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 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!
Cheese shredded from a hand grater (it is thicker and easier to grab this way)
Chicken (make sure it is extra soft)
Turkey (ground or breast/cutlet)
Crumbled Goat Cheese (or use as a spread)
Plain Pulled Pork (make sure it is extra soft)
Shreds of Pot Roast (make sure it is extra soft)
Tzatziki Sauce (may need to puree if there are large pieces of cucumber in it)
Plain or Buttered Bread
Town House Crackers
Fruit and Vegetable Breads (i.e. zucchini, banana, etc.)
Cooked Diced Apples
Cooked Diced Carrots (great to use pieces from soups)
Cooked Diced Celery
Pureed Soups (i.e. tomato, butternut squash)
Inside of Baked Potato
Mashed Sweet Potato
Broccoli (make sure this is extra soft)
Cauliflower (make sure this is extra soft)
Puree Fruits and use as a spread
Raspberries (many babies will find these too tart, but still give it a try)
Spinach (use in casseroles or foods you are mashing up)
Below, I am outlining some various meal plans, just to give you some ideas. Many of the meals would suit a toddler or big kid as well. Again, depending on how your child is managing foods, you may need to dice or mash foods more. I would encourage you to think of what you are eating and if you could modify it for your baby. Ideally, you want your baby (soon to be toddler) to be eating what you are eating. This may mean some planning ahead. Mash up or chop what you are eating into small pieces. Once you get into this frame of mind, you will be surprised to think of all the foods your baby can enjoy, too!
Also, I try to vary textures at each meal. Meaning, I want one kind of food that needs to be eaten from a spoon and at least one that is finger-fed. It doesn't always work out this way, but that's the goal, especially as they are transitioning off of all pureed foods.
I haven't provided snack suggestions in this post, as most babies aren't eating them.
- 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
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.