Baby food doesn’t have to be bland and boring! Here are 15 of my favorite unconventional first foods to give your baby! [Updated for baby led weaning]
“I don’t know what this is, but it stinks!” That is what my daycare provider’s husband said one day as he gave Andrew the homemade baby food I had packed for him.
The sweet potatoes he could get on board with, he said, but the asparagus and lentil combo seemed questionable to him.
I didn’t care. I knew Andrew liked it, and one of the many benefits of making my own baby food is that I can introduce some out-of-the-boring-box unconventional baby foods … like lentils and asparagus.
If you’re interested in making your own baby food (it’s not as hard as it sounds!), check out this list of some of the foods I give my babies that go beyond your average peas and carrots. They’re fun to make, fun to introduce, and highly nutritious for your baby!
As an added bonus, researchers have shown that the greater variety of foods you introduce early, the less likely they are to be picky eaters later. We have definitely seen that to be true with our three-year-old!
(As with all food introduction methods, it’s best to wait until baby is 6 months or older, and always follow the “four-day rule” to watch for signs of allergies or reactions.)
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Other Posts in the Baby Food Series
Before we dive in to my list, let me remind you of the first three posts in my baby food series. You can check them out now, if you haven’t already!
- Why We DON’T Start Solid Food Before Six Months
- Why I Love Making My Own Homemade Baby Food
- Is Rice Cereal Necessary? Why You Should Rethink It
** 2020 Update: With our third baby, we skipped the purees completely and used a baby led weaning approach. And we LOVED it!
However, even though that is what I would now recommend, most of the foods on this list could still be incorporated into a baby led weaning approach!
And here we go … 15 highly-nutritious, unconventional homemade baby foods you haven’t thought to try!
15 Unconventional Baby Foods
2. Black beans & chickpeas
Lentils and black beans may cause your baby gas at first. However, introducing them slowly but on a regular basis will gently condition their bodies to handle them. You can also try soaking them to make them easier on baby’s system.
3. Quinoa – fantastic way to thicken thinner veggies and fruits
Baby Led Weaning update: once your baby has mastered the pincer grip, give them dollops of cooked quinoa to pick up with their fingers (it sticks together better when it’s cool or cold). Or try a training spoon like this one!
4. Butternut Squash & Spaghetti Squash – I made a lot of spaghetti squash for Aidan, and it was one of his favorites!
6. Asparagus – (just be prepared for stinky diapers 😉 )
8. Blueberries – great in yogurt, in oatmeal, or with bananas!
Although parents are recommended to wait to give their babies cow’s milk until after 1 year of age, it is fine (even encouraged!) to give them yogurt as a first food.
There are two reasons for this: 1) Unlike whole cow’s milk, there is little risk of yogurt or cheese replacing breast milk/formula, and 2) the cultures in yogurt make it much easier for baby to digest.
Yogurt can still cause an allergic reaction in babies with a milk allergy, however, so watch closely for signs of a reaction.
Also, if you do feed your baby yogurt, make sure it is natural yogurt made from whole milk or greek yogurt with no sugar added!
12. Zucchini – Zucchini puree is extremely thin, so it is best partnered with other foods.
Baby Led Weaning Update: give them cooked zucchini in chunks or strips they can hold in their hands
13. Honeydew, Watermelon, and Cantaloupe – these are also very thin, so you will want to thicken the purees with oatmeal or quinoa, or wait until baby is old enough to eat them without pureeing.
15. Cottage Cheese (8 months or older)
(See yogurt for more information on why it is acceptable to feed your baby cheeses before 1 year of age.)
A FREE Resource for You
If you think making your own homemade baby food takes way too much time, or you’re struggling to make it work, my biggest piece of advice is this: feed your baby what you’re already cooking for the rest of the family, as much as possible.
That way you don’t have to do any extra planning or cooking. It only requires a minimal amount of extra effort to puree, mash, or assemble!
To help you get started, I have created a “Baby & Me” meal plan to show you how easy it is to incorporate homemade baby food into your family dinners.
This meal plan includes 7 dinner ideas and a bonus breakfast, complete with recipe links, that will make it simple and easy for you to plan a week’s worth of baby food.
To download the FREE Baby & Me meal plan, simply follow the link below!
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- Baby Led Weaning: Why We Skipped Purees the Third Time Around
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