The natural sweetness and bright color make these vegetables doubly appealing to your brand-new diner.
Start with the basics
Carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes pack nutrients like betacarotene, vitamin A, and potassium into every bite, says Jenna Helwig, author of Real Baby Food and food editor of our sister magazine Parents. Because these veggies are naturally sweet, they tend to get positive reviews from the under-1 set.
Use them as a bridge
Once your baby has tried orange veggie purees plain, add a dash of cumin, cinnamon, or oregano to them to expand his palate. Or combine one with iron-rich ground-beef puree, which Helwig calls “the baby version of a hamburger and french fries!” Finally, add a swirl of his favorite orange food to his least-favorite green puree. Those sweet potatoes could turn him into a fan of green beans too!
Make the transition
If your baby loves pureed carrots and is ready for soft, chopped up finger food, try this: Cut the carrots into pinky-tip-size chunks. Then, steam or roast them so they’re just soft enough to mash with your thumb and forefinger. Says Helwig: “Most babies are curious enough that they’ll want to pick up the new food, taste it, and realize, ‘Oh! It’s a carrot! I like this.’”
Think beyond basic orange
Red lentils are high in iron and protein; orange bell peppers can be roasted and mixed with potatoes or shredded chicken; and a spoonful of canned pumpkin is an easy add to a smoothie or oatmeal. “Orange foods are a delicious addition to the family table for years to come,” says Helwig. “Even when your child begins to outgrow baby food, don’t stop serving these healthy foods.” Stick with them!