Best Thanksgiving Food for Baby

Make Thanksgiving dinner work for baby

How to introduce baby to new flavors this holiday season.

The beauty of the fall season draws me in and endears me to it with its feast for the senses. Perhaps the pull of the season has more to do with the holidays it hosts. As well, the food and flavors sure add to the enjoyment.

Welcoming a baby to your family brings such a depth of emotion, especially this time of year. Baby’s First Thanksgiving brings us something extra special for which to be thankful.

Much of our gratitude is for the actual meal that brings families together around the table. And why shouldn’t baby indulge in all those delicious flavors right along with you?

Thanksgiving provides the perfect opportunity to introduce new foods and expand baby’s flavor horizons.

If your baby is eating solid foods here’s a guide to initiate him or her into the delectable holiday eats. Your Thanksgiving meal can be customized just for baby with a simple spin through the blender or a quick dice.

Best Thanksgiving Food for Baby

Fruits & Veggies

Fruits and veggies are the perfect place to start for all little eaters. Full of vitamins and nutrients, these items can be cooked and pureed to a thin consistency for new eaters, or cooked and cubed for older babies. Serve them separately or blend different combinations with apples, pears, carrots, corn, and formula or breast milk.

• Winter squash, like acorn or butternut, is easy to bake in the oven and puree into a bright and colorful meal for baby to enjoy.

• Sweet potatoes are sure to become baby’s favorite when cooked and blended to smooth perfection.

• Cranberries are very tart, so instead of mixing fresh or frozen berries with sugar, add apples or pears and cinnamon for a festive treat. Cranberries can be acidic for little systems so include more apples or pears and just a bit of cranberry for flavor.

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Turkey & Stuffing

Babies can eat the main course with some easy modifications.

• Stuffing that is not cooked inside of the turkey is a safer bet for baby. As long as the stuffing is moist, soft and finely chopped, older babies will be able to enjoy grabbing small bites to feed themselves.

• Turkey, a wonderful source of protein and iron, can absolutely be devoured by baby as long as it is pureed to a thin consistency for young babies and well cooked and finely chopped for older babies with several teeth. Try mixing it in the blender with stuffing or a favorite vegetable for a different flavor.

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• Pumpkins pies adorn most Thanksgiving tables and there’s no reason for baby to miss out on this seasonal favorite. The actual pumpkin pie might be too sugary for now, but pureed pumpkin with a dash of pumpkin pie spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves) mixed with cooked oats or rice cereal, and baby won’t feel slighted in the least.

• Apple pie is another favorite that is too sugary for baby, but cooked apples or applesauce paired with cinnamon, oats or rice cereal is sure to delight.

It’s important to consult your pediatrician regarding when to introduce solid foods and which foods to be aware of that could cause an allergic reaction. Be aware that you may not want to overwhelm your little one with all new flavors on Thanksgiving Day, so start introducing some of these Thanksgiving flavors in advance to observe how they respond and react.

Use the abundance of the season to slowly introduce new things over time. If baby doesn’t like something right away, try again later.

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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