Christmas is a time for family, gifts, carols, and - most importantly - gorging on delicious foods! As anyone who has been involved in the Christmas dinner prep can attest, knowing when to put which dish where in order to have a full meal ready at the same time can be a challenge, and an art! And though for adults the ingredients of a good Christmas dinner might be second nature, when it comes to babies the experiences are all brand new! But it can be hard to know how to include a weaning baby in your Christmas dinner plans - so we are here to help! Read on for our tips for including babies and toddlers in your big meal, and watch their joy as they try all the delicious new flavours and textures on offer!
What to Include
Vegetables are the best and easiest part of your family dinner to share with your little ones - and they don’t need all that much preparation! Set aside some vegetables such as brussel sprouts, parsnips, carrots, and potatoes and gently cook these without salt before pureeing for the perfect veggie spread. Starting them off early with bitter and fibrous textures sets them up with a varied palette for life!
Turkey meat is also a good option as it’s a lean meat high in protein and iron. For younger babies and toddlers you can whizz it in the processor with a bit of breast or formula milk, and older toddlers can nibble on thin slices - just remember to remove the skin, which is too high in fat and salt for young children!
What to Exclude
Some of the tastiest parts of a well-rounded Christmas dinner are unfortunately not suitable for young children and babies. These include anything high in salt, such as pigs-in-blankets, stuffing and gravy - all of which are high in sodium and not good for young tummies. If you’d like to give these to your toddler to try, set aside the basic ingredients and cook a saltless version - don’t worry that they’re missing out, they don’t know what they’re tasting!
The same goes for foods with high sugar content, such as cranberry sauce, mince pies, and Christmas pudding or cake, which are best avoided altogether to ensure that your child gets a nutrient-rich meal that isn’t harmful!
How to Serve
Although this might be the perfect moment to bring out the good china, it’s not the moment to try and teach young children how not to break it! Try giving your child their varied foods in Section Plates so that they can test out different flavours and textures, and avoid your beloved crockery from accidental smashing. You could also invest in a special plate for your little one that only comes out on special occasions (birthdays and holidays) so that they know they’re in for a treat when they see them! Check out our full Mealtime range for inspiration!