Babies and toddlers needs are different from an adult’s – a low-fat, high fibre diet is good for adults but not appropriate for babies or young children as they need more fat and concentrated sources of calories and nutrients to fuel their rapid growth.
It isn’t a good idea to continue giving only fruit and vegetable purees for too long .
Babies also need nutrient dense foods like meat, chicken, cheese etc.. They also need iron which is found in red meat and essential fatty acids that are found in fish
Iron is very important for your baby’s mental and physical development. A baby is born with a store of iron that lasts for about 6 months. After this it is important that your baby gets the iron she needs from her diet. Iron in foods of animal origin like red meat or poultry are much better absorbed than iron in foods of plant origin like green vegetables or cereal. Combining meat with sweet root vegetables is appealing for babies and cooking it slowly gives it a delicious flavour and makes it very tender. If you are bringing your baby up on a vegetarian diet, lentils are a good source of iron and you can make delicious baby purees using lentils and vegetables.
It’s hard to find jars of puree containing fish, however fish is a fantastic food for babies. Oily fish like salmon is particularly important for the development of your baby’s brain, vision and nervous system. A baby’s brain triples in size in the first year and so its important to include oily fish in your baby’s diet from 6 months.
Here is one of my favourite ways to introduce fish.
COD WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHEESE SAUCE
This is a good puree for introducing your baby to fish. Cheese sauce and butternut squash go well together . You could use mature Cheddar instead of parmesan and you could use plaice or hake instead of cod. The puree has a fairly runny consistency so if you are making this for older babies you could reduce the amount of milk you add.
Suitable for Freezing
Suitable from 6 months
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes
30g onion, finely chopped
85g peeled and cubed butternut squash
15g plain flour
150 ml milk
50 ml vegetable stock
100g fillet of cod, skinned cut into small cubes
30g fresh grated parmesan
Steam the squash for about 7 minutes or until tender. Melt the butter and sauté the onion for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for one minute. Add the steamed squash and chunks of cod cook for 3 minutes. Blend to a puree and stir in the cheese.
MAKES 4 PORTIONS