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A Baby Tasting Menu
Is your baby at least six months old, ready to move beyond milk and rice and embark on the wild and wooly world of solid foods?

Get your phones ready – there are few things cuter than watching your little one's expressions as they move beyond the bland culinary basics they've been subjected to thus far. I know I got some good pictures during this transition. Whether you choose to make your own or buy baby food in bulk, here are a few basic flavors to start with.

I found with my baby that once she got used to each flavor, blending two complimentary flavors kept things interesting for her budding palate – use your own taste for food combinations – and these pointers as a guide.

Apple. Apples are among the most benign fruits, flavor-wise, so they’re among the best to start with. Plus, they're fiber-full (to keep things in the belly moving) and have vitamins, too.

Sweet Potato. Puréed sweet potatoes were one of my baby’s faves, loaded with anti-oxidants, vitamin A and beta carotene. Some applesauce or cantaloupe will add some complexity to the dish.

Pear. Like apples, pears aren't too tart, making them a great starter food. They're loaded with vitamin C and, believe it or not, blend surprisingly well with carrots.

Avocado. Nothing beats a mashed-up avocado for well-rounded nutrition. They're full of all those heart-healthy "good" fats that prevent damage caused by free-radicals. And they're packed with Omega-3 fatty acids that help neurons fire to develop their little brains. Try blending with banana for a creamy treat.

Yogurt. Not only is whole milk yogurt easy for baby to get the hang of gumming, it's protein rich and all those live tummy-friendly cultures make it awfully easy for baby to digest. Mixing a little yogurt into too-sweet fruits – or veggies like sweet potatoes – can make them more palatable to tiny mouths, too.

Viv Schaffel is a freelance journalist and essayist who writes for a vast array of publications, including CBS Watch!, The New York Times, Working Mother and The New York Post. She writes/performs sketch comedy and is an upstanding member of US Weekly’s Fashion Police, poking fun at red carpet risks.
Viv Schaffel