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With the family roast often the highlight of Christmas Day, feeding expert Annabel Karmel explains how to give your weaning baby the chance to enjoy the meal

Want your weaning baby to enjoy the Christmas roast, just like everyone else? You’ll also save time by not preparing a separate meal for your little one. Here are Annabel Karmel’s tips on how to do it.

Be prepared

If you’re planning on serving the roast to your baby, make sure you factor this in when you’re preparing the meal, for example by cooking the vegetables alongside the roast. “Cook vegetables, like parsnips and butternut squash, in the roasting tin alongside the turkey,” says Annabel. “This helps concentrate the sweetness in the vegetables, which is great for weaning babies, and also makes a great base for a purée.”

But be wary of the seasoning on your baby’s portion. “Try to leave an area of the baking tray where your vegetables aren’t seasoned with salt,” suggests Annabel. “Instead sprinkle fresh herbs, like thyme, to season.”

And if you usually drizzle honey over your parsnips or carrots, remember that this isn’t suitable for children under one. So leave some plain for your little one.

First-stage weaning

Little ones at the first stage of weaning won’t be having meat yet, so all you need to do is purée or mash the veg with a little bit of stock or milk.“Sweet-tasting root vegetables purée to a much smoother consistency for young babies,” says Annabel. “I like to add a little bit of apple and pear in too, for example mix butternut squash, carrot, potato and apple. Then, for a slightly older baby, mash or purée the veg together, and add milk and grated cheese to make a really nice meal.”

Potatoes won’t purée well in an electric blender, so don’t lump them in with the rest of your veg. “The metal blade breaks down the starches and the potatoes get sticky,” says Annabel. “Instead purée them in a mouli or a potato ricer.”

Second-stage weaning

For older babies eating meat, you can add the turkey to the purée at a ratio of 25% meat to 75% vegetables.

But steer clear of pouring in the gravy too. “Gravy is too salty for babies,” says Annabel.“Instead you can use very watered-down chicken stock or milk to make the purée.”

Festive finger food

A roast dinner can work well for little ones who have moved on to finger food. “Cut up parsnips and carrots into shapes that are easy to hold,” says Annabel. “Roasted vegetables are good as they’re soft and sweet. You can also cut little pieces of turkey for them to chew on.”

Boxing Day leftovers

Weaning babies can have their share of leftover turkey too. “For an older baby, you can make a version of bubble and squeak,” says Annabel. “Simply mash up your potatoes and carrots, shred some sprouts, add a bit of gravy and some diced turkey, coat in breadcrumbs and then sauté.” Delicious!

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