Are you diving into the wonderful world of baby-led weaning and wondering what you’re going to feed your baby for dinner now that he’s exploring new REAL foods?
If you’re ready to introduce your little one to solid foods and embark on this exciting journey, you’ve come to the right place.
As a parent who’s been through the joys (and sometimes messes) of baby-led weaning three times now, I’m thrilled to share some fantastic meal ideas that not only nourish your little one but also make mealtimes a great experience for the whole family.
- How to Do Baby Led Weaning (& Why You’ll Want To!)
- What You Need to Know About Baby Led Weaning at Daycare
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Baby Led Weaning Recipes for the Whole Family
One of the best parts of baby led weaning is that many of your every day dinner recipes, can be used for your baby.
Prior to age one, you should eliminate honey from your recipes, reduce salt, cut down on added sugars, and try to incorporate as many healthy and whole foods as possible into your meals.
For the most part, these guidelines can easily be incorporated into your favorite family recipes, allowing your baby led weaning baby to eat almost the same (or a slightly modified version of what you’d usually make for supper!).
While it’s up to you, I find adjusting the whole families meal to meet this criteria is actually easier (and rarely noticeable), as opposed to making your baby their own special separate meal.
Easy Baby Led Weaning Dinner Ideas
These baby led weaning dinner ideas are perfect and easily modified for the whole family:
1. Sweet Potato Fries
Slice sweet potatoes into sticks or make sweet potato wedges, toss them in a bit of olive oil, and bake until crispy. Your baby will love picking up these colorful fries!
2. Peanut Butter Toast
Spread a thin layer of peanut butter (ensure no allergies) on whole grain toast for a protein-packed, finger-friendly snack.
3. Cheesy Veggie Medley
Steam broccoli florets until tender, sprinkle some parmesan cheese, and watch those little hands go to work.
4. Creamy Avocado Toast
Mash ripe avocado on whole grain toast and add a dash of lemon juice for a zesty kick. Even the adults will want a bite!
5. Mini Meatballs
Prepare mini meatballs using ground turkey or meat of your choice. They’re perfect for tiny fingers and can be dipped in a variety of sauces.
6. Omelette Strips
Cook a simple egg omelette and cut it into thin strips. It’s a great way to introduce new flavors!
7. Baked Chicken
Bake bite-sized pieces of chicken until golden brown. You can marinate them in a mix of olive oil and herbs for added flavor.
Pair whole milk yogurt with a touch of almond butter or even some coconut milk for a creamy dipping experience.
9. Quinoa Craze
Cook up a batch of quinoa and shape it into small portions. It’s a wonderful source of protein and a great first food.
10. Hummus and Pita Bread
Offer baby whole grain pita bread or soft veggies like carrot sticks to dip into hummus. A nutritious and fun activity!
11. Berries and Fruit
Introduce a mix of berries in small, manageable portions. Blueberries and strawberries are rich in antioxidants and so-yummy you might have to use them as dessert 😉
12. Green Beans
Steam and chop green beans into tiny pieces. They’re a great source of vitamins and can be easily grabbed by those little hands.
Slice cucumbers into thin rounds. They’re hydrating and provide a satisfying and soothing crunch for teething babes.
14. Grilled Cheese
Create mini grilled cheese sandwiches. Melted cheese makes everything better!
Yes! Ground beef in small chunks can make great finger foods for your little guy. Consider adding in pieces of tomato or cheese as well to get the whole deluxe burger experience for baby.
Cook whole grain pasta until it’s soft and easy to grasp. Your baby will have a blast slurping up those noodles.
17. Colorful Veggie Platter
Make sheetpan veggies for the whole family! Bake peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and more so they’re easy for baby to mush up in their mouth.
18. Apple Cinnamon Treat
Steam and dice apples, then sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon. This is a great way to introduce a touch of sweetness.
19. Toasted Banana Bread
Transform banana slices into bite-sized French toast. It’s like a dessert but with wholesome ingredients.
20. Guacamole Galore
Mash avocado with a splash of lime juice and let your baby explore the creamy, flavorful world of guacamole.
21. Crunchy Melon Bites
Watermelon and cantaloupe chunks are perfect for little hands to grasp and nibble on during warmer months.
22. Tender Turkey Bites
Cook and dice turkey meat into soft, manageable pieces. It’s a lean protein option that’s easy to handle.
Spaghetti is a family favorite for many. Try to make your own sauce to cut down on sodium intake.
24. Steamed Veggie
Slice and cut vegetables like zucchini or carrots into easy to grab shapes for baby. They’re not just fun to eat but also packed with nutrients.
25. Dipping Options
Offer whole grain breadsticks for dipping into yogurt or a tasty fruit puree.
26. Green Monster (or fruit) Smoothies
Blend a variety of fruits with whole milk yogurt to create nutritious and colorful smoothies. Make a green monster smoothie for baby by adding spinach!
27. Mashed Potatoes
Creamy mashed potatoes are a great way to introduce your baby to new textures, and you can even add a touch of olive oil or yogurt for healthy fats.
Fill whole grain tortillas with melted cheese and finely chopped veggies and chicken for a baby-friendly take on quesadillas.
29. Breakfast for Dinner
Serve waffles or pancakes with peanut butter to help introduce potential allergens early (talk with your doctor before starting though!).
Make homemade pizza for the family and give baby a slice! Be sure to cut it into strips so baby can easily grab it.
How to Prepare Baby’s Dinner with Baby Led Weaning in Mind
Now that you have some great ideas of what to serve a baby led weaning baby for dinner, you might be wondering how to plan and prepare that meal.
Step 1: Choose the Right Foods
Start by selecting a variety of baby-led weaning-friendly foods for your baby’s dinner. Think soft, easily graspable options like steamed veggies, small pieces of cooked protein, and whole grains. Remember, the goal is to offer a balanced meal that introduces different flavors and textures.
Keep in mind, if your baby is just beginning baby led weaning, it’s okay to just start with ONE food item for dinner and let them explore. Don’t feel you need something from every food group at each meal.
Step 2: Plan Family-Friendly Meals
Opt for family meals that can be easily adapted for your baby.
For example, if you’re having roasted chicken with veggies, set aside some tender pieces of chicken and soft-cooked veggies for your little one.
This way, you’re promoting a sense of togetherness and exposing your baby to the same flavors that the rest of the family enjoys.
Step 3: Prep Ahead
Baby-led weaning can get messy, so it’s a good idea to prep ahead.
Cut foods into appropriate bite-sized pieces that your baby can easily pick up. This not only makes dinnertime smoother but also ensures that you’re offering safe options for self-feeding.
Step 4: Create a Comfortable Setting
Set the stage for a pleasant dinner by creating a comfortable eating environment.
Use a highchair or a booster seat that supports your baby’s posture and allows them to explore food easily.
Step 5: Be Present and Patient
Sit with your baby during dinner and engage in positive mealtime interactions.
Offer encouragement, and let your baby take the lead.
It might be hard at first, but don’t rush—let them explore at their own pace and trust their instincts.
Step 6: Watch for Signs
Pay close attention to your baby’s cues. If they’re losing interest or showing signs of fullness, it’s okay to wrap up the meal.
Baby-led weaning is all about responsive feeding and respecting your baby’s appetite.
Step 7: Enjoy the Experience!
Lastly, savor the experience! Baby-led weaning dinners are a chance for your baby to discover new tastes and textures, for you to bond over shared meals, and for the whole family to celebrate milestones together.
It can be so amazing to watch your baby feed herself for the first time, enjoy it!
Why Dinner Time Together During BLW Is A Big Deal
If you’re on the exciting journey of baby-led weaning, you’re in for a real treat—one that involves not just your little one, but the entire family.
Most of us know that family meals are important, but did you know that it all starts even when your children are babies?
Trust me, this is more than just feeding your baby; it’s about creating a shared experience that strengthens bonds, promotes healthy eating habits, and makes mealtime a joyful adventure for everyone around the table.
Baby-led weaning isn’t just about your little one diving into new foods; it’s a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to come together.
Here’s how you can make baby-led weaning meals a true family affair:
One Meal, Many Tastes
Gone are the days of preparing separate meals for the baby.
With baby-led weaning, you can adapt your family meals to accommodate your little one.
Instead of baby food purees, offer small, soft pieces of what the rest of the family is having. This not only saves you time but also encourages your baby to explore the same flavors that the rest of the family enjoys.
Teamwork in the Kitchen
Get the older kids involved in meal preparation.
Let them help wash fruits, tear lettuce, or even arrange colorful veggies on the plate. It’s a fun way to teach them about different foods and develop a sense of responsibility in the kitchen.
Discovery and Sharing
Baby-led weaning is all about exploration.
As your little one tries new foods, encourage other family members to share their thoughts on the taste, texture, and flavors. This not only engages everyone but also makes the mealtime atmosphere interactive and exciting.
Babies are like sponges, absorbing everything around them.
When they see older siblings or parents enjoying a variety of foods, they’re more likely to follow suit.
Be a positive role model by showing your enthusiasm for trying different foods, and your baby will likely follow your lead.
Aim to have family meals together as often as possible. It’s a chance for everyone to connect, share stories, and enjoy each other’s company.
As your baby sits with the family during meals, they’ll pick up on social cues and learn from watching others eat.
Turn mealtime into a creative adventure. Encourage family members to come up with new baby-led weaning meal ideas. You might be surprised by the delicious and nutritious dishes that emerge from everyone’s imagination!
Remember to pay attention to safety guidelines during family meals. While baby-led weaning encourages self-feeding, keep an eye on your baby to ensure they’re handling foods properly and not struggling with larger pieces.
When your baby masters a new food or tries a different flavor, celebrate together as a family. It’s a wonderful way to create positive associations with food and mark the exciting moments in your baby’s journey.
Incorporating the whole family into baby-led weaning meals isn’t just about feeding your little one; it’s about fostering a sense of togetherness, sharing, and exploration.
So, gather around the table, let your baby’s tiny hands lead the way, and savor every messy, joyful moment together.
What is the best finger food for BLW?
The best finger foods are anything that’s easy to hold, not a choking hazard, and full of healthy vitamins and nutrients! Sweet potato fries or avocados (with some skin remaining on the outside) are great options.
What are the starches for baby-led weaning?
Babies need a variety of different foods, just like you and me.
If you’re racking your brain trying to add some variety with starches, consider whole grain toast, rice cakes, and even soft-cooked pasta.
Starches are another tool to help keep those little tummies satisfied.
What foods are baby-led friendly?
There are loads of options for baby led weaning friendly foods! From avocado to mini meatballs, or home-cooked to a fancy restaurant, you can find great baby led weaning foods.
Think about giving baby soft veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains.
What to avoid with baby-led weaning?
Steer clear of choking hazards like whole grapes and hot dogs.
Babies under 12 months old also should not have food that contains honey.
Finally, skip added sugars and overly processed foods.
What are the least messy BLW foods?
Let’s face it, baby led weaning can get pretty messy (it helps to have the right BLW supplies though!) 😉
If you’re looking for less messy foods for your first experience or to bring along to a restaurant, opt for foods like cooked carrot sticks, banana slices, and sweet potato fries.
They’re easier to handle and create less chaos during mealtime.
Great Finger Food Dinner Options for Baby Led Weaning
Incorporating finger foods into your baby’s dinner with baby-led weaning isn’t just about providing nourishment—it’s a great opportunity for exploration, independence, and a whole lot of fun.
These great finger food dinner options open the door to a world of flavors, textures, and bonding moments around the table.
As you watch your little one navigate through soft veggies, bite-sized meats, and whole grains, remember that you’re setting the foundation for a lifelong journey of healthy eating habits. So, roll up those sleeves, embrace the mess, and savor every moment of this exciting chapter.
I’d love to hear if you have other favorite dinners you eat with your baby led weaning baby.
If you’re looking for more ideas, don’t miss the baby led weaning 1 week free menu below: