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Christmas | Festive Meal ideas For Newly Weaned Babies

One of the fun parts of Christmas and any festivity is the food. The main meal of the day is when people finally get to sit down together undistracted and enjoy their traditional fayre - what about though when it comes to baby?
We reached out to baby and toddler food expert, Shikha Gill founder of My Little Food Critic, to give inspiration on easy to cook meals for newly weaned babies. 

Shikha says...

I was inspired to create @my.little.food.critic when I began weaning my son. I create delicious and nutritious recipes for babies, toddlers and the whole family to enjoy. 

My Little Food Critic is all about family food that is full of flavour and is healthy and wholesome - food should never be bland!
Introducing world spices and interesting flavours, from as young as six months, can help develop a broad palate and a healthy appetite for life. I know it can be hard to create meals and snacks so everyone in the house can enjoy the same meal and that’s why I decided to share the recipes I was cooking for my family. These recipes are about making mealtimes fun and to make weaning and feeding your family enjoyable!

15 Dec 2020

Baby’s First Christmas Dinner

Your baby's first Christmas is such a special time for the family and getting your baby involved in Christmas dinner is so exciting! Even those just beginning their weaning journey can get involved with festive food. It is a fantastic opportunity to introduce them to new flavours, seasonal foods and different textures. Babies learn how and what to eat by watching and copying – a family Christmas dinner is such a wonderful opportunity for a baby to learn and join in with the festivities.

I’m so thrilled to share a selection of Christmas recipes that are baby-friendly, delicious and perfect for the whole family to enjoy. They are all packed with flavour, herbs and spices which add to the flavour experience for your baby and can help with preventing picky eating in the future.

Seasonal vegetables are such a nutrient-dense option for your baby as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Parsnips, carrots, swede and butternut squash are great to offer to your baby to expose them to a variety of flavours. If you are following a ‘baby-led weaning’ approach, then these can all be offered as finger food for your baby. Vegetables need to be well cooked (roasted, steamed etc.) and served in long pieces/ stick shapes for your baby to grasp. If you are starting out with purées, just blend the veggies with a splash of your baby’s usual milk.

Your baby can try most components of Christmas dinner, just be sure to avoid added salt and sugar and ensure that finger food is soft, well cooked and easy for them to grasp. Offering your little one’s the same food that you are eating is a fantastic opportunity for them to learn to enjoy new foods and flavours.

You can offer turkey which is high in iron (an important nutrient to include in meals for your baby), however, ensure that it isn’t overdone and is still moist and juicy. Remove the skin as that can be a choking hazard and you can then shred pieces for your baby or blend it with some veggies if you prefer.

Foods to Avoid

Gravy - Omit for babies under one as it has a lot of added salt. If you are making homemade gravy, then set aside a portion for your baby without any salt.
Honey - Omit for babies under one as honey can lead to infant botulism which is a very serious illness (so skip the honey roasted veg for baby!)
Pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon) – these have a high salt content and are best avoided.

Top Tips

- If possible, schedule Christmas dinner outside of baby’s ‘naptime’ so that they can join in and aren’t over tired or groggy.

- Have them sit in their highchair alongside everyone. This way they will be able to interact, watch and enjoy their meal with you.

- Offer plenty of variety for their meal.


1. Turkey Meatballs & Cranberry Sauce

These easy and delicious oven-baked turkey meatballs are a fun Christmas meal and bursting with flavour. They make perfect finger food for babies, children and adults. You can make them ahead of time and either reheat or cook them straight from frozen.

The meatballs are high in protein and iron and are perfect for dipping into the delicious baby-friendly cranberry sauce. Cranberries are naturally high in vitamin C which helps the absorption of iron. The sweet apples and cinnamon add natural sweetness to the tart cranberries making for a delicious sauce.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 16 meatballs


For the turkey meatballs:
1 tbsp olive oil
- 500g of ground turkey
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely grated
- A large handful of spinach, finely chopped
- 1 egg (or substitute 1 tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp water to make this egg free)
- A handful of parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- Zest from 1 orange
- 1/3 cup/35g almond flour (or use oat flour)

For the cranberry sauce:
- 1 cup/140g fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 apples, cored and chopped
- 1 cup/240ml water
- 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon


For the Turkey Meatballs:

1. Preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F and grease a baking tray with the olive oil.
2. Combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl. It's really important not to overwork the meat when combining the ingredients. Otherwise, the meatballs will become tough. (If using the egg substitute, combine the flaxseed and water in a small bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes).
3. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out the mixture and roll it into balls.
4. Place the balls on the prepared baking tray and bake for about 18 – 20 minutes, until golden. Flip half-way through cooking.
5. While the meatballs are cooking, make the cranberry sauce (instructions below).
6. For babies, cut the meatballs into small bite-sized pieces and serve them as finger food.
7. The meatballs can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for two days or frozen for up to three months.

For the Cranberry Sauce:

1. Add the water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Add the cranberries, apple, and cinnamon. Reduce the heat to a simmer until it is soft (about 10 minutes).
3. Once cool, transfer to a blender and whizz until smooth.
4. The cranberry sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for three days or frozen for up to three months.

2. Veggie Loaded Christmas Casserole

This wholesome, warming casserole makes a delicious vegetarian Christmas ‘main meal’ for the whole family to enjoy! It is packed full of nutritious vegetables, flavour and pairs perfectly with traditional sides.

This veggie-loaded casserole is extremely nutrient dense - brussels sprouts are high in fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C, making them a superb addition to your baby's diet. Sweet potatoes promote good gut health and the parsnips bring iron to the recipe. You can blend or mash this for babies if you prefer. It’s perfect for those learning to self-feed as it has a lovely thick consistency. You can even prep this ahead of time and pop it into the fridge until you are ready to cook it.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2 adults & 2 babies/toddlers


1 cup/90g Brussels sprouts, quartered
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 large potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp spelt flour
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 150ml milk of choice
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 120 ml no salt/very low salt stock
- 1/3 cup/40g breadcrumbs
- 1 cup/90g grated cheddar cheese


1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F.
2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add in the Brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrot and parsnips. Cook for about 6-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Drain and set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a pan over a low-medium heat. Stir in the spelt flour, corn flour and cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Pour in the milk a little bit at a time and keep stirring until a smooth sauce forms. Add in the pepper, nutmeg, thyme and rosemary and stir well to combine. Add in half of the grated cheese and stir again until it's melted and combined.
5. Add the vegetables to an ovenproof dish. Pour over the vegetable stock and cheese sauce and mix.
6. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top, followed by the breadcrumbs.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown on top.
8. If you would like to serve this as a purée or with a little less texture you can tip it into a blender and blend until your desired level of texture is achieved.
9. Leftover casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for two days.

3. Vegan Chickpea & Butterbean Roast

This flavoursome chickpea and butterbean roast is packed with veg and traditional Christmas flavours such as thyme and sage. It makes a delicious vegan Christmas main meal for the whole family to enjoy. Serve alongside some sweet potato mash and veggies. My cranberry sauce also pairs beautifully with this (recipe above with turkey meatballs).

Chickpeas and butterbeans are high in protein and iron which paired with the vegetables makes a delicious and balanced meal. Butternut squash is also a really good source of vitamin C which helps the absorption of iron from the chickpeas and butterbeans. The slices are soft but hold their shape well, making them ideal for toddlers and babies learning to self-feed. If you prefer, you can gently mash this down for your baby and add a splash of their usual milk to thin it out. Nutritional yeast is optional in this recipe; however, it gives this a lovely subtly cheesy flavour.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2 adults and 2 babies/toddlers


1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup/85g butternut squash, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 2 tsp minced garlic
½ can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
A handful parsley, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 heaped tsp sage
1 no salt/very low salt stock cube
½ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp water
¼ cup (30g) breadcrumbs
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast (Optional)


1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
2. Add the flaxseed and water to a bowl and set aside.
3. Add the oil in a pan over medium heat. When hot add the onions and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add in the carrot, butternut squash and celery, cook for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the chickpeas and cannellini beans to a food processor along with the cooked veggies, parsley, herbs, crumbled stock cube and nutritional yeast (if using). Pulse until the chickpeas and cannellini beans break down.
5. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in the flaxseed mixture.
6. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.
7. Transfer the mixture to your prepared loaf tin.
8. Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes, until golden on the top.
9. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the tin.
10. Slice and serve alongside traditional Christmas side dishes.
11. If you prefer, you can mash this down with a fork for your baby and add a splash of their usual milk to thin it out.
12. This can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days.

All images by @my.little.food.critic

Follow Shikha | Instagram

Check out her Website for recipes, play time and learning activities.

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