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Age-Appropriate Holiday Meals for Your Baby
Allow your baby to partake in the holiday festivities with these easy-to-make meals.
Sharing the fabulous flavors of the holidays with your new baby is an experience that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Socializing is part of the fun too, so reserve a seat (high chair) near the dining room table for your baby to join in the celebration.
Even though your baby may not be eating all types of table food yet, there are plenty of choices that can make a festive and delicious holiday dinner. For your baby’s holiday dinner, stick with foods that you have already introduced—introducing new foods could cause tummy aches or an allergic reaction, which is something you don’t want to deal with during this fun time.
Here are a few age-appropriate ideas to serve up a holiday dinner for your baby.
About 6 Months
Some common food purees that have a holiday flavor your baby will enjoy are things like sweet potatoes, squash (including pumpkin squash), green peas, apples and pears.
If you want to get creative and give your baby something special, make them an Apple or Pumpkin Cutie Pie as follows:
* For the "crust," combine a crushed graham cracker with oatmeal cereal and breast milk (or formula) in a small bowl.
* For the filling, combine pumpkin puree (from scratch or 100% pumpkin from the can) and/or apple puree (for an Apple Cutie Pie, add a dash of cinnamon). Spoon this mixture over the cereal crust and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Ages 7-12 Months
At this age your baby can start to partake in more traditional foods the holidays have to offer, such as turkey and roast beef. It’s important to note that when making these next two meals to use either broth or soup stock instead of gravy to puree your baby’s meals. Gravy tends to be high in fat and salt.
If you want to puree some turkey or roast beef for your baby, simply chop it up, transfer it to the blender and add either chicken broth to the turkey or beef broth to the roast beef and blend. If you’re looking to minimize kitchen cleanup, simply chop your turkey or roast beef into bit-sized finger foods.
If you have a little extra time and want to make a hearty meal for your little one, try a yummy casserole by combining vegetables, fruits and meat together to make a one-dish meal. Depending on your baby’s feeding skills, choose the appropriate texture for these meals: smooth puree, lumpy (fork mashed) or finger foods.
If you’re making a turkey casserole, try either one of these three simple combinations:
* Peas, mashed potatoes and turkey
* Apples, mashed sweet potatoes and turkey
* Broccoli, cauliflower and turkey
For roast beef, try one of these three combinations:
* Green beans, mashed potatoes and roast beef
* Corn, green beans and roast beef
* Asparagus, mashed potatoes and roast beef
More Than 12 Months
If your baby has been introduced to most foods and is ready to enjoy the feast like a big kid, here are few tips to help make sure there is no whining at the table.
1. Take a quick taste of each food before putting on your child’s plate and make the determination if the flavor is appropriate for your child’s palate.
2. Avoid foods that may contain ingredients that are choking hazards.
3. If your child has not been introduced to high-allergen foods such as nuts or eggs, ask the chef about the ingredients of foods in advance of the meal.
How you can plan your baby’s meal either at home or on the road.
If the holiday dinner is at your house, you can prepare your little ones meal right alongside the rest of the family’s. Simply remove foods you would like for your baby before adding seasonings, butter and salt. Then make the appropriate texture (i.e. puree or mash) for your baby.
If you are the guest of another family, you can bring the fruits and vegetable for your baby in a small tote bag. Simply add the main course, such as turkey or roast beef before the meal begins. If you plan to puree the main course, bring a small amount of broth (chicken of beef) with you in the tote bag.
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the "So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week" and "So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years." Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com to sign up for her newsletter and her blog feed.
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