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Christmas foods perfect for baby-led weaning

Your baby’s weaning journey is super exciting.  Couple this with Christmas, and you’ve got even more food fun.  Whether your baby is six months or 12 months, there’s no reason why that festive spread can’t be enjoyed by the whole family – baby included.

In fact, certain traditional Christmas foodie favourites double up as fantastic baby-led weaning friendly foods. Here are Annabel’s top Christmas foods which are perfect for baby-led weaning and will ensure a yummy yuletide is had by all!

1. Canapes

Christmas canapes are a tasty precursor to the main event. A canape by definition is meant to be ‘easily held in the fingers’ so the perfect size for tiny hands. Make your own mini blinis or baby pancakes and top with cream cheese and perhaps even some poached salmon if you really want to get in the spirit! Bread sticks and dips, mini savoury muffins or turkey balls are all great options too.


2. Turkey

Turkey is packed full of good nutrition for your growing baby. It’s high in protein and iron as well as whole host of vitamins and minerals.


When carving your Christmas turkey on the big day, simply shave off a slice and offer as a finger food. Place directly onto their highchair and pair with some colourful veggies. Remember that little ones love to be involved so will enjoy being at the dining table and eating what everyone else is having. Plus, it saves you having to prepare a separate meal –win win!


3. Roast potatoes

turkey pie recipe annabel karmel

If there’s one vegetable that sits as part of the Christmas dinner spread that is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser, it’s the humble potato! Whether it’s roasties on the day, bubble and squeak on boxing day, or mashed on top of baby’s leftover turkey pie, these dishes can be enjoyed by the whole family. On the day just keep a small portion back for baby without seasoning. However, herbs are welcome for flavour – think fresh thyme, sage or rosemary.


4. Steamed veg

First Vegetable Finger Foods recipe by Annabel Karmel

Every family does their Christmas dinner differently but whichever veggies your family flock to, let baby in on the action too.


Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage and green beans all get the thumbs up for your your little eater. It’s also a great opportunity to offer those more bitter tasting veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens and you guessed it…. sprouts! In all the excitement of the day they may just be more adventurous at the table too. Just be sure to cut up their veggies correctly so they can pick them up themselves – either as batons (around 5-6cm in length) or as florets.


On the subject of sprouts, even some of us adults aren’t their biggest fan so although do give these a go (you can cut up into small pieces to practice their pincer grip) you might like to mash with parsnip or carrot to add a little natural sweetness.


5. Roasted carrots and parsnips

There’s nothing better than roasted carrots and parsnips to complete your Christmas plate. Our tip? Don’t make what’s already a busy day even more complicated or stressful. You don’t need to cook your baby’s food separately; they can have all the same herbs, mild spices and oils that you usually cook with. Just take out their portion from your roasting tin before you add any salt. You also need to remember to avoid drizzling honey over your parsnips as babies shouldn’t have honey until they over 12 months.


6.Cheese board

A cheese board is often presented with groans of being “too full” but soon we’re all tucking in (and baby can too!) Batons or sticks of cheese such as cheddar, Red Leicester, or Edam are all good finger food options. What’s more, they contain fat (needed as energy for your growing tot) protein, vitamin A and calcium. Just avoid giving your baby unpasteurised dairy products such as brie, camembert and soft, blue-veined cheese as they can contain dangerous bacteria called listeria. And avoid low-fat or diet versions of foods as these are low in nutrition and likely to include added sweeteners.


7. Clementines

A baby orange is a traditional stocking filler and the smell sings of all things merry and bright! Clementine or satsuma segments can be offered to baby as a finger food and can sit in as the perfect Christmas dinner pud (while the adults overindulge in Christmas pudding, mince pies and / or trifle!) Plus, clementines are packed with vitamin C which means they will help with the absorption of iron from the turkey and green veggies of the main.


As you can see, baby can most certainly get involved in the most wonderful meal of the year. However there are just a few festive favourites to avoid:


  • Chocolate – it’s everywhere at Christmas and as tempting as it might be to offer a little bite, babies should not have sugar or caffeine in the first 12 months so keep those chocolate coins and mini chocolate Santa’s to yourself (say no more!).


  • Whole nuts – children under the age of 5 should not be given whole nuts as they are a choking hazard. Instead you can offer ground or as a nut butter.


  • Gravy – it’s very salty and often contains a swig of alcohol to give it a depth of flavour. If you’re making your own you can use special unsalted baby stock cubes (or make your own stock) then mix with some flour and meat juices.


  • Pig in blankets! – Who doesn’t love pigs in blankets? But this seasonal delight is definitely one for when they’re older. Bacon and sausages are both processed meats which will contain far too much salt for your baby to manage.


For lots of great recipe ideas for your baby, head to our Christmas Recipe Hub

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