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10 Thanksgiving Food Ideas for Baby

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Thanksgiving is almost here and it's time to tempt everyone's taste buds—even baby's. If you've gotten the go-ahead from your pediatrician to give your baby solids, or you've got a toddler whose palate needs some expanding, these are some Thanksgiving foods your little one will love. Always gauge your baby's eating abilities before trying anything new, and keep a close eye with new textures and consistencies.

1. Pumpkin Puree

a group of pumpkins

Autumn is when all of the best squashes are ready for eating—and nothing is better than pumpkin for Thanksgiving. A small sugar pumpkin is a great choice for pureeing. Slice the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and cover both halves with foil. Bake at 325 for an hour or until the pumpkin is soft, then scoop out the meat and blend until desired consistency. For extra flavor add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and/or a drizzle of maple syrup. Yum!

2. Sweet Potatoes

Sliced sweet potato - studio shot

However you serve up sweet potatoes, make sure you share with your little one. Mashed sweet potatoes are delicious, easy to make, and great for baby. If your family prefers candied yams, be sure to mash them with the back of a fork before feeding them to your baby. Candied yams have a lot of sugar in them so go easy on servings for your wee one, too. Be careful with marshmallows on sweet potato casserole as the stickiness can be difficult for babies to cope with and whole marshmallows may pose a choking risk.

3. Acorn Squash

squash

These green and orange ripply-looking squashes are mild and nutty in flavor. Another easy squash to bake, acorn squash is also simple to prepare. Just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and add a dollop of butter (if dairy has been introduced to your baby's diet) to the bowl-shaped area left behind. If you bake it at 350 for 30 minutes or until tender, you've got a delicious squash to puree, mash, or cube.

4. Spaghetti Squash

squash spaghetti

Spaghetti squash is one of the hardest squashes to cut, so you might want to bake this one whole—just be certain to pierce the outside several times otherwise it will explode in your oven! If you put the squash in the oven at 375 for an hour it will be much easier to cut in half lengthwise—be careful of steam, though. After removing the seeds use a fork to scrape the squash out along the length of each half to find out exactly why it's called "spaghetti" squash. A drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt will brighten the flavor of this fun-to-eat squash.

5. Stuffing

A small casserole dish of cornbread stuffing on a rustic wooden table with autumn leaves and pine cones

Is there anything tastier than stuffing? Whatever bread base you opt for, stuffing is definitely the most delicious carb on the table. If you're going to give your baby stuffing, be certain to prepare a serving separately and not cooked inside the bird; your adult immune system should be able to handle most potential bacteria left over from internal cooking, but your child's immature gut might not be able to beat it.

6. Baked Apples

a dish of baked apples

The best way to bring out the natural sweetness of apples is by baking them. Core a few apples but leave the skin on for baking. Place them in a shallow baking pan with about an inch of water and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. The skin should slide off easily when done. Then you're ready to mash, cube, or slice the baked apples for baby. They're so good you might want to steal some for yourself.

7. Turkey

Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey with All the Sides

Thanksgiving isn't worth having if you don't have some turkey on the table. Most pediatricians recommend waiting until 7 months to introduce meats, so for the youngest babies you might need to wait another year. For those who are ready for meats, avoid feeding skin and bones as they can be choking hazards. Offer up strips, small cubes, or shreds of turkey if your little one is a self-feeders, or for the younger set try mashing up a small amount of turkey with a bit of breast milk or formula to make it easier to eat.

8. String Beans

Green beans in a basket with a wagon wheel in the background

String beans are delicious any time of year, but they're usually a featured veggie on Thanksgiving tables, too. These long, green beans are a perfect finger food for bigger kids, and when cooked to a soft consistency they're great for smaller kids, too. Be sure to avoid giving nuts to your little one so look out for green bean almandine.

9. Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a true comfort food and a wonderful Thanksgiving food for baby—as long as any big lumps have been mashed out. Once again you need to be mindful of dairy for the under-one set—if your tot can't have dairy, pull some potatoes aside and mix them with breast milk or formula instead.

10. Pumpkin Pie

a pumpkin pie

Okay, we're starting and finishing this list with pumpkin, because, Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie is the perfect sweet treat for your little one to top off their feast with. Sweet, creamy, and delicious, pumpkin pie is great and easy for little ones to eat. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 
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