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Eight Baby-Friendly Thanksgiving Dishes

Make Baby’s first Thanksgiving one his or her taste buds will never forget. Here’s a baby-friendly spin on eight traditional holiday foods, many of which are probably already on your grocery list. Pick a few of your favorites for the big day or make them all and freeze the extras for later. Even babies love Thanksgiving leftovers! Setting a good foundation from the start will make mealtime something Baby always looks forward to, so make sure his first Thanksgiving leaves a tasty, lasting impression. 

1. Sweet Potatoes
If you’re making sweet potatoes for your Thanksgiving crowd, set some aside before adding seasonings, milk, or butter. Make a smooth puree for babies as young as six months or simply fork-mash into a chunkier consistency for older babies. 

The Next Step: Add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg (not both) if your baby has been eating solids for a while. Self-feeders can enjoy diced cubes of very tender steamed sweet potatoes

2. String Beans
Mom always said “don’t forget your veggies,” and we agree. Set aside some unseasoned green beans and make a puree for babies six months and up. Self-feeders can eat very well-cooked beans that are cut into kiddie bite-size pieces. 

The More, the Merrier: Let Baby use some of the sweet potato puree as a dip—this is one time when it’s okay to play with his food. 

3. Turkey
Grandma will beam when she sees her little prince gobbling her signature roast turkey—just hold the gravy. Start with your favorite recipe, then chop the turkey very fine using a food processor or chef’s knife. This is best for babies who are already used to eating solids and meats, usually seven months and up. 

4. Pumpkin
Before making your pie filling, reserve some of the puree—it doubles as a sweet or savory treat for babies. Serve it mixed with very finely chopped turkey for the main course, or on its own to end the festive meal. 

The Next Step: Spice things up for more experienced eaters by adding a dash of cinnamon or cloves to your puree. Or sprinkle the spices on well-cooked, peeled cubes, steamed or roasted, for self-feeders, usually nine months and up. 

5. Butternut Squash
Before making your butternut squash soup, save some puree for baby. You can serve the squash on its own or with finely chopped turkey. Much like pumpkin, squash has a delicate, naturally sweet flavor that babies love. Or try serving tender steamed cubes (shown at left) for more experienced eaters. 

6. Potatoes
Sweet potatoes get all the nutrient glory, but that doesn’t mean you should skip white potatoes. Steamed, baked, or boiled, they’re a good source of fiber. Give beginning eaters a taste of plain mashed potatoes—or serve well-cooked, soft cubes to self-feeders—and you just might avoid the French fry frenzy as they get older.

7. Stuffing
The aromatics (onion, garlic) and veggies (celery, carrots) in many stuffing recipes can be delicious to more experienced eaters, generally nine to twelve months old. Skip the chestnuts and dried fruits, though, since they’re allergy and choking hazards. Your best bet is to reserve some of the ingredients and make a simple stuffing for your baby to enjoy. 

8. Apples
It may be too soon for apple pie, but Baby can still enjoy this naturally delicious fruit. Peel and core an apple; add it to a small pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer until fork tender. Drain and puree in a food processor for babies six months and up. 

Spice It Up: Add an extra layer of flavor with a dash of cinnamon or cloves for more “seasoned” eaters. 

By Jennifer Perillo of Parents.com 

Copyright © 2009 Meredith Corporation

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