Plant-based baby-led weaning grocery list! Wondering what staple foods for baby-led weaning you need? Use this baby-led weaning food list to help make sure you have plenty of options on hand.
We’re big proponents of baby-led weaning, and we’ve done it with all of our predominantly plant-based babes.
If you’re wondering what kinds of foods to stock up on when taking this approach with your new eater, this post is for you!
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Baby-led weaning is an alternative approach to weaning from breast milk and/or infant formula.
Instead of using spoon feeding and purees, baby-led weaning starts your baby off with soft age-appropriate foods they can practice picking up themselves.
With baby-led weaning, your baby takes more of the reigns in terms of when they’re ready to wean, as well as what and how much food they want to eat at a meal.
Why Baby Led Weaning?
Research shows baby-led weaning may help children become more confident eaters and may promote a healthier body weight than a traditional introduction to solids.
Additionally, we believe that letting babies lead the way when it comes to nourishing their bodies sets them up for a life-long, positive relationship with food.
For more detailed information and guidance around baby-led weaning, see this post on Baby Led Weaning FAQs.
Tips for Plant-Based Baby-Led Weaning Foods
Once you’ve decided to try baby-led weaning with your child, you may be wondering what types of foods you should keep on hand.
To keep meal prep efforts to a minimum, we suggest batch prepping. This means preparing a few items at a time that you can use in multiple ways, so you don’t find yourself in the kitchen making new things every time your babe needs to eat.
For us, this looked like batch prepping on the weekend, mid-week, and toward the end of the week, so we would have several low-effort things to choose from at any given time.
We also recommend paying close attention to foods that are high in iron and vitamin C, as the latter helps boost iron absorption. Try incorporating food sources of both in each meal/snack.
Vitamin C is found in a wide array of fruits and veggies, like strawberries, oranges, broccoli, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
Iron can be found in things like hummus, tofu, chickpea pasta, quinoa, and sprouted grain toast.
Lastly, check the nutrition facts panel for any packaged snack foods, and try to minimize ones with added sugar and salt.
Plant-Based Baby-Led Weaning Grocery List
Prepare the items below as suggested and then store them in a glass container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Depending on how much you end up using (and your babe’s preferences), you might need to spread them out through the week or adjust the amounts you prepare.
Keep in mind that preparation methods – like how much you soften certain foods, and whether you cut these into thin strips or chunks – depend on the age of your baby.
Fruits and Vegetables
- Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries): Rinse these with a water/vinegar mixture and store them with a paper towel to prevent molding.
- Baby carrots: Steam a small bag of these at a time before storing.
- Broccoli: Chop, wash the florets, and steam them.
- Cauliflower: Chop, wash the florets, and steam them.
- Bananas: Slice into thin strips and store or leave whole until ready to use.
- Oranges (for squeezing): Slice and store.
- Avocado: Best to leave these whole until ready to cube and use, to prevent browning.
- Peaches and pears: Peel and slice into thin strips or chunks.
- Watermelon: Peel and slice into thin strips or chunks.
- Mango: Peel and slice into thin strips or chunks.
- Cucumber: Slice into thin strips or chunks and steam (yes, steam!) before storing.
- Beets: Peel, slice into strips or chunks, and steam before storing.
- Low-sodium marinara: Sauces like this can help pique your babe’s interest in exploring the food on their plate. Plus, it contributes some iron and vitamin C, and goes with just about anything.
Grains and Starches
- Sweet potatoes: Peel and cut these into fry-shapes, toss them with olive oil, bake in the oven or air fry them.
- Zucchini or yellow squash: Cut these into fry-shapes, toss them with olive oil, bake in the oven or air fry them.
- Whole wheat pastas: Cook a full box.
- Farro: Cook 1-2 cups’ worth.
- Rice: Cook 1-2 cups’ worth.
- Oats: Cook 1-2 cups’ worth.
- Quinoa: Cook 1-2 cups’ worth.
- Whole wheat bread: When ready to use, you can toast a slice and cut into strips.
- Pancakes: Prep these and then slice into thin strips that baby can grab.
- Certain breakfast cereals: We like Cascadian Farms Os – these are a good source of iron and fiber, and easy to take on-the-go.
- Baby cereals: We recommend exclusively breastfed babies receive iron-fortified baby cereal during months 6-12, to help ensure they meet their iron requirements (formula-fed babies will receive iron via formula, as this is already fortified with it).
Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
- Tofu: Cut into cubes and toss with olive oil and Italian seasoning, then bake in the oven.
- Canned beans (black, kidney, navy, cannelini): Drain and rinse one can of no-salt-added beans and store.
- Peas: These should be loose rather than in pods.
- Hemp, chia, and ground flax seeds: Store in fridge or freezer to optimize shelf life. You can use these to roll bananas or avocado slices in, or add to oatmeal and yogurt.
- Tahini or nut butters: These can be thinned with water for a safer consistency, so you can drizzle it over pieces of toast or fruit.
- Tempeh: Slice and steam to reduce bitterness and soften consistency before storing.
- Legume pastas: These are made from chickpeas and other beans, lentils, edamame, and even peas instead of wheat. Prep as you would regular pasta and store.
We hope you find this plant-based baby-led weaning grocery list helpful! There are plenty of staple foods for baby-led weaning you can choose from, depending on your (and your babe’s) preferences. Use this baby-led weaning food list to help plan ahead and add other foods as you like.
Chime In: Have you tried baby-led weaning with your babe? What are some of their favorite first foods or recipes?
If you found this post helpful, we recommend visiting these as well for more baby-led weaning info:
- Baby Led Weaning for Vegans
- Baby Led Weaning Choking vs. Gagging
- Spoon Feeding vs. Baby Led Weaning
- Iron and Baby Led Weaning
We also have an E-book on this topic, called First Bites: The Definitive Guide to Baby-Led Weaning for Plant-Based Babies. Grab your copy here!