Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Want your baby’s daily diet to be packed with nutrients and fibre? Here are some vegetable puree ideas for babies and toddlers that are easy to make and pack a punch.

By Sahana Charan

Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Have you noticed your 6-month-old baby watching you wide-eyed whenever you eat something? Or lean forward excitedly when you offer her a spoonful of brightly-coloured, mushy vegetables? Then, it might be time to start her on solids. Giving your baby purées of a variety of colourful vegetables allows her to experience different flavours. Also, it is a great way of transitioning her to solid foods.

When can you feed vegetable purée to your baby?

There are a few things parents need to keep in mind when offering solid foods and making vegetable purées for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies can be started on food other than breast milk or formula by the time they are six months old. According to the AAP, babies who are about 7–8 months old can try foods from different food groups, including vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy. However, keep the following tips when introducing your baby to different foods:

  1. When starting your baby on solids, begin by introducing one fruit, vegetable or grain at a time.
  2. Wait for 2–3 days before introducing another new food. This way, you will know if your child shows an adverse reaction to the food you introduced him to.
  3. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common allergenic foods are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. So, keep an eye on your child when introducing these foods and talk to the paediatrician if you have any doubts.
  4. Make sure you offer vegetable purées that are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
  5. Begin by giving only 1–2 spoonfuls of foods like vegetable purée to your baby. If she is still hungry, you can feed more.
  6. Offer few spoonfuls of food to your little one every two hours.
  7. Even after introducing solid foods, babies and toddlers must be breastfed (or given formula) on demand.
  8. Talk to your child’s paediatrician before introducing solids in his diet.

While you introduce your child to solid foods, you should also remember that every child is different; so, his nutrition and development may depend on various factors.

Tips to prepare vegetable purée for babies and toddlers

  1. Always choose the best farm produce, preferably organic, to make vegetable purée for your baby or toddler.
  2. Preparing the vegetables is an important step. Make sure to thoroughly wash the vegetables, peel them carefully and remove the top.
  3. You can cook the vegetables in different ways — boiling in water, cooking in a pressure cooker, steaming and baking. Steaming a vegetable allows it to retain most of the nutrients.
  4. Ensure the vegetable is well-cooked before making a purée, to avoid indigestion or stomach problems in your baby.
  5. Offer your baby different vegetables in rainbow colours as they look attractive and are loaded with a variety of nutrients.
  6. Clean the food processor well before making the purée and ensure you add only filtered and boiled water to it.

Tasty and easy-to-make vegetable purée recipes for babies and toddlers

Age group: 6 to 9 months

Pumpkin purée

Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Ingredients:

  • 100g pumpkin
  • A pinch of cinnamon

Method of preparation:

  1. Wash and peel the pumpkin. Dice into medium-sized chunks.
  2. Place them in a saucepan with enough water. Boil until the pumpkin is soft and well-cooked.
  3. Purée the pumpkin pieces in a food processor with a little water. You can add a little breast milk while making the purée for a creamy consistency.
  4. Add a pinch of cinnamon powder for flavour.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Health benefits: Pumpkins are packed with copper, potassium, phosphorus, fibre, vitamin A and C. They are full of antioxidants, which help build immunity and protect the eyes and heart. Children will love the mild taste and the beautiful orange colour.

Nutritional value: Half a cup of pumpkin purée contains 50 calories; 2g protein, 11g carbohydrates (4g sugars, 3g dietary fibre), 10mg sodium and no fat.

Carrot purée

Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot
  • A pinch of nutmeg

Method of preparation:

  1. Wash and peel the carrot.
  2. Place the carrot in a food steamer. Heat water in a vessel and place the steamer over it. Steam for about ten minutes or till the carrot becomes soft.
  3. Once cool, purée the carrot in a food processor with a little water.
  4. Add a pinch of nutmeg powder for a flavour boost. You can add a small spoonful of ghee for added energy.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Health benefits: Carrots are high in vitamin A, which is good for the eyes. Vitamin C and antioxidants in carrots boost immunity and help fight germs. They are good for maintaining brain and heart health.

Nutritional value: Half a cup of carrot purée has 45 calories; 1g protein, 11g carbohydrates (5g sugars and 3g dietary fibre), 76mg sodium and 250mg potassium.

Sweet potato purée

Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato (small)
  • A pinch of any spice of your choice (cinnamon/nutmeg/cardamom powder)

Method of preparation:

  1. Wash and peel the sweet potato.
  2. Cook it in a pressure cooker with adequate water, for about two whistles.
  3. Check with a fork to see if it is tender.
  4. Once cooked and cooled, purée in a blender. Add the spice (in powdered form) of your choice and mix well.
  5. The purée is ready.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Health benefits: Sweet potatoes contain a variety of nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. Because sweet potatoes have high dietary fibre content, they help in digestion and prevent constipation. They also contain calcium and iron.

Nutritional value: One medium-sized cooked sweet potato contains 103 calories; 24g carbohydrates (7g sugars and 4g dietary fibre), 2.3g protein, 15mg sodium and 43mg calcium.

Green pea purée

Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup shelled peas
  • A tsp of yoghurt (optional)

Method of preparation:

  1. Boil the peas in a saucepan with adequate water until they turn soft.
  2. Purée in a blender with a little yoghurt or water.
  3. You can blend other veggies like boiled potatoes or carrots with the peas for a tasty treat.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Health benefits: Green peas are rich in folate, manganese, vitamins C and K. They have anti-inflammatory properties and are a good source of antioxidants. Green peas help in regulating blood sugar levels and maintaining good gut and heart health.

Nutritional value: Around 100g of cooked peas contain 84 calories; 16g carbohydrates (6g sugars and 5g dietary fibre), 5.3g protein, 0.22g fat, 27mg calcium, 117mg phosphorus and 271mg potassium.

Age: 10 to 12 months

Potato-cauliflower purée

Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup diced potatoes
  • ½ cup cauliflower (cut into small florets)
  • A pinch of nutmeg

Method of preparation:

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Wash the cauliflower florets thoroughly with hot water.
  2. In a saucepan, boil the potatoes and cauliflower florets. Make sure they are well cooked.
  3. Drain and cool. Once cooled, transfer to a food processor and purée the vegetables along with a pinch of nutmeg. Add a little water to make a smooth paste.
  4. Give a few spoonfuls of this healthy vegetable purée to your baby.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Health benefits: Potatoes are filling for babies and also provide them with a variety of nutrients such as vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. They help maintain a healthy gut and ensure good skin. Cauliflowers are filled with nutrients that boost immunity, promote digestion and help build strong bones.

Nutritional value: A cup of potato–cauliflower purée contains 169 calories; 25.4g carbohydrates (3g sugars and 5g dietary fibre), 6.3g fat, 4.5g protein and 372mg sodium.

Brown rice and beetroot purée

Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1 small beetroot

Method of preparation:

  1. Soak the brown rice in sufficient water for two hours.
  2. Wash, peel and dice the beetroot. The outer skin of the beetroot is difficult to digest, so make sure you remove it completely.
  3. In a pressure cooker, place the beetroot chunks together with the soaked and cleaned rice with enough water. Cook for 10 minutes or for three whistles.
  4. Once cooked, cool the mixture. The rice should be mushy and the beetroot, tender.
  5. Purée the ingredients in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl. The purée is ready to eat.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Health benefits: Beetroots are loaded with iron, vitamins and minerals that help in the overall development of your baby. They also prevent stomach problems. Brown rice is a rich source of carbohydrates, protein, iron, vitamins, magnesium and potassium.

Nutritional value: One cup of cooked brown rice has 216 calories; 45g carbohydrates (3.5g dietary fibre and 0.7g sugars), 5g protein, 1.8g fat, 9.8mg sodium and 84mg potassium. Half a cup of cooked beetroot has 37 calories; 8g carbohydrates (6.8g sugars and 1.7g dietary fibre), 13.6mg calcium, 0.7mg iron and 19.6mg magnesium.

Broccoli purée

Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 tbsp lentil of your choice (optional)

Method of preparation:

  1. Carefully rinse the broccoli florets under running water.
  2. If using lentils, soak them for at least two hours and pressure-cook until mushy. Keep aside to cool.
  3. In a saucepan, boil some water and cook the broccoli florets in it for about 10 minutes.
  4. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a food processor, purée the broccoli along with the lentils.
  5. Feed this delicious purée to your toddler.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Health benefits: Broccoli is loaded with a variety of nutrients that help improve a baby’s gut and eye health, boost immunity and lower the risk of anaemia.

Nutritional value: Half a cup of cooked broccoli has 27 calories; 5.6g carbohydrates (1.1g sugars and 2.6g dietary fibre), 1.9g protein, 31.2mg calcium, 0.5mg iron, 229mg iron and 16.4mg magnesium.

Millet and vegetable purée

Healthy Vegetable Purees For Babies - Recipes, Benefits And Nutrition

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mixed vegetables (carrot, peas, pumpkin and so on)
  • 3 tbsp millet of your choice (foxtail, finger, barnyard or pearl millet)
  • A pinch of cinnamon powder

Method of preparation:

  1. Soak the millet overnight or for at least two hours.
  2. Wash and peel all the vegetables.
  3. Pressure cook all the ingredients for about 10 minutes or until you hear three whistles.
  4. Drain and purée in a food processor. Add a little cinnamon powder.
  5. The healthy purée is ready.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Health benefits: Millets are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, so they help in maintaining a healthy digestive tract. They are loaded with iron, Vitamin B and minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium which help in the overall development of babies.

Nutritional value: One cup of cooked millet has 207 calories; 41.2g carbohydrates (0.2g sugars and 2.3g dietary fibre), 1.7g fat, 6.1g protein, 5.2mg calcium, 1.1mg calcium and 108mg potassium.

Once your little one starts eating solids, he will be excited to try out new foods in different colours and textures. Instead of offering him shop-bought baby food that may be high in sugar and salt, homemade vegetable purées are a good, healthy option.

About the expert:

Reviewed by Dr Neha Sanwalka Rungta on 15 October 2019

Dr Neha Sanwalka Rungta is a paediatric nutritionist and director of NutriCanvas.

About the author:

Written by Sahana Charan on 18 September 2019; updated on 15 October 2019

Sahana Charan is an independent writer and journalist with an interest in writing about health and wellness, environment, urban living and child rights.

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