Sweet potatoes are one of the first things we feed babies. They’re easy to cook and mash. They’re inexpensive, so suitable for most families’ grocery budgets. They’re on the sweeter side, meaning most babies will take a liking to sweet potatoes more so than they will broccoli or some other veggie. But most importantly, they’re filled with all sorts of vitamins and nutrients that your baby needs as they grow and develop. Vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene, fiber — they all make sweet potatoes a superfood for growing tots.
But did you know that, if you’re making your own homemade baby food, there’s no reason to stick to plain sweet potato puree only? You can combine your sweet potato puree with a range of other foods, for even more healthful additions to your child’s diet. Here are nine suggestions.
Want to make your own sweet potato baby food? Here’s how to go about it.
Take two sweet potatoes, peeled and diced, and add them to a pot of water. Boil the water on the stove until the sweet potatoes are soft enough that you can stab them with a fork and they begin breaking away. This should only take about half an hour, at most.
When the sweet potatoes are finished cooking, transfer them to a blender and puree until smooth. If needed, you can add a little bit of your cooking water to the mix, until you reach your desired consistency. Allow the mixture to cool and you’re done. It’s that easy.
So, what can you add to this mixture?
Add a bit of banana to your child’s sweet potato baby food for more sweet goodness. You do, of course, want to limit the amount of natural sugar your child is consuming, but if you find they’re not taking to the sweet potatoes on their own, the banana can make the mixture all the more tempting.
For an even greater hit of that beta-carotene, add some chopped carrots to the boiling water as you cook your sweet potatoes. Puree it all together for a delicious mixture that’s even healthier than plain sweet potatoes. If you want to add a little extra flavor, throw in a touch of ground thyme.
Just like with the banana, if you want your sweet potato mixture to be just a little sweeter and a little fruitier, in an effort to tempt your tot, add in some mango. The great thing about the mango is you don’t need to cook it, like the carrots, in order to add it to the mixture. Just peel and dice the mango before adding it to your blender, along with the cooked sweet potato.
For a flavorful fall mash that you might even like yourself, add a peeled and chopped apple to your boiling water as you cook your sweet potatoes. After you’re finished with the pureeing, add a pinch of cinnamon. (Really, we wouldn’t be surprised if you gave this one a try and loved it!)
If you’re getting really creative, you can even combine three fresh fruits and veggies into one puree, with apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
No apples on hand? You can swap the chopped apples for apple sauce.
Similar to the apple, if you want to add some pear to your baby’s sweet potatoes, just peel and chop the pear and then add it to the boiling water during the cooking process. The pear puree flavor works really well with carrots, too, so you can combine carrots, pears, and sweet potatoes into one homemade baby food.
Does your baby need a little more protein in their diet? If you’ve already introduced them to boiled chicken, you can add some of that boiled chicken to the sweet potato puree for a more savory option. Just make sure the chicken is fully cooked and then fully blended before feeding it to your baby.
Another savory option? Add cooked beans to the cooked sweet potato before pureeing. Once smooth, add in a smidgen of cumin, for a baby-approved dinner with a Mexican flair. You can use a variety of beans for this, including black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
If you’re struggling to get some greens into your baby, hide them in some sweet potato. Boil the spinach with your sweet potatoes during the last five minutes of cooking and then puree it all until smooth. Add a little pinch of nutmeg for extra flavor.
Want to get more greens in your baby while sneaking in vitamins A, B1, B6, C, and K? Mix peas with the sweet potato puree. Either cook fresh peas with the potatoes or use precooked peas (which are already soft) and add them to the blender when you puree the sweet potatoes. Add a dash of curry to make it more flavorful.
Raising children who love to explore with their taste buds and who aren’t picky eaters starts just about from birth. As soon as you begin feeding your infant “real” food, you’ll want to begin introducing them to a range of new and exciting flavors. Sweet potatoes can be an excellent vessel to do just that, whether you want to introduce a new spice or new fruit or veggie.
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