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Simple Banana Sticks with a Touch of Cinnamon (V)

INDIAN BABY FOOD RECIPE – FINGER FOOD

Banana Sticks with Cinnamon

When Aaliyah started showing an interest in picking up food and trying to feed herself, I decided that the finger foods I was going to offer her were going to taste interesting, as I was already incorporating aromatic spices within her meals.

The recipes didn’t have to be complicated…. in fact, the simpler the better as I didn’t want to overwhelm her little taste buds. I just wanted to enhance the taste of basic fruit and vegetables she had already become accustomed to eating; helping her adapt to new flavours. So as banana is already a ripe, squishy fruit and was one of Aaliyah’s favourite fruits (in fact, it still is), I decided to pair this fruit with the deliciously sweet, aromatic spice cinnamon.

Cinnamon not only adds an extra layer of scrumptiousness to the banana, it is loaded with health benefits for baby. Great for aiding digestion and strengthening the immune system to help keep cold and flu viruses at bay. The banana too is potassium-rich – vital for heart function and for keeping internal organs in excellent working condition. So this is an incredibly nutritious finger food for babies.

Just be sure you have already introduced aromatic spices into your little one’s diet using the ‘four day rule’ as you would have done when you first introduced fruit and vegetables into her diet. As mentioned, Aaliyah was already accustomed to hints of aromatic spices within her stage 2 meals so was completely fine when I offered this finger food to her.

One thing to be aware of though….

BANANAS ARE SLIPPEREY!

Adding a slight complication when your little one tries to pick up the banana with her cute, podgy little fingers. There were numerous occasions when the banana simply slipped out from between Aaliyah’s fingers. So I tried cutting the banana into different shapes to see if some shapes were easier to pick up than others. I tried sliced banana and cubed banana, but the shape that worked best for my little one was a stick shape, as there was more of the smooth outer flesh for her to hold onto.

Give different shapes a try though as all babies are different so what didn’t work for my little one might work for your little one instead. However, if all fails, just hand your little one a spoon and let her pick up the banana pieces with that instead.

Total preparation and cooking time – 2 mins
Makes 1 serving

½ banana – cut into 2” sticks (or chunks)
Tiny sprinkle of ground cinnamon

Cut the banana into four sticks by cutting the banana in half lengthways and then in half lengthways again.

Lay the banana sticks on a plate and lightly sprinkle over some cinnamon with your fingers. Serve to baby on a colourful plastic plate and let the mess fun begin!

Mini Masala Omelettes (V)

FLAVOURSOME INDIAN RECIPE SUITABLE FOR KIDS 1 YEAR PLUS

mini masala omelette_hi res

A delicious kid’s snack that quickly curbs hunger pangs and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, so it’s great as an after school snack or quick meal during the Easter holidays.

The omelettes are protein-rich – excellent for children’s growth and development, and the delicious aroma from the garam masala combined with the cute, teeny weeny size, makes this extremely appealing to kids.

Aaliyah (now three years old) LOVES these omelettes, so I like to serve them in as many different ways as possible. Her favourite is her masala omelettes served with a side of warmed low salt and low sugar baked beans (also superfoods). She likes to dip them in the bean juice, take a bite and thank me for cooking it for her after every mouthful. It’s lovely to hear her say that seeing as she has no qualms about telling me if she thinks something is ‘disgusting’!

Here are a few other ways you can serve these masala omelettes:

  1. Omelette Toasty – served between two slices of toast
  2. Omelette Roti Roll – served Asian style rolled in a chapatti
  3. A ‘Garden’ Omelette – served with fresh vegetables or salad

Although Aaliyah is three years old now, I was also cooking these omelettes for her when she was just one years old but without the accompaniments. So feel free to serve this up for your little ones too.

SuperFoods included – onion, tomatoes, olive oil
SuperSpices included – black pepper, garam masala, cumin

Total cooking and preparation time: 8mins
Serves 1

1 egg
¼ small onion – peeled, finely chopped
2 baby plum tomatoes (or ¼ regular tomato) – washed, chopped
Pinch of ground black pepper
Pinch of ground garam masala
Pinch of ground cumin
3-4 fresh coriander leaves – washed, finely chopped
Salt (optional)
1 tsp olive oil

 

Crack the egg into a bowl, and add the onion, tomatoes, black pepper, garam masala, cumin, coriander leaves and salt (if adding for older kids), and whisk the whole lot together.

Heat the oil in a small non-stick frying pan and add half of the egg mixture. Cook on med-low heat for 2 minutes and when top is no longer runny, turn it over and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and repeat for the second omelette.

Tip: If you don’t have a small frying pan to make mini omelettes, make one large one instead.

For adults make 2-3 eggs and double up the ingredients.

 

Combine homemade baby food into a busy working lifestyle

 

WomanMultitasking (1)

With more mothers set to return to work after the government announced budget plans last week to help parents with the cost of childcare next year, what does this mean for home-cooked baby food?

I must say I was pleased to hear the news about the extra help with childcare costs. At the moment it’s something that puts financial pressure on a lot of families, including mine. However, with more parents set to be busy at work all week, I started to wonder if there will be enough hours left in the day for parents to cook homemade for their babies and toddlers!

Home-cooked baby food is by far the best type of food for growing children. For children it’s nutrient-rich which is what they need for healthy development, so not an area parents should compromise on; and for parents, it’s cost-effective.

So with time being a major factor in people’s lives, realistically, is it always possible to home cook baby food?

Well the answer to that is YES it is possible. Even though I literally flop onto the sofa by the end of each working day after juggling work, blogging, getting the little one bathed and ready for bed, I’ve still found a way to incorporate home-cooking into our lives. It’s something that I love doing and it is extremely important for growing children and the whole family.

All you need is a little forward planning to succeed! So whether you are already a busy working parent, or whether you are going to be, read my tips on juggling both home cooking and work life below without compromising on nutrition.

Utilize your weekends

Dedicate just one hour each weekend to cooking baby food. Most of my recipes take just half an hour on average to prepare so you can cook two meals up at the same time. Personally I like to cook one vegetarian meal and one protein-rich meal to ensure my little one is receiving a balanced diet.

Freeze meals in advance

Most of my recipes create at least four or five servings from one batch, so you can freeze the remaining servings into individual portions. Simply place them in freezer bags and back date them. Then thaw the meals (by placing them in the fridge before you head out to work) and serve to your little one after work.

After work meals in 10 minutes or less

If you’ve been out and about with the family over the weekend with no time prepare baby food in advance of the working week, cook meals after work that take no time at all to prepare. For example frozen fish fillets can be stored in the freezer and poached in the microwave within minutes. Serve with a lightly cooked dressing of olive oil, garlic and coriander and a side of vegetables. Mash the whole lot if necessary and serve to baby.

‘Rainy day’ meals

The British Specialist Nutrition Association says that commercial baby foods are fine provided they are used as part of a mixed diet which includes homemade food. So bearing this in mind, if you really don’t have the time to cook baby food one weekend or after work, you can offer your little ones the odd store bought meal that you’ve saved for a ‘rainy day’.

**But please be aware store bought baby foods are lacking in nutrients over homemade baby food, so they should not be offered to children for every meal. **

 

Are you a one half of a working set of parents? If so, how do you incorporate homemade baby food into your lifestyle?

 

References

The Guardian – Budget 2014: a boost for childcare is a bonus for the whole economy

Gov.uk – Millions of parents to get help with childcare costs

BBC News Health – Baby weaning foods found ‘lacking’

Fruity Vegetable Bolognaise (V)

INDIAN BABY FOOD RECIPE – STAGE 3: 10 MONTHS PLUS 

Fruity Vegetable Bolognaise

 

This bolognaise sauce is quick (ready in 15mins!), and is extremely easy to cook. It’s tasty – the kids will love slurping up the spaghetti, and it’s chock-full of nutritional value for babies. I’ll simply list a few of the health benefits below so you can see what I mean:

 

bolognaise benefits

 

The fabulous taste in this meal comes from a combination of SuperFoods and aromatic spices, which gives this Italian dish a unique Asian-influenced twist. Both babies and toddlers will eat this bolognaise sauce with gusto, and there are no-added salt or sugar or chillies!

 

Total preparation and cooking time: 15-20mins
Makes 6 servings
Suitable for freezing

 

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion — peeled, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp minced ginger
Pinch of ground black pepper
½ tsp ground garam masala
¼ tsp ground turmeric
150g (5oz) white button mushrooms – washed, finely chopped
1 medium carrot — peeled, washed, grated
1 small courgette/ zucchini — washed, grated
200g (7oz) tinned chopped tomatoes
30g (1oz) dried apricots — finely chopped
¼ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp tomato puree

 

Heat the oil in a pot, add the onion and stir-fry on medium-low heat for 3-4mins until soft and golden. Add the garlic, ginger, black pepper, garam masala, turmeric and stir-fry for a further 30secs-1min to lightly cook the spices.

Then add the mushrooms, carrots and courgette and stir-fry for a few minutes until the mushrooms soften. Add the tomatoes, apricots, oregano and tomato puree. Stir and simmer for 5-7mins until the sauce thickens.

Serve 2 tablespoons of bolognaise sauce to baby warm, with some freshly cooked spaghetti (broken into small pieces). Delicious!

 

References

Ahmed, ZJ. 2012. Indian SuperMeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook. London: Autharium

Iron deficiency anaemia – treatment

Oregano oil fights norovirus

 

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