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Ready For Lumps and Flavors?

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Ready for chunks and flavorings?

Love the lumps When your baby has been eating purees for a while, try feeding him something more textured. Some babies are ready for chunkier purees and finger foods sooner than others, as you’ll see in "Help Your Baby Transition to Lumpy Foods."

Texturizing techniques To make the transition, start cutting down the amount of time you’re steaming and pureeing the food, and thin it out less, too. Depending on your baby’s age — but around eight months, on average — and family history of food allergies, you can also start adding texture to your baby's meals by mixing in starches like whole small pasta or couscous, or protein-rich grains like millet, amaranth and quinoa — a ratio of one part fruit or veggie to one part grain or pasta is a good bet. Later on, for extra protein, add a spoonful or two of lentils or beans; if you have time, buy them dried and cook them yourself rather than buying canned, since the can linings contain BPA. Check your pediatrician’s guidelines for the correct age to introduce beans.

Family-style dining If you eat relatively healthily, by all means let your baby share your meals. If she's too young to eat everything you’re having, make at least one item per meal that she can eat, and grind or puree it to her desired texture. A baked sweet potato or plain steamed veggies work just as well for babies as for adults, for instance. Once she has safely been introduced to the various ingredients in your meals, just grind up a small portion of your whole dinner and serve it to her. What could be easier?

But how does it taste? As you play with texture, don’t neglect flavor. Try blending fresh mint leaves into pea purees, cinnamon into oatmeal or fruit mixtures, or a little rosemary into meat. It’s a great way to wake up little taste buds.

Hands-on options Finger food doesn’t have to mean boxed cereal. Try small berries, small pieces of well-cooked meat, beans, peas, pieces of banana and other soft fruits, and small cubes of cheese or tofu. For a full meal, give him small pieces of meat, sticky brown rice rolled into small balls, and cubes of boiled-till-mushy carrot — your baby's own combination platter! Or try whole-wheat elbow noodles, avocado chunks and beans. The combinations are endless.

 
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