Saturday 24 February 2018

Avocado and egg yolk puree

Avocado and egg yolk puree

Many children in Nigeria do not meet the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. It is more common to offer children energy-dense, low nutrient foods which are linked to either obesity or other forms of malnutrition.  
Offering your child good and balanced foods is very important for your child's growth and development especially in the first 1000 days of your child's life. 

Among healthy foods you could offer your child of 6 months and above  is avocado and egg yolk puree. Children below the age of one are not known to properly digest egg whites so it is recommended that they are offered the yolk alone. Egg yolks have a soft texture that make them suitable for infants. 

A research conducted by Maria M et al... and published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002) 75: 6,1084–1092 revealed that the addition of egg yolk to the diet of infants resulted to modest improvements in their dietary iron status. Considering that from 6 months of age, babies need more dietary iron than breast milk supplies make dietary sources of iron beneficial to babies. Little wonder Laura L et al in Nutrition Reviews 2014, 72: 6, 355–368 described eggs as having an "uncracked potential for improving maternal and child nutrition........". 

Avocado has been described by nutritionists as "a great first food for babies". Avocado is a great nutrient-dense food full of healthy monounsaturated fats and nearly 20 minerals and vitamins. Its texture and creaminess makes it acceptable to many babies. Avocado can be mashed/pureed with different fruits to make wonderful baby foods.


  • A ripe but firm blemish-free avocado
  • 2 yolks (or more) from a hard-boiled egg
Procedure for preparing avocado and egg yolk puree

  • Wash the avocado, cut it into two parts and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh
  • Put avocado flesh and egg yolks into a blender and blend with a little water to get the consistency you think is suitable for your baby's age. For babies who have started eating textured or lumpy foods, the food can just be mashed and not pureed. 
Ripe avocado 
Yolks of hard-boiled chicken eggs
Avocado and egg yolk puree
Mashed or pureed avocado gradually turns brown after a while as a result of oxidation. It is always better to prepare single servings but if necessary, excess should be put in air-tight containers and frozen for future use. 

Beans puree

It is no news that knowing what to feed a baby who has started eating solids is often challenging, more so when the baby's parent is concerned about how healthy and nutritious what the baby consumes is. Sometimes, nutritious and baby-friendly foods need not look fancy and be exotic. A mashed or pureed version of adult foods can also make suitable baby food. Presented here is mashed/pureed beans suitable for babies around 8 months and above. 

This baby puree recipe is an adaptation of Chioma Ikejiofor of Mummysyum's 'Ukwa Beans'.
1 cup of black-eyed beans
1 bulb of onion
peeled/de-shelled shrimps (crayfish can be used in place of this )
About a tablespoon of palm oil
Some leaves of spinach (Ugu can be used in place of this)

  • Peel the beans (like you would peel beans meant for Akara or Moi moi)
  • Put beans in a clean pot, pour in just enough water to cover the beans then place on your heat source to cook.
  • Blend spinach, shrimps, and onions and pour into the pot.
  • Add palm oil
  • Cook until soft. 
  • For babies who have started eating textured or lumpy foods (about 9 months and above), you can serve at this stage. For babies still taking smooth purees and paps, you would need to mash or blend the food. 
Pediatricians discourage the addition of salt and most seasonings to baby food until the child is about a year old. So there is no need for salt in the food. Neither is there a need for the heat from pepper. Salt and pepper can be added to this recipe when preparing for children above one year old.

pictorial steps are shown below

Black-eyed beans

Peeled beans

shrimps, spinach leaves, and onions ready for blending
blended shrimp, spinach, and onions mixture

Mixture added to the cooking beans

Palm oil added at this point. Notice the change in color?

Beans is ready. This is suitable for babies who have started eating textured or lumpy foods.
Mashed/pureed version for younger babies

Packed and ready for storage in the freezer

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Making a good meal out of noodles

Many kids in Nigeria love noodles. Even if as a parent you do not prepare it in your house, the numerous adverts on TV, radio and billboards will pique your child's interest. When adverts in the media fail to do so, friends and classmates who bring it to school will make a child who is never offered noodles feel left-out. The stringy, melt-in-the-mouth nature of noodles makes it very fascinating to even picky eaters. The ease and convenience of cooking noodles as compared to other Nigerian foods make many parents keep packs of noodles handy. Despite what nutritionists may haveto say about it, noodles seem to have come to stay in the Nigerian market. 

Noodles are convenience foods. They, like all highly processed foods have little nutritional values, and should be eaten in moderation. 

Always ensure you make a good meal out of noodles before offering it to your child. Ensure you add fruits or vegetables to your noodles and a protein source. Your protein source could be fish, meat or egg. 

This is a pictorial suggestion how you can make good food out of noodles for your child
Plate of cooked noodles containing vegetables and egg. 
Noodles before cooking

Vegetables to be added to the noodles

Seasonings and oil that came pre-packed with noodles

Noodles cooked and ready to be eaten by a toddler
Garlic-buttered shrimps added to noodles

Saturday 17 February 2018

Home-made baby foods vs commercially processed ones

Once a baby gets to the age when other foods besides breastmilk and/or formula no more supply all the needed food nutrients,  introducing complementary feeding is encouraged. This is usually when the baby is around 4 to 6 months of age. Pediatricians and pediatric research recommend that complementary feeding should not be introduced before a baby gets to 4 months, and should be introduced not later than 6 months. By then, babies have needs beyond breastmilk and their digestive systems are deemed mature enough to handle baby foods. 

Once a baby starts eating complementary foods, many mothers in Nigeria often wonder what other options they have besides pap/akamu/ogi and processed and commercially processed and packaged baby foods one can get in the shops. While offering a baby processed foods may not be a bad option, feeding babies on wholesome, home-made foods is always a better option with enormous benefits which include;

  1. You know exactly what you are feeding your baby. If you want to prepare potato puree for your baby, you have the opportunity of selecting the best of potatoes you can lay your hands on. Also, you know you are getting 100% puree, no additives, no preservatives as found in commercially processed and pre-packaged baby food. 
  2. It is usually cheaper. 
  3. You can twist the food to suit your baby's preference. You may notice that your baby likes a particular food or fruit more than others, you could then decide to add a little of the preferred food item to less preferred ones to help the baby eat more varieties of foods. Like adding a mixture of vegetables to make a puree like this
  4. Sometimes, especially for older babies of 10 months of age and above, 'home-made' baby food could be as simple as a pureed or mashed version of what the rest of the family is having. 

Preparing home-made baby foods may not be as convenient as preparing the commercially packaged ones, but the certainly are healthier and safer if handled well. 

Is your baby a picky eater? You could read this article on our suggestions on how to handle picky eaters. 

Friday 16 February 2018

Apple and Strawberry puree

Ever heard the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away "? Babies also need to keep the doctor at away, or don't you think so?
Apples and Strawberries are not completely exotic to Nigeria, they are often found in Jos, Plateau state. It is not always advisable to buy those ones that have almost gone around the world before arriving in Nigeria. There is that suspicion that they may have been treated with chemicals for preservation. When it comes to food, one should be careful what one consumes, especially when it has to do with babies' foods. So for the parents in Nigeria, when one comes across such fruits and is sure they are organic and home-grown, one can give this Apple/Strawberry puree a try.  

Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and are good for babies in moderation. 

Choose and wash blemish-free strawberries and apple. The number of each type of fruit you choose should depend on the quantity of puree you want to make and which fruit you want to predominate in the puree. In the one we made, one red apple and four strawberries were used. 

Peel the apple and slice into small bits. Cut or slice the strawberries into smaller bits as well. This is to make it easier for the blender or food processor to puree.


The visually appealing puree is ready. Can be offered to babies who have started complementary feeding. That is babies from 6 months and above. 

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Vegetable puree (pear, broccoli and carrot)

Once a baby has started eating solids, there is the need for the baby to get an adequate supply of all the nutrient types. The most common baby foods in Nigeria are cereal-based like pap/akamu/ogi and the processed ones like Cerelac, Nutrend etc. Babies also need nutrients found abundantly in fruits and vegetables so it is necessary that fruits and vegetables be incorporated into their diets. 
This vegetable puree not only has the advantage of having various nutrients due to the combination of broccoli, carrot and pear; it is easy to prepare and quite tasty. Most babies love purees containing any of the constituents of this particular puree. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, B6, B12, Vitamin C, and several other nutrients needed for a baby's growth and development. Broccoli is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Iron, Calcium and Magnesium. Pear has significant Vitamin C and dietary fibre content. Basically, this puree is healthy and nutrient-packed for babies who have started eating solids.  


Select and wash fresh, ripe and blemish free pear, carrot and broccoli. Peel the skin off the pear. There may be the need to scrape off the back of the carrot to remove dirt and debris. Choose relatively few broccoli florets (2 or 3 depending on the size of the puree you are making)

Cut the vegetables into small bits to enable them to cook fast and blend/mash easily.

Put the broccoli and carrot in a pot of boiling water and allow to simmer for about 4 minutes. Do not cook the pear. 
Put the cooked vegetables and the uncooked pear in a blender and blend with little water, or mash with whatever food-mashing tool you have. The water helps the blade of your blender move and also lightens the resulting puree. The older the baby, the less quantity of water should be used because older babies can handle thick purees. The water used in cooking the vegetables can be used in blending as it helps the vegetables stay warm.

Your baby's vegetable puree is ready. You can serve with breastmilk, formula or just as it is. It is a nutritious and healthy meal for babies. Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen for later use.
Broccoli, pear and carrot puree

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Banana puree

Banana puree
Banana is among the fruits found all year round in the Nigerian market. When ripe, bananas are sweet, soft and squishy such that they could be easily mashed and fed to babies who have started eating solids. Bananas are said to be very good soiurces of dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, manganese, potassium and several other nutrients. Banana puree can be served plain, mixed with cereals or with formula. They are said to be ideal first fruits for babies. 

Ensure you select ripe and blemish-free bananas for your baby's puree. Banana retailers in Nigerian markets are usually said to use some sort of chemical to slow down the ripening of the banana they are selling. As much as possible, always choose banana that has not been tampered with in anyway.

Peel the banana and then blend or mash in a mortar or with whatever mashing equipment you can use. The younger the baby, the more the need for the puree to be smooth. Older babies can handle small lumps in their puree. 

It is advisable you prepare a single serving size of banana puree each time you need it. Bananas when mashed or blended turn brown in minutes whether refrigerated or not, in a process called oxidization. You definitely will not like the colour of oxidized banana so its better you prepare just what the baby will eat a single time. 

Sweet potato puree as food for babies

Once the decision to introduce solid foods to a baby is made, knowing what is safe, healthy and nutritious for the baby can be quite challenging. The challenge is further increased if the baby's mother is among those that prefer natural, home-made baby foods to processed and packaged ones. 

In Nigeria, the most common and readily available baby food is pap. There are several alternatives to pap among which is Sweet Potato Puree.  

Sweet potatoes, according to research are excellent sources of health-promoting phytochemicals such as β‐carotene and anthocyanins. The most common types of sweet potatoes found in Nigeria are the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and the white-fleshed ones
Image result for orange fleshed sweet potato in Nigeria
Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Source:
Image result for white fleshed potatoes nigeria
White-fleshed sweet potatoes. Source:
A research done by Shubhendu et al and published in Food Chemistry 173 (2015) 957–965 that compared the white-fleshed and orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties, reported that the white-fleshed variety had a higher percentage of carbohydrate, reducing sugars and phenolics than found in the orange-fleshed one,  whereas the orange-fleshed ones had relatively higher levels of total protein, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and carotenoids 

Another research done by Sunan W et al and published in  Food Research International 89 (2016) 90-116 suggests that sweet potatoes have anti-carcinogenic and cardiovascular disease-preventing.  properties. 

BOTTOM LINE : Sweet potatoes are healthy foods and could serve as good sources of nutrients that your baby need. 


Orange-fleshed sweet potato

You will need a small tuber of sweet potato, and a blender or, mortar and pestle (for periods when there is no electricity supply). Wash and peel the quantity of potato you believe your baby can finish in a single feeding session. Then cut the potatoe into bits to enable it to cook fast and also make pureeing it easier. 

Small bits of washed  and peeled sweet potato

Then put the potato into a clean pot and put just enough water to cover the potato. Boil till tender-looking.

Blend or mash the tender potatoes using a blender or a mortar and pestle. You will need to add a little water to move the blades of the blender. You could add same water used in boiling or use an entirely fresh one. It is better the water is hot so that the resulting puree will be warm enough for the baby to eat. Using cold water could make the puree cold. You do not want to offer your baby a cold food.

Aim for a consistency suitable for your baby's age. The older the baby is, the thicker the puree should be. You could use water to lighten the consistency. You can choose to add formula or breast milk to the puree. You can also serve just as it is. Most babies love potato puree because of it's sweet and buttery taste. 
Pureed sweet potato 

Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in small, single-serving containers. Offering your baby freshly made puree is best but not always realistic. So you could prepare several batches at a time and preserve in your refigerator or freezer. 
Small containers containing single-servings of potato puree

Ready for refrigeration