Complete Guide to Baby-Led Weaning: 10 Starter Foods
These 10 foods are nutrient-dense, easy to make, and a tasty first food for your baby.
- 1/2 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into pieces the size of 2 adult fingers (I used white sweet potatoes for this recipe)
- 1 4-6 ounce wild salmon
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1-2 cups large broccoli florets
Oven Roasted Chicken Drumstick
- 3 chicken drumsticks
- 1 tsp olive oil
- pinch paprika, cumin or mild chili powder
- 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled
- 1-2 tbsp plain whole fat yogurt,
- 1 cup green beans, trimmed
Avocado with Peel (6+ months): Cut a slice of avocado with the peel on. Using a sharp knife, cut the peel 1/3-1/2 the way up the side of the avocado until you get to the flesh. Do not cut all the way through the avocado slice. Take the peel off and serve the avocado slice to your baby with them holding the peel that is still on the avocado.
Slices (8+ months): peel the avocado and then cut into 1/4 inch slices.
Chunks (10+ months): peel the avocado and then cut into small chunks.
Handheld Banana (6+ months): Cut a 4-5 inch section of banana off from the top. Cut off the peel, leaving roughly 1-2 inches of exposed banana. Do not cut all the way through the banana, just the peel. Then you can remove the peel away and hand the stem of the banana to your baby.
Strips (6-7+ months): Peel half of a banana and using your fingernails, break the banana into chunks along the inside center of the banana. It should easily break into strips. This method makes the banana not so slippery for your baby to pick up.
Steamed Sweet Potatoes
Strips (6+ months) or Small Pieces (9+ months): In a medium saucepan, bring 2″ of water to a boil over medium heat. Place the strips of sweet potato into a steamer basket, cover, and cook for 9-11 minutes or until tender. Let cool slightly. If serving for older babies, you can use the strips into small "pea" size pieces.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil or olive oil. Place the salmon on the baking sheet and rub the top of the salmon with olive oil. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cooked through but not dry. Let cool slightly. Take off the skin.
Whole Piece (6+ months) or Salmon Flakes (9+ months): you can serve your baby a strip of salmon the size of two adult fingers or you can flake off small pieces of the salmon and serve to babies 9 months and older.
Big Florets (6+ months), Sliced Florets (8+ months) or Small Pieces (9+ months): In a medium saucepan, bring 2″ of water to a boil over medium heat. Place the florets into a steamer basket, cover, and cook for 7-10 minutes or until tender. Let cool slightly. Serve whole for babies 6-8 months, slice the florets for babies 8+ months or chop into small pieces for babies 9+ months.
Oven Roasted Chicken Drumstick
Drumsticks (6+ months): Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a cooking spray. Lay chicken on the baking sheet and run with olive oil and spice (if using). Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, flip the chicken and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F. Let cool slightly. Remove skin and any hard parts of the chicken.
Spoon Loaded (6+ months): place the yogurt in a baby bowl and then preload a baby spoon with the yogurt and hand the spoon to baby.
On Tray (6+ months): place a tablespoon or two of yogurt directly on your baby's high chair tray and then have them explore and eat the yogurt at their own pace.
Chunks (6+ months): In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add in 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats along with any spices you are using. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook the oats for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until all of the water is gone and the oats are soft. Let cool slightly then spoon some heaps of oats onto a plate or small baking sheet and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes until cool. This will make the oats a little stiffer and easier for your baby to pick up.
Steamed Green Beans
Whole (6+ months) or Small Pieces (9+ months): In a medium saucepan, bring 2″ of water to a boil over medium heat. Place the green beans into a steamer basket, cover, and cook for 9-11 minutes or until tender. Let cool slightly. If serving for older babies, you can cut the green beans into small "pea" size pieces.
Age: 6 months and up
Yield: 1-2 servings for baby
Storage: the avocado and banana should be tossed after the meal. Any leftovers of the salmon, sweet potato, green beans, yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, broccoli or chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.