Baby-Friendly Thanksgiving Food and Recipes
With Thanksgiving coming up at the end of the month, you may be wondering “What food can my baby have this Thanksgiving?”
We’re here to answer all your questions and even have some baby-friendly recipes and food ideas so your little one can join in on the festivities!
How To Safely Feed Your Baby
With the abundance of cooking that comes with Thanksgiving celebrations, it can be a challenge if you have to make separate dishes for your children. Luckily, there are festive foods that are okay for your baby to eat! Here’s how you can safely feed your baby and toddler from the Thanksgiving dinner table!
Foods that are Okay:
- Thanksgiving stuffing that’s cooked separately, outside of the turkey is safe for babies to eat! However, since there are many different recipes for stuffings, you must first taste test to determine if it’s okay for your baby to eat. To make it easier for your baby to eat it, make sure the vegetables are chopped into small pieces, cooked until soft, and the stuffing is moist. For younger infants, you can also mash the stuffing or add in liquids. For older infants, try to give them parts of the dressing that is soft and not crunchy or hard.
- This is a healthy choice for your little one this Thanksgiving! For younger infants (5-6 months), make sure the potato is peeled, cooked until soft, and pureed. For older infants, you can serve it mashed or cooked soft and cut into small pieces!
- Turkey is a great source of nutrition and protein for your baby! This is a better option for infants 7-8 months old or older. For infants 7-8 months, you can serve it blended into a puree with formula or applesauce. For infants older than 10 months, you can serve it chopped into tiny pieces. Make sure you try to serve them meat from the thighs rather than the drier turkey breast meat.
Green Bean Casserole:
- Your little one can enjoy green beans by the age of 7 months! It should be served mashed or pureed. However for those younger than 9 months, it’s best to take out the mushrooms and fried onions and rinse off the cream sauce. By 9 months, babies are able to digest mushrooms so feel free to serve it along with the green beans!
- Your baby can safely eat mashed potatoes at 7 months of age and if there are no extra ingredients added such as bacon or cheese. You should serve it thinned out with formula for those under 10 months.
Foods to Avoid:
Stuffing that has been cooked inside the turkey:
- Bacteria, such as salmonella, can be found inside the turkey and can potentially transfer to the stuffing if the turkey is not cooked properly.
Sweet potato with nuts or added sweeteners like sugar or marshmallows.
- Nuts can be hard for your baby to chew and additional sugar in their diet should be avoided!
- It may not be the best option for your baby. This is because it is very acidic so babies under 8 months might not be able to tolerate it. In addition, cranberries are usually mixed with lots of sugar to balance out its tartness.
- Gravy is loaded with salt and fat. It’s best for your infant to avoid it altogether!
- For babies under 18 months, corn can cause digestive problems and can also be a choking hazard.
Thanksgiving Food Ideas For Babies
While you may find it difficult to try and find something on the Thanksgiving dinner table for your baby to enjoy, there are ways you can ensure they’ll have a taste of the festive food without all the added salt and sugar!
First, if you are cooking the main dishes such as mashed potato, sweet potato, green bean casserole, and stuffing, you can easily make a smaller portion for your little one at the same time. For instance, if you’re making a bacon and cheese mashed potato, set aside a small portion of mashed potato before seasoning. Make sure it is blended well into a smooth puree, mix with formula to thin it out, and you’re good to go!
You can do the same with sweet potato if you’re planning on making a dish that will include added sugar or marshmallows. Depending on how old your infant is, you can even leave the sweet potato cut up into tiny pieces for some fun finger food.
For the stuffing, you can opt to make a simple one without nuts and dried fruit. They can include onions, garlic, carrots, and celery cut up into small pieces and cooked until soft enough. By doing this, you can avoid having to do the guessing game in order to figure out if the stuffing is okay for your infant to eat.
Festive Baby and Toddler Food Recipes
Now that we have some Thanksgiving food ideas for your little ones, of course you must be wondering “What about food recipes?”. Well no worries, because we have got you covered! Here are a few festive baby food recipes you can use this Thanksgiving!
Carrot, Pea, and Potato Mash
- 1 1-inch portion of carrot, cooked
- 1 1-inch cube of potato, cooked
- 1 heaping tbsp cooked peas (frozen ones are okay)
- Add the carrot, potato and peas to the bowl or a blender or mini-food processor.
- Process until smooth.
- To thin the puree, add a little bit of water.
- If desired, you can also season with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
- 1 carrot, pealed and sliced
- 1 sweet apple, pealed, cored and sliced
- 2 cups pealed and cubed butternut squash
- Place all the ingredients in a pot, filling up with enough water to cover the veggies and fruit.
- Bring to a boil and cook until everything is tender.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the soup.
- Freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays for easy defrosting.
One Pot Thanksgiving Dinner
- 1 cup of Turkey – uncooked ( breast or leg meat)
- 1/2 cup peeled and cubed winter squash
- 1/2 cup peeled and cubed white potato
- 1/2 cup peeled and cubed sweet potato
- 1 small handful of fresh or frozen cranberries
- Combine all ingredients in a medium sized saucepan
- Add 2 cups of water
- Bring to a gentle boil and then turn heat to low
- Simmer on low for 20 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink and veggies may be easily pierced with a fork.
- Transfer the cooked One Pot Thanksgiving Dinner to a large mixing bowl and mash or chop as needed.
- Process in a Blender or Food Processor if needed for babies who do not like lumps and textures.
Sweet Potato Bites
- 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, divided
- 1 tablespoon egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon water
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Mix 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Combine egg whites and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a larger bowl. Whisk until frothy. Add pecans. Stir until coated. Add sugar mixture. Stir until coated.
- Spread evenly on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes (coating will harden on pecans). Stir and return to oven for another 15 minutes.
- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Place potatoes in a large bowl or bag and coat with 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Arrange slices in a single layer on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and brush tops, flip slices over and brush again with 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until combined.
- Spoon (or squirt using decorative pastry tip) cream cheese onto center of cooled potato slices.
- Stir 1 teaspoon maple syrup into 1 cup of candied pecans.
- Sprinkle on slices and enjoy!
Cranberry Corn Muffins
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup fresh cranberries (or frozen)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter (melted) or vegetable oil
- Mix melted butter or oil, eggs, milk and sugar in a bowl.
- Add flour, cornmeal and baking soda and stir to combine.
- Stir in cranberries until just mixed and scoop into greased or lined muffin tins.
- Bake 22-25 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Cheesy Cauliflower Tots
- 4 cups finely chopped cauliflower (or cauliflower crumbles)
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Cabot cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/3 cup whole wheat panko
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- Preheat oven to 375. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place cauliflower in a large microwave safe bowl. Dampen a paper towel and place on top of cauliflower pieces. Microwave cauliflower for 2 minutes, until cauliflower is tender. Squeeze out any excess moisture with a dish cloth or paper towels.
- Add the egg, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, panko, garlic powder, and parsley. Mix well to combine.
- Add 1 heading tablespoon to each muffin tin. Press to pack down the cauliflower into the tin.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, until cauliflower tots are golden brown. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from pan.
With these tips and recipes, we hope you can have a stress-free and safe Thanksgiving celebration with your little one!