during the day and every 3.5 hours at night. And so this weekend, we decided it was time. Josiah got a nice ripe avocado at the farmers’ market (we chose avocado instead of rice because of the high fat content) and Aveline had her first taste of food.

And you know what? She LOVED it.

Life in Photos

all in an afternoon lunch

mmm, lunch. a latte with water-processed decaf mocca-java, organic soy milk and deliciously caramel-like coconut palm sugar. organic tofu scrambled with dill and onion, then tossed with quinoa and a splash of olive oil. juicy pieces of navel orange mixed with half an avocado and sprinkled with a little sea salt. wide-eyed baby staring out from her cozy little nest. delicious!
pieces of navel orange and half avocado on cutting board with paring knife

aveline alenka - nine and a half weeks old