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Simple and Inexpensive Starter Foods For Your Baby

Simple and Inexpensive Starter Foods For Your Baby

Once the big question of when your baby should begin to eat solid foods is answered, the next decision is a fun one: What should you feed her?

Rice cereal is the classic first solid food, but many Circle of Moms members get creative as soon as their babies seem ready. Here are some of our members' best ideas for making first foods fun.

Making Your Own Baby Food

Don't be intimidated by the idea of making your own baby food. It's actually the simplest cooking you will ever do, and it allows you control over the amount of fat, sugar, and salt in your child's meals. Pre-made baby food is convenient, but it's more expensive than homemade choices, and there's less variety and more wasteful  packaging.

Many moms use a blender for pureeing cooked foods, but you really don't need fancy equipment as it's just as easy to mash them up with a fork, points out Circle of Moms member Melissa T. (For step-by-step instructions on making your own baby food, see 4 Simple Money-Saving Tips for Healthy, DIY Baby Food.) You can prepare these simple purees just for your baby and introduce new foods one at a time to monitor for allergic reactions, but if allergies are not an issue, an even easier approach is to blend or mash up whatever the rest of her family is eating. For her son, Angela A. purees pasta primavera or chicken with veggies — just about anything that's soft enough for him to chew.


Experimenting with New Flavors

Melissa T. points out that babies like variety as much as adults do. Try a range of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack foods so that your child is exposed to many flavors. Sara D., who started her baby on small, easily grasped and chewed foods like chunked avocado, sweet potato, and banana, eventually added steamed squash, pears, and apples — anything she would eat herself, but prepped for someone without many teeth. And when your baby has graduated to foods that require more chewing, consider scrambled eggs, steamed green beans, or even wheat toast.

My own son, now 3, loved fried rice as a baby, and I found it very easy to tailor it to his palate. I just cooked some rice, steamed some vegetables, and combined them in a saute pan with a little olive oil and onion to sweeten it, plus minced chicken, turkey, or scrambled egg for protein. I still make this for him now, and he adds a splash of soy sauce on his own.

The idea behind experimenting like this is that you're helping your baby get ready to join the rest of the family in eating fresh, healthy foods. As Circle of Moms member Vicki O. points out, if your baby is already eating a version of your family's regular meals, you won't have to force a second transition later to "grown-up" food.

Finally, it's important to remember that your baby might make a funny face when introduced to a new flavor. This doesn't necessarily mean she doesn't like it. Keep offering it; with repetition many babies warm to new tastes.

(For more tips on first foods, see Annabel Karmel's A Guide to First Foods: How to Relax and Enjoy the Mess.)

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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