Making your own baby food is the best way if you want to make sure that your bundle of joy receives the best nutrients. Sweet potato baby food is great to start with because it’s packed with nutrients and palatable for the baby.
If you need some ideas, check out these 7 easy-to-make sweet potato baby food recipes your baby will love.
SWEET POTATO FACTS
What we usually call sweet potato is a vegetable similar to a regular potato in size but with purplish-orange skin and bright orange flesh. While this is a sweet potato, you should know that it is only one variety. There are literally dozens of varieties of sweet potatoes out there. Some of them have orange flesh, others are purple, and there are even white or yellow flesh sweet potato varieties.
With such a broad choice, it would be a true pity to make baby food from only one variety. Nevertheless, the orange-skinned type of sweet potato is probably the best to start with.
Sweet potato baby food is a great choice from the first day of food diversification. This veggie is delicious, nutritious and packed with minerals and vitamins. In fact, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, sweet potatoes are the world’s leading superfood .
In detail, sweet potatoes boast high concentrations of beta carotene and Vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, iron, and copper, to name just a few of its nutrients.
HOW TO COOK SWEET POTATO FOR BABY
There are dozens of sweet potato baby food recipes that use boiled sweet potatoes but the best way to cook them for your baby is by baking. Baked sweet potato has a pleasant sweetness similar to that of baked pumpkin and this cooking method preserves most nutrients of the vegetable.
If you want to save the hassle and use a baby food maker, then you should choose the steaming option of the appliance. Steaming will also preserve most of its nutrients and the baby food will be healthier. I wouldn’t recommend boiling them unless it’s in a really small quantity of water that you intend to use to make a puree.
I also wouldn’t recommend cooking sweet potatoes for baby in the microwave. However, this could be an option if you’re truly in a hurry and the baby has to eat.
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE SWEET POTATOES
In most of our stores, sweet potatoes are sold either as sweet potatoes or as yams. Although the name changes, the root veggie found on the shop’s shelf is the same. In reality, yams are a whole different species but nobody seems to mind about it in the Western World.
Sweet potatoes are easy to find in almost all grocery shops but not all shops sell the same variety. Apart from the beta carotene and vitamin A, almost all varieties of sweet potato have similar nutritional values. For this reason, they are all a great choice for the baby’s first foods.
However, babies tend to like more the variety with orange flesh. This type of sweet potato has a pleasant sweetness and is easy to match with other vegetables, herbs, meat, and even fruits. In this way, you can use sweet potato both for the main meal and for the dessert, especially when your baby will start eating mostly solids.
The only thing to pay attention to when choosing the sweet potatoes for baby is the origin. Sweet potatoes, like all the other starchy root vegetables in general, absorb a great deal of the substances present in the soil, including fertilizers and pesticides. For this reason, you should only cook baby food with organic sweet potatoes.
Store uncooked sweet potatoes in a dark, dry and well-ventilated environment, such as a basement. Cooked sweet potatoes can be stored in the fridge for 2 or 3 days or in the freezer for up to six months. In the second case, make sure to store it in baby food containers to avoid thawing too much of it.
7 SWEET POTATO BABY FOOD RECIPES
1. SWEET POTATO PUREE
Sweet potato puree is probably the best choice as a first food for the baby. This puree is ideal for babies four months or older, it is easy to make and with only one sweet potato you can make a whole batch of food.
You can make the puree either in the traditional way or with a baby food maker, it’s completely up to you.
- 1 sweet potato
- 3/4 cup of water
HOW TO PREPARE
- Wash the sweet potato, peel it and chop it into small cubes.
- Place the sweet potato cubes into a small saucepan and pour the water over them.
- Turn on the heat and bring the water to a boil.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the sweet potatoes cubes are tender.
- Let the sweet potato to cool down for a few minutes in the saucepan, then pour it together with the cooking water in a blender or food processor.
- Blend the sweet potato until smooth.
- Your baby’s first puree is ready to serve.
You can achieve similar results if you blend a baked sweet potato with a little fresh water.
When the baby is used to the food you can start adding fresh herbs or spices to give your baby something new. For example, you can make sweet potato and thyme puree, or sweet potato and cinnamon puree.
2. MASHED SWEET POTATO
The mashed sweet potato recipe is ideal for babies over 6 months old and it should be introduced after the baby is already used to food. The recipe includes the use of butter, an ingredient often recommended by the dieticians and pediatricians for the baby’s diet.
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 glass of water
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom or thyme powder
HOW TO PREPARE
- Wash the sweet potato and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces.
- Cook the sweet potato with the water in the pressure cooker for about 3 whistles. Alternatively, bake the sweet potato until tender.
- Place the cooked sweet potato in a wide bowl and let it cool down for a few minutes.
- Peel off the skin and only preserve the flesh.
- Mash the sweet potato with a fork or potato masher paying attention to reduce all the chunks to a rough puree.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the mashed sweet potato and cardamom or thyme powder.
- Stir well and let it cook for two or three minutes on low heat.
- Let the mashed sweet potato to cool down before serving warm.
To make the puree smoother, you can blend the sweet potato rather than mash it.
You can adjust the consistency before serving by adding breast milk or formula.
If your baby is allergic to dairies, replace the butter with olive oil.
3. SWEET POTATO AND CARROT SOUP
A recipe for the whole family, this sweet potato and carrot soup is ideal for babies who have already been introduced to sweet potato and carrots separately. To make it more hearty, add a fistful of almonds to the mix.
- 1 small sweet potato
- 2 small carrots
- 2 teaspoon butter or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet pepper powder
- 7 almonds (optional)
- 1 small clove of garlic (optional)
- A pinch of salt
HOW TO PREPARE
- Wash the vegetables and peel them, then chop them into small cubes.
- Chop the ginger as finely as you can and do the same with the garlic.
- If you’re using the almonds, soak them in warm water and set them aside at this stage.
- Heat a teaspoon butter or olive oil together with a cup of water in a pressure cooker or in a lidded pot. Add the vegetables, the ginger and the garlic and stir.
- Cook the soup on medium heat until the veggies are tender, then transfer everything to a blender.
- Add the almonds and grind to a smooth puree.
- Add a teaspoon of butter or olive oil to a pan, add the puree, ½ cup of water the pepper powder and the salt. Mix well and bring it to a boil. Serve warm.
You can add a handful of finely chopped coriander leaves to the soup if you want to give it a fresh touch.
5. SWEET POTATO AND PEACH BAKE
This bake is ideal for toddlers who are already accustomed solid foods. And I can guarantee the whole family will love it.
- 4 cups mashed sweet potato
- 2 cups fresh mashed peaches
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons self-rising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons butter
HOW TO PREPARE
- In a bowl, mix the sugar with the flour and spices.
- Chop the butter into small pieces and mash it with a fork to obtain a texture similar to bread crumbs.
- In a bowl, mix well the mashed sweet potato with the mashed peaches and add the sugar and flour gradually with a tablespoon, stirring well each time.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking pan, place the butter above the mixture and bake it for about half an hour at 350°F.
- Let it cool down and cut into small bites for the baby and bigger pieces for the rest of the family.
If your baby is younger than 8 months, remove the sugar from the recipe and reduce the bake to a puree by blending it with breast milk before serving.
If the baby is over 2 years old, enrich the recipe with nuts.
6. SWEET POTATO BITES
These sweet potato bites are ready in under 30 minutes and are a great finger food for the babies who can grasp and eat on their own.
- 3/4 cup mashed sweet potato
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup baby cereal
- 1 tablespoon applesauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
HOW TO PREPARE
- In a bowl, mix the sweet potato with the oil and water.
- Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir thoroughly.
- Add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir until you achieve the consistency of a cookie dough.
- Using a teaspoon, put small bits of dough into a baking pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes in the oven preheat to 350°F.
- Bake the sweet potato bites in small muffin trays if you’re preparing the recipe for a toddler older than 2 years.
You can also add nuts to the recipe if the baby is older.
7. SWEET POTATO RISOTTO
This risotto is ideal for babies 8 months or older. You can also prepare this risotto for the whole family if you want to save on the cooking time.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 4 cups hot vegetable broth (homemade)
- 1 1/2 cup risotto rice
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 3/4 cup white grape juice
- Fresh rosemary and thyme
- 3 tablespoons butter
- A pinch of salt
HOW TO PREPARE
- Wash, peel and dice the sweet potatoes.
- In a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the sweet potato dices, then roast until tender. Reduce everything to a puree.
- Add the remaining oil to another saucepan and sauté the onion. Add the rice and continue cooking for about 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the grape juice and stir until completely absorbed.
- Add the hot broth, a half cup at a time, stirring continuously until completely absorbed before adding more broth.
- Add the sweet potato puree and all the other ingredients and stir vigorously.
- Simmer everything for about 10 minutes at low heat.
- Let it cool down and serve warm.
You can make sweet potato risotto for younger babies if you only use sweet potato, rice, olive oil, and broth. Blend everything before serving.
You can replace the grape juice with white wine if your tot is older than 2 years.