Alice Fotheringham, Piccolo’s infant nutrition specialist, shares her favourite recipes for your baby

Eating a wide range of different foods each week is a great way to ensure that we are getting the nutrients we need as adults. But when it comes to introducing foods to your little ones, the variety is about so much more. Encouraging your baby to smell, taste, try different textures and touch various foods is such an important part of their development in the first year.

Variety is key: Have a list of seasonal fruits and vegetables, or foods you’d like them to try, on your fridge. Tick them off when you have tried them, and note your baby’s response. Remember that some foods can take a few times to be accepted by your baby, so keep trying!

Be responsive: Your baby is getting the majority of nutrients from their milk in the first year, so don’t worry if they are not interested in food some days, or only take in the smallest amount. Follow your baby’s cues, and simply offer them something another time.

Don’t spend hours cooking separate meals: Just give them the vegetables you plan on eating that evening, or simply leave out the salt and sugar from your soup, stew or sauce. The recipes here are designed to be enjoyed by all the family.

Pea, courgette, leek & a hint of mint

Piccolo_Courgette&LeekThis smooth vegetable purée is packed full of greens. This makes a fantastic vegetable side dish for grown-ups, so make double and serve with grilled salmon and baked sweet potato.

About this recipe

SUITABLE FROM SIX MONTHS

PREP TIME 10 MINUTES

COOKING 10 MINUTES

MAKES 4 PORTIONS

1 tsp olive oil
1 medium courgette, sliced lengthways and chopped into medium crescents
1 leek, washed, topped and chopped roughly
50g frozen peas
4 fresh mint leaves

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and once hot add the leek and cook until it starts to soften, around 8 minutes.
  • Add the courgette and frozen peas to the leek and continue to cook until the peas have cooked through, around 5 minutes.
  • Add the mint to the greens and either serve as chunky vegetables or purée to your
    desired consistency.

Tip: You can add a dollop of full-fat natural yoghurt or crème fraîche to this to make it creamier.

Suitable for freezing or keep in the fridge in a sealed container for two days.

Piccolo_SweetPotato&Beetroot

Sweet potato, beetroot, apple & pear

The creamy base of sweet potato combines beautifully with the earthy sweetness of beetroot. Why not roast a couple of sweet potatoes and beetroots together with a little olive oil and use some for this recipe, and add the rest to make a roasted vegetable couscous salad for all the family, or serve with green beans and baked chicken sprinkled with paprika. Delicious!

About this recipe

SUITABLE FROM 6 MONTHS

PREP TIME 20 MINUTES

COOKING 15 MINUTES (OR 40 IF BAKING)

MAKES 4 PORTIONS

1/2 apple, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
1/2 ripe pear, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
1/4 small raw beetroot, peeled and chopped into chunks (if you can’t find a raw one, use the cooked, vacuum-packed variety but ensure it is the one that hasn’t been cooked in vinegar)

  • Steam the sweet potato and beetroot for 5 minutes, then add the apple and pear and steam for another 5 (if using pre-cooked beetroot, you do not need to cook again,
    just add at the end before blending).
  • Alternatively, you can bake the sweet potato and beetroot in their skins at 180˚C for 30 minutes until soft. 5 minutes before the potatoes are ready, steam the apple for
    5 minutes until soft.
  • Once the sweet potato and beetroot are cooked, let them cool for a few minutes then scoop out the flesh of the potato and peel off the beetroot skins.
  • Once all the ingredients are cooked, simply put in a blender and blend until smooth.

Tip: Keep the potato skins and add some grated cheese to them with a little chopped tomato and spring onion and bake under the grill for 5 minutes for a great baked potato skin! This makes a super-tasty starter for parents. 

Suitable for freezing or keep in the fridge in a sealed container for two days.

Piccolo_Snacks_GreenPeaDip

Fresh pea hummus

This recipe makes a fresh, vibrantly coloured dip that can be whipped up in a few moments and is delicious as a dip or spread on toast.
If giving to younger babies as a dip, use sticks of cucumber, steamed carrot or steamed mange tout.

About this recipe

SUITABLE FROM 6 MONTHS

PREP TIME AND COOKING 15 MINUTES

MAKES ONE MEDIUM POT (SERVES 4)

250g frozen peas
Large handful of fresh coriander or flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 small close crushed garlic
Pinch smoke paprika

  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the peas and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and run under cold water.
  • In a food processor add the cooked peas, coriander, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and paprika, and pulse until you get the desired consistency (if your little one likes smooth dips, make sure you pulse for longer).

Tip: Use as a topping on chicken or salmon after they have been cooked with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.

This will last two-to-three days in the fridge in an airtight container. Suitable for freezing, but much better served fresh.

Piccolo is an organic baby food brand inspired by the Mediterranean approach to feeding. The brand is partnered with the NCT and gives 10% of its profits to food education. Available at Waitrose and Ocado. mylittlepiccolo.com

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