While I’m out on maternity leave, please welcome my Registered Dietitian friends Alex and Whitney of Plant Based Juniors to the blog! Baby Led Weaning is something I’ve been interested in for a while and I can’t wait to try it out with our baby when she’s old enough. 

Have you heard of baby-led weaning? As new parents, we were only vaguely aware of the term before we were thrusted into the new-mom community and saw many of our friends doing it. Isn’t that the funny thing about becoming a parent? Suddenly, the things you never knew you cared about become all you think about. 3AM feedings quickly become optimal research times, scrolling on our phone in the dark looking for answers to the day’s questions.

If you’re not sure what baby-led weaning means, let us explain. It’s essentially the concept of giving babies solid food right from the start–without the use of purees. However, the term “weaning” can often be confusing. We aren’t weaning them off breast milk or formula as you’ll still want to offer that until at least the first birthday. Instead, it refers to gently weaning baby on to solid foods, allowing him time to explore various flavors and textures.

In our new e-book, Plant-Based Juniors: First Bites, we outline everything you need to know about baby-led weaning, from how to start, troubleshooting, nutrition, meal prep, grocery list and more. We also include 20 delicious plant-based, baby-led weaning recipes. {Interested? Use code ‘pbjpartner’ and grab your copy}.

While there are a few advantages of offering solids right from the start, we think the biggest plus is increased acceptance of more interesting and varied flavors and textures since babies get to experience food in its natural state. Think of your baby’s palate like a blank canvas, easily shaped by each new taste and experience. As dietitians and parents, we’re focused on shaping that palate to enjoy all foods, especially nutrient-rich foods like vegetables.

Therefore, whatever approach to feeding you take, we recommend adding vegetables at almost every meal. Studies have shown that babies who eat a wide variety of vegetables during the first year of life go onto eat more vegetables than those that don’t. Sweet-tasting vegetables, like carrots and sweet potatoes might be accepted more than bitter-tasting vegetables but that’s OK. Continuing to offer vegetables in different ways helps improve acceptability.

Want more ideas? We’ve rounded up 5 ways to encourage kids to eat more plants.

5 Ways to Encourage Infants to Eat More Plants

1. Vary your own diet

Breastfeeding? Then your diet may be just as important as baby’s. According to recent studies, babies are more likely to enjoy the foods their moms ate while breastfeeding over new foods they were never exposed to. If you are nursing, here’s one more reason to pile on the vegetables.

2. Add spice!

Yes, babies like flavor! We don’t know where the idea of bland baby-food came from, but it likely wasn’t from a baby! Season baby’s food the same way you would yours. All seasonings are on the table, except for salt, sugar and anything too spicy. Experimenting with different spice blends is a great way to expose your baby to new flavors.

3. Make superfood popsicles

We consider popsicles to be the perfect place for leftover smoothies and green juices – throw them into a popsicle mold, freeze and you’re done! Since leafy greens can be a choking hazard for young infants, we especially like to make superfood popsicles with kale, pear and breast milk. Bonus points for popsicles being a nice treat for teething babes.

4. Offer them often

The key to acceptability? Making vegetables part of the everyday routine. This is true for kids of all ages, the more they are exposed to veggies, the more they are willing to try them. We like to offer a vegetable in some form at every meal; it doesn’t need to be fancy – even steamed broccoli or finely chopped spinach in scrambled eggs works!

5. Try it in a puree 

We all know that kids love dips! If your baby is less than a year old, dollop the vegetable dip onto steamed vegetable fingers or spread a thin layer on toast. For older kids, offer the dip alongside items you know they will eat. Our beet hummus recipe below is great for kids of all ages! For infants, we omit the salt completely as their growing kidneys don’t need it. For older kids and adults, add salt to taste.

Beet Hummus

This is a great recipe to serve with steamed vegetables, spread onto toast, dollop onto frittata muffins or eat with a baby spoon. This hummus is packed with all of the good stuff : iron, protein, fiber and antioxidants. It’s also a great way to introduce baby to sesame, a potential allergen. For older babies and adults, add salt to taste.
Author Emily Weeks, RDN, LD


  • 1 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tahini sesame seed paste
  • ½ cup cooked beets chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or water


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until creamy and thick. Add additional water or oil as needed to blend.
  2. Remove and place in the fridge to keep for up to 5 days.

Want more plant-based recipes? Use code ‘pbjpartner’ for 10% off our new ebook, First Bites. We’ve packed this guide with 20 delicious recipes that can be used for baby-led weaning and beyond the first year.