Who says baby food can’t be delicious and healthy?

Coraline in the kitchen

My sweet granddaughter Coraline loves to eat. Can you tell? And her daddy Keegan loves to cook for her now that she can have solid foods. They’re a good team in the kitchen. In this picture, she’s “helping” him make some puréed veggies. You’ll find a recipe at the end of this post. (Yes, that’s a bottle of wine in the background. Neither cook is imbibing and it’s not an ingredient in any baby food recipe.)

“I’ve always really enjoyed cooking, especially for others,” Keegan told me. “Watching Coraline enjoy a home cooked meal brings us so much joy. I also think the whole process really connects her to the food she is eating. It starts with the grocery shopping. Coraline makes a trip to the store every Sunday morning where she is shown and handed all of the foods that go into her meals. I think it’s so important for people to understand where their food is coming from. It’s also significantly less expensive than purchasing baby food in jars or pouches.”

Stephanie and Coraline at the farm

Keegan and my daughter Stephanie are vegans and very conscious of the ingredients that go into the entire family’s meals. During growing season, they belong to a farm share program in their neighborhood where they get lots of healthy produce. Coraline made her first visit when she was just a few weeks old. Next summer I expect she’ll be running through the gardens on her own two feet.

Coraline enjoying tofu

At the moment, she’s discovered something she seems to like a lot. Tofu. They cut firm tofu into small cubes (less than 1/2-inch) and lay them out in front of her.

“It took a few days,” said Keegan, “but she eventually started to get the hang of it. Tofu is nice because it mashes up fairly quickly once Coraline starts chewing on it. I think we’ve both been surprised at how much she seems to enjoy it. Big smiles are common. I think she’s pretty proud of herself.”

If you want to put some smiles on your baby’s face, here’s a recipe that Keegan frequently makes. It comes from the cookbook “Baby Nosh: Plant-Based, Gluten-Free Goodness for Baby’s Food Sensitivities” written by Jennifer Browne and Tanya R. Loewen.

Coraline has shown some sensitivity to at least one ingredient in her cereal — oatmeal — so Keegan and Stephanie don’t want to take any chances.

Keegan feeding Coraline

Incredible Spinach Zucchini (6+)

After Keegan roasts and purées the veggies in this recipe he freezes the mixture in a tray similar to an ice cube tray. They pop out a frozen cube when it’s time to eat and let it thaw.

Open wide, Coraline!

Note from the authors: “This purée is fabulous for getting loads of veggies into your baby — it might just be our healthiest one! (Probably the lowest in naturally-occurring sugars.)”

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 small yam
  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh spinach

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cut yam and zucchini into one-inch chunks and place in baking dish.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in oven until tender, about 35 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Place cooked veggies and raw spinach in the blender and purée until even and smooth. Thin with breastmilk or unsweetened coconut milk if needed.

If you’ve got some tips on making healthy baby food, please share them with us in the comment section below.

(Isn’t my granddaughter the sweetest? I can’t get enough of her!)

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.