Once baby is ready for solid foods (around 4-6 months), you can try these homemade single-fruit and single-vegetable purees. From Cooking Light First Foods by Carolyn Land Williams, M.Ed., R.D.
Text: Carolyn Land Williams, M.Ed., R.D.
May 18, 2011
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Baby's First Foods
First bites are a big milestone in baby’s life. Here's a step-by-step guide to introducing solid foods.
1. Pick a single-grain infant cereal, such as rice, or a single-fruit or vegetable puree (see recipes in this slideshow), and prepare it. Cereals should be prepared with breast milk or formula.
2. Serve the same food to baby for at least four days, watching for any signs of allergy or intolerance.
3. Move on to a new food, and start the process over until baby has tried a variety of single foods.
Looking for the perfect first purees? We recommend Carrots, Bananas, Avocado, Green Peas, or Butternut Squash. These purees tend to be popular with baby because they are smooth, mild-flavored, and slightly sweet. Remember to thin them down to an almost liquid consistency for baby’s first few meals.
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Babies love carrots, which are full of beta carotene that helps keep growing eyes healthy.
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Bananas don't keep well, so we recommend cutting off just the amount of fruit baby will eat prior to peeling. Store remaining unpeeled banana in a covered container, and serve it at the next meal.
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Peas may thicken slightly and stick together after they're refrigerated. To loosen them, stir in a small amount of water, formula, or breast milk when reheating.
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Avocados are a great portable option for baby when dining out. Use a dinner knife to halve an avocado, reserve one half in a plastic bag, and serve the remaining half to baby. Ripe avocados are usually soft enough to scoop out each bite and serve to baby using the skin as the serving bowl.
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Babies usually love acorn and butternut squash because of their naturally sweet flavor and smooth, velvety consistency. Follow the same directions to make acorn squash.
Green beans are very fibrous, which makes it hard to get a smooth consistency. Straining after pureeing will help remove any stringy pieces. Try using frozen green beans if fresh are not in season.
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Baking the sweet potato caramelizes the natural sugars in the potato giving it a rich, sweet flavor. You can also steam the cubed peeled sweet potato in a steamer basket for 20 to 25 minutes or until very tender.
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Both the broccoli stalk and florets are a great source of vitamins for baby. In some babies, broccoli can contribute to gas. If this happens, wait a few weeks, and then reintroduce broccoli.
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The bright-red color of beets is appealing to babies, but be careful since this vegetable easily stains clothes. If you notice that subsequent diapers take on a reddish tint, don’t be alarmed; it’s normal for babies who eat beets.
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Summer squash have a high water content, so you usually don’t need to add extra liquid to thin the purees. The higher water content, though, means yellow squash and zucchini don’t freeze as well as other purees.
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Just like yellow squash, zucchini doesn't freeze well. Make it in smaller batches to avoid having too much left over.
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This nutrient-rich vegetable is a great green to introduce. It’s common for baby’s urine to take on a strong odor after eating asparagus, so don’t be alarmed.
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Choose Gala, Golden Delicious, Rome, or Pink Lady apples for this puree. They are sweeter and less acidic than other apples such as Granny Smiths.
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Be sure to peel and cut the pears just before you cook them so they won’t have time to turn brown.
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This sweet and juicy fruit is a great staple to mix with other purees when you start expanding baby’s menu.
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Very ripe peaches that are soft, sweet, and juicy don’t need to be steamed, and you may be able to puree them with just a fork or potato masher.
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Dried plums or prunes are the one fruit we recommend boiling because they need direct contact with water to help fully rehydrate the fruit.
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Babies love the bright green color of kiwis. Since kiwifruit is so soft and easy to puree, it’s a great fruit to serve when you’re in a hurry or on the go. Kiwifruit can be slightly acidic, so try stirring it into pureed banana the first time you feed it to baby.
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This is a great summer dish to serve when cantaloupes are at their peak in freshness. Because of the high water content of cantaloupes, we don’t recommend freezing this puree.
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Very tender, ripe mangos might be soft enough to mash and serve to baby without having to steam them.
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Introduce baby to the tropics with this fruit that’s high in vitamin C. While very ripe papayas can be mashed with a fork, you’ll usually have better results when you steam them before pureeing.