Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Homemade Baby Food: Fruits

I didn't wait very long to introduce fruits. I know you often hear not to introduce fruits until baby has a good relationship with veggies because you don't want them to get hooked on the sweetness of fruits. Makes sense, I just did what felt right to us. After Evan had been eating veggies like broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes for about 2 weeks, I let him have some fruit. I'll let you catch your breath. He's totally fine.

We serve a balanced amount of fruits an veggies through out the day. I think the trick is not to let them eat only fruit. I also am sure to start the meal with the protein and veggie and end the meal with the fruit, like a little treat. I use the same cookbooks that I did for the veggies and once I got comfortable, I struck out on my own path based on what we have on hand, what's in season or what our budget of time and money allows for.

The idea is the same as the veggies: they need to be soft so they can be pureed or cut up into cubes to be crushed by little gums. I also store them the same way I store the veggies. So, without further ado, here's the list of fruits (and how I prepare them) that I make for my baby boy:
  1. Apples. The sweeter variety. Peel, core and dice. Place into steamer until fork tender. Puree OR leave whole for baby to pick up. I also tried frying slices in butter with a bit of cinnamon (tried at 9 months) and he loved it....I love it, too. This works well with pear slices also. 
  2. Pears. Treat the same as the apple. I like the d'anjou pears best. If you let them get really ripe, you can just peel and slice as is. Evan and I often share a pear. I'll keep it whole and start taking bites out of it, then he'll take little bites out of it.
  3. Bananas. It's important that they are very ripe. No cooking required. Mash with a fork or cut into dices for baby to pick up. They are slippery and can frustrate the little one so dusting them with cheerio dust or even wheat germ helps the grip-ability. 
  4. Grapes. I waited until 10 months for these (with 3 teeth). Okay this is going to sound gross to some, but hey, it works. I just peel the grapes then give him the meat of the grape and he loves it. He does fine if I just cut them in half but, to me, that just feels like a choking hazard with the skin on and all. 
  5. Blueberries. He loves bb's. I started these at 8 months. Just cut them in half. You can squish them a bit if you feel like it. 
  6. Watermelon. Super easy for baby to crush. Just dice and let them have at it. 
  7. Kiwi. Peel and dice or slice into strips. The seeds never posed a problem for us. He thought it was tart but kept eating them. 
  8. Mango. Evan loved mango. Peel and puree, adding liquid if needed OR finely chop and spoon feed baby. I also mixed with finely chopped banana and that was a hit.
I use these fruits and methods as a base and then use my imagination for different combinations. It's also great to use fruit puree as a dip for toast or mixed into oatmeal or cream of wheat cereal. I admit I did cheat and buy a few jars of fruit (apricots, berry mixture etc) because sometimes the produce wasn't very tasty or not in season. Just remember: no need to add sugar and have fun!

Next up: Homemade Baby Food: Snacks and Desserts

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