How to Serve Strawberries Year Round to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Strawberries Year Round to Your BLW Baby

 

Berries are incredibly nutritious for your little one. They tend to be very high in antioxidants, providing a good source of many vitamins and minerals. However, due to their shape and size, they can be difficult to incorporate due to choking risk. This is where whole, large strawberries come in. They are full of vitamin C and magnesium, and are the perfect size for little hands and mouths. Seems like a win-win right?

 

Not exactly. I am going to be berry frank; off season strawberries in Montreal fall into two main categories, namely 1) Expensive and 2) Tasteless. Luckily, we can get past all this by purchasing frozen berries. Not only do they tend to be cheaper, but they are picked ripe and immediately flash frozen, to help lock in nutrients and flavour. Now that’s sweet!

 

Take a look this video to see a BLW infant enjoy a thawed frozen strawberry:

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How to Serve a Frozen Strawberry to Your BLW Baby

 

You want to begin by choosing frozen strawberries that are whole. When selecting a few fruits from the bag for your baby, make sure to choose large berries.

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You can save even more and help reduce food waste by trying “naturally imperfect” frozen fruits.

 

Of course, frozen strawberries would be difficult to eat as is, so it is important to thaw them. The best method is to do this overnight in the fridge. The slower they are thawed, the more intact they stay. That being said if you’re in a rush and need to defrost quickly, the texture is still appropriate. Place the whole defrosted strawberry on a tray and let your BLW infant dig in.

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Simply delicious!

 

Have you tried frozen fruit for your baby? Let us know in the comments below!

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Homemade or Store-bought Hummus for Baby

Homemade or Store-bought Hummus for Baby

 

One of the most popular questions I get from parents is the following: “ Can I give store-bought hummus to my baby of 6 months doing Baby Led Weaning (BLW)?”

 

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Hummus is a chickpea dip or purée. First off, parents want to give it to their baby since it’s a puree that’s easy to offer in a pre-filled spoon or spread on another food, such as a piece of avocado:

 

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Also, hummus contains iron since it is prepared from chickpeas, so it is perfect for babies who have high iron needs between the ages of 7 and 12 months. In addition, hummus is usually prepared with lemon juice that contains vitamin C which helps with the absorption of iron. On the other hand, some parents are worried because the store-bought hummus contains added salt and wonder if it is too salty for their baby.

 

Is store-bought hummus too salty for my baby?

 

Generally, it is not recommended to offer salted foods to a baby less than 12 months. However, if we read the nutritional label, we see that 2 tbsp. (30ml) of store-bought hummus Fontaine Santé with caramelised onions contains 110mg of sodium.

 

The maximum sodium per day for babies 7 to 12 months is 370 mg. It is certain that baby will eat other foods that contain a little salt during the day. Also breast milk and baby formula contain some (about 130 mg per day). If a baby eats 1 tbsp (15 ml), he would obtain about 55 mg of sodium from hummus + 130 mg of sodium from his milk = 185 mg of sodium total (well below 370 mg per day). You should also read the ingredient list to make sure there are no “mystery” ingredients, depending on the type of hummus you choose. So if you usually buy store-bought hummus, you can offer it to your baby here and there without any problem. It’s practical!

 

Why prepare homemade hummus?

 

On the other hand, if you’d like to prepare it yourself so it’s cheaper and to ensure the quality of ingredients, the recipe is very simple. In addition, you can keep portions in the freezer for 3 months. What I like about making homemade hummus is that I can prepare it without salt for the baby, then simply add salt for the rest of the family members. Also, I use a minimal ingredients (chickpeas, freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, fresh garlic) so I know exactly where they come from. I can also adjust the taste of my hummus depending on the spices that I have on hand.

 

I decided to create a recipe without key allergens (so without sesame butter or tahini) so that this recipe is suitable for all babies. It’s also vegan! I also wanted to mention that I do not use water in this recipe (just olive oil) to maximize the intake of good fats for your baby. This is surely not a diluted product! Here are the ingredients I used:

 

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Homemade hummus recipe for babies

 

1 can (540 ml / 19 oz) chickpeas no salt added, rinsed and drained

The juice of 2 lemons

 1/2 cup of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) of cumin

 

In your blender, add the chickpeas, lemon jus, olive oil and garlic then blend into a smooth purée. As simple as that!

 

The Importance of Iron for Babies

 

The iron requirements of babies 7 to 12 months old are enormous. Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and black beans contain iron, but these foods tend to be small, round, and hard, which is a choking hazard for babies. Offering hummus on a pre-filled spoon that baby themselves bring to their mouth can be a good option:

 

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My almost 6 year old daughter wanted to act as the model for demonstrating the use of a pre-filled spoon, in the high chair:

 

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For ongoing support throughout your adventure with the introduction of complementary foods, sign up for my online course here. For other simple recipes like this, get my baby cookbook here.

 

Do you buy your hummus or do you make it yourself? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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How to Serve Kiwi to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Kiwi to Your BLW Baby

Looking for a new fruit to serve your baby? Do you want your little one to experience something other than bananas and oranges while doing baby-led weaning? Why not give the kiwi a try! This fuzzy fruit is actually a berry, and pound for pound contains more vitamin C than oranges.

Ripe kiwi has the ideal texture for an infant just starting their real food journey. All that hairy skin comes in handy too. Not only is it edible, but it helps tiny hands get a good grip on an otherwise slippery fruit. Ki-Oui!

 

Watch this video to see how easy it is to prep kiwi for your BLW baby:

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How to Prepare Kiwi for Your BLW Baby

You want to start by choosing a soft and ripe kiwi. If the fruit is underripe, the white middle section can be tough for babies who are just starting to eat on their own.

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Gently press the skin of the kiwi; if it gives way, it is ripe!

 

Next you want to give the skin a gentle scrub under cold water. It is important that the skin is clean since it will without a doubt go into your curious baby’s mouth.

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Take a sharp knife and cut the kiwi into quarters with the skin on. Cut the end corners off each quarter to ensure none of the hard stem area is included.

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Remove the corners to make this kiwi BLW safe

 

Serve it just like that to your baby. If you find the middle section is still too tough, you can remove it before serving. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving the skin on and your baby does well without the skin, you can remove it. It’s just that the skin tends to help the kiwi slide less in their mouth. Your choice! Make sure you always supervise your baby when he or she is eating.

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The “key”-wi to your babies health is fresh, whole foods

 

Which fruits do you like serving to your BLW baby? Tell us in the comments below!

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Cherry tomato bites for babies

Cherry tomato bites for babies

 

Today I’m sharing a brand new recipe that I created for babies: Cherry Tomato Bites for Babies. It’s super simple with only a few ingredients. These cherry tomato bites can be served at any time of the day and can even be frozen and reheated to eat on the go. The texture is absolutely perfect for Baby Led Weaning (BLW).

 

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Lots of parents ask me why I use so many eggs in the recipes I create for babies. Here’s one reason: according to new research, feeding eggs to infants could provide them with key nutrients for better brains.

 

So, how do you prep these delicious cherry tomato bites for babies?

 

Here are the ingredients that I used to prep this recipe:

 

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Place 6 eggs in a bowl and add warm water.

 

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Beat the mixture until it’s foamy like this:

 

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Then, add spices and spinach with cheese (optional) and mix well. Add the sliced cherry tomatoes and bake in the oven.

 

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Ingredients

6 eggs

2 tbsp warm water

2 cloves of garlic

½ cup fresh basil (or 1 tbsp dried basil)

½ tsp ground pepper

1 cup spinach, chopped

1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

12 cherry tomatoes, sliced

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line muffin tins. Place eggs in a large bowl and add water. Beat until foamy on high speed, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, basil, pepper, spinach and cheese. Mix well. Pour the mixture into 12 lined muffin tins and place the sliced cherry tomatoes on top of each bite. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

 

I want to know: will you serve these at breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack? Comment below!

 

 

 

How to Serve Mango to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Mango to Your BLW Baby

Canada in the winter is quite literally the exact opposite of tropical. It is often hard to believe that spring will ever come, with all the snow, frigid temperatures and unreliable groundhogs. Thankfully, I have a sure-fire way to know we are coming into spring: when the mangoes become plentiful and fragrant at my local grocery store.

Although available year-round, these tropical delights are the most delicious (and affordable) from May to September in Canada. Not only are they tasty, but mangoes boast 20 over different vitamins and minerals in each bite and have a texture that is just right for soft mouths. That means serving this sweet mango-nificient fruit to your BLW baby is a great choice… that is if you can keep yourself from gobbling it all up!

Take a look this video to see how easy it is to prep mangoes for your BLW baby:

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How to Prepare Mango for Your BLW Baby

Begin by selecting a mango that is ripe, so it is soft and tender for your little one. Press the skin gently, and it should give way under the pressure if it is ripe. Another trick is to smell the mango, close to the stem. If it is fragrant like the air of the tropics, it is ready to eat.

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Choose the right fruit and you won’t have to (man)go back to the grocery store

 

Give that mango a good scrub under cold running water. The skin helps baby grip this slippery fruit, so make sure it is squeaky clean.

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Take the mango and stand it upright with the stem down on a cutting board. Cut around the pit, leaving two large “cheeks” of mango.

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Cheeky!

 

Slice each cheek lengthwise, or about 4 to 5 slices per cheek. To reduce waste, you can also slice the remaining mango from the pit and enjoy.

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A slice of tropical heaven for your BLW baby.

 

Offer a slice to your baby-led weaning infant! Make sure to keep an extra keen eye on them, to make sure they don’t eat the peel accidentally.

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Shaking the winter blues one mango at a time.

 

What do you think about adding mango to your fruit repertoire for baby? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Serve Seasonal Vegetables to Your BLW Baby

How to Serve Seasonal Vegetables to Your BLW Baby

We’ve all heard the buzz words around food these days. Words like sustainable, local and eco-conscious are becoming commonplace as more of us want food grown close to home using practices that are better for the planet. Baby-led weaning is an amazing way to help nurture budding environmental consciousness in your family AND nurture well-being. By choosing whole, delicious and locally sourced food that is in season, versus that which is shipped across the world, you can keep your baby (and your planet) happy and healthy.

Of course, this isn’t to say you have eat sustainably all the time (especially since we live in a frozen tundra 5 months out of the year). Sometimes it isn’t logical for busy parents, or it doesn’t fit into the budget. It is all about making small changes, and finding a balance that works for your family!

 

 

How to Prepare A Seasonal CSA Basket for Your BLW Baby

Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes are extremely simple to prepare. Give them a gentle wash, and cut into quarters. Serve to baby as is, or with a sprinkle of pepper and italian herbs.

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As a dietitian, I love local veggies from my head to-ma-toes

 

Cucumber

Another great choice for a BLW baby is cucumber. Give it a good scrub and slice into a finger sized portion, with the skin left on for grip. Serve with a sprinkle of dried herbs.

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Stay cool as a cucumber with these simple veggie preparation tips!

 

Kale

You can include this powerhouse green into many recipes, such as salmon sliders, meatballs or even kale chips! Check out my free e-cookbook for more ideas.

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Non-seasonal veggies “kale” in comparison to local CSA produce.

 

Peppers (Bell, Sweet)

Grill or roast slices of peppers at a high temperature to help soften them for baby. Try coating them in a light layer of olive or avocado oil and marinating them in your favourite salt-free spices.

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Your family will pepper you with praise for these delectable recipes.

 

Want to see how to prep these seasonal CSA vegetables and more in a safe BLW fashion? Watch this video:

Like this content and want to see more? Then subscribe to my Youtube channel today.

 

Tell us in the comments below if you are introducing any sustainable food practices at home!

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No-Bake Breakfast Balls

No-Bake Breakfast Balls

 

Pressed for time? Try these no-bake breakfast balls. They’re made with all natural ingredients and come together in just 10 minutes.

 

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These no-bake breakfast balls are the perfect thing to have on hand for a quick BLW breakfast or to-go snack. With no refined sugar, salt, eggs, gluten or dairy, these balls are 100% delicious.

 

 

They’re convenient, nutritious, delicious, and are the perfect size for little ones to hold on to. These little balls load whole, nutritious foods like oats, fruit, dates and coconut. As an added bonus, they’re made without any added sugar and free of all major allergens. Did I mention that they only take 10 minutes to make? Try these no-bake breakfast balls today. They’re so tasty that you won’t just be giving them to your baby – you’ll be enjoying them too!

 

These no-bake breakfast balls couldn’t be any easier to make. First, I took some cherries out of the freezer and let them thaw slightly. You can use other types of frozen fruit like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries.

 

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And I mashed them up.

 

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Then I added the oats, dates, shredded coconut and coconut oil.

 

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I gave the ingredients a good stir and rolled the mixture into balls about the size of a ping-pong ball. That’s all!

 

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Look at this 9 month old baby loving them!

 

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No-Bake Breakfast Balls 

Makes 10 balls

 

½ cup (125 ml) frozen fruit, defrosted, mashed (cherries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries)

1 cup (250 ml) oats

1/2 cup (125 ml) soft and sticky Medjool or Deglett dates, pitted, chopped (about 3 large dates)

⅓ cup (80 ml) coconut, shredded, unsweetened

1 tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil, melted

 

To a medium bowl, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Roll into ping-pong sized balls. Offer one to your baby. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months.

 

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Where do you plan on bringing these along?

 

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Inspired by Healthy Little Foodies

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Zesty Roasted Cauliflower

 

Zesty Roasted Cauliflower

 

In a rut of roasted sweet potatoes and carrot sticks? Cauliflower is an extremely versatile vegetable, and is loaded with good-for-baby nutrients like calcium, folate, and vitamins A & C. Vegetables high in vitamin C, like cauliflower, help your baby better absorb iron – something babies need a lot of. So try this delicious take on cauliflower – it’s sure to become a family favorite!

 

This recipe couldn’t be any easier. First, I cut the cauliflower into florets about the size of an adult pinky finger. Notice my finger on the left of the picture:

 

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Then I sprinkled the florets with the garlic, oil, pepper, cumin, and chili powder on a lined pan:

 

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Then, I tossed until the florets were well coated. I roasted it for half an hour, until the florets were golden brown. Meanwhile, I washed and dried the cilantro, and zested and juiced a lime.

 

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After removing the florets from the oven I immediately added the juice, cilantro, and zest, and tossed to combine. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of this perfectly caramelized vegetable:

 

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Isn’t it beautiful?

 

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We enjoyed these with my Southwestern Black Bean Burgers.

 

Zesty Roasted Cauliflower

Yield: Approximately 6 cups

 

1 head of cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

2 tsp (10 ml) cumin

½  tsp (2.5 ml) chili powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime

 

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut cauliflower into pieces approximately the size of an adult pinky. Place cauliflower individually on the baking sheet, cut side down. Sprinkle garlic, olive oil, cumin, chili powder and pepper onto cauliflower, toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes. Add the lime juice, zest, and cilantro. Allow to cool and serve to your baby. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

What’s your go-to veggie?

 

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Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

 

Beans are difficult to offer to babies because they’re small, hard, and round. But I have the solution: these baby-friendly southwest black bean burgers! This burger is something the whole family will enjoy and is perfect for baby led weaning (BLW). These burgers are loaded with iron, protein, and an alphabet of vitamins – exactly what your little one needs.

 

This recipe is so simple to make. It has 3 main ingredients: black beans, sweet potatoes and onions.

 

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First, I cut the sweet potatoes in half, and baked themMeanwhile, I mashed the black beans until they were nice and smooth, no lumps.

 

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I also diced up an onion.

 

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Once the potatoes were cooled, I removed the skins, and mashed them up. Then I added all the ingredients to a single bowl, and shaped them into burgers about 3 inches in diameter. I used Ricardo’s burger press because I love how it shapes the burgers.


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I baked the black bean burgers in the oven for 25 minutes. Then, I flipped them very carefully. They will be soft (that’s normal). After that, I baked them for another 30 minutes.

 

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We enjoyed these burgers with some avocado, extra raw onion and a slather of BBQ sauce. For baby, you can just give them a burger and some avocado.

 

Southwestern Black Bean Burger Recipe

Yield: 10 mini burgers

 

2 cups (500 ml) sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes)

1 cup (250 ml) black beans, unsalted, cooked, rinsed and well drained 

½ cup (125 ml) onion, diced (1 small onion)

2 tsp (10 ml) cumin

2 tsp (10 ml) chili powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) paprika

1 tsp (5 ml) oregano

1 tsp (5 ml) garlic powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scrub sweet potatoes under water with a brush. Cut potatoes in half and place on a lined baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mash black black beans until smooth, and dice the onion. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and let cool. Peel and mash sweet potatoes.
  3. To a large bowl, add all ingredients and stir until combined. Shape mixture into 3 inch (7.5 cm) diameter patties and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Flip the burgers very carefully. They will be soft (that’s normal).
  5. Bake for another 30 minutes.  Allow to cool and serve to your baby. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Inspired by Minimalist Baker

 

How did your family enjoy these black bean burgers?

 

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