It can be difficult coming up with meal ideas for your baby, especially if (like me) you aren’t particularly creative in the cooking department. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, offering the same old things every day. However it’s important to try to offer a variety of foods to your baby, to help prevent fussiness when they are older.
Having said that, it’s not vital that you offer a huge range of different meals over the course of a week. We all have favourites and so will your little one. Just make sure that you introduce one or two new foods each week for your babe to try. If they don’t want the new things you offer, it doesn’t matter. They will be learning from seeing, smelling and touching the new foods. My two year old son has been squishing and prodding at cherry tomatoes for about a year now, and only the other day did he actually put one in his mouth to chew! Nevertheless, it came straight out again, but he has tried it for longer since.
Anyway, moving on. Here I am going to go over a few different options that we used for breakfasts, lunches and dinners suitable for a baby over the age of 6 months, just to give you some ideas if you are feeling stuck for inspiration. Obviously, you will adjust quantities and textures for your specific baby’s needs.
Weetabix with fruit — bananas are a great option, as are any kind of berry or yoghurt (or both!)
Porridge — you could even mash up a banana and mix in to give it an interesting flavour!
Fruit salad — try a chopped banana, sliced strawberries and halved grapes in a bowl
Fruit with yoghurt — mix up some chopped or mashed strawberries into yoghurt for your little one.
Cheese on toast — chop into fingers or little triangles. Add sliced tomato if you fancy it!
Houmous dippers — This is one of my son’s favourites. Give them a pot of houmous and a selection of things to dip in it. Good ones are strips of pita bread, carrot sticks, slices of red pepper and celery. Messy, but great fun!
Pasta salad — so easy, portable, and can be thrown together in minutes. Our favourite mix is cold cooked pasta, tuna, sweetcorn, chopped red peppers and a little mayonnaise to bring it all together.
Peanut butter & banana toasties — just make like sandwiches but toast the bread a little first. Spread smooth peanut butter on one side and mashed banana on the other. Delicious!
Broccoli cheese — if you haven’t got time to make it the traditional way, just heat up some crème fraiche in a pan and mix with cheese to taste. When it’s melted, chuck in some cooked broccoli, et voila – tasty broccoli cheese that takes about 15 minutes to cook. Mix in some pasta to bulk it up if you wish.
Roasted vegetables — roast tasty sticks of root vegetables as finger foods for your baby. Pre-boil if you wish, or just brush with olive oil and a little ground cumin before roasting. We like parsnips, potatoes, carrots, courgettes and sweet potatoes.
Omelettes — quick and easy, and can be filled with anything you fancy. Baked beans, cheese and tomato, mushrooms and sautéed courgettes all make good fillings for babies.
Pita pizzas — top a pita bread with tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, cheese and whatever else takes your fancy, before toasting under the grill until the cheese melts. This is a great one to make with your baby when they get older, too.
I would love to read your contributions to this list! Look out for Part II, where we will talk about snacks for your baby.