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Yummy Scrummy Cookbook

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Introducing solid foods

Introducing solid foods

Starting solids is an exciting and important milestone in your baby’s overall development. Learning how to pick food up, transfer it to their mouth, eat from a spoon and chew, while experiencing different tastes, textures, colours and flavours will help your baby understand food.

At times helping your baby eat independently and teaching them to choose, eat and share food may present some challenges. It can be a frustrating time for parents, taking lots of time and practice to get right. You are an invaluable role model for helping your child adopt a positive attitude towards food. Eating the right foods now is more important than at any other time of your child’s life. What they eat now provides the building blocks for a healthy body and mind, and what they learn to eat forms the foundation for their eating habits later in life.

The importance of solid foods

Mental and physical development occurs rapidly in the early years, so it is important for babies to have adequate nutrients and energy to fuel their growth.

During growth spurts, you may notice your baby wants more than the usual sized feed. Keep an eye out for an increased appetite because delaying the introduction of solids reduces the nutritional intake required and may cause some reluctance to try new foods later.

What are healthy foods?

Healthy foods provide nutrients and energy required for growth and development. Although other factors such as genetics, environment, gender and individual characteristics influence growth as well, food provides a major contributing element to health and wellbeing.

Proteins are essential for development, providing the “building blocks” for a growing body. Good sources include meat, eggs, fish, cheese, lentils, tofu and legumes like chickpeas.

Carbohydrates provide energy. Wholegrain varieties are preferred as they are not as refined and processed, containing elements which keep hunger at bay. Sources include bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles and lentils.

Fats provide vital energy for children to grow and for normal brain function. Dietary sources include meat, seafood and fish. Unsaturated fats are preferable to saturated and sources include plant-based fats like vegetable oil, olive oil and avocado.

  • Vitamins and Minerals are essential for the functioning and protection of the body:
  • Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, keeping skin and eyes healthy. It is found in eggs, liver and dark green or orange vegetables.
  • B group Vitamins help the body release energy from proteins, fats and carbohydrates. They are found in peas, beans, cereal, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, chicken and Vegemite.
  • Vitamin C C helps the body fight infection, absorb iron and keeps bones healthy. It’s found in fruits, capsicum, tomato and broccoli.
  • Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium into bones. In addition to some sun exposure, food sources include fortified margarine, rice, eggs and fish.
  • Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. Primary sources include milk, cheese and yoghurt as well as non-dairy substitutes such as calcium-fortified rice and soy milk.
  • Other sources include tinned salmon, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals.
  • Iron is needed for brain growth and development. Iron deficiency can occur in toddlers, making them lethargic and tired. Red meat, chicken, green leafy vegetables and wholegrain foods provide iron, and if eaten with foods rich in vitamin C, iron absorption is enhanced.
  • Zinc is important for immune function, cell growth and repair. It’s found in fish, poultry, soya beans, red meat, cereals and dairy products.
Vegetarian diets

Vegetarian diets can provide good nourishment, but some babies may have difficulty eating sufficient quantities from enough varied sources for a healthy diet. A regular intake of seeds, lentils, grains, cereals, beans, dairy and vegetables is recommended. Iron can be sourced from fortified cereals as well as legumes and green vegetables to help meet their needs.

As long as your baby is healthy, growing and has lots of energy, they are likely to be getting sufficient nutrition. If you are concerned, check with your healthcare professional or a dietitian who specialises in infant feeding management.

When to start?

Australian national guidelines recommend introducing solid foods at around six months of age, when infants are physiologically and developmentally ready for new foods, textures and modes of feeding. They also need more nutrients than what can be provided by breast milk or formula alone.

The energy infants obtain from complementary (solid) foods is initially small, so breast milk or formula should remain the main milk drink until your child is 12 months of age. It’s also important to continue to offer breast milk or formula past six months, as the nutrients in milk support healthy growth and development.

Which foods do I offer first?

Start with nutritious iron-containing foods to help prevent iron deficiency. Good choices are iron-fortified rice cereals, puréed meat and poultry dishes, cooked plain tofu and legumes. Iron-fortified rice cereal is simple to prepare and can be made to different consistencies. It also readily mixes with other introductory foods, such as puréed vegetables and fruits. Take particular care with a plant-based diet to ensure that supplies of iron are adequate New foods can be introduced alone or with other foods that your baby has not tried before, provided iron-rich nutritious foods are included and the texture is suitable for the infant’s stage of development. Aim for a variety of family home-cooked food.

Cow’s milk products including full-fat yoghurt, cheese and custard may be given, but cow’s milk should not be offered as a main drink before 12 months of age.

How do I start?

The texture of food should suit an infant’s developmental stages. During the first stage, offer very soft, smooth puréed foods which are easy to swallow and don’t require any chewing. Then, progress to mashed, then minced and chopped foods during the 6 –12 month period. Foods with increased textures help develop chewing muscles used for talking. By around eight months of age, most babies can manage to eat “finger food”. By 12 months of age, they should be eating a wide variety of foods including healthy choices eaten by the rest of the family.

The best time to start offering solid foods is after a milk feed, so your baby does not get so full they won’t drink their drink.Be careful about offering your baby too much to eat. Be aware of their signals telling you they’ve had too much like turning away, spitting food out, pushing the spoon away and becoming grizzly.

Be careful about offering your baby too much to eat. Be aware of their signals telling you they’ve had too much like turning away, spitting food out, pushing the spoon away and becoming grizzly.Sometimes children need to be exposed to a new food 10–20 times before they accept it and it’s normal for toddlers to be suspicious of anything new.

Sometimes children need to be exposed to a new food 10–20 times before they accept it and it’s normal for toddlers to be suspicious of anything new.

What to expect

Mess and chaos! Maintain a sense of humour and tolerance and you’ll find getting your baby onto solids will be much easier!

Although it’s an exciting stage for parents, not every baby is keen to eat solid foods when they are first offered. If your baby isn’t keen on a particular food, try leaving it for a week before offering it again.

Most babies have changes to their bowel motions once they are digesting foods other than milk. The consistency, colour and smell can change and it’s not unusual to recognise the foods they’ve eaten by what’s contained in their nappy.

Foods to avoid
  • Small, hard foods that can be a choking risk, such as whole nuts, popcorn, lollies and raw or undercooked hard vegetables and fruits like carrot and apple
  • Cow’s milk should not be the main milk drink until baby is 12 months of age. In the meantime, small amounts may be used when preparing solid foods.
  • Nutrient-poor foods with high levels of saturated fat added sugars or added salt (e.g. cakes, biscuits, potato chips and other snack foods)
  • Tea, coffee and sweet drinks, such as soft drink, cordial and juice, or any other highly sweetened foods. Fruit juice is not recommended for infants under 12 months of age.
  • Honey is not recommended until after 12 months as it can contain spores of a harmful bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum, which can cause serious health issues in babies less than 12 months
  • Raw or undercooked eggs, which may contain bacteria
  • Extra sugar and salt to flavour food, as babies benefit from learning about natural flavours. Salt is an important safety issue as infant’s kidneys are immature and unable to excrete excess salt.
  • For toddlers, avoid sweet or salty “snack” type foods. Anything wrapped in plastic tends to be high in added sugars, salts and saturated fats, which contribute to the risk of childhood obesity. Filling up on unhealthy snacks can mean you child’s appetite is affected and they may not be as hungry for nutritionally appropriate foods.
Recognising a food allergy

Food allergies and intolerances are common, especially if there is a family history. The difference is very subtle; an allergy is when the immune system triggers a response, usually to specific proteins in food, whereas an intolerance is a reaction that does not involve the immune system.

Typical symptoms are rashes, vomiting, diarrhoea, facial swelling and occasionally, breathing difficulties, which can appear within minutes, hours or even days after eating.

The most common foods that cause allergies are those containing cow’s milk, wheat, nuts, soy, eggs and shellfish. If you have a family history of allergies or if your child shows any signs or symptoms, seek medical advice from your healthcare professional.

There is currently little evidence to suggest that delaying solid foods past 6 months reduces allergy risk. This also applies to more common allergenic foods. Breastfeeding when solids are first introduced may be protective against food allergies.

Sharing mealtime with the family

Babies can share age-appropriate family food from the outset. Including them in family mealtimes helps build their sense of connection and learn how to be social with others around them. Large plates and cutlery can overwhelm babies so it’s also a good idea to serve meals from a small plate or the tray of their high chair.

When preparing the family meal, separate your baby’s meal before adding salt, sugar or seasoning.

Food hygiene and safety

Food Hygiene

  • Food-borne illnesses are common, so preparation, storage and disposal of food needs to be attended to carefully to minimise risk
  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before any food preparation. Soap at the kitchen sink acts as a great reminder
  • When your baby is old enough, ensure you wash their hands before they start their meals
  • Avoid leaving food to sit at room temperature if you intend to freeze it. Never re-freeze baby’s food once it has thawed.
  • Do not blow on your baby’s food to cool it or share the same spoon as it transfers bacteria from your mouth
  • Thaw food in the refrigerator or use the microwave. Avoid leaving frozen food to defrost at room temperature.
  • Throw away any food that has been warmed but not eaten
  • Use a clean cutting board for raw meat and a separate clean board for fruits and vegetables
  • When using a small amount of food from a whole jar scoop out only what you need and avoid repeatedly placing the spoon back into the container. Any food remaining in the jar or container should then be refrigerated.
  • Check expiry dates and throw out any food you feel may be old or unsafe.

Safety Points

  • Make sure meat is well cooked
  • Purée or cut all meat and vegetables into small, manageable portions. Don’t offer your baby food that could cause choking.
  • Always test the temperature of your baby’s food on your wrist before offering it. Remember that microwaved food continues to heat further after it has been removed from the microwave.
  • Always strap your baby into their high chair during meal times
  • Use a soft plastic spoon and never give your baby a sharp fork or knife to eat with
  • Always supervise your baby when they are eating, keeping them in view and close to you
  • Don’t leave your feeding baby in the care of an older child. Sharing food is common between siblings and sometimes an older child’s food may be unsuitable for a younger one.
Useful items when starting solids

A blender or a food processor is handy and given you’ll be making only small meals, a smaller gadget can be more practical and eliminates potential wastage.
A sieve, grinder or fine gauge potato masher to reduce foods down to a paste or puréed consistency.

Plastic backed bibs are more protective of clothing, as are scoop-shaped silicone bibs, which are easy to rinse off. Fabric bibs easily become stained and discoloured.

A couple of shallow, flat baby spoons, preferably with plastic or silicone coating and no sharp edges.

A high chair with a fitted restraint. Look for one with a secure, wide base and a well-fitting tray. An upright position is essential when eating, but in the early days, it’s not necessary to use a high chair. You may like to sit your baby in a stable rocker chair on the floor or on your lap for feeds.

Small containers with lids, ice cube trays and zip lock bags are handy for freezing and storing meals.

First Foods (From 6 Months)

Ideal foods

Begin introducing solids by offering well puréed, soft, smooth foods that don’t require chewing such as puréed meats and vegetables. Iron-fortified rice cereal mixed with breast milk, water or infant formula has a mild flavour and can resemble a smooth semi-liquid. Babies can find it delicious especially when it has been combined with other introductory foods like puréed fruits such as apple or pear.

Some great combinations to add to iron-rich foods such as puréed meat, chicken, fish or ricotta cheese include:

Veggie Combos

  • Pumpkin, sweet potato and broccoli
  • Pumpkin, carrot and apple
  • Zucchini, yellow squash and potato
  • Green beans and sweet potato
  • Green beans, yellow squash and potato
  • Pumpkin and potato
  • Cauliflower and carrot
  • Cauliflower, potato and carrot
  • Avocado and pumpkin
  • Broccoli and potato or pumpkin

Fruity Combos

  • Melon and banana
  • Pawpaw and banana
  • Apple and pear
  • Pear and peach
  • Dried apricots stewed, soaked and puréed
  • Dried apricots, peaches and sultanas stewed and puréed
  • Avocado and banana (yes, they love it!)
  • Avocado and apple
Key things to remember
  • Continue offering milk feeds before solids
  • Be patient and don’t expect your baby to love new tastes the first time they try them
  • Offer solid food from a spoon. Solid foods should not be added to a bottle.
  • At first, expect some mess and lots of spitting out – getting used to eating takes lots of practice!
  • You can cook in advance and freeze solid foods until you’re ready to use them. Try freezing individual portion sizes in an ice-cube tray and then storing the cubes in an airtight plastic bag. Remember to be careful about sensible hygiene and storage.
  • If you can see your baby’s teeth, clean them each day. The best time to do this is during bath time with a soft washcloth.

Beyond The Blender

Lumpy and minced foods

Once a baby has become accustomed to eating and swallowing, they can move on to lumpy and thicker textures. Although they may not have many or even any teeth, babies can still chew with their gums. Your baby’s nutritional needs should be met with a daily combination of around four bottle feeds, or more breast milk, plus solid foods.

It’s worthwhile trying new foods a few times, even if your baby does not seem keen at first. The earlier they get used to lots of different tastes, the less likely they may refuse foods later on.

Ideal Foods for This Stage

  • Small pasta, rice, porridge and couscous
  • Grated cheddar cheese, cottage or cream cheese and cheese sauces
  • Minced red meat, white meat and boneless fish
  • Ripe or lightly cooked fruits such as banana, avocado or lightly cooked grated apple
  • Eggs are a rich source of iron and can be added to milky desserts or added to other foods.
Daily feeding routine

Your baby’s first breast or formula feed for the day can be any time between 5am and 7am.

If you have an early walker, you may find your baby settles back to sleep after their feed and it will keep them going until around 7am when you can offer breakfast.

For late walkers, it’s fine to give breakfast straight after a breast or formula feed. Some babies won’t be interested in breakfast after a full liquid feed as they may not be hungry yet.

By around eight months you can offer lunch and dinner separate from their breast milk or formula feed.

Key things to remember

Food Hygiene

  • It’s not unusual for a baby to gag a little when they’re becoming accustomed to lumpy foods. So try not to put too much on the spoon until your baby is used to the different consistencies.
  • Let your baby ‘explore’ the food with their mouth and fingers. They may want to hold their own spoon and experiment with feeding themselves.
  • Watch your own reactions and stay calm if your baby starts to throw or play with food. Babies may learn this is a way of getting lots of attention and repeat the performance if they think it is working in their favour!
  • You may find your baby wants to share food from your plate even if they’ve already eaten. Mealtimes are not just about nutrition but an important way for babies to learn about communication.
  • Mashed foods are fine as long as they are moist and not likely to get stuck on the way down. Mixing solid foods with a little breast or formula milk is ideal.
  • You may find it useful to offer your baby extra drinks of cooled, boiled water. Encourage use of a sippy cup or one with a spout when they get older. Avoid offering juice, cordial or other fluids and do not offer tea.
Recipes

BABY GUACAMOLE

Makes 1 cup

  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • ½ avocado yoghurt or ricotta cheese

Mash the avocado and mix all the ingredients together to the desired consistency. You can also add 1 tablespoon of iron-fortified rice cereal for an added source of iron.


BABY VEGGIE SOUP

Makes about 5 cups/serves

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • ½ cup sweet potato, diced
  • 2½ cups potato, diced
  • ½ cup carrot, diced
  • 750 mL salt reduced stock (chicken or vegetable or diluted stock cubes made up)
  • 300 mL breast milk or prepared formula
  • 415 g tomato purée, canned cooked pasta or rice (optional)

Heat oil in a saucepan and cook onion until translucent. Stir in the vegetables, tomato purée and half the stock. Simmer until vegetables are soft. Purée to a desired consistency and return to heat. Blend breast milk/ prepared formula with remaining stock and use a stick blender to purée soup. Bring to the boil and serve. Add the cooked pasta or rice, if desired.


COUSCOUS AND PUMPKIN

Makes 1 serve

  • ¼ avocado
  • salt reduced stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tbsp instant couscous
  • 60 mL breast milk or prepared formula
  • 1½ tbsp cooked pumpkin, mashed

Place couscous and stock in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Stir through breast milk/prepared formula and let stand for 2 minutes. Stir through pumpkin and microwave on high for another 20 seconds. Stand for 1 to 2 minutes then serve.


FISH FILLET WITH PEA YOGHURT MASH

Makes about 2 serves

  • ½ cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • ¼ small onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp breast milk, prepared formula or thick
  • natural yoghurt generous squeeze of lemon juice

100 g white fleshed fish fillet, skinned and boned (e.g. bream, flathead, ling, snapper)
Gently simmer peas and onions in water until tender. Alternatively, place peas and onion in a covered microwave dish and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Purée or mash and stir through breast milk/prepared formula or yoghurt and lemon juice. Place fish and 1 tablespoon of water in a microwave container, cover and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes depending on fish thickness. Allow to stand for 1-2 minutes. Flake the fish and carefully fold through the pea mash.

Tips:

  • Add chopped fresh mint to pea mash for extra flavour
  • Mild paprika can be sprinkled over the fish before cooking to give the fish added flavour
  • Fish may also be grilled, baked or pan fried over moderately high heat until cooked.

TOMATO AND ZUCCHINI PASTA

Makes 1-2 serves

  • 2 tbsp stelline pasta (tiny star-shaped pasta, available from delicatessens)
  • 1 tbsp 1 tbsp of margarine
  • 1 small skinned, finely diced tomato(make a slit on top of tomato and place into a bowl of boiling water. After 2 minutes, carefully lift out, and the skin should be easily removed)
  • 1 small (or ½ large) zucchini, grated
  • A handful of grated cheese

Cook the pasta in boiling water until soft. While the pasta is cooking, sauté the chopped tomato and zucchini in margarine in a small saucepan. Once the veggies have softened, drain and mix together all ingredients. Sprinkle with cheese and stir through.

Top Tip:

Grating is a brilliant, quick and easy way of chopping veggies (and fruit) for babies.


APPLE BANANA CREAMED RICE

Makes 3 serves

  • 1 cup breast milk or prepared formula
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence
  • ¼ cup white arborio or medium grain rice
  • ½ small red or green apple, chopped
  • ½ small banana, chopped
  • a few drops lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg or cinnamon

To cook in a saucepan:

Combine breast milk/prepared formula and vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir in rice, apple, banana tossed with lemon juice and nutmeg. Cover and cook over low heat for 45 mins stir occasionally, or until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve warm or chilled.

To bake in the oven:

Pre-heat oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced). Sprinkle rice and fruit evenly over the base of a lightly greased dish. Whisk breast milk/prepared formula and vanilla, pour over rice and sprinkle with nutmeg. Cover with lid or foil. Place dish in a deep baking dish and add enough hot water to come half-way up the sides around the dish. Place in a hot oven for 30-45 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from oven and let stand to allow any remaining liquid to be absorbed. Serve warm or chilled.

Tips:

  • Add other chopped fresh or canned fruit in natural juice or blueberries to rice before cooking
  • After cooking, stir through thick natural yoghurt for a thicker, creamier texture
  • If you prefer to use vanilla bean pods, simply slice open the vanilla bean pod and scrape the seeds into the bowl with the breast milk/prepared formula.

CREAMY FRUIT JELLY

Makes 6 serves

  • 1 (85 g) fruit jelly packet (see Top Tip below for how to make your own)
  • 200 mL boiling water
  • 150 mL breast milk or prepared formula
  • 1 cup canned pears, drained and finely diced
  • Dissolve jelly in boiling water and let cool for 5 minutes. Add breast milk/prepared formula to jelly, add pears and stir. Pour into moulds and refrigerate.

Top Tip:

You can make your own jelly with fruit juice, which has no added sugar. Heat 300 mL 100% fruit juice and 100 mL water in a saucepan over medium heat. Turn the heat off and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of powdered gelatin over the juice and stir until it dissolves. Set aside to cool then pour into moulds and refrigerate.


NA-NA PUD

Makes 2 serves

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp rice cereal
  • 1 cup breast milk or prepared formula
  • ½ small ripe banana

Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced). Mash all ingredients together and stir well. Pour into individual ramekins or oven-proof cups and place in an oven dish with warm water. Bake for about 30 minutes.

The Older Bub

Chopped and finger foods

Small finger foods are ideal at this stage. This is the age of exploration, touch, taste, smell and independence while eating! So where possible, allow them the opportunity to feed themselves.

When secure in their high chair, most babies are quite happy to play with their food and even transfer some of it into their mouth. You could try offering your baby their own spoon while you continue to feed them. Distraction is sometimes necessary to ensure they have an adequate intake of food, especially if they’ve become bored and want to move on.

Daily feeding routine
  • Breast milk or formula is still an important part of baby’s diet at this stage. If your baby is breastfeeding, expect them to still need a minimum of three or more feeds a day. If they are bottle feeding, around 600–800 mL a day is average.
  • Three solid meals a day are ideal; aim for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • You can offer two courses from now on, especially with main meals. Up to a cup for the first course and half of this amount for the second is recommended.
  • All babies have their own unique appetite and need food as fuel. Try not to compare what your baby is eating with others of the same age.
Key things to remember
  • Always stay with your baby when they are eating. Even though they may seem to be independent and managing well, the risk of choking is still possible so you need to be alert.
  • If you are going out, take some healthy snacks with you. Finding suitable take-away foods can be challenging. Home-prepared foods tend to be cheaper, healthier and have more texture than processed foods.
  • Don’t be worried if the food your baby found wonderful the day before isn’t being accepted now. It’s very common for babies to change their minds about what they like, so go with the flow and be creative.
  • Over the next 6 months, start thinking about preparing similar food for you and your family. This will save you both time and energy. Apart from the few foods that should still be avoided until 12 months or later, it’s time to start eating similar foods to the rest of the family.
  • It’s quite common for babies to be teething at this age, and during this time you may find your baby is less interested in eating.
Recipes

BEEF AND VEGGIE LASAGNA

Makes 1 x 20 cm square or 25 x 18 cm rectangular dish
Makes 6–8 large serves or 12 small serves

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small baby eggplant (~75g or 1/3 large), diced, skin on
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 2 cups diced vegetables (e.g. carrot, capsicum, zucchini, mushrooms, peas)
  • 2 x 400 g cans of tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil or oregano or 1 tsp dried herbs
  • 5–6fresh lasagna sheets (or 8–9 instant sheets), cut to fi the dish

Cheese sauce

  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 1 cup breast milk or prepared formula
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced). Heat oil in a non-stick frypan over a moderate heat. Add eggplant, onion and garlic and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside. Cook lean beef mince, in 2 batches if necessary, for 3–4 minutes or until meat is browned, stirring occasionally. Return eggplant mix to the pan, add vegetables, tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce (if desired) and basil; simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Combine cornflour and 2 tablespoons milk or formula in a small cup. Place remaining milk or formula, ricotta cheese, half the Parmesan and nutmeg (if desired) in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk the cornflour mixture and gradually stir into the hot milk. Continue to stir until sauce thickens.

Layer pasta sheets over the base of a lightly greased deep 20 cm square or 25 x 18 cm rectangular dish. Cover pasta with a thin layer of meat mixture then another pasta sheet. Cover pasta with meat, then, a thin layer of cheese sauce and cover with a pasta sheet. Repeat two more meat and pasta layers and then cover with cheese sauce. Make sure all the pasta is covered. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake in moderate oven (180°C or 160°C fan forced) for 35–40 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Cover with foil if browning too fast.

Tips:

  • Substitute lean beef with lamb or chicken mince.
  • Lining the dish with baking paper makes it easier to remove.

Top Tip:

This recipe, when using cow’s milk, is a great dinner idea for the whole family.


BABY TAPAS

Makes about 1 cup

Create a smorgasbord of goodies for your little one. Try filling a plate with lots of goodies such as steamed veggies, sweet potato, pieces of fruit, slices of cheese, sticks of cucumber and yummy baby guacamole.

FINGER FOOD

As your baby gets older, a great way to make their meals interesting is to provide finger food alongside the meal in varying shapes and sizes.

  • Slices of cheese
  • Pieces of pear (without skin), peaches, melon and banana
  • Sausages chopped in half and into small pieces (skin off) – round pieces can be a choking risk!
  • Fritters/pancakes
  • Falafels
  • Pieces of ham
  • Cut-up scones or pikelets
  • Pieces of steamed cooked sweet potato, carrots and potato
  • Roasted capsicum, cut into squares (very sweet!)
  • Tiny sandwiches with avocado, vegemite, ricotta or cream cheese.

TOP TIP

Cut honeydew melon, rockmelon, watermelon or pawpaw into chip size for a fun fruity snack. Drizzle with orange juice.


HUGHEY’S FISH FINGERS

Makes 2 serves

  • 2 pieces of firm, white fish cut into strips (check carefully for bones)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten

Dip fish strips into flour, then egg and then gently roll in breadcrumbs. Spray a non-stick fry pan with canola or olive oil spray. Pan-fry the fish strips until golden.

Tips:

  • Flathead, whiting or ling fillets are good to use in this recipe
  • For extra flavour, add some dried mixed herbs to
    the breadcrumbs.

MEAT PATTIES

Makes approximately 14

  • 500 g premium mince meat
  • ¼ cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 120 mL breast milk, prepared formula
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten plain flour, for coating
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil

Dip (an option for adults)

  • ½ cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp mint, finely chopped or grated cucumber

Blend the fist 5 ingredients in a bowl. Shape into small patties and coat in flour. Heat oil in a pan and cook over slow to medium heat until brown. Serve with dip, if preferred.


TATO AND KINI PANCAKES

Makes about 16 small pancakes

  • 1 medium (~150 g) potato, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium (~150 g) zucchini, grated
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • 1 tbsp breast milk or prepared formula
  • canola or olive oil spray

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Heat a non-stick frypan over moderate heat. Spray with canola or olive oil. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into a pan, flatten slightly with a spatula and cook 6–8 minutes each side depending on thickness, until crispy and golden brown.

Tips

  • Serve with a dollop of guacamole or natural yoghurt and sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Add sweet potato or pumpkin in place of zucchini.

Top Tip:

For a sweet variation, beat 1 egg yolk and add 1¼ cups sifted self-raising flour, ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda and ¾ cup breast milk or prepared formula. Whisk until combined. Gently fold in sliced strawberries, banana or blueberries.

Toddler Time (12–24 Months)

What to expect

Between 12 and 18 months, your toddler’s growth will slow down markedly from their fist year and their appetite may reduce in size.

Food will be a major part of their life now and you’ll find you’re spending a lot of your day preparing, cooking and serving food to your toddler. To make clean up easier, place some plastic sheeting, newspaper or an old sheet under their highchair or feed outside in the summer months.

It’s common for toddlers to be picky and parents can become frustrated by their refusal to eat. The trick is to stay calm, remain flexible and above all, try not to worry too much.

If you are still offering your toddler a bottle at this stage, there are real advantages to stopping. Drinking from a spout, straw or plain cup is preferable to sucking on a bottle. Stopping all bottles from around the age of one can reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Getting more food in than out

It is not true that the more elaborate the food, the more likely your baby will devour it. Toddlers have simple tastes, so often the opposite is true. From 12 months, toddlers can have foods that the rest of the family are eating, as long as they are nutritious. Each family eat different foods and your toddler will adapt to the foods that your family likes to eat.

Daily feeding routine
  • Toddlers need structure, so offer food 5-6 times a day: at breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
  • If your child asks for additional food between meals and snacks, all you need to do is reassure them that the next meal is coming up soon. Don’t offer them more as they may not be hungry when the next meal is presented.
  • Many toddlers like to have their dinner at around 5pm. Although this may be too early for your whole family to eat, it can work to offer them their evening meal early and a late snack when the rest of the family eats.
Key things to remember

Food Hygiene

  • It’s not unusual for a baby to gag a little when they’re becoming accustomed to lumpy foods. So try not to put too much on the spoon until your baby is used to the different consistencies.
  • Let your baby ‘explore’ the food with their mouth and fingers. They may want to hold their own spoon and experiment with feeding themselves.
  • Watch your own reactions and stay calm if your baby starts to throw or play with food. Babies may learn this is a way of getting lots of attention and repeat the performance if they think it is working in their favour!
  • You may find your baby wants to share food from your plate even if they’ve already eaten. Mealtimes are not just about nutrition but an important way for babies to learn about communication.
  • Mashed foods are fine as long as they are moist and not likely to get stuck on the way down. Mixing solid foods with a little breast or formula milk is ideal.
  • You may find it useful to offer your baby extra drinks of cooled, boiled water. Encourage use of a sippy cup or one with a spout when they get older. Avoid offering juice, cordial or other fluids and do not offer tea.
What about fussy eaters?

It is reasonable for your child to develop personal taste preferences so don’t expect them to like everything on offer. Give them a day or two before trying the same taste experience again, to see if they develop a renewed interest.

Don’t let your own preferences and dislikes for foods influence what you offer your baby. While difficult, there are real advantages to allowing babies and toddlers to make up their own minds about what suits them.

If you feel your child is not eating very much, you may like to keep a food diary. What’s important is that they are growing and not falling below or plateauing on their growth charts. It is normal for toddlers to pick and graze and eat only small amounts at some meals. So it can be worthwhile looking at their intake over a few days, rather than just concentrating on the amount they have eaten at separate mealtimes.

See your healthcare professional if you are concerned about your child’s growth or activity level.

Recipes

CHICKEN STICKS

Makes 8 (4 serves)

  • 4 (about 160 g) pieces of skinless chicken
  • tenderloins halved lengthways
  • ½ cup orange juice. Generous squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups cornflakes
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 40 mL prepared S-26 GOLD ® TODDLER milk drink

Pre-heat oven to 220°C (200°C fan forced). Place chicken in a shallow dish. Whisk the orange juice, lemon juice and mustard together in a small bowl and pour over the chicken. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with a paper towel. Put the flour and milk in separate shallow dishes. Place the cornflakes in a large plastic bag and crush roughly with your hands. Add the sesame seeds and toss to combine. Dip each chicken piece in flour, shaking off any excess and then dip in prepared S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink. Place the chicken in the cornflakes bag and gently shake until chicken is well coated. Place the chicken on a baking paper-lined tray. If cornflake coating comes off, just press it back onto chicken. Bake for 8–10 minutes or until chicken is cooked and golden. Serve warm or cold.

Tips:

  • Substitute apricot nectar or cranberry juice for orange juice
  • Chicken sticks are tasty without the marinade so you can skip the marinade to save time
  • Add herbs to cornflake mix for extra flavour
  • Serve warm with mashed potato and cooked veggies for lunch or dinner

GOURMET MINI PIZZAS

Makes 2

  • 1 tsp margarine or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup chicken or lean beef mince (80 g)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh basil or oregano
  • 1 English muffin, split in half1 tbsp chopped fresh or canned pineapple in
    natural juice
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced red or green capsicum
  • 1 tbsp mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced). Heat a small frypan over moderate heat. Add oil and minced meat, stirring occasionally, until cooked through. Remove from heat. Combine tomato paste and basil and spread evenly over muffin halves. Top with meat, pineapple, capsicum and cheese. Place on a baking paper-lined tray and bake for 10 minutes or until crisp and the cheese has melted. Cut into quarters to serve.

Tips:

  • Substitute muffins with mini pita breads
  • Try other savoury toppings:
    • Baked pumpkin, finely sliced snow peas, feta cheese and baby English spinach leaves
    • Basil pesto, tuna and feta cheese
    • Scrambled eggs or tofu with diced ham.

KIDS KOFTA WITH YOGHURT

Makes 8 small pieces

  • ¼ cup prepared S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink
  • 250 g minced lamb
  • 1 green shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ cup natural yoghurt, to serve

2 dried apricots, finely chopped (optional)
Combine S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink and with the rest of the ingredients, except yoghurt, in a large bowl
and knead together well. Using slightly wet hands, form mixture into 10 oval shapes. Lightly spray pre-heated char grill or frypan with olive or canola oil and cook kofta over medium heat for 6–8 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve with yoghurt.

Tips:

  • These are a great finger food for children and can be eaten warm or cold Alternatively, they can be served warm with tomato-based pasta sauce and couscous or pasta
  • Chicken mince or lean beef mince may be used instead of lamb mince
  • Dried apricots are an option for extra flavour.

SPINACH QUICHES IN BREAD CASES

Makes 3 serves

  • 1 cup (40 g) English spinach leaves, washed
  • Canola or olive oil spray
  • 3 thick slices wholemeal toasting bread, crusts removed
  • ¼ cup prepared S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 green shallot, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced). Pour boiling water over spinach and stand for 1 minute. Drain spinach, squeezing out excess liquid and chop. Lightly spray or grease 3 x 1/3 cup (80 mL) muffin tins. Remove crusts from bread and flatten each slice with a rolling pin. Spray each side of bread with oil and press into 3 muffin tins. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then remove, leaving them in the pan. Whisk S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink, egg and mustard in a bowl. Divide spinach, shallot and cheese among the bread cases. Carefully pour in the milk mixture and bake for 15–20 minutes or until set.

Tips:

  • Bread shells can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for filing later
  • For other savoury fillings, try:
    • Chopped cooked chicken, grated apple and mayonnaise
    • Canned tuna or salmon, avocado and thick natural yoghurt
    • Cooked bolognese sauce and grated cheese
    • Tomato paste, chopped basil or oregano, chopped fresh or canned pineapple, capsicum and grated cheese
    • Guacamole and cherry tomatoes
  • For extra fire, add some cooked chopped vegetables.

TUNA, CORN AND RICE PATTIES

Makes 6 large or 12 (2 per serve) small patties

  • 185 g can tuna in spring water, drained
  • 125 g can (½ cup) creamed corn
  • 1/3 cup cooked rice
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped red capsicum
  • 1 green shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp grated cheese
  • ¼ cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Canola or olive oil spray

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Lightly spray a non-stick frypan and cook spoonfuls of mixture over medium heat for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden. Serve warm or cooled.

Tips:

  • For a smoother texture, all ingredients can be blended in a food
    processor before cooking
  • Substitute tuna for canned salmon or cooked chicken. Add
    leftover diced cooked vegetables, such as zucchini, carrot,
    capsicum, broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt or add chopped fresh
    mint to yoghurt for a refreshing taste.

VEGETABLE FRITTATA

Makes about 6 toddler serves

  • 100 g potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 100 g sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 80 g pumpkin, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ small onion, diced
  • ¼ cup prepared S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ small red capsicum, thinly sliced
  • oil for brushing

Pre-heat oven to 220°C (200°C fan forced). Arrange potato, sweet potato, pumpkin and onion evenly in lightly greased or baking paper-lined 20 cm round dish or cake tin. Whisk eggs and S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink and pour over the vegetables. Scatter feta and arrange capsicum strips over the top. Brush lightly with oil. Place in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through (insert a skewer or knife to check vegetables are soft). Serve warm or chilled, cut into wedges.

Tips:

  • Add other vegetables, such as beans, corn, peas, cauliflower,
    broccoli and zucchini
  • This is a great way to use up leftover baked vegetables
  • Add thinly sliced ham or chicken.

TOP TIP

For extra crunch, sprinkle top with breadcrumbs before baking.


ZUCCHINI AND CORN CHOWDER

Makes about 3 serves

  • 2 tsp margarine
  • 1 green shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp plain flour
  • 1½ cups prepared S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink
  • 400 g creamed corn
  • 1 small (100 g) potato, grated
  • 1 small (100 g) zucchini, grated

Place margarine and green shallot in a small saucepan over moderate heat and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute (will form a dough-like substance). Remove soup from heat and gradually whisk in S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink. Add corn, potato and zucchini and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until potato is cooked.

Tips:

  • This creamy soup can be a warm, tasty lunch on a winter’s day
  • Add finely diced leg ham or cooked chicken
  • For extra flavour, add thinly sliced red capsicum and sauté with the shallot.

BREAD AND BUTTER FRUIT PUDDING

Makes 8 serves

  • 8 slices fruit/raisin bread, crusts removed
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 1 freshly grated apple or ½ cup diced
  • canned apple in natural juice, drained
  • 500 mLprepared S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced). Spread one side of each slice of bread with margarine. Cut each slice into quarters. Lay bread slices, margarine-side facing up, across the base of a greased 20 cm x 20 cm (or 18 cm x 23 cm) ovenproof dish. Add grated or diced apple. Cover with a layer of bread slices, margarine-side facing up. Whisk milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl. Pour over the bread. Leave to stand for 5–10 minutes. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until set. Serve warm or cold.

Tips:

  • Other fruit could be added or substituted, such as diced fresh or canned peaches, pears, bananas, sultanas or mixed dried fruit
  • Add a little grated lemon rind for extra tang.

CARROTY MUFFINS

Makes 36 small or 12 large muffins

  • 2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 90 g margarine, melted
  • 90 mLprepared S-26 GOLD® TODDLER milk drink
  • 1 cup peeled carrot, grated
  • 1 cup zucchini, grated
  • ½ cup sultanas

Pre-heat oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan forced). Mix together the fist 4 ingredients. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients; add margarine and milk. Mix until consistency is like dough. Fold through the carrot, zucchini and sultanas, until mixed well. Place mixture into greased muffin or patty cake tray. Bake for 25–30 minutes. Turn out muffins and cool on a wire rack.


MAGIC BANANA SMOOTHIE

Makes about 2 serves

  • 1 banana
  • 5 scoops S-26 GOLD® TODDLER powder
  • 200 mL cold water

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend well and serve.

Tips:

  • Substitute banana with mixed berries or sliced mango
  • Freeze to make yummy fruit ice blocks.

TOP TIP

For a tangy flavour, add 1 tbsp passionfruit yoghurt.

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