Nature’s first human food is breast milk, if possible. Breast milk offers all the nutrients your baby needs for his first year. As he starts eating solid foods, a wide variety of whole foods can give him the nutrients he needs for a foundation of optimal growth and development for his first three years.
The Food category is a resource of eight different food groups with information on how they influence your baby, considerations about each food group, types of foods in each group, their yin–yang characteristics, how foods grow, and a chart with information about when and how to introduce each food group to your baby, along with recipes.
The following food pyramid shows the eight food groups. They are listed in the order that I recommend to introduce them to your baby: breast milk, grains, vegetables, proteins, fruits, fermented foods, seasonings that include fats, salt, sweeteners, herbs and spices, and beverages.
A Guide to the Recipes
When cooking dishes that I know, I rarely use cookbooks and prefer to just cook with a little of this and that, according to my inspiration and the situation. However, if I am cooking a special new dish with unfamiliar ingredients, or cooking for a specific purpose, then I appreciate the details and instructions of a recipe.
Cooking your baby’s first foods is very simple, intuitive, and commonsense, even though there is a lot to think about—your baby’s physical condition and needs, and how different foods affect your child.
My goal is to offer you cooking principles and general methods that can be used for a variety of foods. Instead of dividing the recipes according to age, these are incorporated into their food groups, with adjustments by age and developmental stage.
Your seven-month-old who later becomes 12 months old can enjoy quinoa cooked with a different ratio of water to grain at each stage. The consistency of sweet potato that your child needs changes from smooth to lumpy to chunky as he grows.
The basic principles in these recipes provide the foundation necessary to cook for your child’s first three years and older. I have tried to make the instructions simple, clear, usable, and adjustable.
There are variations for substitutions of ingredients, and additions of flavors to adapt to his individual tastes and for variety. When you use the same methods of soaking and cooking grains, for example, then the process takes on a rhythm that is easy and familiar so that you do not need a recipe, and you can create your own variations and adjustments to meet the specific needs of your child.
If you use quality, local, and fresh ingredients, you can create delicious and satisfying meals for your baby with simple cooking that is easy and fun.