Sweet potatoes are a nutritious option for babies as they begin to transition into consuming solids as part of the weaning process. They are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotenes as well as calcium, folate, potassium, and vitamin E, which are important for the baby’s growth. Sweet potatoes also have a high fiber content, which promotes the movement of food through the digestive tract, and including them in the baby’s diet will aid their bowel movements.
The best way to prepare the sweet potatoes is to bake or steam them because these methods will bring out the flavors and sweetness while retaining all the nutrients. Baking will also caramelize the sweet potatoes natural sugars giving it a sweet taste and flavor. You can also prepare sweet potato soup for babies who are eight months and above. You can prepare the sweet potato on its own or you can mix it with other foods. Here are four simple sweet potato recipes to start you off on this journey towards preparing healthy foods for your baby.
Baking Sweet Potatoes
• 1 sweet potato, preferably darkly colored ones because they have a higher content of beta-carotene
• 1 cup of breast milk/formula/ water
Step 1: Wash the sweet potatoes then using a sharp object such as a knife or fork poke holes into them then carefully wrap them with tin foil, ready for the oven
Step 2: Place them into a 425 pre-heated oven for about 30 to 60 minutes
Step 3: Remove from the oven after the specified time or until they are cooked and then, let them cool
Step 4: After cooling, split them lengthwise, and remove the fleshy part
Step 5: Use your preferred liquid that could be breast milk or formula to make a puree that the baby can easily eat. You can use a food processor to make the puree and add the liquid until you attain the right puree consistency and texture
NB: Ensure the potatoes are well cooked and the puree is a soft and smooth consistency to avoid d any choking hazards. The baby should also always be fed when they are in an upright position and when they are fully awake.
Steaming/Boiling Sweet Potatoes
Use the same ingredients listed in the previous recipe, and after cleaning the potatoes boil or steam them and ensure they are well cooked before proceeding to the next step. Follow steps 4 and 5 from the baking recipe to prepare the sweet potato puree.
Sweet Potato Soup
• 1 cup of cooked sweet potato/ preferably baked or steamed
• 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
• ¼ teaspoon of ginger paste
• 1 cup of broth, vegetable or chicken
• 1 tablespoon of flour
• 1 cup of milk
• 1/eight teaspoon of cinnamon
Step 1: Heat tablespoon of butter in a pan and then add the flour. This will result in a roux that is caramel colored
Step 2: Add the broth and bring the contents to a boil
Step 3: Let it simmer before adding the cooked sweet potato, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon
Step 4: Cook for five minutes and turn off the heat.
Step 5: Once it has cooled, puree it in a food processor
Step 6: Return the puree to the pan, and add the milk and some salt for taste
Butternut and Sweet Potato Puree
• 1 butternut squash that has been peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
• 1 peeled sweet potato that has been prepared into small cubes
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 2 tablespoons of water and some breast milk or formula
Step 1: Line a baking tray with foil and place the butternut and sweet potato cubes on it
Step 2: Drizzle some olive oil over the cubes and cover with foil, folding the top and bottom foil together along the edges to seal in the cubes
Step 3: Bake in a preheated oven at 400 F for about 30 minutes or until they are well cooked
Step 4: Remove from the oven and let the cubes cool before blending them into a puree, adding the milk to achieve the right consistency and texture
Mixing Sweet Potatoes with Other Foods
Sweet potatoes can be mixed with other nutritious foods and you only need to be creative. Here are some of the foods you can use for this process. Always remember to puree the baby food.
• Fruits like apples and pears
• Baby cereal with healthy choices like barley and oats
• You can mix the cooked sweet potato with yogurt
• Grains like rice and quinoa
• All kinds of vegetables like peas, beans, and carrots
Storing and Freezing Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are usually available all year round and should be stored in a cool dry place. Good sweet potatoes should not have any defects and should be hard and not press in when pressed. They can also be frozen in ice cube trays and defrosted cube by cube when you need to prepare food for the baby especially when weaning begins.
Introducing new foods to babies can sometimes prove challenging and the baby may not immediately accept the food. It is important to be patient and keep trying, the baby may eventually accept the food, and he/she may end up not liking the new food. Should they refuse the food, do not force them. Rather, try mixing with other foods that they may have liked.
Sweet potatoes have long been a favorite for weaning babies mainly because they have a natural sweetness. Moreover, they are a good and healthy source of starch. Sweet potatoes are usually not grown using lots of pesticides but it is always advisable to source for organically grown foods especially for your little one. There are different types of sweet potatoes with some being white on the inside and some orange. The orange type is said to be sweeter and not as dry when compared to the white type. Regardless of the type, sweet potatoes can be prepared in a variety of ways and combined with other foods to make a delicious meal for your baby.