At just six weeks old Millie was diagnosed with cows milk protein and soya protein allergies. Despite her restrictive diet I was still determined to go down the baby led weaning (BLW) route which has at times been rather challenging and has made me rethink a lot of the meals we eat as a family.
The point of BLW is to allow your baby to eat what you’re eating and make their own choices about what they want to eat and how much. This has been a real nightmare for us with a very fussy ten year old and an equally fussy husband, our family meal repetoire is already somewhat limited. I have over the last few months trialed, tested and on some occasions binned many dairy free recipes in the hope of finding meals we can all eat as a family.
Lunch time snacks have proved to be the hardest meal for us to get any variety. Millie loves bread, and I mean REALLY loves it. She would have a dairy free cheese sandwich for every meal if she could. But I wanted to find some non-bread alternatives that fit the following criteria; quick and easy to make, high in calcium (it can be really hard to hit a baby’s calcium target on a dairy free diet), and finally they needed to be “portable” so they could be packed for lunch on the days we were out and about at baby classes.
Here are our top three favourites:
1. Pastry Pinwheels – these are so versatile and can be batch cooked and frozen.
Using ready to roll puff pastry sheets cut into inch wide strips (Most puff pastry is dairy and soya free including shop own brands but we use Tesco’s own puff pastry sheets which can be found in the fridge next to the margarine and butter). Spread your choice of filling onto the strips of pastry and loosely roll into wheel shapes. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes at 180C until golden.
One of Millie’s favourite fillings is a pouch of Ella’s Kitchen purée (roast pork and apple sauce used in the picture above) and sprinkled with dairy free cheese. These turn out like really yummy baby (and mummy… Eek!) friendly pasties!
2. Fish Pate – great on rice cakes or toast.
At 9 months old Millie is yet to develop a liking of fish and she will simply spit it straight back out of it ever gets even close to her mouth. I was keen to find a way of adding fish to her diet in a way that wasn’t too “fishy”. This pate was perfect! It uses all dairy free alternative ingredients but can of course be made in exactly the same way with normal dairy products.
150g of cooked salmon or any other fish (I use cod)
150g of soft dairy free cheese
Juice from half a lemon
2tbsp of natural dairy free yoghurt (I use coconut milk yoghurt as we are also soya free)
Chuck all the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.
I have also added this to cooked pasta with some veg to make an alternative pasta sauce.
3. Cheesy Egg Muffins – perfect for packed lunches
These egg muffins again can be adapted to include any other cooked ingredients you like. For these ones I just added some chopped tomatoes.
Whisk two large eggs and a dash of milk in a bowl (we use Oatly oat milk). Add in 30g of grated dairy free cheese and any cooked ingredients such as chicken, other vegetables or fish. Split the mixture across 4 or 5 muffin tins and bake in the oven for 15 minutes on 180C.
These are so simple to make and can be eaten either hot or cold. They have become a particular favourite in the post swimming packed lunch box each week!
I have tested out quite a few other dairy and soya free meals including some family favourites which I will include in future posts. Making things from scratch is one of the most reliable ways of ensuring your childs meals only include “safe” foods. Despite being a little tricky at times, I am enjoying cooking fresh, nutritious, dairy free meals for Millie and love watching her devour them without any sign of a reaction!