Vegetables

In the first months of the beginning of complementary feeding, it is worth preparing vegetables that are easier to digest, not red in color, which do not contain coarse fiber: zucchini, cauliflower are suitable for the first feeding; further – broccoli, pumpkin, carrots, potatoes; after 8 months – green beans, green peas, corn. Corn and green beans have a fairly tough shell, but during heat treatment they soften easily and quickly.

Until a year, it is not recommended to introduce vegetables that are aggressive for the fragile gastrointestinal tract (such as beets, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs). Of course, this age is conditional. There are children whose digestive tract matures a little faster, but there are those who, even at this age, are not yet fully formed. Accordingly, it is better not to rush, because from the point of view of obtaining the necessary nutrients, it is quite enough to offer the little one “non-aggressive” vegetables.

By the way, vegetable combinations are preferable to monocomponent purees (consisting of one vegetable). Firstly, this way the child will receive more different vitamins, minerals and other useful substances, since the beneficial properties of different vegetables differ significantly. Secondly, it will provide a wide palette of taste sensations. Third, in ordinary life, people do not eat a plate of broccoli for lunch simply because it is monotonous and tasteless. But if you add more cauliflower, carrots – this is already a full-fledged side dish.

Thus, monocomponent purees are relevant only for monitoring the reaction when introducing complementary foods, as well as to avoid unnecessary stress on the gastrointestinal tract. After the body has become familiar with various vegetables, it is much healthier to combine them.

The general methods for preparing and storing vegetables have been covered  in this article . Now let’s look at some of the features of the main vegetables.

Zucchini

It is zucchini that is most often used for the first feeding due to the high content of structured water, which improves intestinal motility. Watery zucchini is also good because it is quite easy to cook even in the absence of a blender – just grind it through a sieve. In addition, it is an ideal vegetable for training chewing skills, since its soft structure makes it easy for even a toothless baby to chew.

For the first feeding, it is better to use a white zucchini variety. It is recommended to remove the skin as it contains most of the nitrates. Large, hard seeds must also be removed.

Cauliflower and broccoli

Fresh cauliflower and broccoli are stored for a relatively short time: 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator at a temperature not higher than + 5 °. If you disassemble the forks into inflorescences, the shelf life is reduced to three days at a temperature of no more than + 3 ° and an air humidity of no more than 90% (usually these conditions are provided by the so-called “Freshness Zone”). If the indicated shelf life is not suitable, it is better to put unused inflorescences in the freezer.

In the process of cooking fresh cabbage should be cut off “legs”, because even after heat treatment they remain quite tough, which prevents the transformation of the dish into a homogeneous puree. A little later, when the baby learns to chew on his own, and it will be enough to knead the vegetables with a pusher or a fork, the hard “legs” will also not be to the taste of the toddler, since they will not be able to fully knead them. But the defrosted cabbage after heat treatment becomes soft as a whole, so you don’t have to bother with it.

Potatoes

Potatoes are dry enough and hard  to digest  (due to their high starch content). It is best paired with watery vegetables such as squash or squash. 

When choosing tubers for complementary foods, be sure to pay attention to their color. Potatoes with green spots are common, which are very dangerous for the health of the child. The green substance on the tubers is called “solanine”. This is a real poison, created by nature to protect the plant from pests. Solanine is released in large quantities in bright light, so store potatoes in a dark room.

Pumpkin and carrot

It must be remembered that pumpkin and carrots contain carotene (yellow-orange pigment). On the one hand, it plays an important role in many metabolic processes in the human body: it improves peristalsis, removes toxins and toxins, etc. On the other hand, it makes pumpkins and carrots more allergenic than white and green vegetables, and therefore should be introduced with extreme caution and preferably after hypoallergenic vegetables have been introduced.

It is also worth noting that carotene tends to accumulate in the liver and cause the so-called caratine jaundice, therefore, pumpkin and carrots should not be offered to the little one more than 2-3 times a week. Moreover, carrots are not introduced as an independent  dish, it is customary to combine it with other vegetables  as an option: with cauliflower, broccoli, green beans and green peas).

As for pumpkin, it has a sweetish taste, and therefore its introduction to fresh squash and cabbage can further provoke the rejection of other vegetables.

For feeding, you should choose pumpkins, the weight of which does not exceed 3-5 kg. The younger and smaller the fruits, the less fibrous their structure, the more juicy pulp and the sweetish taste pleasant to the baby. The pumpkin skin should be smooth, free from dents and rot, and the tail should be dry.

Fruits

The introduction of fruits should be started with green apples and pears, as they are less likely to cause allergic reactions. It is better to use domestic fruits, such as Antonovka apples, White filling, Semerenko, etc. They are much more useful than imported ones, since the latter are mostly plucked from the tree immature and ripen on the way, which significantly impoverishes their composition. In addition, various chemical additives are used to maintain a beautiful appearance, which will also not benefit the little one.

I met the opinion that bright varieties of apples are not very different from green ones and they can also be used for the first feeding, only the peel should be removed. This is not entirely true. Red apples, even without a peel, will be sweeter than green ones, since they contain more sugars, which is not appropriate for an immature gastrointestinal tract and, at least, can lead to increased gas formation. As for the peel, it should be removed from any fruit, since the baby’s body is not yet able to cope with it (it will come out undigested, overloading the digestive tract).

After the introduction of green apples and pears, plums, peaches, bananas and apricots can be introduced. Berries are the last to try, as they are high in fiber and tiny seeds that can cause intestinal upset.

With the introduction of fresh fruits, some pediatricians recommend delaying up to 8-10 months, since the high content of natural acids can have an extremely negative effect on the mucous membrane of the immature intestine. At the same time, with proper heat treatment, the acidity is significantly reduced, and the amount of nutrients remains the same.

To preserve the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals, fruits should be steamed or baked. When baking in a container with fruits (which can be baked whole or in slices), add a little water, and also cover the container loosely with foil. Which method to choose – decide for yourself. It seems to me more convenient to bake apples, pears and bananas; peaches, plums, apricots – cook for a couple of minutes 5-6 (this way the skin is more easily separated from them), and give the berries fresh when the baby’s digestive tract is ready for this.

Next, baked or boiled fruits are chopped to a puree state, as described  in this article .

Fruit puree can be offered as an independent dish for an afternoon snack, or added to cereals, dairy products, and also combined with vegetables.

How to cook vegetables and fruits for feeding babies. Part 1 (general rules)

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