Winter squash is far and away my baby’s favourite food. It’s pretty much a staple in our house now; whenever he’s unsure about a new food, I just mix it in with a bit of squash and he eats it right up. The mellow flavour and soft texture of squash make it perfect for mixing with other fruits and vegetables, and, like most other baby foods, it is super easy to make.
There are many varieties of winter squash, most of which you’re probably already familiar with. The most popular ones include pumpkin, butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash. The picture above is from a Kabocha squash, which looks like a flat, green pumpkin. I’ve tried most varieties as baby food (except for spaghetti squash), and they all make a delicious purée.
Like the sweet potato, the most time-intensive part of making winter squash as baby food is waiting for it to cook. You’ll want to make sure that you give it enough time so that it’s soft and easy to blend (usually about 30-60 min, depending on the size of the squash).
A standard disclaimer: I am not a doctor. You should check with your pediatrician before starting solids, and if you have any questions about what foods are appropriate for your baby, your health professional is the best resource. It is recommended that you only introduce new foods to your baby one at a time, and wait at least 3 or 4 days before introducing a new food. Check for allergies after introducing a new food: symptoms like diarrhea, rash, gas, or swelling of the lips should alert you to contact your medical professional right away.
Stage: First foods
Health Benefits: Winter squash are an excellent source of carotenes; the deeper the colour of the squash, the higher it is in nutrients. They are also a good source of vitamins C, B1, folic acid, potassium and fibre. Diets high in carotenes may offer protection against developing type 2 diabetes.
1 winter squash
1/4 – 1 cup water (depending on the size of your squash)
Cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, making sure the centre cavity is well cleaned. Place about 1/2″ of water in a shallow baking dish and place the cut squash face down in the water. Bake in a 400°F oven until soft all the way through, about 30-45 minutes.
Once cooked, scrape the soft flesh from the peel and add the flesh only to a food processor or blender, along with the desired amount of water to create the consistency that your baby likes. Blend until smooth.