At the 6-month mark, you can begin to introduce solid food to your baby and zucchini is a fantastic option. While you most likely know how to prepare zucchini for yourself, you might find yourself wondering how to cook zucchini for a baby. Read on to discover the benefits of feeding your precious baby zucchini and how to prepare it for them!
Methods of Cooking Zucchini for a Baby
Pureeing vegetables and fruits is a common move for baby food. Of course, canned purees are available for purchase and are easy and convenient. However, many parents prefer to go the homemade route because they know exactly what is in the food they’re serving their little one(s).
If making your own baby food sounds appealing, you may want to look into purchasing a baby food blender. Typical kitchen blenders can also be used but baby food blenders are specially designed for the job and usually include handy accessories like date-dial jars and reusable food pouches.
Despite popular belief, pureeing veggies like zucchini will not destroy nutrients. Plus, a puree is the easiest form of food for a baby to try because it isn’t a choking hazard.
Before loading up the blender, do not peel the skin off the zucchini. Babies (and adults!) benefit from consuming the nutrient-rich zucchini skin. The highest levels of antioxidants are found in that out layer!
One feeding method foregoes the spoon-feeding stage entirely. Instead of purees, children are served finger foods and feed themselves. The method has especially gained popularity in recent years.
If you opt for BLW, zucchini is still a great option to offer your little one. When sliced, zucchini is easy for tiny fingers to grasp. As your child grows older, you can include zucchini in more complex meals. We love zucchini boats in my house!
For a BLW baby, you will want to cook the zucchini to make it soft and easy to chew. This can be done by sauteeing and or steaming the veggie. Babies will prefer the mild flavor of zucchini on its own, so avoid the temptation to add any flavorings.
Shredded zucchini? It sounds like an odd way to consume squash, but it’s just a different texture. For babies, half the fun of eating is the mess of it all. If you’ve ever seen a little one eat, it’s hard to miss the joy on their face as their chubby little hands squish and mash food.
Preparing shredded zucchini is as simple as it sounds. You just need a grater of some sort. Again, don’t peel off the skin! Shred up that nutritious skin along with the rest.
Zucchini has high water content. If you find your shredded zucchini is pretty damp, you can pat it dry with a cheesecloth or a paper towel before serving. Once dry, serve it to your baby on their tray for finger food or onto a spoon for them.
Thanks to low-carb diets, starchy dishes have found themselves replaced with vegetable equivalents. Somehow, cauliflower has become the MVP of carb substitutes, but I think zucchini is the true winner.
When served in a flavorful sauce, zucchini noodles, or “zoodles”, are a tasty and healthy pasta option. There’s a strong chance your baby will enjoy such a dish, with or without the sauce!
A spiralizer is the easiest way to create zoodles. These devices hold the vegetable in place while you turn a crank. With each turn, a blade produces yummy zucchini curls. You can find many affordable spiralizers on Amazon.
If the last thing you need is another kitchen appliance, never fear. Zoodles can also be made with a julienne peeler or a mandolin. These options require more manual work and create longer straight noodles, but the end result is still just as yummy.
Benefits of Zucchini for Babies
Every vegetable or fruit has strong nutritional value for babies and adults alike. This is why produce is what we start babies on when it comes to solid foods.
Zucchini, also known as summer squash, courgettes, or even zukes, are loaded with nutrients to help your baby grow. Here’s a quick list of just some of the vitamins and minerals found in zucchini:
- Vitamin A – For growth and immune system support
- Vitamin C – For tissue repair and wound healing
- Manganese – For metabolism
- Potassium – For heart and muscle health
- Magnesium – For muscle and nerve function
Zucchini also contains certain antioxidants, like lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants are known to contribute toward healthy eyes and preventing eye disease.
If that all isn’t convincing enough, zucchini is also rich in soluble fiber which aids in digestion. This translates to less constipation for your baby. Sure, this means more diapers, but also a happier baby!
Real Good Zucchini Baked Goods
Growing up, my mother often made zucchini muffins. These pastries were so scrumptious, my childhood self didn’t even realize zucchini was supposed to be good for me!
Now, don’t misunderstand – zucchini muffins are far from being a healthy food. In terms of ingredients, though, zucchini is a more nutrient-dense add-on than chocolate chips. Besides, kids do deserve a pastry every now and then!
When cooked, zucchini has a mildly sweet flavor that mixes perfectly into a baked good. Popular options include muffins, bread, and even brownies!
For zucchini baked goods, zucchini typically needs to be shredded. After shredding, pat the shredded squash dry before adding to your mix. Many recipes include walnuts in zucchini muffins and bread, but avoid this add-on for babies as nuts are a choking hazard.
If you’d like to double the nutrient power, many recipes pair up zucchini with other vegetables like carrots or apples. In fact, some recipes put in all three!
For babies, you can puree, steam, sautee, spiralize, and even bake zucchini. Summer squash is great on its own or when added to dishes. It has a mild flavor and complements, not changes, the taste of whatever it is added to. Zucchini is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that help your baby grow and stay healthy. Plus, it’s easy for little hands to eat and easy for you to cook.