Did you know that during a baby’s first year, it usually takes 6 to 10 attempts before most will accept a new flavor and/or texture? Feeding your baby a variety of nutritious foods during their first year helps protect them from becoming a picky eater, and helps to ensure that they obtain all the nutrients necessary for optimal development and the best possible health. There are a lot of good options for baby food out there, but you can also easily give your child a balanced diet based on using ingredients you find.
The Best Baby Food: 125 Healthy & Delicious Recipes for Babies & Toddlers is a great resource for people who are just getting started making their own baby food or looking for new options to add to their little one's menu. I have the opportunity to share a few recipes from the book.
Roasted Summer Fruit
This recipe works for virtually any fruit and can be served with breakfast, lunch or dinner. Although roasting fruit does demand a wee bit of work, the return is worth it. The caramelization of natural sugars created by roasting is tough to duplicate. Try it once and I promise you’ll do it over and over again.Makes about 4 cups (1 L)
• Baking dish, lightly greased
• Potato masher, optional
• Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C)
2 organic peaches, pitted
11⁄2 cups raspberries
11⁄2 cups organic or wild blueberries
11⁄2 cups whole organic strawberries, stems removed
2 organic plums, pitted
2 tbsp evaporated cane juice sugar or coconut sugar
1. In prepared baking dish, combine peaches, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, plums and sugar, stirring until fruit is evenly coated with sugar.
2. Roast in preheated oven until fruit is soft and nicely caramelized (see Tips, left), about 1 hour. Mash or cut to desired consistency. Let cool until warm to the touch before serving or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
In winter substitute apples for the peaches or cranberries or frozen berries for the berries.
Nutrients per serving (1⁄2 cup/125 mL)
Protein 1.0 g
Total fat 0.2 g
Saturated fat 0.0 g
Carbohydrates 17.3 g
Dietary fiber 2.1 g
Sodium 0.6 mg
Calcium 10.5 mg
Iron 0.3 mg
Vitamin C 27.6 mg
Best-Ever Salmon Cakes
I remember the salmon patties my mom used to make, which consisted of canned salmon with mayonnaise. Now I prefer to use fresh salmon, especially if it’s wild. (Wild salmon has more nutrients, especially beneficial omega-3 fats.) Make extra when you’re cooking salmon and save the leftovers to make this recipe. This is really an all-in-one dinner. The salmon provides great protein and healthy fat, the corn brings slow-release carbohydrates, and the pepper and onion round it out with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.Makes 6 cakes
1 lb cooked Pacific salmon fillet, skin removed, flaked
1⁄3 cup diced red onion
1⁄3 cup organic corn kernels, thawed if frozen
1⁄3 cup diced organic red bell pepper
1 tbsp organic unsalted butter
1. In a bowl, combine salmon, onion, corn and red pepper and mix well. Form into six cakes, each about 11⁄2 inches (4 cm) thick. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour or for up to 12 hours.
2. In a nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the cakes and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until other side is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool until warm to the touch before serving or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
This dish will also appeal to older children and adults. For a tasty grown-up lunch, serve them on a bed of Boston or butter lettuce with a simple dressing of fresh lemon juice, olive oil and minced garlic.
Nutrients per serving (1 cake)
Protein 17.0 g
Total fat 11.1 g
Saturated fat 3.0 g
Carbohydrates 2.9 g
Dietary fiber 0.5 g
Sodium 51.3 mg
Calcium 13.4 mg
Iron 0.4 mg
Vitamin C 15.0 mg
Courtesy of The Best Baby Food Recipes by Jordan Wagman & Jill Hillhouse 2015 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.
Jordan Wagman was nominated as a “Rising Star in North America” by the James Beard Foundation. He is also the co-author of 750 Best Appetizers and 150 Best Dips and Salsas. Jordan resides in the Toronto, ON area.
Jill Hillhouse, BPHE, RNCP, is a holistic nutritionist and a faculty member of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. She contributes regularly to national health magazines and resides in Toronto, ON.