It is time to talk about the first real-deal table foods you should give your baby. Most of the ideas I am sharing are for babies 10 months and up, but it really depends on how well your baby or toddler is chewing up foods. You could be introducing these a little earlier or later. Also, as the parent, you know what’s best, go with what makes you comfortable! If you have questions or concerns about choking and foods that are safe to introduce, then discuss them with your child’s pediatrician.
I am going to do this a little backwards and give you food ideas and some meal plans in this post and then follow-up soon in a second post on exactly how to begin making this transition (update: click here and here for those follow up posts). To be honest, I wanted to have a resource for myself, since Isaac (10 months old) is right in the middle of this transition and I am struggling to make sure he has enough variety. I do have to admit that Isaac isn’t (hmm, need to choose my words carefully here,) the best eater. He chews and manages food very well, but unless it’s not extremely palatable to him he isn’t very interested. Of course, this is very frustrating! To make sure I optimize my chances at success (aka: he actually eats something other than Gerber Puffs or Cheerios), I need a go to list with all of my ideas (plus some new ones) so I am not scrambling in the craziness of meal prep. I will be going into more details on troubleshooting in the follow-up post, as well. Anyways, I am hoping some of you can benefit from this list, too!
I am organizing the list into three categories: fruits/vegetables, starches/carbs, and proteins. When putting together meals, plan for at least one food in each of these three groups. Also, keep in mind that if you mash up a casserole or lasagna all three categories may be covered in one shot. For example with the lasagna: spaghetti sauce= protein, noodles= carbs, and meat or cheese= protein.
- Make sure everything you give your baby for the first time is closely monitored. Chew a small piece in your mouth first and pay attention to how hard it is to chew. If it doesn’t break down easily and quickly, it probably isn’t a good choice.
- Stay calm if your baby coughs or chokes a little, it will happen. If you freak out they will freak out. If they are coughing or choking on a food frequently, stop giving it to them and re-introduce at a later date.
- Cut food into small pieces so they can chew it easily. Cut beans in half and make sure meats are soft and moist. Help your baby with foods that are difficult to pick up, don’t make the pieces bigger until you are sure they can manage them.
- This is a list of table foods, not finger foods, although many of them are. For example, spread hummus on crackers or serve cottage cheese.
- I nearly always use whole wheat or whole grain for noodles, crackers, and bread. I would urge you to set the trend now and your child will not know any different. Okay, I won’t lecture on the benefits of whole grains, well not right now, anyways!
*Links are added throughout the post to Amazon so you can see what some of these foods actually are- I know not everyone has had quinoa before! There are also links to recipes!
- English muffin with cream cheese and chopped strawberries
- Cottage cheese (depending on age may need to chop coarsely in food processor), diced pear, and graham crackers
- Diced hard-boiled egg, diced toast with butter, and applesauce
- Cream Of Wheat with pureed berries and plain whole milk yogurt (yes, mix this all together)
- Pumpkin waffles and diced banana
- Tortilla folded in half (quesadilla style) with a little melted cheese inside and mashed avocado
- No sugar added applesauce, zucchini bread, and shredded mozzarella pieces
- Tomato soup with black beans and blueberry cornbread
- Hummus spread on pita with diced fruit salad (or whatever fruit you have on hand)
- Shreds of pot roast in tzatziki sauce and pureed mango-banana sauce (blend pieces of mango and banana together, leaving it a little chunky).
- Ricotta or cottage cheese, spaghetti sauce, spinach, and whole wheat noodles chopped coarsely through a blender or food processor. Also, give some pieces of noodles to finger feed
- Tilapia, steamed and slightly overcooked broccoli, and polenta
- Meatballs, barley, and diced carrots
- Mashed sweet potatoes, tender turkey breast or cutlet, and pieces of buttered bread
- Canned salmon (I always use wild Alaskan), quinoa, and diced apples/butternut squash
If you have more ideas, please share them! I would love some new ideas, too! FYI, I used an idea or two from Parents and Babycenter.
Follow along on Pinterest, I am always pinning new, fun, and easy meal ideas. Don’t miss any new content by signing up for email notifications (look for the box in the right sidebar)! I have lots more food ideas and developmental info for your babe!
If you are just beginning the process of moving to table foods see How to Transition Your Baby to Table Foods and How to Wean from the Bottle.