Below are some of the best first foods to start baby led weaning. Choose one at a time to offer and make sure that the fruits are ripe so that they are soft and taste good. (Nutrition will vary based on the specific foods you offer.)
- Banana: 1 small ripe banana with peel on
- Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges: 1 small sweet potato, 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Roasted Apple Wedges: 1 small apple, butter or neutral oil
- Roasted Broccoli: small broccoli crown cut into large florets or 1 cup florets, 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Sauteed Green Beans: 4-5 green beans, 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Melon slices: 1 small piece watermelon or cantaloupe
- Avocado Toast: 1 slice whole grain bread, 1 tablespoon ripe avocado
- Avocado Spears: 1/8 ripe avocado
- Lamb or beef: 1 lamb chop, roast, or steak
- Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs: 1 chicken thigh, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 garlic clove, optional
- Banana with some of the peel still on: Cut a banana in half. Use a knife to gently cut around the peel about 2 inches down, leaving some of the peel on so that the banana is easy for baby to hold and less slippery.
- Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Wash and dry the sweet potato. (You don’t need to peel it.) Cut in half, then cut lengthwise into strips. Cut each strip in half again until each is about 1/2-inch thick. Slice in half horizontally if the sweet potato is very long. (Each strip should be about the size of your finger.) Place into a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Spread onto prepared baking sheet and roast for 22-25 minutes or until soft. Let cool slightly and serve.
- Roasted Apple Wedges: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the butter or oil into a pie plate or baking dish. Warm in the oven for a few minutes to melt. Remove from oven. Slice the apple into approximately 1/2-inch slices and discard the core. Place into the baking dish with the oil and toss to combine. Add cinnamon if desired. Bake for 28-34 minutes, or until tender when poked with a fork. Let cool slightly and serve.
- Roasted Broccoli Florets: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the broccoli onto a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, coating and mixing well until all of the florets are a little shiny and coated with oil. Roast for 15-18 minutes or until tender. Let cool slightly and serve.
- Sauteed Green Beans: Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the green beans and stir. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes. Remove cover and taste one to see if it’s soft enough. Cook for an additional minute or two as needed.
- Melon slices: Cut into a thick stick or a wedge and offer to baby.
- Avocado Toast: Mash the avocado very smooth with a fork. Spread a thin layer onto a toast stick and serve.
- Avocado Spears (make sure the avocado is ripe and soft): Cut a thick strip of avocado and offer to baby. You can leave the peel on if that makes it easier for baby to hold (just wash it first).
- Lamb or beef: Prepare a roast, steak, or chop without salt and with butter or olive oil until cooked medium well. Offer a thick slice at least the size of your finger or a drumstick.
- Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs: Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken thigh and top with a few slices of fresh garlic, if desired. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove cover. Flip over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes uncovered or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F.
Offer just one piece at a time when starting out.
If baby gnaws a piece down into a smaller piece, replace it with a larger one to avoid her putting a chunk of food into her mouth.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat briefly if needed.
Remember that it’s normal for babies to take time to actually ingest the food. Part of the process is exploring all of the senses related to the experience of eating.