Food for the first year is for fun, exploration, and a little bit of nutrition. For the first year, babies are getting the bulk of their nutrition from breast milk. Some babies may LOVE to be included with real food in the family meals, and some may not care to ingest food at all, favoring to get everything they need in the form of human milk. Either way is okay. I’ve had babies on both ends of the spectrum of eating, and in fact my largest baby (11 lbs at birth, over 20 by the time he started solids of any kind) preferred to only nurse for his food until 11 months. He grew fine and slept fine – the thoughts that moms don’t produce enough milk or nutrients for big babies (or small babies) is a myth, as is the thought that they will sleep better once they start solids.
Today we’re going to look at sweet winter squash and how to cook it super easily for the baby, and use it as a side dish for the rest of the family. Busy moms with little ones underfoot will appreciate this no-peel method of cooking squash whole in the oven, it also makes the seeds super easy to scoop out as well.
This is a kabocha squash – it’s my favorite kind of winter squash, the bright orange inside is sweet and dense, it’s similar to a sweet potato in consistency and takes on sweet or savory flavors, as well as healthy fats, very well. Any hard winter squash can be used for this recipe.
First just rinse the squash, place it whole in a baking dish, and place it in the oven. Bake at 350 for an hour, or until it’s easy to pierce with a fork. Turn the oven off and allow to cool until it’s comfortable to touch, another hour or two.
Slice in half- see how much easier it cuts after baking?
Scoop out the seeds and pulp- also much easier than doing this before baking.
Cross hatch within the skin
Rather than dicing up the squash after removing it from the skin, use a paring knife to cross hatch the flesh while it’s still in the skin to save time and create nice uniform pieces.
Serve the baby
Scoop as much as you want to give baby onto the plate. I start with about a tablespoon, he’ll be able to pick apart the little pieces easily. Add salt if desired, I added a little glob of coconut oil as well for healthy fats. I don’t encourage or discourage any eating from him, I just provide him with one or two nutrient dense options for meals.
For the rest of the family
I like to serve the baby what the rest of the family is eating – you can do this same thing for them, cut into bite sized pieces and top with butter, coconut oil, or olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.
To save the rest, scoop into meal sized portions onto a stainless steel cookie sheet or baking dish that has been greased with coconut oil. Freeze until solid (overnight) and then transfer to a freezer proof glass container or freezer bag.
To thaw, pull one one meal sized portion, place it on a plate, cover if desired, and let sit out for a couple hours. If you need it in a hurry, you can add a little chicken stock to a lidded pot, and simmer it over medium-low heat.
Interested in learning more about healthy baby ideas? I’m writing a book to help you make informed decisions while pregnant, and during the first year for things like starting solids. Read more about the book here, or sign up for the FREE newsletter here for first food ideas, weight loss after pregnancy tips, and more!
That baby is waaaayyyy tooooo cute!!! That first photo is one of the cutest pictures I have seen in awhile.
Thanks Sarah! I think so too :)
OMG! I don’t do squash as often as I’d like because I thought you had to cut it in half and place it cut-side down in some water – but cutting it when raw is next to impossible. Thank you for letting us know it can be done much more easily!
thx for posting this as i’m really sick of hacking my way thru squashes
Yes, what a cutie! Thanks again for supplying yet another easy method/recipe for us moms who have little ones underfoot! I have been using a lot of butternut squash lately for myself–peeling, chopping, boiling. I am ready to try this method!
So. it won’t explode? You don’t have to poke it or anything first?
I don’t poke it – you can if you’re nervous, it won’t hurt it :)
Cara, This is brilliant! I love how you come up with so many easy, nutrient-dense meals! You are a girl after my work-smarter-not-harder heart. Thank you for sharing your clever ideas with us.
So glad you like it! I’m pretty determined to come up with healthy meals- it helps how we feel so much!
Can you still season & dehydrate the seeds after this? Or does that only work with raw seeds?
You can! :)
Thanks so much for the quick response!! And thanks for sharing this easy way to do this! My parents had a huge harvest of pie pumpkins this fall and I am so excited to try this. I think I will try pressure canning the purée.
Thank you SOOO much for posting this! My mother game me their large pumpkin and while I was looking forward to the edibles I was NOT looking forward to hacking my way through it before cooking it. My 3 yr old was so excited to watch the process of cooking and cutting and eating the pumpkin and I actually enjoyed the process (and kept all my fingers too)!