Top 5 Favorite Foods for 9-Month-Olds

Here is a list of some of my favorite foods for 9-month-olds, plus links to recipes! 

An overhead shot of a dish of beet and berry baked oatmeal, one of the best foods for 9-month-olds!

Nine months old is such a fun age with the journey to solids, particularly in regards to baby-led weaning. Your little one is just getting used to the idea of feeding him- or herself, and you start to see how much fun it is to introduce them to new flavors and textures. Plus, it’s before they get too much of a mind of their own about what they do or don’t want to eat – they’re just happy to be eating at all. 

I’ve mentioned it in a couple of my other baby-led weaning related posts, but Raia didn’t even get her first tooth until after she was a year old. That didn’t stop us, though, from feeding her a whole slew of foods when she was completely toothless. It’s amazing how much a child can chew with just their gums 🙂

That being said, we were still keeping things fairly soft at this point. Here is a list of Raia’s top 5 favorite foods when she was around 9 months old: 

#1 SAUTEED ZUCCHINI 

Sauteed zucchini is still, to this day, one of Raia’s favorite foods. At this age, it’s best to cut the zucchini into spears before sautéing or roasting, so that it’s easy for your little one to pick up and feed themselves. Once he or she gets a little older and their manual dexterity improves, you can slice the zucchini into disks. You can learn more about preparing vegetables for your little one here, but some of my favorite seasonings for zucchini are dill, oregano, or (if you can find it) a salt-free garlic-herb seasoning [affiliate link]. 

One zucchini partially sliced on a cutting board with a chef's knife in the background. Zucchini is a great vegetable for baby-led weaning!

#2 BAKED OATMEAL 

Once your baby gets the hang of chewing (and isn’t gagging quite as much), it’s nice to work in some more easily handheld foods, so mama has less of a mess to clean up! Baked oatmeal was a great way for me to get Raia the oatmeal that she loved without the splattering of oatmeal all over her face, her chair, the floor, the dog…you get the idea. Baked oatmeal is also an easy way to sneak in some veggies. The first recipe I experimented with was this Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal, omitting the pecans. It is so good! Once Raia got a little older, I created my own recipe for Beet and Berry Baked Oatmeal (pictured at the top of this post), which you can find in my 30 Freezer-Friendly Recipes for Babies and Toddlers e-cookbook. I’ve also made a savory baked oatmeal that’s a great twist on your traditional sweeter versions! 

#3 RASPBERRIES 

I found raspberries to be a great first fruit. They’re fairly soft, easy for (9-month-old) little hands to pick up, and I didn’t worry so much about Raia choking on them. They’re delicious served plain, of course, but you could also simmer them into a no-sugar-added compote that you can use to mix into chia pudding (see below)top oatmeal, spread over pancakes, etc. Just let them simmer on the stove with some water and any other flavorings you like (perhaps vanilla extract or orange or lemon zest) until they burst open and reduce down to a luscious sauce. 

Raspberries are a great food for 9-month-olds.

#4 THIN-SLICED GRILLED CHICKEN 

Our little girl has always loved her meat…Maybe that’s why she’s off the charts in height and weight? I mean, I swear she was born with quad muscles. Needless to say, we found that thinly sliced grilled chicken was a great way to get some animal protein into her. It’s easy for the little ones to pick up, easy to bite into and easy to chew. We didn’t usually put too much seasoning on the chicken, but she didn’t seem to mind! 

#5 CHIA PUDDING 

Not going to lie – this one is messy – but Raia absolutely LOVED chia pudding at this age. If you’re willing to pick chia seeds out of your little one’s hair (and ears, and nose) for days to come, I urge you to give it a shot. Raia isn’t lactose-intolerant, but I still love experimenting with alternative milks when I’m cooking for her. One of my latest obsessions has been oat milk, so I developed this tasty Oat Milk Chia Pudding with Blueberry Orange Compote for her and she gobbled it down on multiple occasions. I love that you can prep everything the night before and simply pull it out of the refrigerator and serve the morning of. Try storing individual portions in Mason jars! 

This Oat Milk Chia Pudding with Blueberry Orange Compote is a perfect food for 9-month-olds!

After your babe has mastered (and devoured) all of these foods and is ready for more, be sure to check out my post on 12-month old favorite foods as well as 18-month old favorite foods! 

And I also want to hear from you! What were your child’s favorite foods at 9 months old? Let me know in the comments below! 

Savory Baked Oatmeal (Baby-Led Weaning Approved!)

Baked oatmeal has become a popular meal prep breakfast – and for good reason! This Savory Baked Oatmeal puts a unique spin on the classically fruit-forward dish and is a great option for baby-led weaning. A baking dish of Savory Baked Oatmeal, the perfect family-friendly breakfast!

Let me hear it from all my baked oatmeal fans out there! For someone who has found and fostered her love for meal prep over the last couple of years, baked oatmeal has become one of my favorite meal prep breakfast recipes. I love that you can bake it up the night (or even a few days) before you want to enjoy it, and that it’s easy to microwave up for a warm, hearty breakfast that tastes like it took days to make.  I’ve seen a lot of fruit-forward baked oatmeal recipes out there, and even included one in my e-cookbook (with hidden veggies in it, of course), but I thought it would be fun to mix things up with a tasty savory version! I’ve already made a standard savory bacon oatmeal recipe with eggs for you all, and If you’ve not tried savory oatmeal yet, you’re missing out. It’s so good and sticks to your bones even more than the classic fruity versions. And let’s face it, sometimes you’re just craving a little something savory for breakfast. 

I made this Savory Baked Oatmeal with my little one in mind. She (like most toddlers) will take fruit over vegetables any day, but she also happens to adore baked oatmeal. Let’s be honest, her parents love it too because it is wayyyy less messy than classic oatmeal served in a bowl!  

A plate of Savory Baked Oatmeal garnished with two cherry tomatoes.

In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, rolled oats have been such a lifesaver in our baby-led weaning journey. I use them in soooo many recipes and buy Trader Joe’s 2-pound bags on the regular [*affiliate link]. I’ve used them in muffins, pancakes, donuts, cookies and now this! They’re a super-substantial food that has a ton of health benefits and I feel good using them as a base for so many recipes I make for my little one.  

While this Savory Baked Oatmeal takes a little while to bake in the oven, it’s incredibly easy to throw together so there’s very little hands-on time. It’s my favorite kind of recipe, and I’m sure you other mamas can relate.  

I also love that the recipe is totally adaptable. I went the Italian route this time, but feel free to mix in other savory herbs, spices and ingredients. 

Some other fun combinations might be: 

  • Ham, cheese and peas 
  • Kale, bacon and sweet potato 
  • Ground turkey, bell peppers and onion 

Use this recipe as your guide and run wild from there! 

An overhead shot of a baking dish of Savory Baked Oatmeal and a serving scooped out onto a side plate.

Do you have a favorite baked oatmeal recipe? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below! 

Savory Baked Oatmeal
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Baked oatmeal has become a popular meal prep breakfast - and for good reason! This Savory Baked Oatmeal puts a unique spin on the classically fruit-forward dish and is a great option for baby-led weaning.

Course: Breakfast
Keyword: baby-led weaning, breakfast, kid-friendly, meal prep, oatmeal
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 240 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of your choice
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 links cooked breakfast sausage, cut into slices
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 2-3 quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, salt and dried basil. Stir in the milk and egg.

  3. Place a large saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once oil is heated, add the sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and garlic. Saute, using the tongs to mix everything together, until spinach is slightly wilted, then remove from heat immediately.

  4. Add the spinach mixture to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients along with 1/2 cup water. Stir until combined, then pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed and oats look set. Let cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Medium

Top 5 Favorite Foods for 12-Month-Olds

Here is a list of favorite foods for 12-month-olds, plus links to recipes!Egg cups are a great make-ahead meal or snack for 12-month-olds!

Continuing on with my lists of favorite foods by age, today I wanted to share some of the foods that my baby girl absolutely loved when she was around the one year mark. If your little one has surpassed this age and you want some more ideas, here are my Top 5 Favorite Foods for 18-Month-Olds!

To recap, we did baby-led weaning with Raia and have been incredibly happy with the results thus far. Even now at 18 months old, she’s an adventurous eater and, although she has her moments, she will usually give everything a try. We often find that, if we reintroduce something she previously refused just a few days later prepared a little differently, she gobbles it up.

Here are the top five foods we found Raia enjoyed most when she was 12 months old:

#1 EGG CUPS

If you can get your child to eat egg cups, they will become a go-to for busy mornings! We make a dozen egg cups at once, changing up the mix-ins each time. For example, one week we might include spinach and mushrooms, and the next batch might have tomatoes and basil (and cheese, oh yes, cheese.) You can freeze the cups and pop them out one at a time to microwave and serve at a moment’s notice. I have some great egg cup recipes in my e-cookbook, 30 Freezer-Friendly Recipes for Babies and Toddlers.

#2 BEEF

Maybe it’s because she’s her father’s daughter, but my girl loved her beef at this age (and still does). She especially loves dad’s extra-tender tri-tip that’s been smoked on our Big Green Egg. While everything is good in moderation, don’t shy away from this excellent source of protein and iron. Some other beef items I’ve cooked on the Big Green Egg that have been hits are these Island Style Teriyaki Sliders (just go easy on the sauce because of the sodium) and these sirloin steak bites (minus the boozy sauce).

#3 FRUIT AND VEGGIE POPSICLES

Vegetable-packed popsicles nestled in a tray of ice are a great food for 12-month-olds.

Believe it or not, Raia didn’t get her first tooth until she was just over a year old. So no, we didn’t experience the early teething fits that many parents do, but she still loved chewing and gnawing. What better things to chew and gnaw on than nutrient-dense popsicles? Some fun flavor combos include Avocado Kiwi Spinach, Beet Berry Banana and Carrot Orange Ginger, and you can find all the recipes in my book!

#4 TURKEY AND AVOCADO SANDWICH ON MULTIGRAIN BREAD

This healthy lunch is so easy it doesn’t even need a formal recipe. We take our favorite bread for Raia – Dave’s Killer Bread – and spread avocado all over a slice, then top it with high-quality deli turkey. When looking for deli meats to serve your littles, be sure to look for a brand that has little to no antibiotics or additives and is as natural as possible. Trader Joe’s has some great options, and Applegate is also a trusted brand.

#5 HIDDEN VEGGIE PANCAKES

It took me a while to introduce Raia to pancakes, and I wish I’d done it sooner! They’re definitely one of the top favorite foods for 12-month-olds but, in all honesty, they’ll make most babies happy. They seem like a treat to the kids, so they’re a great way to sneak in some added nutrients, whether it’s from blending fresh spinach into the batter (what kid doesn’t want GREEN pancakes??) or making them taste like carrot cake.

These Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes are easy to make and perfect for baby-led weaning. They're freezer friendly and super healthy!

And there you have it! Some of the best foods for 12-month-olds, especially if they’ve been following baby-led weaning.

Now, it’s your turn! Tell me some of your favorite foods for your 12-month-old in the comments below!

High Protein Lemon Ricotta French Toast for Baby-Led Weaning

This High-Protein Lemon Ricotta French Toast is perfect for baby-led weaning, but also perfectly acceptable for adults! Thick multigrain bread is coated in a lemon-ricotta batter and grilled to perfection in this tasty breakfast.

Two slices of lemon ricotta French toast are stacked on a plate, topped with a pat of butter and drizzled with syrup.

If you’ve up until now been of the mindset that French toast is a carb-heavy breakfast with no nutritional value, today I’m prepared to completely change your mind.

That’s because I’ve taken your classic French toast and turned it into a breakfast superstar that’s baby-led weaning approved. How, you ask? Well, let me tell you!

FRENCH TOAST MADE HEALTHY

Okay, first things first, let’s talk about bread. I’ve always and forever been the complete antithesis of gluten-free, I love my gluten! And I’m very fortunate that I have no issues processing it. That being said, I’m also a firm believer of everything in moderation, and I know that the path of consuming too many carbs is wayyy to easy to go down, so I try to be conscious of how much and what type I consume.

Yes, I meant to put that extra emphasis on what type. This is soooo important and all too often overlooked. There are a ton of nutritional benefits to consuming whole or multigrain breads (and carbs in general) as opposed to the white stuff. You can check out more on these benefits in this helpful article, but I let’s continue on with this Lemon Ricotta French Toast, because we don’t have all day!

An overhead shot of two pieces of lemon ricotta French toast on a plate with a lemon wedge, topped with a pat of butter and syrup, flanked by purple flowers.

In addition to using a thick multigrain bread for this recipe (and yes, I’m referring to the type you have to slice yourself so you can get those big ol’ slices), I also added some ricotta to the dipping batter to really up the protein content. We want our little ones to have full and healthy tummies as they start their day!

For some fun extra flavor, I added fresh lemon juice and zest.

Side note: Does anyone else’s child enjoy snacking on entire wedges of lemon? Or is it just mine?

A toddler snacking on a lemon wedge.

Whether your child would eat an entire lemon if you let them or not, I’m pretty sure they at least like the zingy flavor.

Let’s get to cooking!

GRIDDLE SKILLS

Once you have your bread sliced and batter ready, the cooking will be done in less than 10 minutes. That’s a breakfast win if you ask me!

Simply dip the bread in the batter and place it on a preheated griddle to cook away. Flip once and you’re done. Easy as that.

WHAT’S THE DEAL ON TOPPINGS?

Okay, this is where I feel I need to state the obvious: If you’re making this Lemon Ricotta French Toast for your little one, I DO NOT recommend drowning it in syrup. Now, I’m not one to tell you how you should parent or critique the food decisions you make, but my friends – that syrup is a messy, slippery slope. Once you start, you will not be able to go back.

If you are, however, making this French toast for yourself (or slightly older kids who may be able to at least slightly control their obsession) then go for it! I know, it is so good.

Another angle of two pieces of lemon ricotta French toast on a grey plate, topped with a pat of butter, with syrup and butter in the background.

That all being said, I also have some tasty alternatives that are both baby-led weaning and big kid-/adult-friendly:

No matter which way you serve this or who you serve it to, it’s bound to be a hit.

If you’re looking for more healthy breakfast recipes for the family, be sure to check out my post on Easy Breakfast Recipes That Are Baby-Led Weaning Approved and this tasty recipe for Toddler-Approved Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies!

Another overhead shot of lemon ricotta french toast on a grey plate, covered with butter and syrup, with a lemon wedge for garnish.

High-Protein Lemon Ricotta French Toast for Baby-Led Weaning
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

This High-Protein Lemon Ricotta French Toast is perfect for baby-led weaning, but also perfectly
acceptable for adults! Thick multigrain bread is coated in a lemon-ricotta batter and grilled to perfection in this tasty breakfast.







Course: Breakfast
Keyword: baby-led weaning, breakfast, brunch, French toast, kid-friendly, lemon
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 433 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 loaf whole unsliced multi- or whole grain bread You'll want to get about 8 slices out of it.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Place griddle or large pan on the stove and begin heating over medium heat.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest to make the batter.

  3. Place butter on preheated skillet and let melt.

  4. Once butter is melted and evenly spread over your cooking vessel, begin dipping bread slices in the batter and placing on the skillet.

  5. Cook for a few minutes – or until the bottom of the bread becomes golden-brown and the egg is set – before flipping and cooking the other side.

  6. Serve immediately with your desired topping.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Medium

Top 5 Favorite Foods for 18-Month-Olds

Here’s a list of the top five nutrient-packed foods we make for our 18-month old that she gobbles up in no time!

A rack of cooling Sweet Potato Zucchini Muffins shows one with a bite out of it. Vegetable-packed muffins are a great food for 18-month-olds.

One of the most common questions I get asked by other moms is what I feed my little one. I like to think that’s because they see me as an expert in the matter and not because my daughter is off the charts in height and weight, but you never know 😉

I thought it might be helpful to build a little library here on the blog outlining what some of Raia’s favorite foods have been at different ages. Since we just hit the 18-month mark, I figured I’d start here, but I’ll continue to add links to other ages as I get them published.

Newly added: Here are my recommendations for 12-month-old foods!

A quick note before we get started: As you may know by now, we decided to follow the method of baby-led weaning for introducing solids to our little one. I figure that by this age, most toddlers are all eating the same thing (whether they started with purées or not), but if you’re curious and want to learn more about baby-led weaning, I encourage you to read my post about knowing when to start your baby on solids, and also to read the book Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods-and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett [*affiliate link].

Without further ado, here is a list of my current Top 5 Favorite Foods for 18-Month Olds:

#1 SUPER-FOOD PACKED MUFFINS

These have pretty much been a favorite food of Raia’s since we started baby-led weaning, but you just can’t ignore how great they are (both in taste and nutritionally). Some great resources for nutrient dense muffins are Inspiralized Kids, this post of mine on healthy baby snack ideas, and my e-cookbook, 30 Freezer-Friendly Recipes for Babies and Toddlers. I love making a batch of these on a Sunday or Monday and freezing them up to have them on hand for the rest of the week!

#2 SOFT TACOS OR QUESADILLAS

This is an easy meal to serve to kids of all ages that adults love as well. Also, if you go the quesadilla route, it’s easier to sneak in some veggies. For example, you can blend in some puréed pumpkin or butternut squash with cheddar cheese or dice up some mushrooms with taco meat and hide it under a pile of melt-y cheese.

A toddler enjoying a quesadilla. Quesadillas are another great food for 18-month-olds, especially when they have hidden veggies!

#3 NOURISHING SOUPS

Now that Raia is a little better with using utensils, she loves getting into a bowl of soup. It’s fun for her, and an easy way for me to get her lots of nutrient-rich foods. Some of her favorites are this Warming Minestrone Soup (made with minimal salt) and this Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup (again, made with minimal salt).

#4 FRIED RICE

Let’s be real: 18-month olds love making a mess of their food and deconstructing it. I choose to just accept it, especially when serving one of our favorite weeknight meals, fried rice! This is another great dish that allows you to get protein, veggies and carbs all in one dish, and it comes together in a snap. Use brown rice for even more nutritional benefits, and use little (if any) soy sauce, as you need to watch the sodium with the little ones. Try cooking the fried rice in coconut oil for some extra flavor and healthy fats!

#5 HEALTHY HOMEMADE GRANOLA BARS

When you find a good recipe, you’ll always want to have these on hand so you don’t have to rely on all of the pre-packaged granola bars at the grocery store – because who knows what goes into those! I created a granola bar recipe that’s soft and crunchy at the same time, and doesn’t have any heavily processed ingredients. You can find this recipe in my e-cookbook as well!

A stack of soft and crunchy granola bars. A favorite food of 18-month-olds!

I hope this list gets you started on some ideas for delicious, nutritious foods you can make for your 18-month old.

Now, it’s your turn! Tell me some of your favorite foods for your 18-month old in the comments below!