So you’ve done single-ingredient purees and fruit & veggie purees for your little one, and now you’re ready to move on to more complex foods! After fruits and veggies only, I like to incorporate grains next. Things like pasta, quinoa, and rice are all great options! We like to stick with whole-grain pastas and brown rice, but you certainly shouldn’t feel bad about white pasta and rice! Whatever you normally eat in your house is perfectly ok for your tiny human! At this point, you can also start expanding beyond two ingredients at a time. As I’ve said before, simply try to pick ingredients that you think complement each other.
Depending on the age of your little one (and, of course, the advice of your pediatrician), you can probably also start leaving the peels on your fruits and stop steaming them before pureeing. Additionally, many babies are doing a good job of mashing at this stage, so completely pureeing may no longer be necessary. A few small chunks in the purees will help your little one learn to chew!
You’ll still want to steam the veggies until tender and of course cook the grains per the instructions. Reserve any cooking liquid to use when pureeing. I also found broth to be a great liquid to add if needed! I use a Ninja to puree. Fill the Ninja cup with the solid foods, then fill with liquid to cover the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of solids, depending on the desired consistency.
Pureeing or processing at this stage was definitely a learning curve for me! I wanted some chunks, so completely pureeing didn’t work in the Ninja. But, I also still wanted some puree to help our little guy transition. The pulse function worked for this a bit, but I actually ended up pureeing about 2/3 to 3/4 of the food and using the food processor for the rest. Then I mixed them together. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary by any means, but it’s a great way to get both chunks and puree together.
Once you have it at the desired consistency, transfer it into containers for freezing. I liked to freeze the food in Gerber bunch-a-bowls. I freeze them without lids by placing the bowls on a cookie sheet and setting the cookie sheet in the freezer. When they’re frozen solid, simply pop them out of the containers and into freezer bags. Be sure to label your bags with the contents and date. If stored in a non-frost-free freezer, use within 3 months. If stored in a frost-free freezer, use within 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before feeding. I simply put them back in the same Bunch-a-Bowls containers, put the lid on, and let them sit in the fridge overnight for the next day’s feedings.
Some of my little guy’s favorite grain, fruit, & veggie blends:
- Mac and cheese with carrots (I used milk for the needed liquid with this one)
- Quinoa, carrots, and berries (any kind)
- Pasta, broccoli, and pears
- Quinoa, apples, and green beans
- Brown rice, peas, and apples