This part of these series of post give some examples of foods, combinations and tips:
Fruits to mash or puree include:
- Banana - can be mashed with a fork
- Apples - cooked in a few spoons of water and blended
- Mangoes- if ripe enough a fork would do but in the early days i used a hand blender to make it really smooth
- Pears - cooked like apples
- Watermelon - make sure the seeds are removed
- Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnip, Green Peas - steamed/cooked till soft before mashing.
- Avocados - mashed with a fork.
- Sweet potato, Irish potato
- Ripe plantain
- Beans - cooked till very soft and mashed
- Lentils ( once these are cooked a good whisking will pretty much mash it up, this is a good alternative to beans as they are both in the legume family and high in protein and iron)
- Spinach or other leafy veg - steamed and blended. ( hold off on the Ugu/ pumkin leaves till maybe when they are a bit older as these are a bit tough, so may be harder to digest )
Other foods include
- Eggs- hard boiled (some will say yolk only till a year old)
- Toast - cut into strips that baby can hold.
- Oats - make with water, add some milk (either breast or follow-on) this can be sweetened with fruit purees
- Baby cereals- baby rice or creamy porridge (when getting cereal, the creamy porridge already has milk in it. So its just to add water. However if getting other cereals you will have to use either breastmilk or mix with formular milk.)
- Adult cereals with no added sugar/salt like shreddies or even weetabix
- soft boiled veg like carrots cut up in small pieces.
- chips or fried yam
- lightly buttered or plain toast
- crackers (jacobs or other brand cream crackers)
Basically babies over 6 months can eat most things you eat, just cut down on or omit the pepper, salt and seasoning. although so me babies will eat peppersoup and spicy moi-moi with no issues, but its best to cut down on seasoning and spices in baby food.
I try to base my lo's meals around what we eat. So if we are having potato and chicken for dinner i boil her own potato and blend it with small chicken and presto!! Her lunch for the next day and freeze the extra in single portion quantities so defrosting is easy and you only use what you need per meal.
Below are a few tips I have helped me.
Swallow: Pounded yam, amala, semo with draw soup - finely chopped okra seems to be a hit. i have also found out that i can freeze pounded yam and amala ( have not tried with semo or other swallows) this saves you trying to make baby size portions of swallow.
To warm a frozen swallow, bring out from the freeezer and allow to defrost in the fridge either partially or fully. but in a covered bowl and steam for about 30 minutes minimum. mix with a spoon and leave to heat up fully to pipping hot and normal consistency is regained.
Rice: you may want to avoid rice if your baby is very young or at least until your baby is used to eating . you can either use baby rice as it is already ground up for babies just being introduced to solids, or if making rom scratch, make sure it is a bit "soggy" so that it is easy to mash.
To make rice soggy / easy to mash you can take some already cooked rice (white, fried, jollof, coconut.... whatever. ) add a like a tablespoon or two of water ( per heaped tablespoon of rice) and put in your steamer to re-cook for like 15 - 30 mins. the rice absorbs the water and depending on how much you add, a good beating with a fork will make it pretty mashed up
Beans - i cook beans as normal and remove my baby's before i add the palm oil and pepper. young babies cannot digest the bean skins and it all comes out in their poo (very nasty business), so you should pass it through a wire mesh sieve with a spoon to separate the skin and leave a very fine puree. works very well with boiled plantain or sweet potato... yum!
Oats- blend it raw into a near powder constitency to remove the lumpiness before cooking as usual. I then mixed it with mashed banana or other sweet puree. I my opinion - no milk is needed as it is very sweet with banana.
Blend raw oats to make it smooth. use the chopper attachement in your food processor
|Differernce in textures - smoother oats has less lumps especially for younger babies|
Mixed sweet peppers: i very finely chop or blend red & orange bell peppers with a small onion - steam it to cook it( like cooking moi-moi in a plastic container and freeze portions in an ice cube tray. When frozen, pop them out into a bigger container to store and use individual cubes as required. this is quite a nice sauce base, add a couple of teaspons of blended tomato or a small knob of tomato puree to give you a stewy type base.
Cereals: Any cereal with no added sugar or salt is ok for a baby to have, you can blend it to make a powder for younger babies and leave some lumps in for older children. cornflakes, rice crispies, weetabix, cheerios are just some that can be used especially once they clock 1 year!
You can make your own sweetener for cereals, all you need are some dried ( soft) fruits like raisins, sultanas, apricots and even dates check the baking section of local supermaket).
You can also add some prepared nuts if you are sure your baby has no allergies,chopped hazelnuts, sliced/ ground almonds and even dessicated coconuts (the ones with no added sugar - please read the labels) can be used as well.
Ensure the fruits are clean (especially for dates which are not properly packaged or sold by your local mallam) wash them if necessary ,pat dry with a clean kitchen towel and allow to air dry for a couple of hours., pop them in a food processor or grinder attachement of your blender and blend ( do not add any water). you should be able to store this in an air tight container for at least a couple of weeks.
you can use this on its own or you can then add this with fresh fruits like bananas, apple puree, mango or other fruit to cereal or natural yogurt to sweeten it.
Listed below are food combinations that I have been tried, hopefully you will get some ideas from them:
- Avocado and hard boild egg yolk ( as baby gets older you may want to chop some of the egg whites in to add a bit of texture)
- Yam and fish with small butter ( with spinach and/or garden egg as an option, also add a bit of crayfish and bit of blended sweet peppers and onions)
- Ripe plantain and fish/meat/poultry
- Pureed mango, banana or other fruit.( either plain or with baby rice to add bulk)
- amala /with blended okra soup with fish
- sweet corn, beetroot and chicken
- yam pottage ( remove before adding oil and pepper and maggi)
- pasnips with some optional meat or fish. ( options include mixing with potato and/or carrots)
- carrot, sweet corn and cabbage purree with small knob of butter.
- Pasta with mince meat sauce ( or stew with meat- blend afterwards just omit pepper and spices.- you can make her own stew/ sauce seperately and combine with "soggy rice or pasta. ) i also find mixing pasta and rice with maybe carrot/sweet corn/broccoli /other veggie puree help with not making it too tomato-ey.
- sweet corn, fish and potato mash
- mixed peppers with Irish/ sweet potatoes/yam/ even baby rice or very soft rice that i can mash with optional meat/poutry /fish. You can add small knob of butter or teaspoon of sunflower, olive or rapeseed oil if you like.
- plantain pottage with ripe and a bit of unripe plantain.
- Jollof rice with some fish or chicken and some green peas.
- Basmati rice with potato and a bit of curry ( thai, indian or any nice sauce)
- Lentils and boiled plantains (this is practically a substitute for beans and plantain)
- Beans, plantain and baby rice ( this was as a result of having put to much water when i added uncooked plantain to my already pureed beans.... i then added a scoop of baby rice to remedy the situation!)
I will keep updating this list as we experiment with new foods and new combinations. however i will do a different post/ rant on my experience with baby rice and how it turned from a hated item to one of by baby food staples.
Thanks for reading and happy cooking!