Berlin is just about 11 months now and her appetite has suddenly gone mad! It seems she is hungry all the time and as of recent has been throwing baby tantrums when I don’t share my food. She has quite the personality lately if you haven’t already figured out…
Its a bit difficult to cart around prepared meals for her all the time and since I’m trying to avoid introducing her to gluten, dairy, or processed foods (yet anyhow) I’ve been struggling with what snacks to feed her.
These mini muffins are a great gluten and dairy free alternative and offer lots of nutritional value through the chia flour and almond butter. As mentioned in previous posts, chia is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and soluble fiber. While almond butter contains a high level of protein.
Almond Butter Mini Muffins
2 cups chia flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup organic almond butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 drops of Stevia
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix all ingredients together, stir well getting out all the lumps
Spray mini muffin pan with olive oil spray and pour mix into muffin cups
Bake for about 25 minutes
These are perfect finger foods for older babies and can be stored in the freezer to keep their freshness. They are also great served with jam for toddlers (or yourself).
As a side note, I would test a dollop of almond butter on your baby’s skin prior to preparing this recipe. Simply place a small amount of almond butter on the back of the baby’s leg (or somewhere they can’t rub it off easily) and wait an hour. Check for rashes or skin discolorations, if there are none then its most likely your baby doesn’t have an intolerance to almonds. I would suggest you wait until your baby is at least 10 months of age and check with your pediatrician to get the green light.
I believe most parents are familiar with these mesh food feeders (the green contraption Berlin is munching on). If not I highly recommend them. We use the Munchkin brand, however there are plenty of others on the market as well. They are great when your baby is first starting solids as you can put any food; veggies, fruits, or meats into the net and your little one can suck it down without the risk of choking. They are also beneficial when the munchkin is teething (not that we would know yet), just add a piece of frozen fruit or even an ice cube to the feeder and let them teeth away.
Initially I was serving Berlin frozen fruits in the feeder-mango being her favorite, but I was worried about the high amount of sugar and the possibly of her gaining a preference for sweet fruits over savory vegetables. So I attempted these homemade fruit cubes and they came out great-and Berlin loves them. There are an endless amount of possibilities with them really, just pick up some fresh fruit, veggies and herbs at the farmers market (or store) and go to town. Summer is such a perfect time to make these as there are so many tasty fruits in season, plus they make for a refreshing treat.
Prior to preparing, make sure to rinse all the fruit and vegetables, then peel for easier digestion. I would lightly steam all the vegetables, however if your child is a bit older (approx 11 months and up) this is not entirely necessary. To begin, steam the zucchini and apple in one pot and the broccoli, kale and spinach in another-due to the high nitrate levels of these vegetables. When steaming vegetables with nitrates make sure to always dump the water after steaming and never use to blend with as nitrates are toxic to young babies.
Once the fruits and vegetables are lightly steamed, simply puree each combination in a blender (you may need to add some of the water from steaming the apples) and pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
This is a great way to introduce fresh herbs to your baby’s diet. Parsley is a good source of calcium and Vitamin C and helps the body’s defense mechanisms. Ginger strengthens immunity and aids in digestion-great for preventing gas and mint also aids in digestion by settling the stomach and providing a calming effect.
These combinations are also great made into smoothies or even popsicles for the toddlers. I personally love the blueberry, cucumber and mint combo, super refreshing on a hot day! As you can tell Berlin thoroughly enjoys them, hope your little one does as well.
At nine months I introduced fish into Berlin’s diet. Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and I believe provides the perfect nutrients for a growing baby. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to enhance cognitive development-actually making your baby smarter, improve vision and boost their immunity.
I strongly suggest getting your fish from a reputable source, your local butcher is great, however Whole Foods also has good fish. It’s best to introduce your baby to white fish first (flounder, cod and sole), these fish are easiest to digest and have low mercury levels. Avoid shark, tuna and mackerel for awhile due to their high mercury content. Before cooking, clean and fully debone fish, be careful to remove all bones as they are a choking hazard.
Coconut Cod Fish
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
1/4 pound cod
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 can of organic coconut milk
Heat olive oil in skillet and add onion and garlic, saute for 5 minutes. Add cod and spices, then coconut milk. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until fish flakes You can puree or serve as is with a side of veggies
This recipe was actually so tasty that I ended up eating half of it myself! Hope your baby (and you) enjoy.
I introduced chicken to Berlin’s diet at eight months. I battled with the idea of raising her vegan, but in the end decided to introduce only chicken and fish-mainly because Ryan and I still eat it and I feel our diets should be consistent. Chicken is obviously a good source of protein, and it is also high in iron. Implementing an iron rich diet to babies is very important six months and beyond. All infants have a storage of iron that lasts the first six months of life, then if they are exclusively breastfed they will need supplementation from iron rich foods. When serving chicken to your infant, I strongly suggest buying it from your local butcher, using only organic, local meats. This goes for all types of meat served to your baby.
Adzuki beans are also a great source of iron and protein and provide a good amount of vitamin B. These beans are particularly great legumes to feed your baby as they are easily digested and help prevent constipation.
Soak Adzuki beans overnight in purified water. Rinse and cook in 4 cups cold water, first bringing to a boil then simmering for approx 45 minutes
Adzuki Beans and Chicken
1 cup adzuki beans (rinsed and soaked)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1/4 of small red onion
pinch of cumin
pinch of coriander
handful of chopped fresh cilantro
1 large organic chicken breast
1 cup chopped granny smith apple
Steam chopped apple in just enough water to cover them, bring to a boil then simmer until soft. Reserve water for pureeing
Heat olive oil in medium skillet, add onion and garlic and saute for 5 mins, add spices. Add chicken and cook thoroughly, about 8-10 mins. Lastly add cilantro and cook for 1 minute
Add all ingredients; apples, beans and chicken mixture to a blender and puree. Use water from steaming apples, add more water for younger babies
Fill ice cube trays and freeze
Berlin insists on feeding herself, only nine months and she already doesn’t want my help-she is growing up so fast. Although I admire her strive for independence, it does make for one messy kitchen and baby!
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup cauliflower
1/2 cup broccoli
1/4 red and yellow bell peppers
1/2 cup yellow and green summer squash
1/2 cup homemade chicken stock
1 tablespoon parsley
Heat olive oil in skillet on medium-low, saute onion and garlic for 5 mins
Add all vegetables and continue to cook for 5-7 mins
Pour in chicken stock, cover and cook for 5 mins or until vegetables are tender
Add parsley and puree
Vegetable stir-fry is a perfect first food for your baby. You can add all types of seasonal veggies; pumpkin is great in the fall and when your little one is a bit older, tomatoes are a good option. If preparing for a younger baby, 4-7 months, I would omit the peppers as they can be harder to digest for some.
In place of the olive oil you can use coconut oil or add butter with the olive oil to add more healthy fats. When using chicken stock I strongly advise either making the stock on your own or buying from your local butcher.
Lastly, please remember to use organic vegetables when preparing meals for your baby, at the very least follow the dirty dozen rule when buying produce-and local is always best.
This meal can also be great served to the whole family, just throw over some brown rice or quinoa and add a squirt of lemon.
The importance of introducing a nutritious diet to your infant from the onset is a topic I’m deeply passionate about and one I could go on about for pages, however I will spare overloading you with too much information and just give you the facts (for now).
Most websites you read (and the majority of pediatricians) will suggest white rice cereal as one of the first foods to introduce to your six month old infant, which ironically provides little nutrition and is basically the same as eating refined white sugar (due to its high glycemic levels). You will also be bombarded by packaged and jarred baby foods (organic and non-organic) and assume they are healthy options to feed your little one. But unfortunately even the jarred baby foods with only two ingredients; water and fruit, are not as nutritious as giving your baby a piece of mashed organic fruit. Sadly the nutrition is sometimes stripped out and watered down and often made with low quality produce, and worse, the jarred options with several ingredients often contain fillers (such as modified starches) and added sugars. With that being said, the best food to introduce to your pure baby’s gut is local, organically grown fruit and vegetables and sustainable meats.
Think of your baby as having a “clean slate.” The choices you make now for your little one will impact their diet, immune system and tastebuds for the rest of their lives. So consider your options, perhaps make some of their food yourself (if you feel you are lacking time to make all their food by hand) or really do your research on the brands you are buying, know the facts and choose the best organic option with the highest calorie density and no fillers or added sugars.
I will post many of the recipes I make for Berlin, but please know your recipes don’t have to be complex. You can simply puree a portion of what you are cooking for the family (prior to adding salt). Keep in mind their food doesn’t have to be bland, you can add spices, garlic, and onion-gradually introducing them to all different flavors. You can also throw some veggies or fruits in the oven while cooking and roast and freeze for later. Keep it simple, low stress and enjoy this opportunity to evolve your baby’s tastebuds.
Indian Lentils with Veggies
1 cup red lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
Handful of spinach
1 cup chopped sweet potato
1/4 of small onion
Pinch of garlic
Pinch of ginger
Sort and rinse 1 cup red lentils (red lentils are the easiest to digest) and cook in 2 cups of water for approx 20 minutes.
Add olive oil to pan, saute garlic, ginger and onions for about one minute, add spinach for 30 seconds.
Steam sweet potatoes in enough water to just cover them for about 5-7 minutes or until soft. Save water for blending.
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender, add a small amount of water from the sweet potatoes and puree. You can do as thin or chunky as you like. For younger babies I like to add a bit more water, and for babies over eight months I suggest leaving a bit chunky so they can learn to chew.
Lastly, pour the mixture into an ice cube tray, level off with a spatula and freeze.
You can double or even triple the recipe so you have enough for a few weeks.
Voila! Baby approved!