HOW TO PREPARE SWEET POTATO FOR WEANING
Sweet potatoes are a great food for both traditional and baby-led weaning. They can be prepared in a number of ways that offer a diversity of texture to keep your little one engaged and interested in the weaning process, and to suit their needs as they grow and develop.
We share a few ways to prepare sweet potatoes for your weaning little one as they progress through the weaning journey.
Sweet Potato for Weaning
Veggies make the perfect first foods for babies who are beginning weaning. If you’re following a more traditional weaning journey, then sweet potato can be pureed or mashed easily, making it a perfect choice for spoonfed first tastes.
With baby-led weaning approaches, the sweet potato can be cut into chunks of different sizes for baby to grasp in their hand.
Sweet potatoes also offer some great nutritious benefits, providing a good source of Vitamin A and dietary fibre, which aids digestion.
Plus, the naturally sweeter taste of the sweet potato can be appealing for little ones with a sweet tooth, allowing them to explore this exciting flavour profile in a healthier way.
- Sweet Potato
- Tools you may need:
- Chopping board
- Vegetable peeler
- Chopping knife
- Crinkle cutter
- Baking tray
- Immersion blender
How to Prepare Sweet Potato for Weaning
There are a number of different ways to prepare and serve sweet potatoes for your weaning baby.
Peeling Sweet Potato for Babies
There are two ways of peeling and preparing sweet potatoes for your little one. You can peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler and then cut the sweet potato into chunks, strips, or slices to be cooked.
Alternatively, you can roast the whole sweet potato for around an hour, like you would a jacket potato, and then strip the skin off once cooked.
How to Make Sweet Potato Puree for Babies
This can be used for both traditional and baby-led weaning - it’s up to you if you spoon-feed the puree to your little one or let them work on their coordination skills with baby-led weaning - although this could get messy!
- Peel the sweet potato and chop into 2cm cubes.
- Put a pan of water on to boil. Add the sweet potato and simmer until soft.
- Drain the water from the pan, leaving the sweet potato in it. Use an immersion blender to puree the sweet potato chunks into a smooth texture.
- Serve in a bowl with a spoon.
How to Make Sweet Potato Mash for Babies
There are a few ways to make mash for babies using sweet potatoes. Firstly, you can follow the above recipe for puree, but instead of using a hand mixer to blend it together, simply use a potato masher to squish up the sweet potato. You can leave a few lumps in for added texture if you would like.
Another way of making sweet potato mash is to roast the sweet potato, either in chunks or as the whole potato, and after 40 minutes, the sweet potato will be soft enough to mash with ease using a potato masher or fork.
You could add in some herbs or spices, like pepper, nutmeg or rosemary, to add some additional flavour to keep baby interested and excited to explore new flavours!
Sweet Potato Finger Food for Babies
Finger foods are key to baby-led weaning, and sweet potato is a great vegetable to use. The idea of finger foods is that they are big enough for baby to hold in their fist and munch on! The size and shape you cut them into will depend on the age and ability of your little one.
Baking or Roasting Sweet Potato for Finger Food
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into the shape you want. See below for guidance on shapes and sizes for each stage of the weaning journey.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and place the sweet potato in an even layer.
- Brush the sweet potato pieces with olive oil.
- Roast the sweet potato until soft, approximately 30-40 minutes.
Sweet Potato Finger Food for 6 Months
At six months, the finger food you serve should be - as the name suggests - roughly the size of your finger. These bigger stick shapes are easier for your little one to hold onto while they are developing their coordination skills. Longer finger food shapes also pose less of a choking risk than smaller bite-size chunks.
At this age, the finger foods can be roasted or steamed until they are soft enough to be squished when pressed between your fingers but firm enough to still hold their shape.
To make it easier for your little one to hold, you can use a crinkle cutter to add a ridged texture to each sweet potato finger. This makes the sweet potato less slippery and, so, less likely to be dropped.
Sweet Potato Finger Food for 9 Months
A few months into the weaning journey, your little one should be more confident with actions like bringing food to their mouths, chewing and swallowing. This means you can offer smaller, bite-size chunks of sweet potato.
Cut the sweet potato into small cubes and roast, boil or steam them until softened. For babies of 9-12 months of age, these cubes are small enough to support the development of more precise motor skills when it comes to eating, but soft enough to not pose a choking hazard.
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