Like many so parents, I was so excited to start solids with my daughter. At the 6-month mark, she could suddenly participate in family meals in a whole new way and I loved watching her explore her food. (I also loved it because, unlike the toddler that she is now, she ate anything that I put in front of her!) We ate a lot of roasted sweet potatoes back then because she loved them any which way we served them — whether roasted in wedges, or served as a mash.
This mashed sweet potato bowl takes that nutritious and easy-to-eat first baby food and turns it into a satisfying meal that the whole family will love.
How you top your sweet potato bowl is really up to you, although the mix of toppings here should get you started. All of the ingredients are suitable for a baby who's eating solids — either Baby-Led Weaning style or for one who has progressed to more complicated textures from simple purées — from both a texture stand-point and a nutritional one. Of course, you can pick and choose what to offer baby based on your own comfort level and her experience.
Serve assembled bowls with toppings and sauce for the adults, and simply place the ingredients onto the highchair or placemat for a little eater and let them dig in with their hands.
Mashed Sweet Potato Bowls (for Babies and Parents)
1 to 2 large sweet potatoes
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Scrub the sweet potatoes well and pat them dry. Prick each sweet potato several times with a paring knife and wrap loosely in the foil, sealing the ends securely. Place on a baking sheet and into the oven to roast for 30 to 60 minutes. Check for doneness by squeezing gently with your hand in an oven mitt. It should feel very soft.
This step can be done up to 3 days ahead of time. Scoop out warm sweet potato into bowls and mash with a fork until smooth.
- Crumbled goat cheese: Goat cheese, which is usually lower in lactose than cow's cheese, is often easier to digest — which is good for newer eaters. It's also very soft, yet easy for little ones to pick up. You could also try feta.
- Shredded grilled or rotisserie chicken: Make sure that the chicken is soft and in small pieces so it's very easy to chew. Dab with a little warm water to soften if needed.
- Beans: Whether black, pinto, or chickpeas, beans are almost a perfect texture for baby, as well as being a nice source of vegetarian protein and fiber. Rinse and drain canned beans to remove excess salt and mash slightly for baby if desired.
- Poached egg: Poach up an egg or two for the adults and let another one continue cooking until firm for baby. Egg yolks are rich in fats, which baby's brain needs to grow and develop.
- Steamed broccoli florets: When cooked until soft but not falling apart, broccoli is a really easy-to-eat finger food for babies.
- Diced avocado: Often given as a first baby food, avocado is a powerhouse of healthy fats and flavor. Serve it up diced or in strips for baby.
- Granola: Choose a granola that's low in added sugars and make breakfast bowls. For baby, simply place a few tablespoons into the food processor and grind into a powder so it's easier to eat.
- Yogurt-tahini dressing: Stir together 1 cup full-fat plain yogurt, the juice and zest of 1/2 lemon, 1 tablespoon tahini, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Season to taste with salt.
- Sour cream sauce: Mix equal parts full- or low-fat sour cream with mild salsa. Drizzle over a bowl topped with ingredients like black beans and avocado.
- Maple almond butter: Stir together creamy almond butter and a little maple syrup. Drizzle over breakfast bowls.
4 Favorite Combinations
- Goat cheese, shredded rotisserie chicken, broccoli, and tahini-yogurt dressing.
- Black beans, avocado, diced chicken, and sour cream sauce. Add slivers of jalapeños for the adults for more spice.
- Avocado, chickpeas, poached eggs, and sour cream sauce.
- Granola, sliced banana or blueberries, and maple almond butter.
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