HERE WE GO. Baby Violet has started eating solid foods. That means we’re doing a whole new series on baby food but don’t worry, there will be lots of information for parents of older kids too. Like today’s post, which was inspired by a reader’s question on our Facebook page.
“I have an almost-10-month-old little guy who is a VERY eager eater. He prefers finger foods to purees although he’s more accepting of purees now than he was before. I’m looking for safe finger food ideas for him. He choked on a piece of pear that I didn’t cook well enough and that freaked me out. He’s my second so I stupidly thought I knew what I was doing out but nope! Total mama FAIL. So…any good recipes? Bonus points if it is something I can feed him and my 3-year-old!”
Dear Mama, I want to first point out that you are not even the slightest bit stupid. You are, in fact, awesome. You are the kind of mom who takes the time to post on a Facebook page, asking about healthy foods to give her young sons. That, among the many other things you do every day to make those boy’s lives possible, makes you awesome.
Now to get to the practical part of your question, what to feed these kids, I called in an expert. Dana Angelo White, MS RD ATC, is the author of First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, a contributor to The Food Network, and a sports dietitian and clinical professor at Quinnipiac University. She gave us three delicious ideas that work for families of all ages and here’s what she said:
1. Butternut squash puree. Babies absolutely love it. For toddlers (and grown ups), mix with a touch of cream, then toss with pasta and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Foodlets note: To make a puree, peel and cut a butternut squash into chunks, slather in olive oil and a dusting of salt and roast on a sheet pan in a 400 degree F oven about 25 minutes until the edges are brown and the centers are soft. Puree in a blender or food processor with chicken stock.
2. Oven-roasted chicken thighs and baked sweet potatoes. For babies, remove chicken from the bone and puree in a food processor with a few spoonfuls of sweet potato. Toddlers love munching on tender chunks of juicy chicken and scooping potato out of the skin by themselves. For the grown ups, top the sweet potato with a dollop of sour cream and fresh chives. Serve chicken with a side of your favorite BBQ sauce.
Foodlets note: Along the same lines, we love a Sweet Potato, Chicken and Quinoa dish you can serve in pieces to toddlers, pureed for babies or assembled for the rest of the family.
3. Roasted beets. Puree for tiny ones and serve small diced pieces to toddlers. Toss with crumbled feta for mom and dad.
Foodlets note: Here is our step-by-step process for roasting beets. It’ll put you to work, but the results are SO flavorful and delicious you’ll want to do it again.
And if you haven’t liked Foodlets on Facebook, be sure you do so you’ll never miss an update, recipe or a chance to get your own questions answered right here.