6 Tasty Ways to Add Winter Produce to Your Baby’s Plate
There’s lots to love about wintertime—including all the yummy and nutritious fruits and veggies that thrive this time of year. Bringing seasonal produce into your home is good for the whole family because it saves money, delivers more nutrition, and tastes better all around. That’s especially great for the youngest eater in your family as they’re just starting to develop a healthy relationship with food. Offering fruits and veggies during the colder months broadens their pint-sized palates with new flavors and textures. Read on to find six tasty ways to add winter produce to your baby’s meals.
The Best Winter Fruits and Vegetables for Babies
Spring and summer get a lot of the glory when it comes to produce…after all, who doesn’t love a big tomato haul in August or a basket of fresh-picked strawberries in May? Still, despite the chilly temperatures and bare trees that mark the season, winter has a lot to offer by way of delicious produce.
So, which winter produce is the best for babies? Below are a few of our favorite seasonal fruits and veggies (plus a few that thrive year-round). Just make sure you wash your produce before prepping it and serving it to your baby!
Winter Fruits and Vegetables for Babies
- Collard greens
- Sweet potatoes
Year-Round Produce for Babies
- Snow peas
How to Serve Winter Fruits and Vegetables to Baby
Some of the best winter fruits and veggies for babies are heartier by design…meaning you can’t simply plop them on your tot’s high-chair tray and expect them to chow down. Here, six yummy ideas for serving up the best the season has to offer.
Whip up a smoothie bowl.
Smoothies might be the ultimate vehicle for getting your baby lots of nutrients in one fell swoop. Blend seasonal goodies such as a ripe pear, kale, and ripe banana with your infant’s breast milk or iron-rich formula. Pears and bananas offer fiber to help keep your baby stooling smoothly while also helping your baby maintain healthy blood pressure and fluid balance since both are chock-full of potassium. Plus, you can easily swap in or add other winter vegetables like apples, avocados, or carrots. Because babies need to build their oral motor skills by picking up pieces of fruits and veggies and exploring new textures, limit smoothies to just two or three days a week.
Simmer a hearty winter vegetable soup.
Nothing says wintertime quite like pulling out the stockpot, whipping up a soup, and letting the lovely aroma of a warm, cozy meal fill the house. Your baby wants to partake too! So, consider cooking (or even slow cooking) a hearty soup made with lentils, collard greens, and carrots.
Lentils are jam-packed with iron, protein, and fiber, three crucial nutrients for your baby’s brain development, growth, and digestive health. Collard greens are a tough leafy green and are much easier for your baby to eat when boiled, steamed, or sauteed. And when we tell you collard greens are loaded with must-have nutrients, we aren’t kidding. They are highest in vitamin A (for healthy eye development) and are a good source of fiber and calcium for your baby’s bones and teeth to boot. Remember, carrots come in many colors, so consider pumping up your soup with bright oranges, purples, and yellows for a wide variety of phytonutrients.
Simply simmer your veggies in a low-sodium stock and stick an immersion blender into the stockpot while everything’s hot to puree it, so it’s easy for baby to swallow. Older babies may be able to chew soft pieces of food from a non-pureed soup, or you can pre-load their spoon with the blended-up version (you may want to keep the texture a little thicker than you would for your own serving for easier eating). Either way…soup’s on!
Build a winter breakfast hash.
It’s never too early to eat plants, so start your baby’s day off with a delicious egg and leek hash. Leeks are a winter veggie belonging to the chives, onion, and garlic family. They have a creamy texture when cooked and are a good source of two carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) that the body cannot make. That means babies must get them through their diet to help mature their eyes and brain!
Finely chop the leeks and sauté them in a skillet over medium heat. Mix in shredded potatoes if you like and cook together until everything is tender. Add eggs and scramble into a breakfast hash for your baby-led weaning tot or an older baby to enjoy in bite-sized pieces.
Roast a supper-worthy winter side.
Roasting is a popular cooking method for root vegetables and squash alike—and it can be ideal for serving up soft veggies to accompany your baby’s dinner! Skin and chop sweet potatoes and delicata squash into small pieces, drizzle in olive oil, and sprinkle with sage or cinnamon. Sweet potatoes are oft (and rightly!) touted as being an ideal first food for babies because they’re easy to eat and rich in vitamin A, immune-supporting vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin B6. Delicata squash—the tiger-striped starchy veggie—also offer plenty of vitamin A and vitamin C, plus add a nutty, yet subtly sweet flavor, for happy nom-noms. For more flavor and nutrients, add small chopped pieces of a skinless apple to your sweet potato squash mix before roasting.
Prep a pureed meltable snack.
Feeding babies beets is bound to get messy. Still, it’s worthwhile because this ruby-red root veg offers significant amounts of folate—a natural B vitamin—to help your baby's cells and tissues grow, especially during rapid changes during the first year of life. Phytonutrients are responsible for their vibrant color, which function as antioxidants and help to ward off illness and disease. While many adults and kids turn their noses up at the sound of beets, your baby doesn’t know any different! You can help lower beets’ earthy flavor by roasting or steaming them and pureeing them with a sweet winter fruit, like sweet oranges, for a better flavor balance. To make meltables your baby can safely munch, pour the beet and orange puree mixture into a silicone ice cube tray, freeze for several hours, pop out, and cut up for your baby to pick up and snack on.
Pump up your pasta sauce.
Kale—a leafy winter veggie—loads babies up with a wealth of nutrients, including potassium, calcium, folate, vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin. The best way to offer your baby kale is to boil it and puree it in a blender while it's still hot. Add cooked snow peas to bump up the protein content to support your baby’s hair, skin, nails, hormones, and immune health. You can turn the mixture into a nutrient-packed pasta sauce by adding garlic, oregano, shredded parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. Serve it over soft-boiled pasta noodles (rigatoni works well for babies as long as they’re soft and easy to chew!).
More Baby Meal Ideas:
- Best Foods for Babies 6 to 9 Months
- Best Foods for Babies 10 to 12 Months
- Delicious Dinner Ideas for Babies
- The Best Breakfasts for Babies
- Best First Finger Foods
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.