Friday, 16 December 2016

Part 3 - Weaning Foods for babies 6 months and above - Recipes and Combinations


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

Veggies include:
  • Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnip, Green Peas - steamed/cooked till soft before mashing.
  • Avocados - mashed with a fork.
  • Sweet potato, Irish potato
  • Yam
  • 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

Finger  foods:
  • 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!