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The different types of sweet potato baby food can include plain mashed sweet potatoes, vegetable mash combinations, and roasted vegetable finger foods. This food is an excellent choice for a baby's first food due to its good nutritional profile and high fiber content. When boiled or roasted, the meat becomes soft enough to mash with a fork, and can be easily processed by mouths with few or no teeth.
Sweet potatoes are easy to digest and are high in vitamins and nutrients. They are high in fiber and low in fat content, which allows them to pass easily through a young digestive system without causing excess gas, constipation, or diarrhea. Sweet potatoes contain significant amounts of beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body, and is vital for healthy eye development in infants. They are also high in vitamin C, which helps improve the immune system, calcium to build strong bones, and folate for brain development.
Parents who wish to serve sweet potato baby food can use this vegetable by itself, or pair it with other new foods. When preparing it at home, it is typically best to boil the sweet potato prior to mashing it. Boiling, rather than roasting, helps to preserve the vitamins and nutrients of the vegetable, and does not risk increasing its sugar content, which can occur through the oven cooking process. It should be mashed plain with no additional ingredients, and is sweet enough when served alone that most babies will not reject it. It can be purchased in most local grocery stores pre-mashed in the baby care section.
Once a baby has adapted to this food and has not exhibited any allergies to it after four or five days, parents can begin to combine other foods with their base sweet potato baby food. Common vegetable combinations with sweet potato include mashed carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, and summer squash. Lentils can also be used with sweet potatoes to create a sweet and savory dish that is high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein. This legume can be soaked up to eight hours prior to adding it to the cooking water with the sweet potatoes. These two foods mash together easily, and generally do not require the use of a blender or food processor.
Sweet potato baby food can also be used as a type of pasta sauce until babies have been cleared by their doctors to eat tomato based foods, often between nine months and one year. Chunks of this vegetable can be simmered with sauteed onion and garlic to create a savory, thick sauce blend. Any herbs may be added that suit the preferences of the baby, though it is typically recommended that parents not add salt to their child's diet at a young age. The vegetables may be mashed or pureed with a small amount of milk or formula and served over pasta. This combination also serves well as the base for baby vegetable pizzas.
When a child is old enough for finger foods, sweet potato baby food can continue to be used. This vegetable can serve as a type of french fry when cut into thick strips, sprayed with olive oil, and baked in the oven until crisp and tender. It can also be sauteed into sweet potato hash browns using a vegetable grater and butter.
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