Leafy greens are tough for even the best set of teeth and skilled jaws, now imagine just a set of gums and a sensitive gag reflex. Needless to say, spinach leaves or baby kale will have to wait until baby is a bit more advanced in chewing, and probably hosting a full set of teeth. Don’t fret, you can add in leafy greens in a variety of ways. Here are my top 5 ways to boost your baby’s leafy greens without opening up a jar of baby food:
- Frittatas–finely chop up fresh greens and whip them into eggs before baking. We like frittatas baked in muffin cups, a perfect size for little hands.
- Soups–spinach wilts down rather quickly due to it’s high water content. Making a pot of minestrone or lentil soup with spinach is a great way to soften the strands and giving a baby the opportunity to gain the benefit of the nutrient-dense green.
- Smoothies–green smoothies can be really fun, and although baby may only need a sip or two, they are still getting in quality nutrition with each sip. My favorite combo is 2 Tbsp nut butter + 1/2 cup frozen spinach + 1 banana + 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 1 cup kefir + 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- Spaghetti sauce–chop or blend in some greens next time you make a tomato sauce, you will barely notice a flavor change!
- Meatballs or Meatloaves–carrots, celery, and onion always get all the fun in meatballs or meatloaves, but why not add in some greens? Check out our recipe for Quinoa Meatballs!
But, with all that said, my #1 go-to-recipe when Miss A was little was green pancakes or muffins. If I wanted to freeze them I’d make them into muffins, and if I had more mouths to feed at the table we’d make them into pancakes. This recipe has always been a win for any baby or toddler sitting at my table….and husband’s too! Give this recipe a whirl, literally! All you need is a blender.
3-ingredient Spinach Muffins (or Pancakes):
- 1 banana
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C and grease a muffin pan (6 muffins) with coconut oil or cooking spray.
- Toss into a blender and blend for 15 seconds.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until slightly firm to touch.
Note: using frozen spinach adds in more liquid, which is great for a beginner texture. If you want these to be a bit firmer opt to defrost and squeeze dry the spinach to remove excess water.
Pancake fingers are an easy finger food for beginner eaters.
- Beginner–serve 1 finger
- Novice–serve 1-2 fingers and consider serving with a yogurt dip for a fun activity
- Advanced–serve 2-3 pancakes with yogurt dip and/or syrup