For baby’s middle-of-the-day meal, introduce him or her to all sorts of delicious fruit-veggie-protein combinations. His or her palate is a clean slate, ready to be exposed to delicious, nutritious foods. In fact, experts say baby can eat whatever you’re eating (in pureed or mashed form in the beginning), as long as it’s a healthy choice.
“Introduce your baby to a wide variety of foods early on—you’ll create a better eater,” says Scott Cohen, MD, a pediatrician and author of Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Common Sense Guide to Your Baby’s First Year.
Obviously, you want to go with foods baby is developmentally ready for. Amelia Winslow, nutritionist and founder of Eating Made Easy, and Bridget Swinney, president of the El Paso Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and author of Eating Expectantly, Baby Bites and Healthy Food for Healthy Kids, gave us a few creative and nutritious lunch ideas:
• Steamed butternut squash, mashed with quinoa and a dash of cinnamon
• Steamed carrots, mixed with a splash of coconut milk and rice
• Cottage cheese, fork-mashed, with a sprinkle of finely ground flax seed and steamed mashed peas
• Lentils cooked in low-sodium vegetable broth and mixed with mashed sweet potato
• Soft rotisserie chicken breast mashed or pureed with farro (or any other cooked whole grain) and fresh parsley
• Pureed avocado
• A combination of well-mashed black beans with pureed broccoli
• Spaghetti with cheese and pureed cauliflower or zucchini
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