After getting loads of questions online from social media followers and blog readers on how to cook food for babies while saving time, registered nutritionist Tara Rochford decided to share some of her favorite tips!
Here’s more about how to prepare meals for babies, the tools and gadgets she loves to use to feed her 1-year-old, and a simple recipe that the whole family can enjoy.
Introducing food to your little one can be very intimidating. Even as a nutritionist, Tara was nervous because her daughter suffocated or was allergic. These are perfectly normal things to worry about. When it comes to suffocation:
● Make sure the baby shows signs of readiness before introducing food
● Make sure the food is soft enough to be crushed between your fingers
● Cut food into the size and shape appropriate for your baby’s age
● Serve food while sitting
Clues To Look For In Baby Before Introducing Food:
● The baby should be able to sit up independently
● The tongue reflex is gone
● The baby should be able to grip objects and bring them towards their mouth
● The baby should show an interest in the foods you eat
● Toasted tofu
● Baby hummus
● Smashed blueberries (pincer grip)
● peas (pincer grip)
● Chickpeas (pincer handle)
A note on food allergies:
If your baby is at high risk of food allergies, which you can discuss with your doctor, it is currently recommended that peanuts and eggs be introduced early and frequently. We’re not sure how effective it is to introduce other potential allergens early on, but for peanuts and eggs, introducing between 4 and 6 months and then eating a regular diet has been linked to a decrease in allergies to these foods.
Tips for introducing potential food allergens:
● Start early in the day and give yourself 2 hours to watch your baby.
● Start with a happy and healthy baby. You don’t want to confuse a cold or stomach problem with a food allergy.
● DO NOT serve whole peanuts as this can cause suffocation.
● DO NOT serve a large scoop of peanut butter as it poses a choking hazard.
● Peanut powder is a great way to introduce peanuts by mixing them into breast milk, yogurt, applesauce, banana puree, etc.
● When inserting eggs, make sure that the whole egg is cooked.
● Scrambled eggs are an easy way to give eggs to your baby.
● There is not much research on other allergenic foods (wheat, dairy, sesame, shellfish, fish, soy, tree nuts) but it is currently being done.
● Introducing other allergenic foods early seems safe, but we are not sure if it will reduce the risk of allergies.
● Milk – mix with smoothies and yoghurt
● Tree nuts – diluted nut butter, swap for peanut butter in recipes, almond flour in recipes
● Fish / shellfish – serve with soft rice
● Wheat – Toast your fingers with the avocado spread thinly on top
● Soy-baked tofu fingers
● This website has many ideas for peanut food introduction.
Serving whole foods in addition to purees is a great way to add different textures to the baby.
Yield: 1 cup of applesauce
4 peeled and pitted apples
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Cinnamon to taste, optional
- Peel and core the apples with a vegetable peeler and cut into large pieces.
- Put water in a large saucepan over high heat and cover with a lid. When the water boils add the apples and lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes. The apples will finish when they are tender and slip straight off a fork when piercing.
- Place the apples and cooking liquid in a food processor or heavy duty blender and blend until the consistency you want. Mix longer for a creamy apple sauce.
- Add a little cinnamon to taste if you want, or just enjoy.
- Store the applesauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Tara’s favorite items for feeding babies:
● EzPz Mini Mat
● Bumkins Chewtensils
● Bib with sleeves
● Homemade flexible freezer compartment made from puree
● Gootensil in front of the spoon
● Baby Led Feeding Book
● Born to Eat a Book
● peanut powder
● Small cup
● Honeybear straw cups
Spinach Herb Chicken Meatballs
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
2 teaspoons of dried basil
2 teaspoons of dried chives
2 teaspoons of dried parsley
¼ cup walnuts, ground into crumbs / flour with a food processor
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, optional
½ teaspoon kosher salt (reduce if served to very young babies)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the ground chicken, spinach, herbs, ground walnuts, red pepper, salt, and pepper. You may want to use your hands here!
- Shape the meatballs into golf ball size balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite vegetable or salad and a side of marinara sauce to dip if desired.
Tips to save time when preparing baby food:
- Prepare 1-2 breakfasts, 1-2 vegetables (like steamed broccoli or roasted sweet potatoes), and 1-2 main meals for the week
- Keep extras in the freezer
- Don’t be afraid to repeat meals, babies don’t mind!
You can find these recipes and more from me at: tararochfordnutrition.com
Tara Rochford Nutrition on Facebook and @TaraRochford on Instagram