Thursday, January 5, 2012

25 First Foods for Baby | Starting Solids

As we all know there is a plethora of information available on what foods to introduce to your baby and I've discussed my thoughts with regard to introducing solids as well.  Sometimes rather than wading through a bunch of information, a simple list is easier to follow, so here are the first 25 foods (and a brief explanation for each) that I fed to my little baby boy.

1.     Rice cereal - an easy and common first food that can be mixed with nearly all other introductions.
2.     Avocado - a smooth creamy texture and loaded with good fat, avocados are easy to transport and are an ideal early food.
3.     Sweet potato - another common first food, sweet potatoes are full of nutrients and have a sweet silkiness that babies love.
4.     Pears - have a light sweet flavour that can be mixed with anything to make new foods palatable.
5.     Chicken - Health Canada recommends meats as a first food to refill depleting iron reserves; I always mix chicken with other foods. For my boys 'chicken & sweet potato' and 'chicken & pears' were hits on the first feed. 
6.     Quinoa - nutritious and delicious, this super grain is loaded with protein and fibre.  Quinoa baby food is easy to make and the baby gobbles it up, again mixed with pears or chicken.
7.     Zucchini - a summer squash that's abundant in Vancouver, this moist and mild vegetable is great for blending, but resist the urge to add extra water when pureeing, it thins out a lot.
8.     Prunes - at this point I noticed the regularity of the baby's poop's decreasing and the crankiness increasing so I introduced a daily dose of prunes.  I simmer the prunes with a little bit of pear to tame down the richness.
9.     Banana - I dislike bananas, but they are great food for travel and I was about to head off to Blissdom Canada so I mashed some up and gave them to the boy.  In truth, he's not super fond of them either.
10. Carrots - easy to make, easy to eat, easy to blend.  It's a common first food for a reason.
11. Peaches - my aunt brought me some peaches from her friends farm so of course I cooked them up for the baby.  After that, I just used canned peaches; its far more convenient and the baby only likes them mixed with other fruits anyway.
12. Broccoli - we eat a lot of broccoli in our house, so its natural that we'd introduce it early.  At our house it was a hit mixed with zucchini and some rice cereal.
13. Tofu - a great protein source that once again can be blended with just about anything.  The dietician told me to make sure you boil it before feeding it to your little one.
14. Blueberries - this sweet purple treat is abundant in the summer here in Vancouver and its another common food in our house.  Although the bright purple colour can be intimidating, this antioxidant rich treat is worth it.
15. Potato - Not my favourite, nor my boys, but it’s a welcome addition when you start making dishes that are more ‘meals’ than simply vegetables.
16. Pumpkin - After a visit to the pumpkin patch I had some delicious sugar pumpkins to roast and the baby was happy to partake in their sweet, mellow flavour.
17. Oatmeal - I made my own oats for the boy by grinding up some gluten-free oats and boiling them on the stove before mixing them with fruit for a new breakfast option.
18. Spinach – a nutrient rich veggie I was excited to introduce this to the baby using Annabel Karmel’s superfood puree recipe. Blended with chicken thighs and sweet potatoes, my little man can’t get enough.
19. Parsnips – a readily available root vegetable with a creamy texture, I hoped to use this to blend with foods the baby wasn’t so keen on.  Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to care much for parsnips.
20. Green beans – another plentiful, local vegetable, I introduced these so that I could prepare one of the boy’s favourite recipes for the baby with my next introduction.
21. Tomatoes – personally I only like cooked tomatoes and skinning fresh tomatoes is just too much work, so I always use canned tomatoes for my baby food.  The boy loved ratatouille made with a hearty mix of tomato, broccoli, zucchini and green beans.
22. Pork – after slow roasting a pork should for pulled pork, I blended up some of the unseasoned meat with some pears for the baby boy.  Just like pork chops and applesauce, only with pears.
23. Apple – I waited to introduce apples to both my boys simply because some varieties give me an oral allergy; that is they make my throat and inside of my ears uncomfortably itchy.  Granted I don’t get that reaction when the fruit is cooked and removing the peel on fresh fruit generally prevents the reaction, but given that my boys loved pears, there never seemed to be a reason to rush to introduce apples.
24. Egg yolk – an quick and easy to prepare finger food, I introduced egg yolk to add a little protein.  He likes it more now that he can feed himself, I separate the egg then fry the yolk firm without breaking it. 
25. Chickpeas – legumes are rich in fibre, protein and nutrients and if we want our kids to eat them it just makes sense to introduce them as babies.

In general I steam the fruits or vegetable until tender and then puree them with a bit of the steaming water.  I use an electric food steamer (which also works great as a bottle sterilizer) which makes it easy to avoid oversteaming the vegetables to ensure they stay flavourful and minimize nutrient loss.

I’m curious which foods you introduced to your little ones; did I introduce anything that you absolutely wouldn’t?  Or perhaps I missed something that you think is essential, I’d love to hear what you think.