Parenting Female Adda
11 months ago
Delicious first food recipes for your baby: photos

  • Mum lovingly feeding her baby
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    Introducing first foods

    It is healthiest for your baby to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of his life.

    After six months, breastmilk alone doesn't provide enough nutrients, particularly iron. So you will need to gradually introduce solid foods.

    The key is to introduce solid foods one at a time, a new food item every fifth day. This makes it easier to keep track of any food allergies.

    Start with liquids, soups or purées. The texture can be slowly transitioned to mashes and lumps by seven to eight months and then to bite-sized finger foods by nine months. The idea is to get your baby used to exploring different tastes and textures and preparing her to eat the foods your family eats.

    Here are some healthy first foods for your baby.
  • A bowl of rice cereal
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    Rice cereal

    Rice is a popular first food for babies and an integral part of any annaprashan ceremony. It's easy to digest, nutritious, non-allergenic and has a taste which is acceptable to most babies.

    Readymade rice cereal powders are easily available in the market, and can be conveniently offered as a first food to babies. However, you can also prepare rice cereal at home with the following recipe.

    • 3 cups rice of your choice
    • 3 cups filtered water


    Soak the rice in 3 cups of water for about 20 minutes. Rinse, drain and sun-dry it completely.

    Once done, put the rice grains in a pan and dry roast on a medium to low flame for 10 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool.

    Grind the roasted rice into a fine powder. This powder can be stored in an airtight container and used for up to 6 months. If you prefer, you can make smaller weekly or monthly batches.

    When preparing the rice cereal for your baby's meal, add boiled, cooled or lukewarm water to the cereal. You could also use breastmilk or formula milk to prepare the rice cereal. The rice cereal can also be used to thicken any soups or vegetable purées you prepare for your baby.

  • An assortment of fruit and vegetable purees
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    Fruit and veggie purées

    Fruits make great first foods for baby because they are easy to digest, are nutritious and have a natural sweet taste. Ripe, soft and fleshy fruits can be used as they are, and do not require any cooking.

    Good options for such fruits include banana (kela), papaya (papita), sapodilla (chikoo), mango (aam), deseeded guava (amrood), muskmelon (kharbooja), grapes (angoor), plum (aloo bukhara), lychee (litchi), watermelon (tarbooj) and avocado (makhan phal).

    Be sure to remove seeds and peel (where required) the fruits before serving to your baby.

    Stew or steam firmer fruits such as apple (seb), pear (nashpati), peach (aadoo), apricots (khubani), dates (khajoor), kiwi (kiwi phal), pineapple (ananaas) before puréeing them.

    For vegetables you can try purée of carrot (gajar), peas (matar), sweet potato (shakarkandi), pumpkin (kaddu), potato (aloo), yam (jimikand/suran), beetroot (chukandar), turnip (shalgam), cauliflower (gobhi), broccoli (hari gobhi), spinach (paalak) and so on.

    For more recipes take a look at our slideshow on nutritious purées for your baby!
  • A bowl of rice gruel
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    Rice gruel

    Single ingredient soups make great first food options for babies. Rice soup is easy to digest and a good source of protein, vitamins, calcium and starch.

    • 1/4 cup rice
    • 1 1/2 cup filtered water
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric (haldi) optional


    Boil the rice in water (you can add turmeric if you wish) until it is well cooked and soft. Mash or blend it to get a slightly runny, soup-like consistency.  Watery soup isn't very nutritious so keep thickening the consistency slowly as your baby adjusts to this meal.

    Initially offer your baby just the rice soup alone, and then gradually using the rice soup as a base, include puréed vegetables to make it more nutritious.

    In this recipe white rice can be replaced with brown rice, which has more fibre. If using brown rice, you need to cook it for a longer time, or you may use powdered brown rice for a quicker meal.
  • A bowl of <i>dal</i> soup
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    Lentil (dal) soup

    Lentils and pulses are good source of protein, iron, dietary fibre and several minerals needed for your baby’s growth and development.

    • 2 tsp yellow split gram (moong dal)
    • A pinch of turmeric (haldi) powder
    • 1/4 tsp garlic (lehsun) paste
    • 1 cup filtered water


    Wash the dal and put it in a pressure cooker with the water, turmeric and garlic paste. Mix well and cook for 2 to 3 whistles.

    Release the steam and open the lid. Mash or blend the contents. Mashing the lentil grains and including them into the soup is important since lentil water alone is low in nutrients. Make sure the consistency is thick and sticks to a spoon when turned upside down. Watery dal soup isn't very nutritious.

    Once your baby can digest moong dal well, you can include other nutritious lentils in her diet such as red lentil (masoor dal), green gram (hari moong) and so on. You can also add in vegetables of your choice for a nutritional boost. See more first soup recipes here!
  • A bowl of carrot soup
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    Carrot soup

    Carrots are full of beta-carotene and generally well-liked by babies. Try this delicious and nutritious soup for your little one.


    • 1 carrot (gajar) chopped
    • 1 clove garlic (lehsun)
    • 1 1/2 cup water

    Put the chopped carrots and water in a pressure cooker and cook until the carrots are soft. Run the mixture through a blender to get a thick soup with a smooth consistency.
    If the consistency is runny, you can thicken it with your baby's regular rice cereal.

    Note: Once your baby gets used to this soup, blend in one or two vegetables such as onions (pyaaz), potatoes (aloo), beans (frans beens), broccoli (hari gobhi), beetroot (chukandar), tomato (tamatar) and peas (matar).

    You can even try combinations such as carrot and apple (seb) soup or carrot and mint (pudina) soup.

    After you have introduced a range of vegetables you can offer her mixed vegetable soup.
  • A bowl of suji kheer
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    Suji kheer

    Semolina (suji/rawa) is another very popular first food in India. Apart from simple carbohydrates, it is also rich in proteins, iron and potassium.

    • 2 tsp suji/rawa
    • 4 tsp boiled, cooled water
    • 1/4 tsp ghee (optional)
    • Breastmilk, formula milk or cow's milk - as needed

    Roast the suji in ghee until golden brown. Add the water and keep mixing until the suji thickens.

    Turn off the heat and add the milk till you get the desired consistency.

    If you prefer not to use ghee, simply dry roast the suji on medium heat and proceed.

    It is fine to use small amounts of cow's milk in cooking from six months onwards. But you should wait until your baby has reached her first birthday, before giving it as a drink.
  • A red bowl of ragi porridge
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    Ragi porridge

    Finger millet (ragi/nachni) is also considered a good first food in many regions, and can be tried after you have introduced simpler cereals such as rice and suji. Ragi is rich in calcium, proteins, iron and minerals along with carbohydrates.

    • 2 tsp ragi powder
    • 1/2 cup water


    Mix ragi powder in water taking care there are no lumps. Place the mixture over a medium flame and continue stirring until the ragi is well-cooked.

    Once your baby learns to eat single ingredient cereals, you could try more complex and nutritious options by adding fruit or vegetable purée.

    If you don't want to use the store bought ragi powder, you could prepare it at home. Follow the recipe below for homemade sprouted ragi powder.

    • 2 cups ragi (you can reduce or increase the quantity of ragi depending on how often you want to offer this to your baby.)
    • 3 cups filtered water

    Soak the ragi grains in filtered water for 12 hours. Wash well in running water. Take the ragi grains in a damp cotton cloth and make a potli. Keep it in a cool place for at least 12 hours to sprout.

    After you see the sprouts, transfer the ragi to a plate and let it dry completely in a clean place for about 5 to 6 hours.

    Next dry roast the sprouted ragi in a pan. Let it cool and grind to a fine powder using a mixer grinder.

    Store the powder in an airtight container and use as and when needed for up to 3 months.
  • Mashed potatoes
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    Mashed potato

    This is a popular, simple and easy-to-make meal option for your baby.

    1 medium potato (aloo)
    1/4 cup of your baby's usual milk


    Wash and dice the potato and boil or steam until tender. Mash with a little of your baby's usual milk until it’s a suitable consistency. The skin contains nutrients so it's a good idea to leave it on. Just make sure you wash the potato well.

    Variation: You can try other mashed vegetables as well such as sweet potatoes (shakarkandi), peas (matar) or pumpkin (kaddu), cauliflower (gobhi) or broccoli (hari gobhi). Once your baby accepts single vegetables, try combinations or a mixture of several vegetables of her choice.
  • A bowl of sabudana kheer
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    Sabudana kheer

    Sago (sabudana) kheer is easy to digest and rich in nutrients.

    • 2 tsp sabudana (soaked for two hours)
    • 1/4 cup filtered water
    • Your baby's regular milk

    Soak the sabudana grains for two hours until they become soft. Drain the excess water.

    In a separate pan add the water and then add in the sabudana. Bring to a boil while stirring gently.

    Turn off the heat and add the milk till you get the desired consistency.

    For added flavour, you can add any fruit purée of your choice.

    It is fine to use small amounts of cow's milk in cooking from six months onwards. But you should wait until your baby has reached her first birthday, before giving it as a drink.

  • A plate of moong dal khichdi
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    After your baby adjusts to rice and dal separately, you can move on to mixing the two in the form of khichdi, a very popular first food. This traditional meal is a good source of protein, vitamins, calcium and starch.


    • 1 tsp split yellow (moong) dal
    • 2 tsp rice
    • A pinch turmeric (haldi)
    • 2 cups filtered water

    Wash the rice and dal well and soak them in filtered water for about half an hour.

    Put the rice, dal, water and turmeric in a pressure cooker. Cook for about 2-3 whistles. Mash well and serve.

    Note: You can alter the consistency by adding or reducing the water. More water will make the khichdi mushy and less water will make it thicker. Start with mashed, blended khichdi and as your baby grows move to a thicker version.

    The khichdi can be made with mixed lentils (dals) too. Subsequently, you can also add different vegetables to the khichdi to increase its nutritional value, and can temper with asafoetida (hing) and/or cumin seeds (jeera) to enhance its flavour and taste.

    These baby recipes have been put together with the help of Dr Shaveta Kaushal, a pharmacologist with a passion for creating healthy and nutritious meals for babies.
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