When your little one reaches eight or nine months, he’ll want to start feeding himself. Quite often, babies are determined to feed themselves before they have the necessary coordination to use a spoon. Introducing finger foods and lumpier textures to his diet will help refine his chewing technique. This, in turn, helps with speech development and strengthens jaw muscles. If you’re giving finger foods to your baby, always stay in the room with him until he’s finished and check that there’s nothing stored in his cheeks that he could choke on later.
Chicken and apple balls
This is a great favourite in Annabel’s family. Grated apple adds a delicious flavour to these chicken balls and makes them appealing to young children. They are delicious hot or cold and you’ll get 20 from the below recipe:
- 2 tsp light olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
- 2 large chicken breasts, cut into chunks
- ½ tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, sage, or a pinch of mixed dried herbs
- 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled (only for babies older than one year)
- Plain flour for coating
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté half the onion for about 3 minutes.
- Using your hands, squeeze a little excess liquid from the grated apple. Mix the apple with the chicken, remaining raw onion, herbs and stock cube, and roughly chop in a food processor for a few seconds.
- Season with a little salt and pepper (only for babies older than one year).
- Using your hands, form about 20 little balls and roll them in flour. Fry in shallow oil for about five minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through.
Tortilla pizza margarita
These thin-crust pizzas and wheat tortilla wraps make an ideal instant base that turns deliciously crisp in the oven. It’s also great for smaller children who find the slimmer base easier to eat. The air bubbles in the wrap may puff up a bit as the pizza bakes, but they will deflate as soon as they come out the oven.
- 1 wheat tortilla wrap
- 2 tbsp tomato sauce
- 30g grated cheddar or mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Place the tortilla wrap on a baking sheet and spread the tomato sauce over the tortilla before sprinkling with cheese. You can also add any toppings that your child may like.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes until the cheese has melted and the base is crisp.
- Cut into triangles and allow to cool before serving.
Annabel’s quick tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 diced shallot
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- Salt and pepper to season
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the shallot and garlic for two minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, squashing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Boil, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes or at least until the sauce has become thick.
- Season with salt and pepper.
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