March 6th, 2013
Maybe you’ve been reading for a while. Maybe you’ve scoured my archive madly looking for baby food inspiration. Either way, you may have picked up that I don’t believe in baby food. I just believe in good, healthy food for everyone in the family.
See, two beautiful things happen when you cook one meal with everyone’s nutritional needs in mind. First, you end up eating healthier yourself. You’ll find it’s worth skipping the extra pat of butter and lowering the salt, for example, for your little one. Also, kiddo will eat more adventurously because, well, baby purees, plain steamed carrots and pasta with butter do not a grown up meal make. If you start with what you like, baby’s going to get an amazing crash course in flavor.
How you include baby in family meals—whether with purees or by handing food over baby led weaning style—is up to you. As far as I’m concerned, you’re doing your job as long as you’re moving baby along on flavor and texture in a developmentally appropriate way. But going the puree route comes with challenges. In particular, making them takes extra time and it’s hard to think of that texture as fitting with grown up food—but not impossible. Here’s how you make purees work for you and your schedule.
The easiest, simplest, never-need-to-think way to make baby purees work in your busy, grown up life is to make them out of whatever it is you’re eating for dinner. Seriously: do not be afraid. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics says that there is no proven benefit to holding off on any foods, even high allergen foods, beyond 4-6 months old. Read up on how to introduce high allergen foods, speak to your pediatrician, use reason, cook with healthy whole foods and be done: plate for you, whiz in a mini food prep for tyke.
If you just can’t seem to make that work or you find yourself supplementing with purees made especially for baby, focus on ingredients and flavor combinations that you like, too. Making carrots for your little one? Use this recipe for Coconut Coriander Carrot puree and make enough for you to serve the grown ups this good stuff under quick seared scallops or fish fillets. Want your cutie pie to try cauliflower? Make a simple Cauliflower Puree for her and eat the leftovers with a little extra browned butter or a dollop of creme fraiche. It’s perfection alongside roasted chicken.
You get the point.
Here are 5 other quick ideas for how to use baby purees to feed grown ups:
1. As an oatmeal mix-in:
Vanilla Banana Figs FTW!
2. As a yogurt mix-in:
My favorite is plain Greek yogurt with Cardamom Pear Almond Plum puree.
3. As a dip for pita or tortilla chips:
This works with nearly any simple legume puree like this Edamame Hummus.
5. To make a simple soup:
This Coconut Chickpea Soup with Lemongrass was developed as a soup recipe, but you’ll notice that it’s basically a puree blended with broth. Thin any simple veggie puree with veg or chicken broth in a pot set over medium heat and, voila, a simple soup. Add salt and, if you’re inspired, another liquid like coconut milk or fresh lemon juice. You can also up the ante by serving your simple soup with a dollop of creme fraiche or crunchy fried shallots.