As a mom, making multiple meals can feel like a foregone conclusion. (Blame baby’s lack of teeth!) But the good news is you don’t have to manage dual grocery lists—baby can eat your favorite foods, and you can benefit from incorporating your munchkin’s first bites into your diet.
Avocados are high in fat, but don’t fear: It’s the cholesterol-lowering kind and it’s just what baby’s growing brain needs (fat makes up two-thirds of our think tanks). Plus, the green wonders deliver 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin E and folic acid.
Baby bite: Avocado mash (first food/4 to 6 months)
Mash 1⁄2 avocado with applesauce, yogurt, bananas or pureed fruit.
Mommy meal: Easy peasy guacamole (serves 2)
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Cut the avocado in half, remove pit and scoop out the flesh. Mash the avocado in a medium bowl. Add salsa, lime and salt and stir well. Garnish with cilantro.
Apples get all the glory, yet pears offer more potassium and fiber (4.5 grams per pear!). Plus they’re a good source of vitamin C.
Baby bite: Pear puree (first food/4 to 6 months)
No need to cook pears—ripe fruit can be pureed, peels and all (though steaming slightly can make them easier to digest). Pair with cinnamon, applesauce, avocados, bananas, yogurt or sweet potatoes.
Mommy meal: Pear & brie quesadillas (serves 2)
4 8-inch flour tortillas
4 ounces Brie, rind removed and thinly sliced
1 ripe pear, cored and thinly sliced
Heat a 10-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Place a tortilla on the pan and top evenly with half the Brie slices, half the pear slices and another tortilla. Cook for 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut into wedges and serve warm.
Much more than a pie filling, pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects your peepers and may help combat certain types of cancer.
Baby bite: Pumpkin puree (first food/4 to 6 months)
Save yourself the time of roasting and pureeing your own pumpkins by opening a can instead—just be sure it’s pure pumpkin and not sugar-filled pie mix. Pair with rice cereal, yogurt, applesauce, bananas or blueberries.
Mommy meal: Pumpkin spice granola (serves 9)
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1⁄2 cupwheat germ
2⁄3 cup cashews (or your favorite nut)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3⁄4 cup canned pumpkin
1⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon grape-seed oil
1⁄2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons honey (heated for 20 seconds in microwave)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine oats, wheat germ, cashews, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, brown sugar and oil. Pour pumpkin mixture into oat mixture and stir until combined. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden, stirring every 10 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes then toss with raisins and honey. Cool completely.
This gluten-free super-grain not only serves up potassium, magnesium and zinc, it’s also a complete source of protein, meaning it includes all nine essential amino acids.
Baby bite: Quinoa combo (second stage/ 8 months)
Combine 1⁄2 cup cooked quinoa with mashed bananas, applesauce, yogurt, tofu, fruit purée or veggie purée.
Mommy meal: Date & pistachio quinoa salad (serves 4)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1⁄4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
4 dates, seeded and finely chopped
1⁄4 cup pistachio pieces 8 fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1⁄4 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Fluff and let cool. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, onion, red pepper, dates, pistachio pieces and mint. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss. Allow to sit at room temperature for one hour before serving.
Lentils pack a seriously nutritious punch. Filled with fiber, protein and iron—not to mention folate and potassium—they’re a great way to introduce babies to protein (we’re talking 18 grams per cooked cup), plus a heart-smart eat for parents.
Baby bite: Lentil medley (second stage/ 8 months)
Lentils range from green to red; any color will do. Before cooking lentils, pick out stones or other debris and rinse thoroughly. Cook according to package directions and combine with puréed carrots or sweet potatoes, applesauce, turmeric, tofu or brown rice.
Mommy meal: Lentil veggie soup (serves 4)
2 strips bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
1⁄2 cup chopped celery
1⁄2 cup chopped carrot
4 cups vegetable broth (or 32-ounce carton)
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup dried lentils
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Cook bacon in a large frying pan over medium until crisp and brown. Let cool and cut into small pieces. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add celery and carrot and cook until vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Add bacon, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, lentils, cumin and turmeric and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender (about 35 minutes), stirring occasionally. Stir in fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper.