Before you get out that blender – Read this!
We like to say that humans have not only survived but thrived for thousands of years. And, without blenders. The same is true for turkey day. This year you can skip the purée on your baby’s Thanksgiving plate. But first, let’s touch on safety, savoring, and fun.
Ways to Safely Include Baby in the Thanksgiving Feast
- Scoot their chair up to the table and let them be apart of the family fun. But remember, baby always needs to be supervised around food. Pick one family member or friend to watch baby if you run back to the kitchen for more cranberries.
- Model a mindfulness by taking a seat at the table and savoring each bite. They are learning how to navigate all meals by watching you. (Tips for mindfulness at food-centric meals).
- Embrace the fact that there will be a mess! It is what it is. Take pictures and be ready for an early bathtime.
- Savor, love, and laugh together as a family. Babies are tuning into your every move, so show them how wonderful these holiday meals can truly be as a family. And, remember it’s not all about the food.
- Serve up baby-led weaning (BLW)-friendly foods in appropriate shapes and textures. Try not overwhelm the babies by putting too much on their plate at one time.
Not sure what to do with the turkey day foods? We’ve got you covered. Here are our suggestions for a safe and finger-food friendly feast for beginner eaters. And, if you have older ones, let them help with the festivities!
- Roasted Turkey–> Beginners can enjoy this a couple ways; such as chopped finely and mixed with mashed avocado then formed into fingers (this is for those who are feeling less confident in your baby’s skill), or serve fingers of turkey meat in gravy (pull out baby’s gravy before you flavor it with salt), or chop finely and mix in with mashed potatoes then form into fingers. Lastly, flaked turkey bits work, too!
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts–>Consider a chiffonade of brussels sprouts which happens to be one of our favorite ways to enjoy this savory veggie (see link for great video!)
- Mashed Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes–>Prepare your camera for some fun and messy photos of your little one digging in! Mashed potatoes can get gummy, so be sure to add a little more steamy milk or butter to their serving. Another option is to form into fingers and serve with gravy.
- Stuffing/Dressing–>Whether it’s cornbread dressing or classic bread stuffing be sure to chop the vegetables into a brunoise cut (very, very tiny) and if you add nuts to yours chop them into very fine bits, too. Stuffing can be baked in adorable muffin cups, but moisture is key so drizzle over some gravy or hot salt-free chicken stock before serving (let cool obviously!) But a crumbly and moist serving of stuffing is great all on its own.
- Gravy–>Because sodium content can be high overall for this type of meal, consider ditching the salt (or using a no added salt stock or broth) when preparing a gravy for your infant. They’ll never miss it! Here are some creative gravy recipes from yummly!
- Green Bean Casserole–>French-style green beans are great for this type of recipe for new eaters. Canned green beans, in general, are already a BLW friendly texture for beginner eaters. You can keep their beans plain if you use the traditional cream of mushroom soup or opt to make your own and ditch the salt (recipe option here and ditch the salt.)
- Cranberry Sauce or Relish–>This messy favorite is usually a great texture for new eaters. Just make sure that whole berries have been mashed and any added ingredients like nuts are cut very small or removed.
- Desserts–>Don’t feel like it’s a must. If you’ve made or picked up an amazing pie, let baby have a dollop with their meal. There’s no need to serve afterward. This helps baby use his self-regulation skills without being confused by another course.