Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving!
Whether your little one is just starting out on purees, or you have an older baby mastering finger foods, Thanksgiving is one of the best times of year for introducing flavor to your child’s ever-growing palate!
As adults we are fortunate to enjoy all the flavors and spices of the season: Delicious roasted turkey rubbed with savory herb butter. Sage, rosemary and thyme play prominent roles in flavoring stuffing and seasonal root vegetables. Pumpkin pies and sweets are amped up with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
We often think we have to create separate and bland versions of these dishes for baby because they are too young for such tastes.
But I assure you they are not!
As you know, my mission is to encourage parents to feed their babies diverse foods and seasonings from the very first bites. Including your baby in the family meal (and Thanksgiving is the ultimate family meal!), flavors and all, is a great start to raising an adventurous eater.
So how can we bring these flavors to our babies and toddlers?
- For brand new eaters (6 months and up), puree parts of the Thanksgiving meal. Roasted root vegetables, like parsnip or carrots, are easily turned into the right consistency with the help of a little stock or water. Flavor them with whatever you usually use—rosemary, sage, cumin, even a bit of mild curry powder. Let your little one explore, in puree form, what you are feeding the adults.
- For older babies, roasted or steamed root vegetables are the perfect finger food. Already soft and tender, you simply have to cut the veggies into bite-size pieces and serve.
- Other ideas? Sweet potato puree with a pinch of baby-friendly ground cinnamon and/or nutmeg, good for all ages.
- Mashed potatoes with herbed garlic butter. Children and potatoes usually go together well!
- Thanksgiving soups, ranging from brothy to creamy are perfect to serve to babies. Butternut squash soup, in particular, is a favorite. It’s a flavorful, yet mild vegetable and can be spiced with everything from onion and garlic to nutmeg and sage.
- Pumpkin puree with cinnamon, clove or pumpkin pie spice mix is always a nice and easy way to introduce flavors.
- Stuffing. Yes, your baby can have some, but probably best to make sure your little one is ready for finger foods. Also, watch out for large chunks of nuts or raisins or other items that might be too big for baby. Otherwise stuffing is a treat!
- Cranberry Applesauce. Whisk a little cranberry sauce into your regular applesauce for a sweet and tasty dessert.
Thanksgiving is about loved ones, food and family. And a good meal can bring us all together. Include your little butterball in all of the foodie festivities!
From Ela’s highchair to your little one’s, bon appetit and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!