Baby-led weaning is just following your baby’s natural ability to show when they are hungry and full around food. It means supporting your baby while they learn to feed themselves. Making fresh, homemade baby-led weaning recipes is one of the best ways to start healthy eating habits. Not only are baby-led weaning recipes more nutritious, but they are also more cost-efficient and simple for your family.
Baby-led weaning recipes allow babies to control their solid food consumption by “self-feeding” from their first experience with food. By allowing your baby to self-feed with these baby-led weaning recipes you are bypassing purées and jumping right into exploring taste, texture, color, and smell as the baby sets their own pace for the meal. Instead of the traditional method of spoon-feeding pureed food, the baby is presented with a plate of varied finger food from which to choose. They often begin by picking up and licking or sucking on the piece of food, before progressing to eating. Babies are typically able to begin self-feeding baby-led weaning recipes between 6-8 months of age.
Read More: 4 Reasons To Try Baby-Led Weaning Recipes
Family dinner is the heart of baby-led weaning; eating with your baby, at the same time, at the same table, and sharing the same food! It is fabulous to include your baby in family mealtimes where they can watch what other members are doing and learn from your family. It allows for a more relaxed mealtime as no one is feeding the baby. Your baby will be comforted by seeing their family eat the same food and how they eat. You can choose to offer your baby what your family is eating or try some of our favorite baby-led weaning recipes, many of which your whole family can enjoy.
11 Favorite Baby-Led Weaning Recipes:
With baby-led weaning recipes, you are not buying specific baby food. These baby-led weaning recipes allow you to take ingredients you have in your home and prepare meals for your baby the whole family will enjoy. These meals have been tested in our household and are frequent repeaters. It might surprise you how much your child and you end up loving the same foods and robust flavors!
Sweet Potato and Spinach Patties
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 cups of spinach
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs
Cook sweet potatoes (microwaveable, steamable are our favorite choice!). Chop fresh spinach. Beat eggs in a large bowl, mix in breadcrumbs, mashed potatoes and spinach. Shape into small parties. Fry on a skillet with a small amount of cooking spray until golden brown. Freeze the extra!
- 1 mashed, ripe banana
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons quick cook oats
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Dash of cinnamon
Mash banana and whisk egg and combine with other ingredients. Fry on a skillet with a small amount of cooking spray until golden brown. Spread with nut butter before serving. These pancakes keep nicely in the refrigerator for up to three days and are nice to freeze to have on hand for quick breakfasts. This is one of the baby-led weaning recipes we are making multiple times a week!
Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup almond milk
- ½ banana mashed
- 2 tablespoons blueberries
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- Dash of cinnamon
Add ingredients to an eight ounce mason jar and let refrigerate overnight. This is a family favorite for everyone, baby especially loves it when they see mom eating it with them!
- Cooking spray
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- ½ cups mashed bananas (2 medium-sized ripe bananas)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Optional: chocolate chips, ¼ cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl add the egg to the melted butter, then mix in vanilla extract. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice over the wet mixture. Stir until well mixed. Fold in the mashed bananas and optional sour cream. Mix in chocolate chips.
Turn the oven down to 325F and bake for 45-60 minutes or until done (insert a toothpick – it should come out clean). Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Then turn the cake out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. This baby-led weaning recipe is a great way to use those overripe, sweet bananas.
- Oil, for greasing
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 3 to 4 ounce good-quality sausage meat
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9×5” loaf pan. Mix the beef, sausage, onion, tomato paste, breadcrumbs, herbs, carrots, and celery in a large bowl. Add the egg and mix thoroughly, using your hands to squeeze the mixture. Transfer the mixture to the loaf pan, press down, and cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until the loaf begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the pan before slicing and serving. Top with Homemade Tomato Ketchup; recipe listed below. Tip: Leftovers of this may be mixed with a tomato-based sauce and served with pasta.
Homemade Tomato Ketchup
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch of allspice
- Pinch of paprika
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove cloves and bay leaf. Place mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. If you want to avoid the sugar that traditional ketchup contains, this homemade version is a wonderful “dipper” for your family and baby. Baby-led weaning recipes can be so much healthier than traditional recipes!
English Muffin Pizza
- 1 English muffin
- 1 teaspoon low sodium tomato sauce
- ¼ cup grated cheese
- Sprinkle of dried oregano or Italian seasoning
- Optional toppings: chopped ham, mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, sautéed spinach, sausage
Preheat the oven to 325F. Split the English muffin and then spread tomato sauce on the bread and scatter cheese, seasonings, and optional toppings evenly on top. Cook until the cheese has melted (10-15 minutes). Cut into fingers or triangles while still warm and serve.
- 1 medium head broccoli
- 1 prebaked single pie crust
- 1 onion
- ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- Optional: cooked bacon, ham, sliced cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, or chopped asparagus, seasoning
Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut broccoli, onion and any optional ingredients into small pieces and cook (stem, boil, sauté) until tender. Spread the broccoli and onions in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle half the cheese over it. Beat the eggs, milk and seasonings. Pour the egg mixture over the onions, broccoli, and cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until the egg is cooked through and the crust is golden brown.
- 4 portions codfish
- salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 lemon juiced
- Additional lemon slices or wedges for serving
Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish. Lay cod fish filets out in the prepared baking dish. Lightly season fish with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the butter, parmesan, flour, garlic, basil, onion powder, dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Top each fillet with a large spoonful of the butter mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Actual cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish. The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
Black Bean Burgers
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
- ½ onion, cut into wedges
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat the oven to 375F and lightly oil a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mash beans with a fork until thick and pasty. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion and garlic. Then stir in mashed beans. In a bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, and cumin. Stir the egg mixture into mashed beans. Mix in breadcrumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into four patties. If grilling, place patties on foil and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes on each side.
- 1 large zucchini (grated, then squeeze out water)
- 1 cup of fresh spinach (finely chopped)
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup plain flour
Finely chop the spinach, then grate the zucchini on a chopping board and drain out the water by using your hands. Place the grated zucchini garlic and spinach into a large bowl. Add eggs and flour. Combine until you have a well-mixed batter. Tablespoon out each fritter onto a skillet on medium heat with a small amount of cooking spray until golden brown (about 1 to 2 minutes each side). Once cooked, place on a wire rack to cool. Leave in the refrigerator for up to five days or freeze for up to three months. These green fritters are great for baby-led weaning, toddlers, and the family for a super healthy and easy lunch or dinner.
Read More: Skip Purees With Baby-Led Weaning
With all of the different feeding methods, whatever path you choose doesn’t mean you have to ONLY use that method of feeding. Allowing your child to be baby-led means following your baby’s cues and supporting your baby to learn to eat on their own. These baby-led weaning recipes allow for natural, developmentally appropriate interaction and play with food, which has the potential to develop a lifelong curiosity and interest in food.
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