Super Easy Plant-based Weaning Foods to Make in a Jiffy!
Weaning a vegetarian baby in the early stages should be no different from weaning any other child, as first foods for all babies tend to be baby rice and meat-free purees of fruits. However as the baby grows you have to be sure that your child gets enough nutrients from plant-based diets.
|Your growing child needs adequate iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and zinc .For this, it is important that you include a variety of nutrient-rich foods when planning weaning foods for your baby. An ideal weaning food should be nutrient-rich, easy to make and store, and light on the baby’s stomach, and of course, the baby should find it tasty!
Here are some super foods which are hassle free to make and are good for weaning your baby:
1) Steamed and mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes: Potatoes are a perfect mashable and/or holdable food with lots of nutrients, healthy starches and fiber. They are rich source of of carbohydrates (17 -20 gm) and proteins (1.6-2gm) and provide much needed calories for the energetic baby.
2) Pureed/ mashed bananas with spoonful of ground flaxseed: Bananas are more than just calcium, they are a healthy source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and various antioxidants and phytonutrients. One medium sized banana contains 88 kilocalories and 22 grams of carbohydrates.
3) Homemade rice cereal: It can be mixed with breast milk or formula milk. Take the cooked mashed rice in a mixing bowl. Add warm milk, sugar and salt. You can add powdered nuts to enrich the nutritional value. This recipe can act as protein-rich weaning food for the growing baby.
4) Mashed and spiced lentils– Lentils are a good source of plant protein, fiber, iron, potassium and other nutrients. Curried and mashed lentils with spoonful of sugar and vegetable oil can make for a perfect meal. There are many varieties of lentils available, and each can be introduced in a phased manner for the baby to develop its tastes.
5) Thick soups- Soups made from boiled and pureed vegetables like spinach, green peas, pumpkin, and carrots are nutrient dense options as a weaning food. These are rich in vitamins and minerals, and have high antioxidant content. Soups are easy to eat and their differing colors are very appealing to the babies.
6) Pureed Peaches/Pears/ Apples/Avocados: After peeling and removing the seeds, cut the fruits into small pieces, steam, and make thick puree. Fruits are rich sources of carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins.
7) Cooked Non-Gluten Grains: Adding non-gluten grains like quinoa/long grain rice/amaranth/ millet really opens up more food choices in this stage. Many of these grains need to be moisten/soften with rice milk and a touch of oil like coconut or flax oil. Cooked grains can be combined with mashed avocado or pureed with fruit or veggies. These grains are powerhouses of carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals especially manganese and phosphorus.
8) Cooked kidney beans and chickpeas: The cooked kidney beans and chickpeas mixed with a spoonful of flax or oil, make for a protein-rich weaning food. They are rich in proteins, iron, calcium and potassium.
Some important things to remember as you introduce your baby to the weaning foods:
- Introduce foods one at a time, and after nursing.
- Add only one new food every 3 days, and watch for signs of allergies between each food introduced.
- Don’t be discouraged if the baby rejects a food at first.
- Reintroduce foods in a few days to a couple of months.
It is not uncommon for babies to have digestive difficulties, since the digestive system required couple of years to develop fully. Hence it is essential that we introduce right food at the right time.
Vegan for Life: Everything you need to know to be Healthy and Fit on a Plant Based Diet- Jack Norris and Virginia Messina