Feeding Your Baby & Toddler

Feeding your baby or toddler is always an adventure - especially if you know how to make the perfect dish for your favorite child. It's not unusual for a kid to love something one day and shove it away the next, though, so it's a great idea to have a handful of recipes you can rotate through to keep things exciting for both of you.

Baby Food Recipes

Baby foods designed for infants between 4 and 8 months old (sometimes called Stage One foods) are thinly pureed and easy to digest. Babies older than 8 months who can tolerate texture can eat more than grain cereals, fruits and vegetables - including meats and a wider variety of grains.

Rice Cereal Recipe for Babies

  • 1/4 c. brown rice, powdered in a blender or food processor
  • 1 c. water

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, and add the rice powder while you stir constantly. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, whisking constantly. Mix in formula, milk or pureed fruit. Serve warm.

Oatmeal Cereal Recipe for Babies

  • 1/4 c. ground oats (not instant) ground in a blender or food processor
  • 1 c. water

Bring the water to a boil and add the ground oatmeal. Simmer for 10 minutes and whisk constantly. Add formula, milk or pureed fruit, and serve warm.

Pureed Apricot Recipe for Babies

  • 1 pound dried apricot
  • 1 c. white grape juice

Bring the liquid and the fruit to a boil together. Simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, but keep the liquid for the puree. Puree the apricots and add the liquid as necessary to thin the blend.

If you add too much liquid, add rice cereal to thicken the mixture again.

Banana Applesauce Recipe for Babies

Peel and cut apple slices. Place the slices into a pan with just enough water to cover them and boil until tender. Puree the apples. Mash a ripe banana in a bowl with a fork, and stir in the applesauce.

Fruits and Veggies You Can Puree for Babies Aged 4 to 8 Months

Pureeing large batches of foods for your baby and freezing them using freezer-friendly storage bowls can save you tons of time that you could be spending cooing and cuddling, so choose these fruits and veggies to prep, freeze and thaw (they don't require any additional ingredients; just steam the veggies or mash the fruits and they're ready):

  • Carrots
  • Green peas
  • Avocados
  • Butternut squash
  • Green beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mango
  • Papaya

Toddler Food Recipes

Toddlers can handle plenty of texture and flavors that are more dramatic than single fruits and veggies. Many parents choose to prepare and freeze toddler meals for on-the-go adventures or simply to save time. These easy-to-make toddler recipes can keep your child happy no matter what you're up to.

Brown Rice Risotto

  • 3 c. long grain brown rice
  • 8 c. warm vegetable stock
  • 1 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp. butter, cubed
  • 2 c. frozen peas
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a 3.5-quart baking dish, add rice and 7 cups of the vegetable stock. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir in the remaining broth, parmesan cheese, butter, salt, peas, and zucchini. Cover for 10 minutes before serving, or cool and freeze.

Chicken and Veggie Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1/2 finely minced red bell pepper
  • 1 finely minced carrot
  • 1 c. zucchini
  • 3 tbsp. pesto
  • 1/2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the vegetable mixture by adding the zucchini to a large bowl with the carrot and pepper. Add the pesto and salt. Stir.

Fold in the chicken and combine well.

Line a baking sheet with foil and drizzle with oil. Use a 1-inch scoop to make small meatballs. Space them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 13 minutes.

Super-Simple Pita Pizza Pockets

  • Whole wheat pita bread
  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cut the pita into wedges and stuff sauce and cheese inside. Heat at 325 degrees just until the cheese is melted.

With the right recipes - and the right storage containers - you can make sure your baby or toddler has a varied and exciting menu. You'll save yourself plenty of stress and maximize the time you can spend with your favorite child because you've pre-prepared all the foods he or she loves.

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