Baby’s first holiday season is an exciting time, and it’s one where parents want to make sure baby has a good experience. For children in the six to twelve month range, one of the fun parts of these events can be trying out the delicious foods being served.
My son Noah was just shy of eight-months-old at Thanksgiving and will be almost nine-months-old at Christmas, and meal times are one of his favorite times of the day. He loves sitting at the table with the family and often tries to grab a bite or two from Mommy’s and Daddy’s plates with his little fingers.
But we have to be careful not to serve our little one something that may contain an allergen, and this is particularly difficult to control at potluck holiday meals. One easy way to avoid it is by adapting common holiday recipes for things that will likely be a part of the meal anyway. Below is a sample holiday menu for a child who has started solids but isn’t quite ready to dive into the full array of table foods.
Remember, it’s recommended that breast milk or formula be a baby’s primary source of nutrition until one year, and trying a lot of new foods at once should be avoided. Stick with items your baby has already tried with no issues, and if you think he or she might not like the spices in the recipes below, simply leave them out.
Baby’s First Chicken/Hen/Turkey
- ½ cup of turkey, from family meal
- 2 tbsp of low-sodium turkey broth (see directions)
Ever made your own turkey broth? It’s pretty easy if you’ve already baked a turkey for your family dinner, and it’s a great way to control how much salt is going into your little one’s meal. Simply take the carcass of the bird, along with the neckbone and giblets, and submerge in a large pot of water. Add a bit of salt, chopped celery and onion for flavor. Boil until water assumes turkey flavor, adding more salt if necessary.Once the broth is made, combine it with the turkey meat you’ve set aside for your child, adding just a bit of sage. Puree, and add more broth as needed to reach the desired consistency. You can also mix the turkey puree with the sweet potato and apple puree below.
Baby’s First Stuffing
It’s hard to imagine Thanksgiving without stuffing or dressing, but many recipes contain potential allergens like nuts or berries. Stick with a simpler recipe such as the one below.
- 2 slices white bread, lightly toasted
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp celery, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp turkey broth (see description above for how to make it)
- Garlic powder
Let toasted bread sit out for 24 hours, then crumble to crumbs and add to small ramekin. Sautee the onion and celery in the butter, then mix with turkey broth and bread crumbs. Add a dash of sage and garlic powder, and salt if necessary. Bake at 325 until the top is brown and crisp.
Baby’s First Mashed “Potatoes”
Many parents balk at the idea of giving their babies starchy white potatoes at such an early age, so why not offer them cauliflower as an alternative?
- ½ cup cauliflower
- 2 tbsp whole milk yogurt
- 2 tbsp cheddar cheese
- Salt to taste
Simply steam the cauliflower until tender, almost to the point of being mushy. Puree it with the yogurt, cheddar and salt to get a great imitation of the creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes the adults are enjoying.
Baby’s First Green Bean Casserole
- ½ cup green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tbsp onions, diced
- 2 tbsp butter
Blanch green beans with onions, adding salt to the water. Drain and sauté in butter for additional flavor. Puree, or serve in bite-sized portion for babies already eating finger foods.
Baby’s First Pumpkin Pie
- ½ cup reserved pumpkin puree from the adults’ pie prep
- ¼ cup whole milk plain yogurt
Mix pumpkin puree with yogurt and add a dash of cinnamon and cloves. If consistency is too thick, mix in water as needed. Another option to sweeten this recipe up is to add a bit of maple syrup if you feel comfortable giving it to your little one.
Baby’s First Potato Latkes
Looking for a Hanukkah-specific recipe for your little one? Potato latkes are one of the most well-known Hanukkah-related foods, and with a few small adjustments, they are one your baby can enjoy, too.
- 1 russet or Yukon Gold potato, grated
- 2 tbsp grated onion
- 1 egg white (yolks are not recommended until after baby is a year old)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 425F.
Mix grated onions and potatoes and remove excess moisture by patting with a paper towel. Stir in the egg. In a small bowl, mix together the baking powder, salt and flour, then add that to the potato and onion mixture. Separate the mixture into cakes, making them a size you feel your baby would be able to handle. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 425. Turn them over and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until deep gold on both sides. If your child is not ready for finger foods, simply puree the finished latke with water until it reaches the desired consistency.