HOW TO PREPARE BUTTERNUT SQUASH FOR WEANING
Butternut squash is a great food for both traditional and baby-led weaning, as the variety of ways it can be prepared can help keep your little one engaged in the weaning process. It offers a sweeter flavour, while remaining a savoury and nutritious option to help your baby develop and grow.
Preparing butternut squash in different texture formats keeps babies interested, while offering the right size of butternut squash pieces for your baby’s age or weaning stage ensures the weaning process is safe and suitable for your little one.
We share a few ways to prepare butternut squash for your weaning little one as they progress through the weaning journey.
Butternut Squash for Weaning
Butternut squash makes a great first food for weaning babies due to the diversity of texture and flavour that they can offer.
At the start of the weaning journey, butternut squash can be pureed or mashed and enjoyed on a spoon as part of traditional or baby-led weaning.
When pursuing a baby-led weaning approach, butternut squash can be prepared in chunks or strips of different sizes for baby to grasp or eat with a spoon, aiding them in the development of coordination skills.
Butternut squash also offers some great nutritious benefits, providing a good source of vitamin A, potassium and fiber.
Plus, the naturally sweeter taste of butternut squash can be appealing for little ones with a sweet tooth, allowing them to explore this exciting flavour profile in a healthier way.
How to Prepare Butternut Squash for Weaning
There are a number of different ways to prepare and serve butternut squash for your weaning baby.
Preparing and Cutting Butternut Squash for Babies
There are a few ways of peeling and preparing butternut squash for your little one. You can use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin, cut the butternut squash in two, scoop out the seeds and then cut the flesh into chunks, strips or slices that can then be roasted or steamed.
If you’d rather not peel the butternut squash, you can cut it into slices and use a knife to cut off the hard skin edge.
Alternatively, you can cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and then roast the two halves of the butternut squash. Once it has roasted, the flesh will be soft and can be easily scooped out, without needing to peel the skin.
How to Make Butternut Squash Mash for Babies
This can be used for both traditional and baby-led weaning - it’s up to you if you spoon-feed the mash to your little one or let them work on their coordination skills with baby-led weaning - although this could get messy!
If you’d rather the butternut squash be smoother for early stages of weaning, then you can use an immersion blender to blend it together and form a puree. As your baby gets older and more confident with eating, you can leave more lumps in the mash for added texture and to encourage chewing.
- Peel the butternut squash and chop into 2cm cubes.
- Put a pan of water on to boil. Add the butternut squash and simmer until soft.
- Drain the water from the pan, leaving the butternut squash in it. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the butternut squash.
- Serve in a bowl with a spoon.
Another way of making butternut squash mash is to roast the butternut squash, either in chunks or in two halves, and after 50 minutes, the butternut squash 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!
Butternut Squash Finger Food for Babies
Finger foods are key to baby-led weaning, and butternut squash 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 Butternut Squash for Finger Food
- Peel and cut the butternut squash 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 butternut squash in an even layer.
- Brush the butternut squash pieces with olive oil.
- Roast the butternut squash until soft, approximately 40 minutes.
Butternut Squash 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.
Use a crinkle cutter when cutting slices of butternut squash to provide more texture to the veggies that makes it easier for your little one to grip.
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.
Butternut Squash Finger Food for 9 Months
Bigger, half moon slices of butternut squash are great for 9 month old babies, as they can easily grab a larger piece of food in the palm of their hand and bring it to their mouth to munch on.
Larger pieces of butternut squash will help your little one to slow down their eating and focus on developing chewing skills, rather than cramming mash or squash sticks into their mouths.
Slice the top section of the squash half to achieve half-moon shapes. You can do this and then roast the slices, or roast the squash in halves and slice it into half-moon shapes once soft.
At nine months, the squash should still be smush-able between your thumb and forefinger.
Butternut Squash Finger Food for 12 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 butternut squash, which can help them develop a pincer-like grasp, as well as learning to scoop food onto a spoon.
Cut the butternut squash into small cubes and roast, boil or steam them until softened. For babies 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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