Given that I have a ten month old baby and a food blog, it's only natural that friends have been asking me for recipes for their babies! I'll be honest though, I'm still figuring this whole weaning thing out myself. We've been doing baby led weaning (BLW) for nearly 4 months now, and it's been... interesting shall we say?! The BLW approach is where you don't puree any foods. None. Zilch. Nada. You simply give them food as you would eat it. Bubba then has to figure out how to eat said food! As you can imagine this takes quite a bit longer than the pureeing approach, but the theory is that it is a natural learning process. So just as they learn to roll over, walk and talk, they also learn to chew and swallow food, and eventually feed themselves. Sounds good huh? Well I thought so.
BLW theorists say that this approach is better for the digestive system as it happens at a pace that is right for that particular child, and I really loved this concept as it takes into account that every child is different. This approach also worked for me as pureeing was an additional step that I just didn't feel I had time for on top of studying to become a Health Coach, being a mum, managing our loft conversion, keeping the house in order, etc! However, BLW is far from being an easy ride!
I have had a constant stream of "but why not just give him purees?" from my friends and family, and whilst hubby has been supportive, he's also questioned it a number of times. Even though I was quoting all the benefits from the BLW books, more than anything it just felt right in my gut. And that is something I always have to follow!
So, 4 months in and Jasper finally swallows his food. For a long time it was just chewing and spitting out! That said he still has days where he doesn't eat much! Breakfast is usually a winner, but lunch and dinner can be hit and miss. I put that down to his digestive system not being ready for 3 meals a day just yet, as at just 10 months old he's still pretty small! I also trust that like all babies, he instinctively knows how much food, and how much milk he needs, and so follow his cues for when he's had enough and don't force or trick him into eating more.
For breakfast Jasper loves porridge with almond milk, banana and cinnamon (and I always throw in a mix of maca powder, hemp seeds, flaxseed and chia seeds), as well as bite sized shredded wheat with whole organic milk heated up in the microwave.
His current lunch favourite is mixed veg omelette with a slice of soy and linseed toast, and will have slices of cucumber and pepper on the side most days! Then dinner is anything from lamb curry to salmon, potato and steamed veg or grilled chicken salad (although he's not too great with leaves just yet!)
The last few days however the smoothies have come out to play. Poor Jasper's had a rotten cold and has gone completely off his food. If in doubt a smoothie always does the job though!
When I've made smoothies before he's really enjoyed them, but what better time to squeeze a load of nutrients into him when his immune system is fighting yet another cold?!
My rule of thumb for a tasty and nutritious smoothie is 80% veg, 20% fruit. Some smoothies are so full of fruit that yes they taste great, but they're just adding more sugar than is needed to your diet. I for one don't need any more sugar than I already have! These two smoothies use the 80/ 20 rule (well, perhaps the green one more so than the berry one!) and went down a treat with the little man, so I hope you and your little ones enjoy them too :)
I'll also be posting some more baby friendly recipes soon so watch this space!
Berry Coconut Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1/2 frozen banana
- A handful of frozen blueberries
- A handful of frozen strawberries
- 4-5 dates (I use deglet nour - they're just as tasty and much cheaper than medjool dates)
- 1 tsp maca powder
- 2 tbsp almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
- 1 tbsp of coconut butter
Green Smoothie Surprise
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 broccoli stalk (or florets - approx 60-70g)
- Handful frozen melon (or substitute for pear, pineapple, apple or other relatively colourless fruit!)
- 2 large handfuls of spinach (approx 100g)
- 1/4 cucumber
- 1 tsp maca powder
- Handful cashews
- 1-2 inches of ginger, peeled
As with any smoothie, don't worry if you don't have all the ingredients, or want to replace something because you don't like it or don't have it in the fridge/ cupboard. Throw caution to the wind and chuck whatever you feel like in there! What's the worst that can happen?!
What smoothies do you make? Let me know as I'd love to try them out, especially now the sun's making an appearance a little more regularly :)
Abi Manders is a mum, health coach, yoga teacher, business woman and complete and utter foodie. In a previous life Abi ran global corporate events, operated at a million miles an hour and used yoga to find balance in this crazy world we live in. Since having her little boy and studying with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, her journey has veered towards a healthier way of living. Abi believes we all have the power to heal ourselves, and that one step at a time we can make small changes to our diets and lifestyle that will have big effects on our health and happiness.