Steaming vegetables for baby food
How to Cook Vegetables for Babies and Toddlers
Here are some easy vegetable recipes for babies and kids (and the rest of the family) - quick and easy, fun and delicious! Let's steam, roast, and steam roast!
We all know veggies are good for us. But getting our babies and toddlers (let's not forget older children as well as adults in the family) to enjoy them can pose quite the challenge. And as a dietitian, I would tell you to keep offering even if they get no love because exposure is everything!
Of course, we sure would like to see them eating their veggies sooner than later. While preparing vegetables that our little human beings will enjoy may seem like a daunting (nearly impossible) task, it doesn't have to be!
Simply switching up the cooking method or flavoring agents can make a world of a difference for picky eaters! Let me show you!
Baby Led Weaning First Foods
Vegetables make for a wonderful baby led weaning first foods along with iron-rich and high-calorie sources.
First, start with vegetables that are fresh and seasonal. And then comes the fun part - mix it up! Eating the same vegetables prepared the same way day in and out would be boring for anyone.
I put together this post to encourage you to get creative and switch up your cooking methods, experiment with different flavoring agents – oils, herbs, spices, vinegars, butter... Endless possibilities!
Vegetables prepared using any of these methods below will make for the easiest side dish and will make a great accompaniment to just about any meals.
You’ll notice that there are no exact measurements of ingredients here. That’s because how much oil and flavoring agents you use will depend on the amount of vegetables you’re cooking and your taste preferences.
So have fun playing around with it. You just don’t know what deliciousness you’ll stumble upon! And of course, the result might not always be up to your liking, but hey! You never know until you’ve tried.
My biggest advice, don’t be afraid to experiment!
How to steam vegetables for babies
This method is great for getting the vegetables really soft for the baby, which is especially important when first starting solids.
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- Cut vegetables into uniform pieces. If cooking different types of vegetables together, cut the longer-cooking ones into smaller pieces than the quicker-cooking ones.
- Add water to the pot and insert the steamer basket. The surface of the water should be under the basket. Pour some out if need be.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Add the vegetables, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to simmer.
- Set the timer. Check periodically so you don’t overcook them.
- Once done cooking, you can then add various flavoring agents to build flavor.
- Doesn’t require oil
- Preserves color, natural flavors, nutrients
- Great for achieving soft texture
While you can add oils, herbs, spices, etc. once the vegetables are done, I personally find that the flavors are too overpowering. You might not. Again, experiment!
How to roast vegetables for babies
I personally prefer this method over steaming. It's SO true that magical things happen once the vegetables go inside the oven!
The dry heat of the oven caramelizes the natural sugars in the vegetables, resulting in this incredible depth of flavor! And adding the flavoring agents PRIOR to cooking helps those flavors to get better absorbed into the veggies. YUM!
- Set the oven temperature pretty high: 400- 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the vegetables into pieces about the same size and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, silicone baking mat, or foil for easy clean up.
- Toss the vegetables with oil and various flavoring agents. Massage the flavors into the veggies using your hands until they’re completely coated.
- Spread the vegetables out evenly onto the baking sheet.
- Cook to desired texture, tossing the vegetables halfway through cooking. Harder vegetables (like winter squash, sweet potatoes, beets) will take longer to cook.
If roasting multiple vegetables together:
- roast similar ones together – like broccoli and cauliflower; sweet potatoes and parsnips
- roast in stages. Start with veggies that take the longest to cook and then add the other vegetables to the same pan halfway through cooking. As an example, if cooking sweet potatoes and bell peppers, start cooking the potatoes first and then add the bell peppers to the pan. Cook until they both reach the texture you desire.
Don’t skimp on the oil if you want your vegetables to cook evenly and crisp up. Use enough to coat the veggies but not so much that they’re drowning in it. I normally use about a tablespoon or so.
These are the oils I like to use – olive, coconut, avocado, walnut oil. Unlike with steaming, I love that you can add oil with this method as it will be a great source of healthy fats. Babies and toddlers NEED them.
When not prepared correctly, the exterior of the vegetables can get too crispy or even burnt before they soften. While I personally LOVE the crispy, slightly charred edges that result from roasting, this texture isn’t ideal for babies.
How to Steam Roast(aka best of both worlds)
Just as the name suggests, it combines both methods into one easy step. Because you’re steaming and roasting on the same pan, you’re saving time, effort, and will end up with less dishes! Music to my ears!
The secret is in covering the baking pan tightly. The hot oven plus the moisture from the veggies create steam, allowing for vegetables to soften. But by roasting, the flavors become more concentrated.
To cover, I like to use this when making a large batch or this one for the toaster oven.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Cut the vegetables into similar sized pieces and place on a baking pan.
- Toss the vegetables with oil and various flavoring agents. Massage the flavors into the veggies using your hands until they’re completely coated.
- Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or silicone baking mat.
- Place in the oven and cook until the vegetables reach your desired texture.
- Once your baby is able to handle more texture, you can go a step further. Remove the foil or baking mat and continue cooking the vegetables in the dry heat until the exteriors caramelize and brown.
Related: Broccoli for babies
I know it can be confusing so if you'd like to see a video of how to cook the veggies using all 3 of these methods, head on over to my instagram @kidfriendly.meals (click here) and tap on "Steam Roasting" in the story highlights!
General Cooking Times
As I mentioned, there will most definitely be some learning curve to this as you try to figure out what cooking temperature and time works best for you. Keep in mind every oven is different. I wanted to share what’s been working well for us in hopes that this will give you a good starting point.
Here are some ideas to get you started! You certainly don't have to get all of these dried herbs and spices. Start with ones that appear in a lot of this list and then build your spice pantry as you wish ;).
- Asparagus: basil, dill, garlic, ginger, curry, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, citrus (zest and/or juice)
- Beets: basil, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dill, garlic, ginger, lemon
- Broccoli: basil, curry, garlic, ginger, oregano, red pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme, vinegar (balsamic, rice)
- Brussels sprouts: butter, coriander, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, lemon, nutmeg, miso, balsamic vinegar
- Cabbage: coriander, curry, dill, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, parsley, thyme, vinegar (apple cider, rice)
- Carrots: cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry, fennel, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, miso
- Cauliflower: basil, coriander, cumin, fennel, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, lemon
- Eggplant: basil, garlic, ginger, oregano, cilantro, curry powder, cumin, lemon, miso, parsley, balsamic vinegar, tahini
- Parsnips: basil, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, lemon, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, turmeric
- Potatoes: butter, cilantro, cumin, curry powder, dill, garlic, lemon, nutmeg, mustard, parsley, rosemary, thyme
- Winter squash: basil, curry, cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, curry
- Sweet potatoes: cinnamon, cilantro, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, miso, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, rosemary, balsamic vinegar
- zucchini: basil, cilantro, dill, garlic, ginger, lemon, mint, parsley, oregano, rosemary
Other Helpful Articles
- Starting Solids - Purees or Baby Led Weaning
- Baby Led Weaning - How to serve the right food size and texture
- Repeated Exposure to foods for Babies and Toddlers
- Salt/Sodium for babies and toddlers
- Easy ways to add more fiber to your child's diet
Do you want to minimize picky eating and set a solid foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits?
Check out this 3 month mastering self-feeding program! It’s the closest thing to me being in your kitchen
Why Should Baby's Food Be Steamed?
If you’re a parent who has had this question and ever looked it up on the web, you know that any discourse you might find agrees on the fact that baby food should in fact be cooked. However, it is often quite rare to find any two platforms that would give you the same reasons for practicing this, which is why we’ve come up with this blog where we give you all the reasons to encourage you to steam the fruits & vegetables you give to your baby. Yes, here is the complete details on why should baby’s food be steamed? | Benefits of steaming fruits & vegetables for babies.
Why cook fruits & vegetables for your baby?
Decontaminates the food –
Softens up the food –
Ensures easier digestion –
Why is steaming baby fruits & vegetables a great option?
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Steaming baby foods is one way to cook them. The benefits of steaming fruits and vegetables for babies are many. From increasing the nutrition to decreasing the risk of food borne illness. There are several other ways you may do that. Let’s first have a look at the importance of cooking fruits and vegetables which you feed your baby.Why cook fruits & vegetables for your baby?Decontaminates the food –
It is a well-known fact that heat is a very effective method of killing bacteria and other harmful microbes that might be present on the surfaces of any foods we consume. Since a baby’s immune system is weaker compared to an adult’s, cooking fruits & vegetables before feeding them to your baby acts as an extra layer of protection against your baby getting sick.Softens up the food –
Raw fruits and vegetables pose a great risk of choking hazard as any piece that is not small enough can be hard for your baby to get down their oesophagus. Moreover, putting aside a few exceptions, many vegetables and fruits are quite hard and solid when raw.Your baby could very likely bite off a piece big enough to choke them. Cooking vegetables and fruits breaks them down and the result is a softened, mushy product that is easy to chew and swallow.Ensures easier digestion –
Plant-based food items like fruits and vegetables have tough cell walls which makes it harder for our digestive system to effectively absorb nutrition. Cooking any kind of food does not only change its physical properties, but the exposure to heat while cooking also breaks down its chemical structure. Since babies already have underdeveloped digestive systems, cooking the fruits and vegetables before feeding it to them aids in easier digestion and higher nutrition retention.
Here’s a point to be noted; cooked does not equal steamed.
There are several ways in which a parent can cook their baby’s food and in theory, all forms of cooking produce the same result – food that is decontaminated, softened, and easier to digest. However, each method of cooking is not entirely the same. If you fry the fruits and vegetables, for example, they might be too fatty to give to your baby.
Boiling them keeps the caloric intake to a minimum but often results in a loss of nutritional components that seep into the water when vegetables and fruits are boiled. The reason we recommend steaming vegetables and fruits over other methods of cooking is because steaming preserves most nutrients inside the food, while it also achieves the above mentioned results.Why is steaming baby fruits & vegetables a great option?
Most fruits and vegetables should be steamed before feeding until the infant is roughly 8 months old. Cooking is required for some harder, firmer foods, such as apples, only to soften them enough to purée. Steaming/cooking is optional for softer foods like mangoes or berries, but it can still be beneficial for babies 6–8 months old because cooking makes the food simpler to digest and allows the baby to obtain more nutrition.
When fruits and vegetables are cooked using methods other than steaming, they often tend to lose a lot of their flavour. The flavours of the many foods you steam concurrently do not get mixed up like they would if you boiled them, retaining their original flavour. Food remains moist and tender after steaming. It’s less likely for the cooking liquid to jiggle or absorb too much water because it never touches the food. This means the shape, color, flavour, and texture of the food is preserved. The benefits of steaming vegetables and fruits are very vast. Steaming vegetables in this manner is considered a healthy habit that brings many benefits to the human body. It can help fight different kinds of infections, balance the digestive system, and more. Not only that, it also helps protect the skin from damage caused by sunlight, which helps in keeping your baby’s skin healthy and wrinkle-free. Hence steaming your baby foods is definitely one of the best ways to get the most pure taste and health benefits out of it.
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Steamed vegetables in a slow cooker: fresh, frozen, for a child
April 22, 2017 17914
Vegetables are essential products for daily consumption. They can be prepared in various ways: stew, boil, bake, fry. You can cook them in a pan, or you can steam them. nine0011
A multi-cooker with steam function will do just fine. To use this function, you must use the steam container. The products will turn out to be very tasty and dietary, which is perfect for people on a diet.
This method of cooking helps preserve all the nutritional properties, trace elements and vitamins in vegetables. Products can be used fresh or frozen.
|Brussels sprouts -
|green beans -
|salt and spices -
|Cooking time: 60 minutes
|Calories per 100 grams: 45 Kcal
Everyone can cook vegetables. You don't have to be a culinary pro to do this. Vegetables can be mixed in any proportion and combined with each other.
Step-by-step recipe for steaming vegetables in a slow cooker:
- Cut potatoes and carrots into cubes. Combine everything in one bowl, salt, season with spices to your taste. nine0777
- Fill the multicooker bowl with water. Place a steamer on top. Fill it up.
- Use steam for 40 minutes.
- After the time has elapsed, check the vegetables for readiness. If they are not ready, then add water and add the cooking time.
- Vegetables can be eaten as a separate dish with herbs, sauce or vegetable oil. Vegetables are also an excellent side dish for meat dishes.
How to steam vegetables in a slow cooker for a child
Small children, due to their age, cannot eat hard fresh vegetables. Therefore, you can cook vegetable puree using a slow cooker. This will be a very healthy and tasty dish.
You need to cook with a small margin, because vegetables tend to boil a little and decrease in volume when cooked. You should also prepare only one serving, not leaving for tomorrow.
Mothers who care about their children will be happy to cook a great steamed lunch. You can take any vegetables that your child can. nine0011
- 1 small marrow;
- 1 small carrot;
- 2 potatoes;
- 2 liters of water;
- 2 tsp olive oil.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.
Calories: approx. 75 kcal / 100 gr.
- Peel the ingredients and chop finely.
- Place the vegetable pieces in the steamer. Fill the bowl with 2 liters of water and put it on top. nine0777
- On the panel, select the "steam cooking" mode, set the time to 20 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, remove the vegetables and cool them to about 35 degrees.
- Add 100 ml of water and olive oil to the prepared vegetables. Make a puree using a blender. In just half an hour you have a healthy children's lunch.
How to cook vegetables with chicken breast
Chicken is a very healthy source of animal protein in our diet. It is available to any segment of the population and has excellent taste. For those who follow their figure, it is better to eat chicken breast. nine0011
It is less nutritious than other poultry parts and contains no fat. The healthiest way to cook chicken is steaming. For juiciness, it is better to cook in foil or a baking sleeve.
Can be cooked immediately with vegetables as a side dish. Any one you like best will do. You will have a balanced healthy dinner that does not take much time to prepare.
- chicken breast - 1 pc;
- 3 tbsp soy sauce; nine0777
- 200 gr Brussels sprouts;
- 1 carrot;
- 200 gr green beans in pods;
- 2 liters of water;
- salt, spices to taste.
Preparation time: 1 hour.
Calories: approx. 70 kcal / 100 gr.
- Rinse the chicken breast, remove the skin. Pat dry with paper towel. Add the necessary spices to taste.
- Now you need to marinate it. To do this, fill the chicken with soy sauce. While we work on other ingredients, the breast will absorb the sauce and marinate well. nine0777
- Wash the zucchini and cut into cubes. Prepare string beans. Season everything with salt and spices.
- Place the chicken breast in foil or a roasting sleeve.
- Fill the multicooker with water and place the steam container. Put the marinated breast into it and set the cooking time for 45 minutes in the "steam" mode
- After 25 minutes add vegetables to the chicken and wait for the end of the program.
- When the program is over, remove the chicken breast, unwrap the foil and let cool slightly. Serve with steamed vegetables as a side dish. A wonderful full dinner is ready. nine0777
How to cook frozen vegetables with fish
Fish is a very important food. It contains a lot of fatty acids, so necessary for our body. There are many ways to cook fish. Cooking fish is considered dietary. But this is how useful vitamins go into the water.
Therefore, we will steam. For this we need a multicooker. And to make the dish even tastier, we use foil. You can take any fish: red or white.
It is better to choose fillet, because there are practically no bones in it. As a side dish for fish, we will serve steamed vegetables, which we will cook together with fish. Thus, we will save time and will not stain extra dishes.
- 500 gr hake fillet;
- 1 onion;
- 2 carrots;
- 2 yellow peppers;
- 200g mixed frozen vegetables;
- 1 lemon;
- 2 liters of water;
- salt, spices to taste. nine0777
Cooking time: 50 minutes.
Calories: approx. 55 kcal / 100 gr.
- Salt the hake fillet, sprinkle with spices, sprinkle with lemon juice and leave to marinate.
- Peel onions and carrots. Wash sweet yellow peppers. Finely chop the onion, carrots into slices, and pepper into half rings. Salt and season with spices.
- Line the steam container with foil. Put in it pickled fish, frozen vegetables, onions, carrots and peppers. nine0777
- Fill the multicooker bowl with water, place the container. Select the “steam cooking” mode, setting the cooking time to 30 minutes.
- After the multicooker beeps, remove the fish and serve with steamed vegetables.
How to cook steamed vegetables for vinaigrette
Vinaigrette is a well-known salad. Each housewife has her own unique recipe. But the main ingredient - vegetables - is in every salad. Many people do not like to peel and cut boiled potatoes and beets, so you can try cooking already chopped vegetables. nine0011
We can do this very well with the multicooker. By steaming vegetables, we will retain the maximum of useful properties and simplify the mechanism for making vinaigrette.
- 3 potatoes;
- 1 beet;
- 1 carrot;
- 2 liters of water.
Cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes.
Calories: approx. 60 kcal / 100 gr.
- Wash vegetables, cut into small cubes. Place the beets in a steaming container. nine0777
- Fill the bowl with water. Turn on the "steaming" mode for 1 hour 20 minutes.
- 15 minutes after the start of cooking, add the carrots to the container.
- 35 minutes after the start of cooking, add the potatoes to the container.
- When finished cooking, remove the vegetables and leave to cool. After cooling, you can cook vinaigrette from them.
Features of cooking in different multicookers
Multicookers have different bowl volumes, so water needs to be filled in different amounts.