It seems to happen overnight: Your baby who once devoured baby food purees decides she only wants finger foods. Once babies begin to use their pinchers, they become more interested in perfecting picking up food from their trays, rather than being spoon fed by you. The good news is that you now have two free hands during mealtime (take this as your cue to eat!). But don't toss your freezer stash of pears, peas, and parsnips!
Whether your baby is moving on to the finger food stage or is ready for more than just single-ingredient fruit and veggies, these 10 puree-based food ideas (for baby AND you!) can help your baby transition to the next stage AND ensure your leftover stash doesn't go to waste.
- Stir fruit and veggie purees into plain whole milk yogurt, cottage cheese, and oatmeal. It's a delicious way to naturally sweeten without adding sugar. How's that for getting in a veggie at breakfast?
- Add veggie purees into sauces and pestos. Bump up the nutrition and flavor of your traditional pasta toppings! Winter and summer squash, sweet potato, pumpkin and bell pepper make great additions to tomato sauce. Green purees like peas, zucchini, kale, and spinach all get disguised when stirred into pesto.
- Mix veggie purees into meatballs and meatloaf. Go for up to four ounces of puree per pound of meat to boost nutrients AND add moisture. No dry balls for your baby!
- Dump veggie purees into soups or stews.
- Use them as teethers. Frozen cubes feel good on baby's gums. Add puree cubes to a mesh teether, like these Fresh Food Feeder, 2 Pack, Blue/Green.
- Blend them into a smoothie. Mix fruits and veggie cubes with ice, plain yogurt, and a bit of juice or coconut water for a refreshing and healthy breakfast or snack.
- Make 'em into a protein-rich dip. In a food processor, combine 1 can of white beans, 1 garlic clove, 2 ounces of veggie puree, and herbs of choice. Bean dips stick well to spoons, so if baby is learn to self feed, this is less messy than drippy foods.
- Toss a cube of fruit puree into a glass of champagne. Just so there's no confusion, this is for you, not baby.
- Stir fruit and veggie purees into pancake or waffle mix or mix into a muffin recipe. Way healthier baking!
- Spread leftover fruit puree on crackers or as a jelly replacement on sandwiches. Three cheers for no added sugar!
How do you use leftover baby food? Tell us your ideas!