At 9 to 12 months old, your baby is starting to eat more, and trying to figure out what you can and cannot feed him can be overwhelming. For starters, you can start introducing him to protein like eggs, chicken, fish, and red meat (but sparingly). My son isn’t into meat, so I rely on beans, which is a good alternative source of protein.
You may also want to get your baby into “finger food” in the form of soft fruits like watermelon, banana and orange slices (avoid grapes for now since it can pose as a choking hazard). Mashed green peas and potatoes, steamed carrot sticks, broccoli, cheese sticks, and cooked pasta is fun, too!
The following isn’t on top of mind as baby food or as ingredient for a recipe, but they are surpisingly nutritious for the baby. Another plus: they help develop his taste buds.
Unsalted or organic butter for cooking (it actually contains the kind of healthy fat that is important for baby's brain development)
Plain yogurt which contains fats that help aid in a child’s development (avoid getting flavored yogurt since it may contain high sugar content)
I love pairing meat with couscous, which acts as a rice substitute (see my recipe below). Couscous is also very delicious when mixed with different herbs and spices (my personal favourite is cinnamon).
While it’s fun to watch our babies eat especially to see their reactions when they taste new food, there are certain types that I highly recommend you wait a little longer before making him try it. Nuts, strawberries, whole milk, and shellfish are well known allergens, and they can cause severe, even life-threatening, allergic reactions. Anytime after baby turns 1, you can slowly and sparingly introduce some of these food in small quantities.
Of course, processed food should obviously be off the table. In my experience (and most likely yours as well), I will discover that occasionally my husband or other family members will sneak him a bite of a french fry, cookie, or even some ice cream! As a holistic health coach, it’s shocking to see my child being fed such junk food. But when you see them enjoy their first lick of ice cream or try to figure out the best way to bite into that cookie, I will not deny that it is a heartwarming sight.
So I have taken on a more unrestricted approach when it comes to feeding children. I do enjoy allowing my son a small taste of everything I eat, as long as it doesn’t contain any allergens. It can be my roast chicken, a sip of fresh orange juice (no sugar), a bit of pasta, yes, french fries, and even cake. I just remember not to over load him with these food, or substitute french fries for a whole meal. Set limits to how much he can eat and only when it is unavoidable. Processed food, like chips in a bag, chocolate bars, and other candy should always be avoided, not only because they are unhealthy, but because they are potentially choking hazards.
That said, feeding your baby shouldn’t be a stressful, worrying experience. If he sees that you enjoy feeding him and you have fun with your own food, your baby will pick up on your energy, and it will make him more open to try new things. Enjoy the recipes below!
1. Couscous with carrots 50 grams chicken, minced 1/2 carrot, peeled and diced 100 grams of couscous 2 pinches of cinnamon
Make it! 1. Steam carrots. 2. Cook couscous in a rice cooker (1 cup of couscous to 1 and 1/4 cups of water). A little speedy tip is to use your rice cooker to cook the couscous, and steam the carrots at the same time using the steamer on top of the cooker. 3. Fry chicken in a little bit of olive oil or coconut oil. 4. Once cooked, add the carrots to the chicken and mix well. 5. Add two pinches of cinnamon to the couscous and mix well. Add half of the couscous to the chicken and carrots and mix well. Some parents will mash their chicken and carrots into the couscous mixture, but my son’s teeth came in quite early, and he does fine with very small whole pieces.
2. Chicken and apple 1/2 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 small onion, peeled and diced 1 small carrot, peeled and diced 100 ml low salt chicken stock or homemade chicken stock 100 grams chicken breast 1 small apple, cored, peeled and diced
Make it! 1. Heat olive oil in saucepan and fry onion until soft. 2. Add carrots, pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. 3. Add the chopped chicken and apple. Cook for 10 more minutes.4. Blend and purée or mash until desired consistency is achieved
3. Chicken carrot and mango Chicken breast 1 small carrot 1 small mango
Make it! 1. Steam chicken breast until cooked. Then dice. 2. Peel and finely chop carrot, and steam until tender. 3. Peel and remove bone from the mango and cut finely. 4. Blend and purée the chicken and half of the chopped fruit and vegetable until smooth.
4. Mango, banana, and quinoa 1 cup fresh mango, sliced 1/2 cup of fresh banana, sliced 1/2 cup quinoa 1 cup water
Make it ! 1. Cook quinoa in pan over stove top or rice cooker. 2. Add mango and banana to quinoa, and stir well3. Let it cool and add to blender. Blend until desired consistency.
5. Sweet potato, red bell pepper and apple 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped 1 red bell pepper, remove seeds and chopped 1 apple, cored and chopped
Make it! 1. Steam sweet potato for 10 minutes. 2. Add in red bell pepper and apple. Steam for another 10 minutes. 3. Add all ingredients into blender, and purée until desired consistency.
6. Carrots, broccoli, and cheese purée 300 grams sweet potato, peeled and chopped 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped 75 grams broccoli florets 4 tablespoons baby's milk 15 grams unsalted butter40 grams cheddar cheese
Make it! 1. Steam sweet potato, carrot, and broccoli florets. 2. Let it cool and blend sweet potato, carrot, broccoli. 3. Add in milk, butter and cheese. Blend well again
7. Spiced orange and carrot with rice 1/2 cup brown rice 1 1/2 cups of water 2 medium carrots, chopped Half of peeled large orange, remove seeds Pinch of cinnamon
Make it! 1. Cook rice over stove top or in rice cooker. 2. Steam carrots until tender. 3. Add carrots, orange and cinnamon into blender. Blend until desired consistency. 4. Add rice. Blend again.
A former beauty queen, Renee Rose Rodrigo is a US-certified holistic nutrition coach who is now living and working in the Philippines. Mom to 1-year-old Luca, she shares her lifestyle while discovering her roots at her blog Eurasian Rose.