What Lily Ate - Part 4

Posted by Kristin on August 31, 2016

 

I’m a huge fan of the humble sweet potato and now so is Lily!

My littlest darling has come on leaps and bounds on her weaning journey over the past fortnight following our initial struggle with the spoon. The ever-versatile sweet potato puree, with its silky smooth consistency and sweet yet mild taste has been crucial in Lily’s weaning success.  

 

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Sweet potatoes are known as one of the healthiest vegetables, making them the natural choice for a baby’s first food. They're jam-packed with dietary fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and are soft enough to be mashed into various consistencies for your baby’s earliest stages of eating solids and beyond.

Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes count towards your 5-A-Day because they are lower in starch. And as sweet as they taste, they have a lower GI (glycaemic index) than white potatoes, which means they release sugar slowly into the bloodstream so you won’t experience a sharp spike in blood sugar levels, instead you’ll get a steady amount of energy.

Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of dietary fibre, which is required by your baby to support a healthy digestive tract and regulate digestion. Basically it will make the movement of food along their little intestines much smoother and promote regular bowel movements, reducing their risk of constipation, which can cause them a lot of pain.

 

Vitamins in Sweet Potato:

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of Beta-Carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A supports a baby’s immune system, skin and mucus membranes, and is essential for the development of healthy vision.

It’s also crammed with various B-Vitamins including Folate, which your baby requires for brain and nervous system health. Niacin for energy production and Pantothenic Acid which supports the immune system and healthy hormone production.

Sweet potatoes are super high in Vitamin C, so they are excellent immunity boosters for your baby. Vitamin C is required for healthy gums and teeth, cell protection, psychological function, nervous system function and it will enhance your baby’s ability to absorb iron. One sweet potato contains about half of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C for an adult, and babies and children, cannot get too much Vitamin C as it is a water soluble vitamin and therefore any excesses will be excreted in their urine.

 

Minerals in Sweet Potato:

Sweet potato is also bursting with potassium, which is an electrolyte mineral that supports healthy heart and kidney function in babies.

It’s also a good source of Calcium and Magnesium, which are vital for baby’s bone and skeletal health and development, and for the regulation of energy production inside the cells.

 

Although Miss Lily is on her fourth week of weaning now, I don’t think she is quite ready to move onto a thicker or lumpier consistency than silky, smooth first purees just yet. That’s the thing with weaning your baby onto solids - each and every baby is different and when one 6-month old tot is ready to move on to different foods, another mightn’t be set just yet. The best piece of advice I can offer any weaning mummy is to simply go with your instinct!

I would offer a younger baby, from 6 to 9 months, a sweet potato puree, like the recipe we posted here.

For a baby who is ready for a lumpier textured puree, or in Lily’s case a smooth texture but a combination of different veggies, our favourite recipe is this Sweet Potato with Broccoli and Peas puree. Combining nutrient rich green veggies with naturally sweet tasting sweet potato, which babies tend to prefer is a great way to introduce the more savoury flavours to your baby.

 

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A baby between 9 and 12 months could use their fingers to eat small chunks of cooked sweet potato. Finger foods are a great way for babies in this age bracket to develop their pincer grip and other fine motor skills.

As the kids are heading back to school this week, I thought it might be nice to include another of our favourite sweet potato recipes for ‘Microwave Sweet Potato Chips’ which are super convenient and quick. Using the microwave has a ‘drying out’ effect which makes sure the sweet potatoes get that satisfying crunch. These are a great home-made, healthy alternative to regular potato crisps, which are more often than not laden with fat and added salt.

 

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Enjoy and let us know what you think! 

Shauna.x.