Baby’s first solid foods are simple delights. This step may be a new learning process for you and your child, or you may be looking for some different baby food recipes. We’ve gathered seven of our favourite first foods for children that you can try cooking at home.

Did you know that most babies begin pureed meals around six months of age? If your baby can sit up with little support and they’re developing good head movement, such as turning their head away, it might be time for your infant’s first solid foods.

Up until now, your child’s meals will have consisted of breastmilk or formula, which you should continue to give them. The pureed baby recipes below allow for the option of adding breastmilk or formula to soften the mixture.

While every child develops differently, introducing babies to solid foods helps build their jaw muscles. It also helps babies develop an interest in different tastes and textures. Let them take their time, play with their food and get used to it.

A child’s first family meals will add to the nutrition they get from breastmilk or formula. Foods high in iron should be among your baby’s first solid foods. If you’re a first-time mum or an experienced mum with a young baby, our easy pureed recipes are a must-add to your culinary skills.

We share seven pureed and nutritious basic baby foods for first-time eaters:

  1. Roasted spinach puree (high in iron).
  2. Roasted carrot puree.
  3. Sweet potato puree.
  4. Red-split lentils.
  5. Meat puree.
  6. Banana mash.
  7. Simple pear puree.

Serve all purees at room temperature or cool. This method will avoid burning your baby’s mouth.

Child being comforted and ready to try baby's first foods.

1. For baby’s first foods, try baked spinach puree

Introduce your baby to iron-rich foods to help prevent iron deficiency. The order of your baby’s first solid foods doesn’t matter, so long as iron-rich foods are among the first. We’re starting with baked spinach.

The Victorian Government’s Healthy Eating Advisory Service recommends not blending different foods for first-time tasters. Introduce vegetables and fruits separately so that babies can experience their individual taste and textures.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh spinach (60 grams)

Steps to make:

  1. Wash your fresh spinach leaves.
  2. Wrap the spinach in aluminium foil.
  3. Bake the spinach in a 200C/180C degree (fan/gas) oven for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Once wilted, blend it to the required consistency.
  5. Add breastmilk, formula or boiled water to moisten the puree as desired.

Spinach is rich in non-heme iron, which isn’t absorbed as easily. However, there is natural sugar in spinach that aids absorption.

A baby holds a carrot from the garden ready to become a pureed basic baby food.

2. Roasted carrot puree, a basic baby food

This recipe follows the same steps as our spinach recipe. Start by feeding your child basic baby food.

Ingredients:

  • Sliced or diced carrot (60 grams)

Steps to make:

  1. Wrap the cut carrot in aluminium foil.
  2. Bake the carrot in a  200C/180C degree (fan/gas) oven for about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Once softened, blend it to the required consistency.
  4. Add breastmilk, formula or boiled water to moisten the puree as desired.

You could also steam these vegetables or use a slow cooker. Boiling and mashing are unadvised for some types of vegetables as it reduces the nutritional value.

When making a batch of carrot or spinach puree for your baby’s first solid foods, freeze the extra puree in ice cube containers for up to five days.

When your baby is used to the texture and taste of simple pureed foods, blend vegetables and fruit for variety. Carrot and spinach go well together. Carrots are high in vitamin A which is good for your baby’s immune system. When eaten with spinach, the natural sugars help with iron absorption.

Child enjoys garden to the plate experiences great for homegrown child's first family meals.

3. Homegrown sweet potato for a child’s first family meals

Sweet potatoes, also called yams, are easy to grow in the garden. They’re also best baked or roasted rather than boiled and mashed.  There’s a lot of research into the sweet potato, particularly as it has vitamin C and B6, essential for health and disease prevention.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Average-medium sweet potatoes (about 230g).

Steps to make:

  1. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes.
  2. Cut into smaller pieces and place on a baking tray.
  3. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until you can pierce them with a fork.
  4. Allow the sweet potato to cool, then puree in your favourite blender.
  5. Add breastmilk, formula or boiled water to moisten if desired.

You can store excess pureed sweet potatoes in ice cube containers for up to five days. If your child is ready for variety, sweet potatoes go well with our next puree dish, which can be grown in pots for a garden to the table experience.

4. Red lentil puree

Red lentils are possibly the easiest type of lentil to puree for your baby’s first solid foods. Red lentils break down quicker than other lentils and become thick and creamy. Check their use-by date as cooking times may vary depending on their age.

Ingredients:

  • ½ a cup of red split lentils.

Steps to make:

  • Wash lentils in cold water to remove debris or dried up lentils.
  • Boil for about 15-20 minutes or pressure cook for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Once softened, puree to the required consistency.
  • Add breastmilk, formula or boiled water to moisten if desired.

Red split lentils have a nutty flavour. You can also puree other lentils, although some nutritionists recommended holding off on harder lentils like chickpeas until 8 months.
Baby playing and ready for pureed meat an infant's first solid foods.

5. Pureed meat, perfect for your infant’s first solid foods

Babies can eat beef, fish and chicken purees. While we often think of beef when it comes to iron, there are several iron-rich fish. Different parts of a chicken also have high iron content, like chicken livers. Our recipe below covers beef.

In the past, pureed beef was not recommended for a baby’s first solid foods, but recent research has changed this advice. Avoid additives like salt, peanuts and soy. Our beef recipe calls for one essential ingredient: beef.

Ingredients:

  • About 100 grams of sirloin steak.*

Steps to make:

  1. Wrap the meat in foil.
  2. Roast the meat in a 180C oven for about 25-30 minutes for medium-done steak.
  3. Allow to cool a little, then puree in your favourite blender.
  4. Add breastmilk, formula or boiled water to moisten if needed.

*You can also use beef eye fillet steak, porterhouse steak or lean mince. Always choose a lean cut with a bit of fat. A tiny amount of fat is acceptable as this will add to the meat’s tenderness.

The trick with meat is to puree it as soon as possible. Don’t store it in the fridge and leave it until the next day as it will dry out. Unlike our vegetable and fruit purees, store meat for up to three days in the freezer instead of five.

While you may want to season or sear meat before pureeing, give your child a taste of salt and oil-free meat for baby’s first solid foods. Learning with your baby what they like and what foods they respond well to, is also an excellent way to observe any adverse reactions and allergies.

Older children enjoying fruit including banana a great choice for baby's first solid foods.

6. Fruit for baby’s first solid foods: Pureed banana

Children love bananas no matter their age. When introducing a baby’s first solid foods, soft, ripe bananas are one of the easiest foods to start with as it requires no special heating or whirring in the blender.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana

Cooking method:

  1. Peel the banana’s skin off.
  2. Puree or mash the banana up with a fork until it’s the right consistency for your baby.
  3. Add breastmilk or formula to make it smoother.

Bananas come packed with nutrients. Cavendish or Lady Finger bananas are great for this recipe. They’re also high in fibre and can keep your baby feeling full for longer. Plus, bananas are easy to carry around if you’re out and about.

7. Baby pear puree

Pears are also filled with wholesome nutrients. You can prepare pears for your baby’s first solid foods by boiling, roasting or steaming. Roasting or steaming is best for the nutrients.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pears (any type)

Cooking method:

  1. Wash and peel your pears.
  2. Cut the pear into smaller pieces removing the core.
  3. If your pear is not ripe, wrap it in foil to bake in the oven or steam to soften.
  4. Whiz the pieces into a blender until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add a little breastmilk or formula if your pear puree needs more moisture.

Once your baby gets the taste for different types of fruits like pear, banana, apple, plum and strawberries, try mixing them for a pureed fruit salad. You can also add pureed pear to other purees like sweet potato or beef.

When to increase the texture of homemade baby food

Don’t be discouraged if your baby doesn’t like eating your puree recipes at first. Be prepared for mess and try another time. Let them play with a few different spoonfuls of pureed meals. They could mush them together for a new sensory experience.

With your baby’s first solid foods, avoid adding extra flavours. Steer clear of oils, butter and cow milk and take the sugar, honey, salt, garlic and other spices off the table. Honey can give young children botulism. You should avoid giving your child honey until they’re at least 12 months old.

Once your child is eating smooth foods, you can begin to increase the texture. By eight months of age, your child can start having finger foods, like chopped raw soft fruits, cooked grains and rice.

Always observe your baby eating or drinking when they’re awake and alert, and never force them to eat.

Child holding Petit ELJ's nutritious children's meals.

Get nutritious children’s meals with Petit Early Learning Journey

We take children’s nutrition very seriously in our centres. Aside from our delicious menus designed by an expert in nutritional medicine, we also hold cookery classes for our children. Plus, we encourage food experiences from the garden to the table.

At Petit ELJ, our healthy nutrition program looks at much more than just eating and mealtimes. Talk to your nearest centre to learn how we approach meals, healthy habits and creating enriched learning experiences for children.