Starting your baby on their first solid foods is an exciting (and sometimes a little scary) time. All parents want to make sure that their little ones' first food adventures are filled with healthy, delicious and nutritious foods. I've teamed up with Organix* to share my weaning memories and some ideas for preparing dips and vegetables for babies.
This is a sponsored post.
Our weaning journey
My weaning journey started almost seven and a half years ago - yes that's right, my eldest, R, turns eight next week. I can hardly believe it - where have the last eight years gone?! If you're a regular visitor to Sneaky Veg you'll know that these days R is a very picky eater. He won't eat any fruit or vegetables. In fact the only thing he'll eat in the photo above is the Organix pea puffs which he loves when I put them in his lunch box.
When we weaned R we approached it in quite a traditional way - lots of purées, baby rice and mushed up food. When Miss R's turn came to start her first food adventures she refused point blank to be fed from a spoon so I had to rapidly learn to embrace baby led weaning! Finger foods, pureés spread on toast and rice cakes and a lot of mess ensued. And when our youngest came along a few years later he just ended up joining in family meal times and eating whatever everyone else was eating.
Perhaps it's just a coincidence but it's very interesting to consider that R, my first baby, is by miles and miles the pickiest eater out of my three. Little S, who is now 3, is a completely different eater and tucks into veggies by the truck load. Or at least that's what it feels like.
Finger foods for babies
There's no point regretting the past but I do wish I'd served more finger foods to R when he was a tiny baby, including lots of veggies. Saying that he did love his green purées, cauliflower cheese and all manner of other veggies when he was a baby so perhaps the result would have been the same.
Either way, you have a unique opportunity when your baby is tiny to expose them to a huge range of different flavours. It's a good idea to serve as many different vegetables in as many different forms as you can so that your baby learns to love lots of different tastes and textures. But it's not just veggies - herbs, spices, grains, pulses - try as many different foods as you can. Where possible sit and eat with your baby as well - let them see you enjoying the foods as well.
Here are six ways you can help your baby to explore food
And here are some great tips for when you're just starting out:
How to prepare vegetables for babies
While some vegetables will be fine to be served raw eg avocado and cucumber, others will need to be cooked eg beetroot and sweet potato and others still will benefit from being lightly steamed. Small babies without teeth will find it much easier to enjoy carrot sticks or broccoli florets if they've been softened. Even red peppers like the one pictured might need to be lightly roasted or steamed before serving - but this will depend on your baby and their age and teeth!
Dips are also a great way to serve vegetables for babies. I like to make a dip with a platter of vegetable crudités and other dippers on the side. The Organix baby pea puffs make a great dipper. Just the right shape and size to be dipped into hummus they contain just two ingredients - yes, just two - peas (80%) and corn (20%). Organix believe that all babies and children should only be given real food - so you won't find any junk in their products. They are so passionate about this that they have a whole campaign based around this - the no junk journey.
This means that their products have a short ingredients list and you won't find anything that you haven't heard of. Any unusual ingredients include an explanation so you know exactly what is contained in your babies food - and why. Unfortunately not all baby food companies are so transparent. Read my metro post on this issue to find out more.
Here are five of my favourite dips to serve with vegetables for babies:
Pin preparing vegetables for babies for later
If you like this you might like this cooking for babies post.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with Organix