If you plan to make your baby’s food yourself rather than rely on tinned and packet options, then here are some ideas about how to prepare some easy and nutritious meals for your little one.
You’ll likely have many concerns about what ingredients to use but remember that baby and toddler food doesn’t have to be bland and flavourless. You can experiment.
These recipes are all aimed at babies 8-9 months and above.
- Basic tomato sauce base
You can make this recipe in bulk and freeze it down. It can be used for a wide variety of dishes.
Peel and de-seed the tomatoes and chop roughly. You can add in some tinned tomatoes as well if you want. Sauté an onion, a clove of garlic and some fresh or dried herbs. Then blitz into the chopped tomato and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Try mashing an avocado into the sauce for an easy meal when you’re out and about.
- Chinese sweet and sour fish
Around 175g of white fish with the skin removed should be enough for 2 portions.
Microwave or grill the fish then flake.
Sauté half an onion and add in 5ml of light soy sauce, 15ml ketchup and 30ml of pineapple juice.
Simmer for a couple of minutes and add in the cooked fish – making sure there are no bones.
- Carrot and courgette couscous
These quantities will make around 3 portions.
Pour 175ml of boiling vegetable stock over 75g of quick-cook couscous. Stir and leave for about 6 minutes until the stock has been absorbed.
While you’re waiting, cook 25g of carrot and 25g of courgette (frozen peas are also a good option here). Dice the veg and stir into the couscous.
- Macaroni and cheese with veggies
These proportions will yield around 5 servings.
Cook 175g of small-sized pasta. Steam or boil 75g broccoli.
Gently warm 600ml milk with some onion and a bay leaf. Let this stand for a few minutes and then strain.
Add 2 tbs of plain flour to 25g butter and cook gently. Slowly add the milk and cook through. Stir in 100g grated cheese.
Add the pasta and broccoli and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Thinly slice a couple of tomatoes on top and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Bake at 180c for 20-30mins.
- Veggie funny face
Here’s our favourite although any similarly shaped veg can be substituted.
Eyes – slices of hard-boiled egg with a couple of raisins for the pupils
Nose – a slice of carrot
Mouth – a sliver of red pepper
Cheeks – a couple of slices of tomato
Hair – grated cheese
- Cheese and cherry tomato pudding
This is a really easy vegetarian dish that can be put together in minutes. For two portions:
Spread two slices of bread with butter and cut each slice into 9 pieces. Scatter half into a greased ovenproof dish and sprinkle with 30g of grated cheese, a little sliced onion and a couple of sliced cherry tomatoes.
Add another layer of bread and onion/tomato etc. Beat 2 eggs and 175ml milk. Add a pinch of mustard if desired and pour over the bread layers. Sprinkle on a little more grated cheese. Bake at 180c for 25-30 Mins.
- Chicken meatloaf
Blitz 225g of chicken thigh meat (about 4 thighs) in a food processor. Add 2 grated carrots, a small grated onion, 1 beaten egg and 50g breadcrumbs, adding a little seasoning and a sprinkling of herbs.
Bake in a small loaf tin at 180c for 30 minutes.
Makes about 4 portions which can be served sliced or mashed.
- Easy potato and braised cod
Fry half a chopped onion and some red pepper in oil. Add 150g chopped potato and chopped tomato – skinned and de-seeded. Simmer in 120ml chicken or veg stock until tender.
Pop a 175g fillet of cod (or other white fish) on top and pour over the rest of the stock. Simmer for 10 minutes or so until the fish flakes easily into the potato.
- Fruit crumble
Almost any fruit (apples, pear, rhubarb, peaches, apricots etc) will make a delicious crumble though you may want to partially cook the fruit with some water and sugar then purée it first for younger babies.
Use around 25g of sugar and 45ml water for 300g fruit (enough for 5 portions). Rub 50g butter into 80g flour then add 25g oats and 50g sugar. Pour the crumble mix over the fruit and bake for 35 minutes at 185C.
- Baked apples with dried fruit.
One apple will yield 2 portions.
Core the apple and score around the skin. Place the apple in an oven dish and stuff with around 15g of chopped dried fruit (raisins, apricots dates etc). Drizzle over some honey or sprinkle with some brown sugar.
Dot with a little butter and pour a little water into the dish. Bake for 35 mins at 190c. Remove the skin before serving.