How to Cook and Prepare Vegetables for Weaning
8 min read
Making homemade baby weaning food with plenty of tasty, nutritious veggies is an excellent way to introduce your budding foodie to a wide variety of flavours and textures.
Whether you’re preparing purees or finger foods, cooking vegetables can be hassle-free, opening the door to a whole new world of food.
These basic cooking and preparation tips provide a great place to start when making veggie-based meals or snacks for your little one!
Using Fresh Vegetables
When possible, try to use fresh, organic veggies - vegetables contain the highest percentage of their nutrients when they are at their freshest.
However, when frozen, vegetables will also retain a high level of their nutrient content - using frozen veg can often be more convenient, offering easier, but equally great options when you’re busy.
Using organic vegetables is also something to consider. Check out our blog below to find out more about why we love organic food for the weaning journey!
However, don’t worry if you can’t always use organic veggies - the most important thing to remember is to offer your little one a variety of veggies that have been cooked with various methods that bring out different textures and flavours!
Before getting stuck into the cooking part, make sure you wash your vegetables thoroughly. This can be done simply with water - just give everything a rinse to make sure any residual dirt is removed.
Depending on the vegetable, you should also peel it and remove any hard rind or seeds. The skin on thin-skinned veggies like potatoes can be left on if preferred.
If making finger food options, the best way to cut vegetables is often in long baton shapes that are perfect for little hands to grab onto.
When making purees or mashes, simply cut your veggies into small or medium-sized chunks or shapes of your choosing before cooking with your preferred method.
You can then use a fork to mash the veggies if you want something with bigger lumps or use a food processor to blend your ingredients and produce smoother purees.
Babease Top Tip
During the preparation process, don’t add any salt - it is not necessary as babies’ diets should not have a high salt content and veggies are more than tasty enough on their own!
Baking your baby’s veggies in the oven is one method that allows them to retain more of their vital nutrients. It is also one of the most hands-off approaches.
Slow baking in the oven requires little effort from you - all you need to do is put your chosen vegetables in the oven at the correct temperature and sit back until they are cooked through.
However, baking can also be one of the longest cooking methods, with most vegetables taking up to an hour to soften.
Baked veggies can then be mashed or offered as finger foods - potatoes make a great option for this!
Roasting can be faster than baking veggies as it allows food to be cooked in the oven on a higher heat for a shorter time.
This method will also bring out the natural sweetness of vegetables, offering new flavour experiences with veggies that have been enjoyed before with different cooking methods.
Vegetables that are especially tasty when roasted include:
- Sweet potato
Wet methods like boiling are often the best option for making purees. It is also one of the quickest methods, usually taking just minutes to soften vegetables in boiling water.
When boiled, vegetables can lose a higher percentage of their nutrients than is seen with other methods. However, your baby will still be getting a lot of goodness from all their veggies even when boiled, so this isn’t something you really need to worry about.
Often the best way to ensure your little one is receiving all the necessary nutrients from food is to offer a wide variety of veggies that have been prepared and cooked with different methods.
Steaming food is done by inserting a steamer into a pot of boiling water - cooking with this method can take slightly longer than boiling. As the vegetables are cooked by steam, this method is not the best for harder veggies like squash or potatoes.
However, most other veggies will be easily softened with this method. Steaming also allows vegetables to retain a high level of nutrients.
Popular veggies to steam include:
- Any leafy greens
Whether you’re making purees or finger food options, steaming can be a great way to cook your veggies.
Vegetables can, of course, be incorporated into more elaborate recipes with numerous ingredients, but can also be enjoyed on their own - especially when offering single tastes in those very first weeks of weaning.
Whatever method you use, it’s important to remember to check the temperature of the food before serving. Let everything cool down, so you don’t risk burning your baby’s mouth with anything too hot.
If making purees, you can add your little one’s usual milk to thin them out. You can also add a splash of the water your veggies were cooked in to thin any purees out when necessary.
Babease Top Tip
If you make a big batch of puree, you can freeze it in small portions in an ice cube tray. This gives you convenient access to homemade baby food - simply pop a couple of frozen puree cubes into the microwave when you’re in need of a super quick meal.
By embracing all of these cooking methods with a wide variety of veggies for homemade baby food, you’ll have more opportunities to introduce new flavours and textures to excite your budding foodie!
Whether you’re making purees, finger foods or incorporating veggies into recipes, cooking and preparing vegetables is simple - just make sure you thoroughly wash and cook through your chosen veggies and experiment with as wide a range as possible!
For even more inspiration for homemade baby meals, check out our weaning recipes.