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Baby Food Recipes: Healthy Ideas for Parents

Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS · Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Lhay Ann Boctoy · Updated Oct 21, 2021

    Baby Food Recipes: Healthy Ideas for Parents

    For the first few months of an infant’s life, breastmilk or formula milk will be his or her main source of nutrition. But as the baby grows and develops, so is the need for additional sources of vitamins and nutrients. What are good baby food recipes for your growing child?

    Breastmilk and formula milk is packed with all the nutrients your baby needs. But introducing baby food early will help in establishing good and nutritious eating habits. At the age of 6 months, your baby will be ready for complementary feeding.

    Signs that your Baby is Ready for Solid Foods

    Before introducing your child to baby food, you have to look for signs that your baby is ready to try food other than milk or formula. The signs that he or she is ready and is able to eat solid food includes:

  • He or she can sit upright with minimal or no support.
  • The baby can hold his or her head steady.
  • The baby is sucking his or her hands and toys and putting things near or inside the mouth.
  • Showing signs of interest for food (leaning forward or opening mouth whenever he or she sees food).
  • Clinically, complementary feeding starts when a baby is 6 months old. The basis for this is the “extra” caloric requirement needed by the infant around this time.

    Which baby food recipes should I serve first?

    Introducing baby food and preparing baby food recipes for your child does not necessarily mean you should discontinue breastmilk or formula feeding. Your baby will still depend on milk for nutrients.

    Breast milk is still the best and a priority. It doesn’t matter if the baby will just have a bite or two of solid foods, as long as they continue to drink milk. This will be no problem; this is why it is called “Complementary Feeding.”

    You should also ask your baby’s doctor if you can start adding solid food in your baby’s diet and appropriate baby food recipes. If the doctor agrees, here are the things to consider before serving the baby his or her first baby food:

    Baby food recipes and tips

    Pureed or mashed foods

    This is the best way to go at first. Then replace the type of food every 3 days.

    Single-ingredient meal

    As your baby’s first meal, single-ingredient food with no added salt or sugar is the good way to go. This will also help him or her familiarize with the flavor and texture of the food. Also, it will be easy to identify if your baby is allergic to that specific food. You can gradually add ingredients and combinations to introduce the baby to new flavors.

    Serve food with high levels of Iron and Zinc

    These nutrients found in single-grain foods and pureed liver are important for your baby’s first year. These baby food recipes are often easy to prepare. 

    Serve fruits and vegetables

    Fruits and vegetables are easy to prepare and important in your growing baby’s diet. Introducing these foods this early, specifically vegetables, will lower the chances of your child becoming a picky-eater. It is also rich in fiber and is easier to digest.

    Oats and cereal for baby

    Serving store-bought oats and cereal for baby is a debatable option for an infant’s first food. But studies now show that serving cereal for baby is still okay as long as it doesn’t have to be the sole first food and is served alongside meat, fruits and vegetables. Baby rice cereals are easy to prepare and most common brands are fortified with iron and zinc which is crucial for growth and development. You can mix it breastmilk or formula milk instead of water for a healthier version.

    Serve small portions of finely chopped finger foods

    As your child becomes accustomed to different foods and has established a meal routine, you can start serving finger foods by the age of 8-10 months, and finely chopped foods around 10 to 12 months.

    It’s normal for your baby to reject their first few servings of solid foods because the experience is still new to them.

    Try different varieties of food and don’t force the baby to eat. Consult your baby’s doctor for different options.

    Baby Weaning: Traditional vs Baby-Led

    Baby Food Recipes: How to prepare for mealtime

    Managing your baby’s mealtime can be overwhelming. The key is to be patient and prepare ahead of time. These are things you should consider when preparing your baby’s first meal:

    Find a comfortable spot to feed your baby

    Childcare is all about routine and familiarity. Choose a spot at your dining table and a chair where your child can sit comfortably and securely. Make it a permanent place for eating so that your child will associate that spot with mealtime.

    Also, it is important to show love and care while feeding your baby. Do this by establishing eye contact and making the meal experience for them a pleasurable one. No distractions (e.g. ipad/television) please!

    Encourage your child to explore

    Expect mealtimes to be messy. Let your baby pick up food with his or her hands. Make him wear a baby bib to protect his or her clothes and prepare a rug for easy clean-ups.

    Introduce your child to utensils

    Handing your baby a spoon while eating can encourage him or her to learn eating by him/herself.

    Start introducing baby cups for sips of water

    You can also start encouraging the baby to sip his or her milk from a cup. This will be a good practice to wean the baby from feeding bottles and learning to drink from a cup on their own.

    Puree your baby’s first meal to avoid choking hazards

    Your baby is accustomed to milk and will just swallow anything you put in his or her mouth like he/she does when drinking milk. Your baby may not have teeth yet and does not know how to chew the food. Mashing bits of fruits and vegetables will allow your baby to swallow easily. You can gradually add texture and chopped finger foods as your baby gets older.

    Start with little servings of food

    It’s normal to boil and mash too much baby food that your baby will not finish. One way to store baby food is to put it in clean jars or containers. Do not feed your baby directly from the jar of homemade or store-bought baby food. Saliva on the spoon can quickly spoil left-overs; serve the baby food in a small bowl or plate instead.

    Avoid power struggles. Do not force your baby to eat

    When your baby turns away or spits food, it’s a sign that he or she has had enough. Do not force your baby and try again the next day. Daily exposure to food may help encourage him or her to eat more eventually.

    Age-appropriate solid foods to include in your baby food recipes

    baby food recipes

    The following are foods that are safe for your baby, depending on his or her age, that you can include in your baby food recipes:

    Baby food recipes for 6-month-old

    • Cooked and ground, single-grained cereal for baby mixed with breastmilk or formula milk
    • Well-cooked and pureed vegetables
    • Well-cooked and pureed meat, poultry and beans
    • Mashed banana or avocado

    Baby food recipes for 9-month-old

    • Different kinds of vegetables, cut into small pieces. Avoid large, hard vegetables that can be a choking hazard.
    • Well-cooked and finely-chopped meat poultry and beans.
    • Sliced and quartered pieces of soft fruits like bananas and papayas.
    • Small pieces of cheese, pasta, dry cereals, and baby crackers.

    Baby food recipes for 1-year-old

    • Small, bite-size pieces of cooked vegetables
    • Well-cooked, soft and shredded meat, poultry and fish
    • Bite-size pieces of easy to chew fruits.
    • Small portions of food serve for the rest of the family.

    Foods you can’t serve

    Parents are advised to delay the introduction of potentially allergenic foods namely:

    • Egg
    • Peanuts or tree nuts
    • Fish or shellfish
    • Soy
    • Cow milk products
    • Wheat
    • Juice (do not serve until the age of 1)

    There are certain foods that are not appropriate for babies, which include:

    • Cow’s milk. It is not a good source of iron and can sometimes lead to iron deficiency. It doesn’t meet the baby’s nutritional needs.
    • Honey. Might contain harmful spores that could cause botulism, a serious illness.
    • Large chunks of food. As much as possible, avoid offering large chunks of food that is hard to chew because it could potentially cause choking. 

    Key Takeaways 

    The half year milestone of your child is a great time to encourage learning and exploration. This is the time to teach your baby that there are other types or ways to eat and enjoy your food together as a family.

    Seeing that your baby is getting the nutrition that he or she needs will make you feel fulfilled. It will also help in relieving some of your chores as your child slowly learns how to eat all by him/herself.

    Make every mealtime fun and enjoyable. Try to learn more baby food recipes. The image of a smiling baby with food stains on his or her clothes and face is proof of a happy childhood that will be your child’s foundation in making healthy choices in the future.

    Learn more about Baby Nutrition here. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS

    Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

    Written by Lhay Ann Boctoy · Updated Oct 21, 2021

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