Baby's First Holiday Dinner

by Cheryl Tallman

baby eating pumpkinSharing the fabulous flavors of the holidays with your new baby is an experience that you'll cherish. Socializing is part of the fun too, so reserve a seat (high chair) at or near the dining room table for baby to join in the celebration.

Even though your baby may not be eating all types of table food yet, there are plenty of foods choices that can make a festive and delicious holiday dinner. For baby's holiday dinner, stick with foods that you have already introduced. Introducing new foods could cause tummy aches or an allergic reaction -- neither of which you want to deal with during this fun time.

Want some suggestions on what to serve for holiday dinner for your baby? We've broken it down into months. Here are a few ideas for a festive dinner for your tiny diner:

Baby's Age: About 6 Months

Common first food purees that have a holiday flavor:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash (this includes pumpkin)
  • Green peas
  • Apples
  • Pears

Recipe for Apple or Pumpkin Cutie Pie:
For the "crust": Combine a crushed graham cracker with oatmeal cereal and breast milk (or formula) in a small bowl

For the pie filling:
• Pumpkin Cutie Pie: Combine Pumpkin Puree (from scratch or 100% pumpkin from the can) and apple puree. Spoon this mixture over the cereal crust. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
• Apple Cutie Pie: Combine apple puree with a dash of cinnamon. Spoon this mixture over the cereal crust. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Baby's Age: 7-12 Months

Turkey (2 options):

  1. Pureed: Puree chopped turkey and a little chicken broth in a blender
  2. Finger food: Chopped in small pieces

Roast Beef (2 options):

  1. Pureed: Puree chopped roast beef and a little beef broth in a blender
  2. Finger food: Chopped in small pieces

Note: Use broth or soup stock instead of gravy to puree your baby's meals. Gravy tends to be high in fat and salt.

One-Dish Casserole Ideas:
Make a yummy casserole by combining vegetables, fruits, and meat together to make one-dish meal. Depending on your baby's feeding skills, choose the appropriate texture for these meals: smooth puree, lumpy (fork mashed) or finger foods.

Gobble Gobble Casserole:
Peas, mashed potatoes and turkey
Apples, mashed sweet potatoes and turkey
Broccoli, cauliflower and turkey

Roast Beast Feast:
Green beans, mashed potatoes and roast beef
Corn, green beans and roast beef
Asparagus, mashed potatoes and roast beef

Baby's Age: Over 12 Months

If your baby has been introduced to most foods and is ready to enjoy the feast like a big kid, here are few tips:

• Take a quick taste of each food before putting on your child's plate and make the determination if the flavor is appropriate for your child's palate

• Avoid foods that may contain ingredients that are choking hazards

• If your child has not been introduced to high-allergen foods such as nuts or eggs, ask the chef about the ingredients of foods in advance of the meal

Planning Your Baby's Meal

If the holiday dinner is at your house, you can prepare your little ones meal right alongside the rest of the family's. Simply remove foods you would like for your baby before adding seasonings, butter and salt. Then make the appropriate texture (i.e. puree or mash) for your baby.

If you are the guest of another family, you can bring the fruits and vegetable for your baby in a small tote bag. Simply add the main course, such as turkey or roast beef before the meal begins. If you plan to puree the main course, bring a small amount of broth (chicken of beef) with you in the tote bag.