As a new mom, figuring out what/ how to feed my baby, as soon as I think I’ve found my groove, there’s a new milestone around the corner. Crawling is now turning into walking and it’ll be a whole new ballgame. Like graduating from crawling to walking, my daughter’s nutritional needs are becoming more complex. When she was younger, and exclusively breastfeeding, I only had to whip out a boob to meet her nutritional needs. Now I am buying organic fruit and vegetables, cooking some, mashing some, and puréeing others to make homemade vegan baby food. As I am adding a bit more complexity to her diet, and not yet wanting to introduce meat, I want to introduce more protein rich foods. I’ve done some research to find out how to add vegan protein in my baby’s diet.
Below are 5 Vegan Protein options that work well for making homemade vegan baby food.
Green Peas – 8 grams of vegan protein per cup
Aside from packing a plentiful, protein punch, peas are rich in zinc, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C .
*Green peas can be steamed until tender, then mashed or puréed.
Black Beans – 15 grams of vegan protein per cup (can also use white or kidney beans)
Black beans can help build and maintain strong bones. Because they are high in fiber, they can prevent constipation. Selenium, saponins, and folate found in black beans can help prevent cancerous cell formation and tumor growth.
*To prepare beans, I soak in a bowl of water overnight then cook for about 40 min. Afterwards, with either the cooking water or fresh water, into the blender they go!
Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)- 13 grams of vegan protein per cup
These beans lower bad cholesterol, and are rich in folate, iron, calcium,and potassium. Contains selenium which helps ward off cancer. They are usually the main ingredient in hummus.
*Cook until tender then add to food processor or blender along with a bit of cooking water. I usually add some type of fruit purée ( mango, banana, nectarine) alongside a dish like this.
Quinoa – 8 grams per cup of vegan protein when cooked.
Quinoa is a “complete protein”, boasting all 9 essential amino acids. It’s gluten-free, high in antioxidants and fiber, and contains iron.
*To prepare, I rinse the quinoa first in a pot and strained water with a paper towel, boil then let simmer about 15 minutes till fluffy. This cooks similarly to rice. For Aven, I’ve been adding quinoa to mashed avocado with a hint of lime, lemon, or mango purée. This vegan baby food recipe is the most well liked so far.
Edamame (immature soy bean)- 16 grams of vegan protein per cup
Edamame is a good source of calcium, iron, and potassium. Is also a “complete protein” featuring all nine essential amino acids.
*Cook until tender then blend with a bit of cooking water.
If introducing soy, watch for signs of allergy, as some people are allergic to it. It has also been suggested that children should have no more than 2 servings of soy products a day.
I like to give my baby water after feeding her solids to help “move things along”.
*It is important to remember to either follow the instructions of your child’s doctor or do your own research on appropriate ages/stages to introduce vegan baby food and other foods to your baby.