Fertility

Baby-Led Weaning Recipes: Healthy Meal Ideas For Your Little One

Updated on 8 February 2022 • 12 minute read

 

Overview 

Are you looking for healthy meal ideas for your little one? We’ve prepared this compilation of BLW (baby-led weaning) recipes for you to try, mama.

In BLW, you offer your baby healthy finger foods, but it’s up to them to choose what and how to eat. They’re also the ones who put the food in their mouths and decide when to stop eating.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends offering your little one variety when eating solid foods. You don’t need to follow a certain order, but you can offer options from different food groups. (1)

To choose which of these recipes to prepare, you might wonder what foods to start with for baby-led weaning and what finger foods you can give them. 

You might also be asking questions like:

Can I also give purées in BLW?

Can babies eat eggs?

Is peanut butter okay for babies?

You can find our answers to these questions below, plus some yummy BLW recipes for you to try.

 

How Many Times A Day Should You Do Baby Led Weaning? 

In BLW, it’s important to follow your baby’s lead. But Dr. Gill Rapley, BLW pioneer, advocates shared family meals as part of this feeding approach. (2)

While you shouldn’t force your child to eat if they don’t want to, you can schedule their mealtimes so they can be with the whole family. Or you can also adjust the family’s mealtime schedule if that’s possible.

Babies around six months old might eat just one meal a day. 

Depending on their cues, you can increase the frequency to two meals a day. It might happen when they’re around 8-9 months.

Some babies might be ready for meals three times a day, similar to the family’s schedule, beginning at 10 months.

Of course, these aren’t absolute rules. You can let your baby decide when they’re ready for more meals.

 

What Foods Should I Start With For Baby-Led Weaning?

Some parents might prefer to start baby-led weaning with simple finger foods, including sliced options like avocados, bananas, and eggs.

You can even offer purée to your child, but instead of spoon-feeding, you can let your child dip their fingers or cut foods into it. We also have some recipes for purées below.

Still, there’s no specific order in introducing foods in BLW. You can opt to give your baby meatballs as one of their first foods if you want.

But always make sure to ask your pediatrician’s recommendations before giving your baby solid foods. It’s especially important if your child is under six months of age or may have food allergies.

Also, it’s important to check if your baby is ready for solid foods and how you can prepare for BLW. You can learn more about these from our BLW guide.

 

What Finger Foods Can I Give My 6-Month-Old?

In baby-led weaning, babies can eat finger foods from day one. But always ensure you’re offering them soft foods with low choking risks.

Some examples are the following:

  • Avocado spears, with or without coating
  • Hard-boiled egg slices
  • Banana spears with hemp seeds

 

You can find more yummy ideas in our article on baby finger foods.

 

When Can Babies Eat Eggs? 

Experts recommend the early introduction (at around six months of age) to common allergens such as eggs, peanuts, and milk to lower the risk of developing food allergies. (3)

Be sure to ask your pediatrician or doctor before introducing your baby to these allergens.

 

Is Peanut Butter OK For Babies?

Thick, chunky peanut butter can be a choking hazard, but you can make it thinner by adding breast milk or formula.

Although peanut butter has a lower choking risk than whole peanuts, both can trigger an allergic reaction. 

Unless your doctor gives the go-signal for early allergen introduction, avoid peanuts and peanut butter.

 

Is Bread OK For Baby-Led Weaning?

Yes, you can offer your child bread in BLW. You can opt for bread made from whole grains as a healthier option.

But be careful with bread and other baked products because these can contain gluten, milk, and eggs, which are common allergens. 

Avoid bread and these products if your child might react to these allergy triggers.

Check the label for these allergens. You can opt for gluten-free bread, or you can make homemade bread instead.

Check out the recipes we recommend for your baby below. Our article on BLW foods by age can help you cut some of the ingredients in these recipes into appropriate sizes.

 

Super-Easy Baby-Led Weaning Foods

Avocado Slices (With Or Without Coating)

Ingredients

  • One ripe avocado
  • 1 tsp lemon or other citrus fruit juice

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Cut the avocado in half (lengthwise).
  2. Remove the seed.
  3. Peel or scoop out the soft flesh.
  4. Cut to the appropriate size (depending on your child’s age). 
  5. Drizzle the lemon juice over the slices to keep from discoloring.
  6. For texture, you can add some coating materials like hemp seeds, finely ground peanuts, or gluten-free bread crumbs.
  7. Serve.

 

Tip: You can also leave some of the peelings at the bottom of the sliced avocado to act as a less slippery handle for them to hold.

 

Hard-Boiled Egg with Sprinkles 

Ingredients

  • One large egg, preferably organic
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkles – hemp seeds, cheese crumbs, or gluten-free bread crumbs

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Put the egg in a small pot. 
  2. Add some water, and boil.
  3. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Start counting once the water boils.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Peel the egg and cut it into strips, quarters, or pieces appropriate to your baby’s age.
  7. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. 
  8. Sprinkle with hemp seeds, cheese crumbs, or gluten-free bread crumbs. (Leave out the cheese if you haven’t introduced dairy yet.)

 

Tip: You can also opt to cook several eggs at once.

Potential allergen alert: eggs. You can check with your pediatrician for early allergen introduction, but avoid eggs if your baby has known allergies. 

 

Banana Strips With Sprinkles 

Ingredients

  • One ripe banana
  • Sprinkles such as 1 tsp of hemp seeds or finely ground peanuts (for coating)

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Peel the banana.
  2. Cut it into slices appropriate for your child’s age.
  3. Sprinkle with hemp seeds.
  4. Serve.

 

Tip: Gluten-free bread crumbs or spices like cumin and cinnamon can also work as toppings. Do not introduce peanuts until you’ve got the green light from your pediatrician. 

 

Avocado Toast

Ingredients

  • One half of a ripe avocado
  • Bread slices (free from gluten, honey, added sugar, and nuts)
  • Other toppings, including hard-boiled egg sliced into small pieces

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Cut avocado in half.
  2. Scoop out the flesh.
  3. Place it in a small bowl, and lightly mash.
  4. Spread the mashed avocado on the bread.
  5. Add the other toppings.
  6. Toast.
  7. Cool before serving.

 

Potential allergen alert: eggs (optional ingredient). You can check with your pediatrician for early allergen introduction, but avoid if your baby has known allergies.

 

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients

  • Two large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free flour
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (optional)

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven (400 Fahrenheit).
  2. Spray or slather oil on the wedges
  3. Lightly roll the sweet potato wedges on the gluten-free flour.
  4. Put them on a baking tray. 
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown and well-cooked.
  6. Add the cheese and other spices (optional). 
  7. Return to the oven.
  8. Bake for around 4 minutes or until the cheese melts.
  9. Let cool before serving.

 

Potential allergen alert: Parmesan cheese (but it’s optional); you can try topping with almond ricotta for a dairy-free alternative.

 

Meat & Veggies

Meat And Pea Fritters

Ingredients

  • ½ cup ground meat
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • Two eggs, preferably organic
  • ½ cup gluten-free flour (almond flour or oat flour)
  • 4.4 oz feta cheese (or almond ricotta for a dairy-free alternative)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • A handful of mint leaves
  • A handful of spinach leaves
  • A handful of cilantro (aka coriander) leaves
  • Coconut oil for frying

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Sauté ground meat with the peas. 
  2. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and let cool.
  4. Finely mince the cilantro, mint, and spinach leaves.
  5. Cube or crumble the feta cheese. (or leave out)
  6. Mix the meat, green peas, mint, coriander, spinach leaves, gluten-free flour, and cheese (or almond ricotta).
  7. Mix well until you get a crumbly consistency.
  8. Add the lemon juice and eggs. 
  9. Mix again.
  10. Make small balls the size of a spoon.
  11. Heat the oil in a pan (medium heat).
  12. Put the balls into the pan, then lightly press to create small patties.
  13. Fry until golden brown.
  14. Pat down or drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  15. Cut into age-appropriate slices before serving.

 

Tip: You can also choose other vegetables and legumes, such as minced zucchini, lentils, quinoa, and carrots.

 

Chicken, Apples, And Veggies Hash

Ingredients

  • One fresh apple (medium or large), peeled and cut into strips or diced
  • One medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • One medium zucchini or eggplant, diced
  • One piece of skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 2 cups water or homemade chicken broth, cooked without salt (or just a pinch of salt)
  • A pinch of cinnamon

 

Preparation Instructions

  • Cook the sliced chicken breast in a saucepan with chicken broth or water.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes (low heat).
  • Add the sweet potato and apple.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Add the eggplant or zucchini.
  • Simmer for another five minutes or until the chicken breast and vegetables are soft.
  • You can chop the chicken and veggies further before serving.

 

Cool this dish before serving your baby.

Another way to serve this dish is to turn it into a purée. Put the cooked dish (cooled) in a food processor. Blend until your desired consistency. 

 

Meat & Vegetable Purée

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken or meat, preferably organic, grass-fed, or free-range 
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 tsp salt (but you can add more to taste)
  • Bone broth
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (not cooked) or 2 tbsp organic, cultured grass-fed ghee

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Bake the meat 350 Fahrenheit or steam until thoroughly cooked.
  2. Steam the vegetables until tender.
  3. Add the broth and salt.
  4. Let the cooked meat and vegetables cool down.
  5. Mix with the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil.
  6. Purée in a food processor or blender.
  7. Blended well, you can opt to drizzle with a little virgin olive oil.
  8. Blend for 30 seconds more.

 

Tip: Grass-fed meat and poultry sourced from organic farms can be a good choice.

 

Healthy Veggie Recipes

Yummy Veg Burger Patties

Ingredients

  • One or two pieces of sweet potatoes
  • One small carrot, grated
  • One leek, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup brown mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ cup red pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup cheese (or almond ricotta for a dairy-free alternative)
  • ¼ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • Flour for coating

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Soak the chia in water for five minutes.
  2. Cook the sweet potatoes until soft. Let cool.
  3. Sauté leek until soft. Let cool.
  4. Put all these ingredients inside a food processor. Blend well.
  5. Shape into small patties burgers.
  6. Coat your patties in breadcrumbs.
  7. Fry until both sides are cooked (around 2-3 minutes).
  8. Drain and let cool before serving.

 

Potential allergen alert: soy, gluten. Avoid soy sauce if your baby has known allergies to soy. Soy sauce also contains gluten, so if you’re following a gluten-free diet opt for tamari or coconut aminos instead. 

 

Avocado, Beets, and Butternut Squash Mix

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beets
  • 1 cup butternut squash
  • One ripe avocado

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Cut the avocado in half. 
  2. Remove the pit.
  3. Scoop the flesh into a container.
  4. Peel the beets and butternut squash.
  5. Chop them into strips or cubes.
  6. Bake or steam them in a cooking container until soft (around 30 minutes).

 

Tips: There are several ways to serve these cooked veggies:

  • Purée in a food processor. Let your baby dip their fingers in this blend or use it as a dip for their finger foods.
  • Another way is to arrange them in a bowl for your child to choose from.

 

Grain-Free BLW Recipes

BLW Salad

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cucumber sticks
  • ½ cup broccoli florets
  • ½ cup green beans
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • One hard-boiled egg, quartered

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Steam the broccoli and green beans until tender. Let cool.
  2. Mix the veggies, EVOO, and lemon juice in a bowl.
  3. Top with egg.
  4. Serve.

 

Potential allergen alert: eggs. You can ask your pediatrician about early allergen introduction.

 

Egg And Spinach Cups

Ingredients

  • Six large eggs, preferably organic
  • 2 oz milk (breast milk, formula, or dairy-free alternative)
  • Six cherry tomatoes or one regular tomato
  • A handful of spinach
  • One red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil 

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Whisk the milk and eggs together until fluffy.
  3. Sprinkle the muffin pan/tin with oil.
  4. Pour in your egg mixture up to around half of each section.
  5. Chop the tomatoes, spinach, and bell pepper.
  6. Arrange these chopped veggies in the muffin pan.
  7. Bake for around 25 minutes or until fully cooked through.
  8. Cool before serving.

 

Tip: You can also add cheese or other toppings, but check first if your child is allergic to these added ingredients.

Potential allergen alert: eggs and cheese (optional). You can avoid these ingredients if your baby has known allergies.

 

Baby-Led Weaning Breakfast Ideas

Baby’s First Egg Omelet

Ingredients

  • Two eggs, preferably organic
  • 2 tbsp pre-cooked veggie or meat strips 
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Crack the eggs and whisk in a small bowl. 
  2. Add the water. Mix.
  3. Pour the oil into the pan and heat (medium fire).
  4. Add the mixture into the pan and continue cooking in medium-low heat.
  5. Let the mixture set.
  6. Add the pre-cooked meat or veg on one side.
  7. Use a spatula to fold the egg.
  8. Flip to cook the other side.
  9. Cool.
  10. Cut into strips before offering to your baby.

 

Tip: You can cook the egg separately. Serve it with the veggies or meat on your baby’s food tray.

Potential allergen alert: eggs. If your baby has known food allergies, avoid this ingredient unless your physician recommends an early allergen introduction.

 

Toast with Banana Toppings

Ingredients

  • One ripe banana
  • One slice of gluten-free bread

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Peel the banana.
  2. Mash lightly.
  3. Spread it on the bread.
  4. Toast.
  5. Cut into strips.
  6. Let cool before the toast to your baby.

 

You can also choose other fun toppings for your baby’s toast. Examples can include sweet potato, avocado, and nut butter (not chunky or too sticky).

 

Dairy-Free BLW Recipes

Butternut Squash Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butternut squash purée
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (such as almond or buckwheat flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 2 tbsp melted unsalted coconut butter 
  • A small sprig of fresh rosemary (optional)
  • Olive oil or coconut oil for frying
  • One egg (preferably organic, but leave out for an egg-free meal)

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Sieve the flour and baking powder.
  2. Mix the egg (optional), milk, and butter in a separate bowl.
  3. Make a well and slowly add the liquid mixture. Continue whisking until completely combined. Set aside.
  4. Fold in the butternut squash purée into the batter.
  5. Chop the rosemary, then add it to the mix. (optional)
  6. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form.
  7. Flip to cook the other side.
  8. Cool or serve warm.

 

Potential allergen alert: eggs, soy, or almond. Avoid these ingredients if your baby has known food allergies. Check first with your pediatrician before giving it to your baby.

 

Low-Sugar BLW Treats

Mango, Carrot & Apple Popsicles 

Ingredients

  • One small, ripe mango
  • One small carrot
  • 1.7 oz homemade apple juice

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Prepare homemade apple juice from one apple.
  2. Peel the ripe mango, then cut it into small cubes.
  3. Peel the carrots and grate.
  4. Put in a blender or food processor
  5. Blend well to desired consistency.
  6. Pour into popsicle molds.
  7. Freeze.

 

Banana Blueberry Waffles

  • Two ripe bananas
  • One egg, preferably organic
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 cup milk (breastmilk, formula, or dairy-free option like almond milk)
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ tbsp oil

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, oats, cardamom, and baking powder.
  2. Mash the ripe bananas. 
  3. Add the egg and stir well until combined.
  4. Add the oil. Continue whisking.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla. Stir until mixed well.
  6. Slowly pour the dry ingredients you mixed in the first step into the wet ingredients.
  7. Mix.
  8. Slice the blueberries and stir the mixture.
  9. Preheat the waffle iron.
  10. Use cooking spray if needed.
  11. Add around 1 cup of the batter into the waffle iron, depending on its capacity (check the manufacturer’s instructions).
  12. Cook.
  13. Remove from the waffle iron.
  14. Place on a cooling rack.
  15. Repeat cooking instructions until you use up all the batter.

 

Potential allergen alert: eggs, milk, or almond milk. You can ask your pediatrician for their recommendation on early allergen introduction.

 

Strawberry Oatmeal

Ingredients

½ cup dry rolled oats

½ cup organic strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1 cup water or milk (breastmilk, formula, dairy-free milk, etc.)

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Cook the oatmeal in water for about five minutes.
  2. Constantly stir until it’s thick.
  3. Remove from the fire.
  4. Cool.
  5. Mash half of the strawberries and mix with the oatmeal.
  6. Cut the rest of the strawberries in age-appropriate sizes. Serve separately or as a topping.

 

Other ingredients you can try: smashed blueberry and slices of kiwi or pineapples.

 

Egg-Free BLW Recipes

You can convert some of the recipes above into an egg-free dish by using mashed banana or applesauce.

 

Sweetcorn & Spinach Fritters

Ingredients

  • One cup cooked sweetcorn, drained
  • One ripe banana (mashed) or ½ cup applesauce
  • A handful of spinach 
  • ⅓ cup plain flour (or gluten free flour)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1.7 oz almond milk, formula, or breastmilk
  • 1 tsp avocado oil for frying

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Mash the ingredients and mix well (excluding the oil) or blend them in a food processor.
  2. Pour oil into a frying pan.
  3. Heat (medium fire).
  4. Scoop spoonfuls of the mixture and fry in the pan until golden brown.
  5. Flip to cook the other side.
  6. Let cool before serving.

 

Baked Goodies

Apple, Banana, and Carrot Muffins

Ingredients

  • One medium-sized ripe apple
  • One small carrot
  • One small, ripe banana
  • Two eggs, preferably organic
  • 1¼ cup gluten-free flour
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil (optional)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven (350 Fahrenheit).
  2. Peel the apple and carrot.
  3. Boil or steam until tender. 
  4. Purée.
  5. In a bowl, mash the ripe banana before adding the eggs, oil, and vanilla.
  6. Add the apple and carrot purée.
  7. Whisk until smooth and slightly frothy.
  8. Add flour and baking powder.
  9. Whisk until smooth.
  10. Oil the muffin tin.
  11. Pour the batter into the muffin tin.
  12. Bake for 15-30 minutes, depending on muffin size.
  13. Cool before serving.

 

Potential allergen alert: eggs. If your baby has known food allergies, avoid this ingredient unless your physician recommends an early allergen introduction.

 

Purées & Dips

Black Bean Purée

Ingredients

  • ½ to 1 cup black beans
  • 2-3 tbsp of breast milk, baby formula, or water
  • Cumin

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Cook the black beans until tender.
  2. Drain and let cool.
  3. Put into a blender or food processor.
  4. Add the breast milk, baby formula, or water.
  5. Blend.
  6. Adjust the liquids until you achieve the desired consistency.
  7. Add a pinch of cumin.
  8. Pour into small containers if you want to save it for later.
  9. You can also offer freshly prepared purée.

 

Tip: Use fewer liquids for a thicker purée.

 

Baby-Friendly Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients

  • One or two ripe avocados
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced coriander
  • 10-12 pcs cherry tomatoes, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

 

Preparation Instructions

  1. Cut the avocados lengthwise.
  2. Remove the seeds. 
  3. Scoop the soft fruit into a mixing bowl.
  4. Mince the cherry tomatoes. 
  5. Add to the bowl of avocado.
  6. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Mash until well mixed.

 

A food processor can blend these ingredients for smooth, creamy guacamole.

Your baby might love having guacamole as a dip for their chicken, meat, or veg slices. 

But be sure to cook these finger foods until tender before offering them to your baby to avoid choking hazards.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/when-to-introduce-solid-foods.html

(2) http://www.rapleyweaning.com/assets/Defining_BLW_v2.pdf

(3) https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/early-introduction-other-top-allergens

 

 

 

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