If you’re anything like me, you are always looking for quick and easy meals to prepare that are packed full of nutrients for your little ones. When I first introduced solids to my first baby, I opted for baby-led weaning (See below for more on this approach).
I loved the idea that this approach encouraged babies to self-feed and explore a variety of foods from an early age. It also means that they are being exposed to, and eating family foods right from the get go, no need to prepare different meals, which is a great time saver.
Being a mum on the go, as most of us are these days, means you need to be prepared and have snacks ready to go. Snacks that can be easily prepared and popped into a lunchbox or snack cup (this cup is a game changer!) that your littles can easily eat themselves (especially in the pram or supermarket trolley)...as mess-free as possible!
Here are 10 nutritious snacks that you can make ahead, store in the fridge or freezer, that are ready to grab and go!
These muffins have no added sugar, making them perfect for babies, toddlers and kids. A soft spongy style muffin with apple, banana and carrot.
Tasty soft bars made with just four simple ingredients; oats, banana, berries and chia seeds.
These sweet potato cookies are soft with no added sugar, making them a perfect snack or breakfast idea.
Apple pancakes are great finger food for breakfast or as a snack. Easy, delicious and nutritious.
These spinach muffins are a delicious healthy snack that make it easier to sneak more greens into your child. They are gluten-free & kid friendly!
These zucchini tots are a simple vegetable-based recipe that is perfect as a snack, in lunch boxes and for baby-led weaning.
Made with only 4 ingredients this savoury snack is perfect for kids of all ages.
A finger food for babies from 6 months. With only 3 ingredients, they are dairy and gluten free.
These veggie-loaded chicken bites aren't just easy to make, but they are super delicious! Family-friendly, gluten free, Paleo and Whole30.
These sweet potato lentil baby fritters are a fantastic high iron first food for baby-led weaning, especially for vegetarian and vegan babies.
What is Baby-Led Weaning?
Baby-led weaning is a popular approach to introducing solid foods to babies. It involves allowing babies to self-feed and explore a variety of foods from an early age, rather than spoon-feeding them purees. If you're considering baby-led weaning, here's what you need to know about when to start, signs to look for when baby is ready and how to prepare and cut food.
When to start?
Babies can start solid foods at around 6+ months of age. Before this age, babies are typically not developmentally ready to handle solid foods and may not be able to sit up or control their head and neck movements. Waiting until 6+ months also allows babies to continue getting the important nutrients they need from breastmilk or formula.
Signs to look for when baby is ready.
When your baby is ready to start solid foods, they will show some signs of readiness. These signs include:
- Sitting up: Your baby should be able to sit up with support and control their head and neck movements.
- Loss of tongue-thrust reflex: This reflex helps babies push food out of their mouths to prevent choking. When it disappears, babies are better able to move food to the back of their mouths and swallow it.
- Interest in food: Your baby may start showing an interest in the food you're eating and may try to grab it or put it in their mouth.
How to start.
When you're ready to start baby-led weaning, it's important to start with soft, easy-to-eat foods that are cut into small pieces. Some good first foods include:
- Soft fruits and vegetables, like ripe avocado or steamed sweet potato
- Soft cooked meats, like chicken or fish
- Soft cooked grains, like quinoa or rice
To start, offer your baby a small piece of food and let them explore it with their hands and mouth. It's important to supervise your baby closely and never leave them alone while they're eating. Over time, you can offer a variety of different foods and textures to help your baby develop their taste preferences and learn how to chew and swallow.
How to prepare and cut food.
When preparing food for baby-led weaning, it's important to choose nutrient-dense foods that are easy for babies to eat and digest. Here are some tips for preparing and cutting food:
- Cook food until it's soft and easy to mash with a fork or cut into small pieces that are easy for your baby to pick up and chew.
- Cut food into finger-sized pieces: When cutting food, aim for pieces that are about the size and shape of your finger. This makes it easier for your baby to pick up and hold onto the food.
- Avoid choking hazards: Avoid foods that are hard, round, or small enough to fit into your baby's airway. This includes foods like nuts, popcorn, and grapes.
- Offer a variety of textures: As your baby becomes more comfortable with eating, start offering foods with different textures. This can help them develop their chewing and swallowing skills and prevent them from becoming picky eaters.
Baby-led weaning can be a great way to introduce your baby to solid foods and help them develop their eating skills. By waiting until your baby is developmentally ready, watching for signs of readiness, starting with soft, easy-to-eat foods, and preparing and cutting food appropriately, you can help ensure a positive and safe experience for your little one.
Always remember to supervise your baby closely while they're eating and consult with your health practitioner if you have any concerns or questions.