The first bite is a big milestone in a baby's life. Most babies are ready for solid foods around 4 to 6 months old. While commercial baby foods loses a lot of nutrients and "yumminess" during processing, these 12 homemade foods are fast, inexpensive, and, best of all, healthy. Become head chef for your very own special little customer! But always keep in mind, keep portions small for new eaters, and be on the lookout for allergies.
1. Pea Puree
Green peas are a mighty source of nutrition, loaded with Vitamins A and C, iron, protein, and calcium. Both fresh and frozen peas with no added ingredients are the basis for a silky, sweet puree.
Cook a proper amount of washed peas in a steamer for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Drain the peas and rinse with cold water. Then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add water as needed to reach the desired consistency.
2. Banana Puree
Known as one of nature's own antacids, bananas are rich in potassium and fiber, and are very gentle on the stomach. Be careful not to overdo it though, because too much banana can cause constipation.
It's easy to prepare. Just peel and mash it with a fork. Add a little breast milk or formula if necessary in order to thin down the consistency and to add a familiar taste.
3. Brown Rice Cereal
Rice cereal is one of the most common foods to start baby on because it's non-allergenic, delicious, and easily digested. Supplemented with iron, vitamins, and minerals, brown rice cereal is a perfect introduction to solids.
Grind the brown rice into a powder using a food processor or blender. Bring a cup of water to boil in a saucepan. Add ¼ cup of rice powder, and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add formula or breast milk if desired.
4. Avocado Puree
Buttery avocados are rich in omega-3 and "good fats" which help boost baby's brain and physical development. Plus, babies seem to love the velvety texture and mild flavor of a perfectly ripe avocado.
Mash the avocado with a fork or blend it in a food processor, and then mix with breastmilk, formula or water to reach the desired consistency.
5. Carrots Puree
Due to their naturally sweet taste and creamy texture, healthy mashed carrots are another wonderful introduction to solids. Besides, carrots provide a rich supply of vitamin A and the antioxidant beta carotene, that helps keep growing eyes healthy.
Cut peeled carrots into 1-inch segments, and bring to boil then simmer them for 25 minutes. Let cool and then puree in a food processor.
6. Sweet Potato Puree
This delicious tuber is an excellent first food for babies as it's sweet, soft when cooked and is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.
Simply bake or steam some cubed peeled sweet potato until it turns very tender, and then add a touch of water or milk until it takes on a fluffy texture.
7. Papaya Puree
Papaya is rich in vitamin C, soluble fiber, and enzymes that aid digestion, so it's an ideal food to help relieve your baby's constipation or tummy troubles. But with higher acidity than many other fruits, you'd better wait until 7 or 8 months old before introducing papayas.
Slice a peeled papaya in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds, then scoop out the flesh of the papaya with a spoon. Puree in a food processor until smooth. Add water as needed to reach the desired consistency.
8. Apple Puree
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples are a wonderful starter fruit that offers a lot of vital nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamin C. Apple puree is easy to digest, and you can also mix it with cereals or some vegetables to add to the nutrition.
Wash the apples, then peel, core and slice them. Bring the apples to the boil, then gently simmer for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain the apples, then mash into a thick puree.
9. Butternut Squash Puree
Butternut squash offers a good supply of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. Its sweet taste is usually an instant hit with babies.
Cut washed butternut squash in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Then roast the squash at 400℉ on a baking sheet brushed with olive oil for 30 minutes or until soft. Let cool and then puree in a food processor until smooth. Add water as needed to reach the desired consistency.
10. Beets and Blueberry Mash
Cook beets and blueberries together before pureeing gives it a beautiful magenta color. It's also a home of some of the best nutrients for your baby such as vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.
Chop 2 medium peeled beets into 1-inch cubes, and place into a medium saucepan along with ½ cup blueberries. Add just enough water to cover the tops of the beets and blueberries and cook on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Puree in a food processor until smooth.
11. Red Lentil Puree
Full of protein, iron, fiber and B vitamins, red lentils deserve a prominent spot on your baby's menu of first foods.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of lentils and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Drain the lentils and cool slightly. Blend the lentils until you get the desired consistency.
12. First Spinach with White Yams
Spinach puree spiced up with white yams adds a healthy dose of calcium, iron, vitamin A, and folate to your baby's diet. The white yams add a touch of sweetness to spinach puree and make it a pleasant introduction to greens.
Peel a half-pound yam and cut it into no more than 1-inch dices. Bring the yams to boil about 1 ½ cups of water in a large pot. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add half pound fresh spinach and cook until tender. Let cool and puree in a food processor.