Munchkin is always happier when she’s feeding herself, and we made huge in-roads into the whole weaning adventure when I moved away from purees and started giving her whole pieces of food to pick up. Or which I could pop in her mouth when she was feeling lazy. Now she almost completely feeds herself her lunch and happily eats chunky meals, such as barley spelt and chicken, or quinoa and smoked mackerel for supper.
Here are some of the go-to meals I always rely on:
- Fruit cubes – just cubed fruit, all different types, we’re loving kiwis and peaches at the moment
- Eggy Bread – soak a piece of bread in some beaten egg with a twist of pepper, lightly fry till cooked through, then cut into small squares
- Porridge Fingers – this is from the brilliant Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook, though I added maple syrup to the recipe, otherwise it did rather err on the side of cardboardy. Soak normal oats in milk till they’ve absorbed the milk, then mix with some fruit, stir in maple syrup, press into a flat plastic dish, nuke it for 2 minutes, peel out and cut into strips
- Toast & Apricot Spread – naturally sweet, but with no added sugar, I bought some apricot spread in our local health shop, Munchkin loves it on sourdough or malted brown bread
- Avocado, pea and egg salad – chunks of avocado and egg, with cooked petit pois and a twist of pepper and some chopped chives. I can often feed this to her on a spoon, but she’s equally happy picking it off her tray
- Vegetable Omlette – this is a great way to use up any left over purees – anything works, just mix it with a bit of beaten egg, some breadcrumbs and fry it up. I use a tiny frying pan (12cm across) which makes a nice fat omlette, perfectly baby-sized. (They’re on sale for £2.99 at Aldi right now). Then cut it into bitesized squares. Can be reheated in microwave but Munchkin also loves hers cold.
- Goats cheese or houmous on rice cakes – a messy but popular option (!) – I use either the quinoa seeded rice cakes from Lidl, or the Organix mini ones. Goats cheese is so healthy and creamy, while houmous is a great way to get them used to more grown-up tastes.
- Savoury muffins – courgette and cheese are Munchkin’s favourite, but I also adapt the recipe to use tomatoes and mozarella, or carrot and feta. Recipe here.
- Spelt and chicken: I cook barley spelt in homemade chicken stock, then stir in peas, herbs and and chopped grilled chicken. Works well on a spoon but the spelt is also robust enough to be eaten with little hands.
- Pasta and salmon: baby pasta with flakes of salmon, Munchkin sort of makes her own mashed up mouthfuls of this, or hoovers it down if I give it to her on a spoon
- Fish Pie: I buy the fish pie mix from the supermarket (chunks of cod, salmon and smoked haddock) – poach it all, flake it up, and then freeze portion-sized amounts. I mix this with cubed potato and a white cheese sauce, as well as peas and carrots. Keep the white sauce pretty thick and it’s easy for little ones to make mouthfuls of it, and goes equally well on a spoon
- Raspberry and Apple cake – cook apples with cinnamon till soft, then make a basic sponge but add in a handful of sweet raspberries and the apple, leaving out the added sugar. A tasty cake, that is firm enough to be picked up by little fingers.
- Banana Bread -an obviously great options for little ones, I use lots of very overripe bananas, raisins, a dash of cinnamon and the juice and zest of an orange to give the cake sweetness without added sugar. Good recipe here.