7-day Healthy Meal Planning Guide for 6 to 24 month old children

Baby food preparation basics

Babies can gradually be introduced to different food textures between 6 and 24 months of age.

Age

Food

About 6 months

Smooth puree

7 to 8 months

Thick  puree and mashed food

9 to11 months

Mashed food with small lumps, e.g thick congee with finely minced meat and mashed vegetables

1 to 1.5 years

Soft rice, finely chopped meat and vegetables

1.5 to 2 years

Family food, chopped into smaller pieces

Children vary in their chewing ability. Parents should adjust the food texture to suit your own child.

(1) Rice cereal

Method

  • Step 1: Put rice cereal powder into a bowl.
  • Step 2: Add breastmilk or formula milk into the rice cereal powder a little at a time, and mix well with a spoon.

Step 1Step 2

Useful tips

  • Some rice cereal contains milk powder. Add water instead of milk.
  • Refer to the instructions on the package for the proportion of milk and cereal powder to use in preparation. You can vary the amount of water or milk added to prepare the texture that best suits your baby.
  • Fruit, vegetable puree or other food mashes can be added to rice cereal.

 

(2) Congee and soft rice

Basic method for cooking congee

  • Step 1: Wash rice and soak in water for 1 hour.
  • Step 2: In another pot, bring water (see "Useful tips" below) to a boil. Add in the soaked rice. Bring it back to a boil over high heat.
  • Step 3: Once the mixture boils, turn to low-medium  heat and simmer until the rice turns soft and breaks up. Stir occasionally.
  • Step 4: Continue simmering until the desired consistency is reached.
Step 1Step 2Step 3

Useful tips: Change the amount of water and rice used to get congee and rice of different textures!

Type of Congee or Rice

Amount of rice

Amount of water

Thin congee

half cup rice

five cups water

Congee

half cup rice

three and a half cups water

Soft rice

half cup rice

two cups water

Adult rice

half cup rice

one cup water

(For reference only)

3) Leafy vegetable puree/chopped leafy vegetable

Method

  • Step 1: Wash the vegetables and soak in water for 1 hour.
  • Step 2: Blanch vegetables in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain in a sieve.
  • Step 3: On a cutting board for cooked food, remove the stems so that only the leafy part remains.
  • Step 4: Chop the leaves in different directions until the desired fineness is reached. The vegetable can now be used to cook baby food, e.g. vegetable congee.
  • Step 5: To make vegetable puree for babies who are just starting to eat solid food, put the chopped leaves into a strainer and grind with a rod/ tablespoon.

Useful tips: Soaking green leafy vegetables in water for 1 hour and blanching in boiling water for 1 minute helps remove harmful chemicals.

 

(4) Potato puree/mash

This method applies to pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, other root and melon-type vegetables, e.g. hairy melon.

Method

  • Step 1: Wash and peel the potato. Dice into small pieces.
  • Step 2: Boil in water for 10 - 15 minutes until the potato pieces are soft enough for a fork to pass through  them easily. Drain the water.
  • Step 3: Mash the potato pieces with a fork or a spoon while they are still hot. Add a little warm water if they are too dry.
  • Step 4: For a softer texture, add extra breastmilk/ formula milk/ water and mix well.
  • Step 5: To make a fine potato puree, press the potato mixture  through a strainer.


(5) Fruit puree/fruit slices

Fruit puree or mash

Choose fruits that are ripe and soft in texture, e.g. pears, peaches, bananas, some types of apples, avocados, papaya, etc.

Method 1: Use a grater

  • Step 1: Wash the fruit and rub the skin under running water. Peel and cut into 2-4 pieces. Remove the seeds.
  • Step 2: Grind fruit pieces with grater.

Method 2: Use a teaspoon

  • Step 1: Wash the fruit. Cut into two halves and remove the core.
  • Step 2: Scrape the fruit in one direction  with  a teaspoon to make fruit mash.

Useful tips: Put the mash in a strainer to filter out the lumps. This creates a finer texture for babies just starting to eat solid food.

Fruit slice

  • Babies with front teeth can gradually bite through food. Parents may cut fruit into 2 to 3 mm thick slices for them as finger food.
  • More fruit choices: watermelon, dragon fruit, mangoes, honey dew melon, plums and strawberries.

(6) Minced meat (chicken/beef/mutton/pork)

Method 1: Chopping

  • Step 1: Wash a piece of meat and pat it dry.
  • Step 2: On the cutting board for raw food, slice the pork into 1 mm thick pieces. When slicing, cut diagonally across and through the fibers.
  • Step 3: Cut meat slices into fine strips.
  • Step 4: Cut meat strips into fine lumps, and chop in different directions.
  • Step 5: When cooking, add water to meat and stir well in the pot to avoid forming lumps.

Useful tips: Chop the meat less finely when your baby can chew better.

Method 2: Use a blender

  • Step 1: Boil or steam meat slices.
  • Step 2: On a cutting board for cooked food, cut the meat into 0.5—1 cm dices.
  • Step 3: Put the meat dices into a blender. Add water until the meat is just covered.
  • Step 4: Turn on the blender, and blend to the desired texture.  Pause the blender to check the texture regularly.
  • Step 5: This method prepares portions for several meals. Cooked minced meat should be kept in covered ice molds and stored in the freezer for a maximum  of 7 days.
(Content revised 08/2017)