Baby pouches are a convenient and fun way to get some extra fruit and veggie servings into your baby or toddler. But what about for baby-led weaning? Here are 5 ways to transform fruit and veggie pouches into nourishing finger foods for baby.
The importance of fruits and veggies for baby
Fruits and veggies are key for our kids’ growth and development—we all know this! At around six months of age your baby is ready to start exploring the world of real food, and it’s important to introduce a wide variety of foods, tastes and textures right from the start, including fruits and veggies! One important nutrient to pay attention to as well (which you can’t find a lot of in fruits and veggies) is iron. Here’s a great post with some iron-rich recipes for you to try for baby.
Nutritionally, fruits and veggies offer fibre and many essential vitamins and minerals that are important for general health and to support a healthy immune system. Offering real fruits and veggies (in their natural form, but in soft and safe textures) will help allow your baby to experience the true taste, texture and mouth-feel of each, which will increase the chances of them accepting them long-term (and relinquishing all of the nutritional benefits from them).
How to serve fruits and veggies to your baby
I recommend serving fruits and veggies in all types of ways. If they’re naturally soft like bananas or avocados, you can serve them whole (I like to coat them in iron-fortified cereal for better grip and added iron). If they’re firm, like carrots or broccoli, you can peel, steam and cool them prior to serving. You can also grate hard fruits and veggies like apples, pears, and zucchini in order to offer safely. There’s no recommended “order” to introduce veggies and fruits anymore, and no rules around introducing veggies before fruit, or waiting 2 days in between each new introduction. You can go at your own pace (and your baby’s), and introduce as many as you’d like.
Should I be serving fruit and veggie pouches to my baby?
Some parents choose to serve fruit and veggie pouches like the ones below. I certainly did (for convenience and to switch things up when my little ones were babies!). These are great if you’re super busy and on-the-go, or if you just want to add some variety to your little ones’ fruit and veggie regime.
Should you rely on them heavily? No. But once in a while as an alternative? For sure. See, sucking sauce out of a pouches won’t teach your baby to accept and love fruits and veggies because they can’t see, feel or chew a fruit or veggie! All they know is that they’re sucking a yummy sauce out of a pouch. Use them like any other convenience packaged, processed food – once in a while for fun and variety (and to make your life easier).
Over the years, I’ve become quite creative with these pouches and have learned how to transform them into nutritious homemade finger foods for baby. I did choose to go the baby-led weaning route with my two youngest, and I knew that there were many parents who preferred to feed their babies finger foods. These options are also great if you have pouches that are on their way to being past their “best before” date.
Top 5 easy and nutritious ways to serve fruit and veggie pouches!
1. Add them to foods like oatmeal, infant cereal and plain Greek yogurt
I love serving oatmeal for breakfast in the morning. Oats are high in soluble-fibre which equates to staying power or a longer-lasting feeling of fullness. Adding flavour or sweetness to plain oatmeal or plain Greek Yogurt is a great way to increase taste, boost nutrition and provide variety. It’s also a great way to control the overall amount of sugar consumed!
2. Use them to slow-cook meats like pork, chicken or beef.
Seriously! The natural sugar present in fruit and veggie pouches make a great marinade. And adding the pouches as part of sauce or marinade softens meat and adds flavour and nutrition, making it perfect for little ones!
3. Add them to homemade smoothies and popsicles!
I love a homemade popsicle. And with summer right around the corner, what better time to dive into these cooling nutritious treats. Adding fruit and veggie pouches to smoothies and Greek Yogurt popsicles adds natural flavour and texture – no need for added sugar here! Looking for some recipes? Here are a few homemade popsicle recipes and here are some smoothies that your kids will love.
4. As a dip or topping for French toast, or pancakes!
Babies and toddlers love dipping. Heck, big kids and adults love dipping too! Pouches are a yummy, nutritious and naturally sweet option for dipping. They’re also a great alternative to sticky syrup! Here is a pancake recipe that is perfect for baby-led weaning too!
5. Use them in baby-friendly baked foods like muffins, loaves and cookies.
There are so many great baby-friendly finger-food recipes, including things like muffins, loaves, cookies etc. out there. And incorporating a fruit and veggie pouch into your existing baking recipes is super easy! Simply swap out apple sauce or mashed banana in your recipes and use a pouch as a great alternative! It will add an extra dose of nutrition and a yummy flavour.
One of my favourites baby-friendly recipe is a fruity cinnamon cookie. It has no added sugar and lots of nutritious ingredients. They’re easy to make, easy to freeze and kids (of all ages) love them. Check them out below!