Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. In celebration of Spring, we’re sharing real raw recipe ideas. Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you’re welcome to join us next time, or if you have a previously published recipe you’d like to share, add it to the linky below.
We’re getting ready to introduce solids to David in the next few weeks as he turns six months old. I’m getting excited for it, he’s a chunky little boy who loves to nurse and I have a feeling that he’ll love food, too.
David, 5 months old. Look at those rolls!
I’m proud to say that with Joshua we followed baby-led weaning and he never had rice cereal or commercial baby food. I also never made homemade baby food, either. I gave him chunks of food to gnaw on, mashed it up or cut it into little pieces for him to pick up. He always ate whatever we were eating. My best tip for not having to spend a ton of time making baby food is to choose raw foods that are already soft.
From the time Joshua was about six months old until he was well over a year old, I packed a banana and an avocado in his lunch bag to bring to daycare. These were the perfect foods because I didn’t have to do anything to get them ready, and as a working mom I love that. His caregivers would simply peel them and either mash, chop or give it to him whole. Joshua loved exploring the tastes, aromas and textures of these foods.
Joshua, 7 months old, smooshing an avocado at supper time
While we don’t follow a “raw food” diet, we do eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially in season on my family’s farm. One of my favorite tricks for a when Joshua was teething was to give him a cold slice of apple (or a whole peeled apple). He liked the sweetness and it was hard enough that he could get tiny shreds off but not bite it into big chunks. Once he got teeth, I was much more cautions about it because I was worried he would be able to bite off pieces he might choke on.
Joshua, 6 months, teething on a cold apple slice
As Joshua got older and grew more teeth, we branched out into berries and other fruits and vegetables. Strawberries and raspberries are still among his favorite foods three years later! He loves to pull off the strawberry’s green leaves or pop raspberries onto the tips of his fingers.
Joshua, 15 months, enjoying some fresh strawberries from my family’s farm
Joshua, 17 months, devouring a peach
Some ideas for enjoying raw first foods
- Choose soft foods to start, and serve them however you feel most comfortable and your baby enjoys them: mashed, in large chunks, in tiny pieces, or whole. Great options are bananas, avocados, ripe berries, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, grapes, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, and summer squash. It’s a safer to slice round foods like grapes and cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters instead of serving them whole.
- There’s no need to introduce foods one at a time unless you’re concerned about a likelihood of food allergies, so get creative and serve a few different colors in each meal. Try contrasting the bright orange of a ripe peach with magenta raspberries and deep blue blueberries in a fruit salad.
- Be realistic with portion sizes. A small child may take only a few bites of food. Even if he only sucks on a slice of apple, he’s still getting some nutrition. Remember the saying “Food before one is just for fun.” So don’t worry if most of it misses his mouth.
- As your baby gets older and gets more teeth, move on to fruits and veggies that are a little tougher to chew, like snap peas, string beans, carrots, celery, lettuces, apples and pears. Peel them or not, depending on your child’s preference or your own.
- Visit a local farm or grow a garden. Children love to explore how food grows and I’ve found Joshua was more likely to try something if he picked it himself.
- Allow little ones to help in the kitchen. Joshua has always loved to watch me prepare supper each night and now he is excited to help me. His current favorite thing to do is slice up strawberries. In fact, if I’m making something that is a “grown up” type of recipe, I’ll often keep strawberries on hand in the fridge so I can give him something to keep him occupied. Tossing a salad is another fun job for toddlers or preschoolers.
What were your experiences with first foods for your children?
Please take a moment to visit the blogs of our other Festival of Food participants. The links in this list will be live by the end of the day, as participants are all in different time zones.
- Gone are the days where dairy-free, gluten-free deserts mean a fruit platter! This “raw” cheesecake from Luschka at Diary of a First Child is a wonderful introduction to raw food, and is pretty simple to make too! You can also find Luschka on Facebook.
- Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares Tropical Twist Kale Chips, a recipe guaranteed to take your taste buds to the tropics! Kid love these tangy treats too! You can also find Jennifer on Facebook.
- Sarah at Why Food Works discusses the importance of fat and enzymes – and offers up a recipe for a raw, 5-minute blender gazpacho that’s perfect for warmer weather. You can also find Sarah on Facebook.
- Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares tips for introducing Raw First Foods based on her experiences following baby-led weaning with her older son. You can also find Farmer’s Daughter on Facebook.
- Destany at They Are All of Me shows to how she made coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut flour in her own kitchen, using whole coconuts. You can also fine They Are All of Me on Facebook.
Stay connected! Be sure to “Like” the Festival of Food Carnival Facebook page.