You’re starting your 6+ month old on solids. Congratulations! For a “First Time Foodie,” this is a time of exposure* -- you are exposing her to new flavors, new textures and new concepts such as the feeling of food in her mouth and using a spoon rather than a bottle or breast.

Even though your baby will get all the nutrients she needs from breast milk, formula or a combination of the two, it’s not a bad idea to start mixing in natural sources of protein, too. After all, they’re just another element of flavor and texture you’re (literally) putting into the mix.

Here are some ideas for ways to add protein to purées for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. For every ounce of purée, mix in 1 teaspoon of protein. Just be sure to taste what you are serving to baby, and adjust flavors and amounts accordingly. Who wants to eat something that tastes boring and flavorless? You don’t, so neither does your baby.

*For the parent of a First Time Foodie, this can be a time of anxiety. I reviewed the steps of infant CPR at least five times during every meal until Eliana was almost 2 years old. Here’s some tips and ideas about surviving that time.

Before adding anything to your baby’s food, be sure to check with your pediatrician. Also, you should introduce common allergens such as soy and nuts one at a time in case your baby has a reaction. Learn more about allergy symptoms.

Sources of protein that add minimal or no texture:

For Vegans:

  • Soy milk
  • Hemp oil or powder
  • Silken tofu
  • Soy yogurt
  • Puréed legumes such as peas and beans

For Vegetarians:

  • All items listed in Vegan category
  • Unsweetened yogurt (Greek yogurt has a higher protein count than regular yogurt)
  • Ricotta cheese

For Omnivores:

  • All items listed in Vegan and Vegetarian categories
  • Cooking liquid from cooked meat, poultry or fish

Sources of protein that add texture:

For Vegans:

  • Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter)
  • Quinoa

For Vegetarians:

  • All items listed in Vegan category
  • Cottage cheese

For Omnivores:

  • All items listed in Vegan and Vegetarian categories
  • Puréed meat, chicken, fish or seafood

Whatever sources of protein you choose to add to your baby’s food, remember to:

1. Keep trying, even if the first, second or third attempts don’t go well (some babies need to taste a food up to 40 times to decide they like it!).

2. Be creative and play around with different combinations.

3. Have fun!

Happy cooking, experimenting and feeding!

Teeny Tiny Foodie is teaming up with Taste Buds Kitchen in Manhattan to offer seasonal baby food cooking classes. Check out the schedule and register here.

Image source.