Many of my viewers have requested food ideas and suggestions for their children. I will share with you what I did with my two sons and now my grandchildren. When my kids were babies, the most common solid food was in jars sold at the grocery store. Being a vegetarian and wanting to raise my family similarly, I wanted to select the ingredients and then prepare it in a way that made sense to me. When traveling, I sometimes did use jarred baby food for convenience. I had no one to really guide me as my mother was in India and there was no Internet back then! Also, phone calls were very expensive at that time.
Preparing lentils was something I did almost daily for my husband and myself. Once I had children, I also boiled large pieces of vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, beans, different squashes and potatoes with lentils. When the vegetables were tender, I would take them out from the lentil-dal and mash them with a blender, adding a spoonful of lentils. I mixed fruits with small amounts of yogurt or milk and blended them as well. Some fruits are soft and easy to blend such as bananas. Some, such as apples, need to be cooked to soften them.
When my sons started teething, I steamed vegetables in larger pieces which they could hold onto after a little cooling. This accomplished several things, they were entertained and enjoyed feeding themselves and the foods provided teething comfort. As they grew older, I started adding just a bit of traditional Indian spices so they could get used to our customary spices. I mashed Roti (Indian flat bread) and rice with lentils and vegetable from Indian dishes. I would also give them different cereals of their choice. Slowly, I introduced the same foods my husband and I were eating but with less spices. As always, children will have their favorites.
Once they began school, I made a variety of sandwiches for them. Peanut butter & jelly was a favorite. I also made cream cheese or cheese sandwiches with a bit of mango pickle or sautéed vegetables. Of course, raw vegetables and fruit could also be added to their lunches. They also enjoyed taking slices of pizza and different pastas. Now my grandkids don’t mind and enjoy taking rice with dal (lentils) and wraps with sautéed vegetable. Every child is different so remember to prepare what works for your child’s tastes. Make sure to try different dishes and start introducing meals you make for yourself.