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Test Kitchen Getting Started with Fun Baby Led Weaning Recipes

After reading all about Baby Led Weaning (BLW), you may appreciate some recipes to get you started. This is an eating method that should fit in with your menu plans and the ingredients you already have. Here are some ideas to help inspire you to create some tasty and delicious meal times. Then you can relax and let baby lead the way!

It’s Breakfast Time, What Can We Eat?

If you’re a family of pancake, banana and porridge lovers, these are perfect first foods. Pancakes and bananas are ideal finger foods that are soft textured and can be cut into chunky pieces.

It is still essential that babies get most of their nutrition from milk at the beginning. Porridge is ideal for mixing with your baby’s usual milk to make it more filling.

Maple Syrup Porridge Fingers

These can be enjoyed by everyone. They’re also great handed to the older kids before they rush out the door without their breakfast!

Ingredients – Makes 12 fingers

3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
250g jumbo oats
2 tbsp ground almonds
4 tbsp oat milk, formula, or almond milk
1 egg

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C and line or grease a baking tray, roughly 11”x8” in size.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan, until melted. Take off the heat.
  3. Stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, oats, almonds and milk and stir well to combine.
  4. Beat in the egg.
  5. Press into the baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into 12 fingers.

Fruit Toast and Fresh Fruit

Flavoured bagels, fruit toasts and a selection of soft fruits are a great choice for BLW. Babies love to suck and chew their fingers. Doing so helps them learn fine motor skills, ideal for holding food.

Try adding Greek or soya yoghurt to fresh raspberries and a splash of maple syrup.

Set yoghurts have a much better “sticking to a spoon” consistency… Which can help as your baby grows up and wants to get at that spoon themselves!

Lunch Time Fun

Lunchtime is another great opportunity to get going with Baby Led Weaning. Just make sure your baby isn’t too tired and over-hungry after a busy morning. Other than that, it’s a great time to try some of your family foods for the first time.

Without realising it, we eat a variety of textured foods ourselves and these can all be ideal for your baby. Soft and liquid items, such as leftover soups, stews and quiches are a great lunch. Always follow the correct procedures when dealing with leftovers.

Leftover pizza, meatballs, roasted vegetables and sausages are examples of more textured foods. They are perfect to get your baby grasping, sucking and chomping on. Just be mindful of salt content.

Meatball and Fingers Lunch

For this, you can use pre-made burgers or make your own in advance.

Instructions

  1. Make a basic tomato sauce and simmer over a medium heat.
  2. In a frying pan, heat a teaspoon of olive oil.
  3. Tear 4 pre-made burgers into small balls and cook over a high heat to brown all over.
  4. When brown and crispy, add the balls to the simmering sauce.
  5. Place a lid on the saucepan and leave over a low heat until the meatballs are cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, cook some large pasta shapes and vegetables.
  7. Serve the meatballs, sauce, vegetables and pasta to the whole family.

For lunch, heat up the sauce with the meatballs again and serve with chunky toast fingers.

Baby Smorgasbord

This is a real treat for your baby and a really fun way to use up leftovers! Everybody loves a large board of tasty food items.

Make up a platter and have a wonderful sharing experience with your baby. The interaction is a wonderful start to family meals.

What can go on the board? Why not try…

  • Soft vegetables and salad items
  • Breads, mini loaves, sausage pieces and chunks of cheese
  • Gherkins, fingers of ham and hard boiled eggs
  • Pieces of omelette
  • Hummus to dip fingers in
  • Breadsticks with cream cheese
  • Rice cakes
  • Falafels
  • Pieces of quiche,
  • Filled pasta shapes
  • Strips of chicken

Dinner Recipes For Us All

An evening meal time will be the best place for a family to catch up and share stories, so lay an extra place for your baby and offer some of the family meal.

Cauliflower Cheese with Pork Fillet and Kale

There’s no reason that you need to dumb down an evening meal to accommodate your little one. They’ll love being part of the family and eating the same food.

Make sure the pieces are small and the meal isn’t too hot, then they can chow down like everyone else.

Ingredients – serves 4

1 pork tenderloin (450-500g)
1 tsp salt, garlic powder, dried rosemary and dried oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets and lightly steamed
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp butter, any kind
600ml milk (any sort)
1 large handful of grated cheese
1 tsp salt
(Toasted buckwheat and pine nuts to serve, optional)
Kale to serve

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Rub a tablespoon of the oil over the pork. Sprinkle over the salt, garlic powder and dried herbs and rub into the tenderloin well.
  3. Heat the other tablespoon of oil in a large casserole dish. Add the pork (cut it in half if you need to) and brown over a high heat, turning to sear all the sides. Place the casserole dish in the oven and roast for 45-50 minutes.
  4. While that’s cooking, place the butter and flour in a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Stir it regularly to avoid any lumps. The sauce should thicken slowly until it has a creamy, silky texture. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes to ensure the flour taste is cooked out. Stir in the cheese until melted.
  5. Place the cauliflower in a shallow medium casserole dish. Pour over the cheese sauce and sprinkle over the buckwheat and nuts, if using. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes to brown on top.
  6. Steam the kale.
  7. When the pork is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. If not overcooked, pork is really soft and will make a great first meat for a baby to try. Slice into pieces for all the family.
  8. Add the cauliflower cheese and kale and eat immediately.

Falafel Waffle Bake

Apart from having a great name, this is always a huge hit with the whole family. Falafel balls are made with chickpeas, which are a great source of protein.

With a simple tomato sauce, this is a really delicious and nutritious dish.

It’s perfect for Baby Led Weaning as you can cut them into small chunks, or let your baby get stuck in with their hands!

Ingredients – serves 4

6-8 homemade waffles (not sugared ones) or savoury pancakes
12 falafels (homemade or bought)
1 quantity of homemade tomato sauce
2 handfuls of grated cheese
Pumpkin seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the waffles or pancakes in a shallow baking dish.
  3. Divide the falafels over the top.
  4. Pour over the tomato sauce and grated cheese and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until everything is heated through and the cheese is golden and bubbly.
  6. Serve immediately with a salad or vegetables.

Baby Led Weaning: Table Manners, Please!

Sharing mealtimes with your baby is important for so many reasons. Using Baby Led Weaning to introduce foods helps them develop great table manners. Listening to mealtime family conversations will help their speech and language flourish, too. It also helps with behaviour and social development.

Baby Led Weaning is also great to discourage fussy eating. And it’s brilliant for using up leftovers! It can also encourage other family members to be present at the table for mealtimes.

With the right patience, and a fairly high tolerance to mess, this can be a great deal of fun.

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