50 DIY 3-Ingredient Baby Food Recipes That Are Super-Fast & Nutritious
There is an infinite number of super nutritious, surprisingly delicious combinations of homemade baby food involving just three simple ingredients that anyone can try, and all of them are seriously simple to prepare.
Surprisingly, baby food isn’t hard to make. But it can be hard to think of new and interesting combinations to keep a little one from getting bored (and, let’s face it, to keep mom and dad from getting bored). Once parents figure out their baby likes a certain dish, it’s all too easy to fall into a rut — especially if they’ve had a bowl or two of freshly puréed produce dumped on the floor. But there are literally an infinite number of super nutritious, surprisingly delicious combinations of homemade baby food involving just three simple ingredients that anyone can try, and all of them are seriously simple to prepare.
Parents don’t need to be an experienced chef by any means to make any of the following combos; all they need to know how to do is chop, steam, and purée … and, okay, occasionally peel. Some of the ingredients used in these recipes don’t even need to be cooked before they’re blended!
More from CafeMom: 10 Superfoods Parents Should Be Feeding Their Babies
In fact, the term “recipe” might even be too formal for these mixes. The moms who created them simply mixed three nutritious foods their baby loves with flavors that work well together. There are no hard-and-fast rules about proportions; parents can feel free to adjust to suit their baby’s individual tastes. Just be sure to check with the doctor before introducing any new food, as some items are better for beginning eaters than others, and some babies might have allergic tendencies or special dietary needs.
Above all, be creative and remember to have fun
A gorgeous shade of pink, this sweet purée is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Just steam the apples and parsnips, and blend everything together.
Not just for pies and spiced lattés, pumpkin is high in the antioxidant beta carotene. If parents don’t want to bother steaming it before puréeing it with peaches and cooked apple, they can always used packaged pumpkin as a shortcut.
Another great source of vitamin A (as well as potassium and fiber), butternut squash has a mild, sweet flavor that babies tend to dig, and it mixes well with just about anything. Try roasting the squash and carrots before puréeing them. It gives them more flavor than steaming would
A bonafide superfood, beets are loaded with potentially cancer-fighting antioxidants, plus potassium and folate — and they make the (also super nutritious) mango and cauliflower such a pretty color! (PSA: Don’t freak out if the little one’s pee turns temporarily pink. It’s a beet thing!)
One of the highest sources of vitamin A, sweet potatoes are also rich in B vitamins and carotenoids — and babies almost always gobble them right up (especially mixed with apple and parsnip!).
There’s a reason parents have been telling kids to finish their broccoli since the dawn of time: The veggie contains literally every vitamin we can think of, plus fiber, folate, zinc, selenium, and even calcium. Plus, when steamed and puréed with apples and pears, it barely even tastes like broccoli anymore!
Here’s the thing about baby food purées: Sometimes a mix of foods that sounds totally bizarre can end up tasting great to little ones, and this is a perfect example. Peaches add vitamin C and a sweet tanginess, while chicken is high in easily digestible protein.
Not just for Thanksgiving, cranberries bring manganese and vitamin K to a baby’s table (and they’re great for maintaining urinary tract health, too). Unlike other berries, however, they definitely need to be cooked before eating, and they’re a bit too tart to serve without a sweeter fruit like pear — and a dash of cinnamon!
Popeye was on to something for sure, because spinach is all kinds of good for a kid (it’s got antioxidants, iron, fiber, vitamins … the works). Steam and blend it with with chicken and oatmeal for about as complete a meal as we can get: meat, veg, and grains!
For those who’ve never given much thought to cantaloupe (apart from the fact that it shows up in every fruit salad ever), maybe they should: Just one cup of the melon contains 100 percent of the daily recommended values of vitamins A and C for adults. Ripe cantaloupe mashes easily, too, and the nectarine and raspberries make this taste like summer in purée form.
What, carrot-flavored yogurt doesn’t sound good? Luckily, babies are free of preconceived notions that yogurt is supposed to taste like berries — so they’ll love the combo of protein- and calcium-filled whole milk yogurt and vibrantly colored vitamin-heavy carrots and squash.
Okay, here’s the truth about giving a baby cherries: They’re mildly annoying to prepare (all those pits, ugh), but if parents can get past that part, there are lots of benefits: High in antioxidants (which give them their dark, red color), cherries also have potassium, fiber, and even iron. (When we mix them with nectarines and bananas, we don’t have to remove quite as many pits as we would if it was all cherry.)
Parents are gonna be spreading this crazy delicious mix of avocado, blueberry, and banana on their own toast after they try it. Avocado is super high in those all-important brain-building omega-3 fatty acids.
Some doctors advise waiting until babies are 6 to 8 months old before introducing chickpeas. But when baby’s ready, they’re a good choice because the legumes are loaded with zinc, manganese, folate, and fiber. A squirt of lemon brightens up this purée (and adds vitamin C!)
Think of this as a more nutritious, baby-friendlier version of mashed potatoes (without all the butter, cream, and salt that make mashed potatoes potentially problematic). Steam ’em all up together and blend!
Oranges get all the glory, but kiwis actually contain five times the vitamin C, and they’re one of the few foods rich in vitamin B6 (which boosts the immune system). If baby can tolerate chunkier purées, Mom can even just mash these with a fork (but stick with a blender if chewing is still a challenge).
Almost like a soup in purée form, the ingredients in this mix have just about every nutritional base covered — from fiber to protein to vitamins to iron.
An excellent source of probiotics (which have been shown to help treat eczema and digestive problems, among other ailments), kefir is similar to yogurt, so naturally it works well with blueberries and raspberries!
Purple food is hard to come by (well, naturally), but purple sweet potatoes have more in their favor than just their unique color. They’ve also got all the nutrition of a regular sweet potato, and they contain anthocyanins, which are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
27. Apple, Carrot & Quinoa
Sure, quinoa is trendy — but it’s trendy for a reason. This ancient “grain” (which is actually a seed) is higher in protein and fiber than most grains, and it’s also high in iron and folate. Blend it with apple and carrot for a powerful breakfast bowl.
29. Blueberry, Banana & Pear
Can’t find any blueberries in season? Frozen ones can always be used in a pinch for purées (just thaw them first, or else it’ll become a smoothie consistency). Pears generally need a quick steam, unless parents get their hands on one that’s super ripe and juicy (yum!)
30. Zucchini, Pear & Broccoli
It might not have kale’s reputation when it comes to nutritional value, but don’t underestimate the humble zucchini: This form of squash is no slouch when it comes to vitamins A and C, as well as folate and potassium. For babies 7 months and up, feel free to leave the skins on when steaming and serving.
Zucchini and apple can sometimes have watery textures when puréed, but here, peas add texture. (Parents who want to go really crazy and add a fourth ingredient can try a tiny bit of mint, as pictured here.)
Parents might want to wait until baby hits the 10-month mark before introducing asparagus, as it has a tendency to make tummies a little gassy. But after that, it’s a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin A.
33. Butternut Squash, Carrot & Cinnamon
Cinnamon does more than just make purees delicious — it’s also been shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, and to help regulate blood sugar. Add a sprinkle to this fall veggie purée!
Who says baby food has to be boring? Dragon fruit (and even figs) might not always be available (or affordable), but there are lots of reasons to serve them if possible: Besides being high in vitamin C (like most fruits), dragon fruit also has calcium and lycopene; figs are high in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper.