BLW Broccoli – How to Start Your Child on Veggies

By Maria Wilcox •  Updated: 06/13/22 •  8 min read
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Everyone knows that broccoli is one of the healthiest and most nutritious vegetables you can eat. But what about blw broccoli? Can it be done? It absolutely can! In this post, we’ll detail how you can safely cook and serve broccoli for baby-led weaning purposes. Ready? Let’s get started. 

Is Broccoli Good For Baby Led Weaning?

Baby Led Weaning Broccoli

The nutritional profile, shape, and overall texture of cooked broccoli are perfect for baby-led weaning! 

In case you didn’t know, baby-led weaning is a practice that allows babies to lead the process of feeding themselves, which is a natural inclination babies have from the time they are ready to start table foods. 

During the baby-led weaning process, it is imperative that you effectively and properly cook and prepare your baby’s food, as neglecting to do so can pose a serious choking hazard to your baby. Moreover, you’ll want to be around to supervise the entire feeding experience to further safeguard your child while she or he is eating. 

person slicing green broccoli

Now that we’ve covered exactly what baby-led weaning is, let’s dive into the details about what makes broccoli such a great candidate for baby-led weaning.

Some fruit and vegetables, like whole grapes, for example, are poor choices for baby-led weaning. Because of their size and shape, they easily lend themselves to choking.

Not so with broccoli… As long as you cook broccoli well, cut it correctly, and keep a close eye on your kiddo, it is a much safer choice than the aforementioned whole grape would be.

So, what else makes broccoli such a great candidate for baby-led weaning? Not only is broccoli rich in important nutrients and minerals, but it is also shaped perfectly for little ones just beginning to learn to eat their food.

When flipped floret-side down, the broccoli stem provides a “handle”. This makes it easy for your baby to gnaw the soft top portion of the broccoli without dropping it. When cooked, the florets become tender but still firm enough for your baby to chew without there being a major risk of choking. 

Nutrients that make broccoli a winner for kids of all ages include:

  • High in Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin A
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Thiamin

BLW Broccoli Size

Broccoli Finger Food 6 Months

Broccoli is the perfect finger food for babies 6 months and up.

To get the sizing right, we recommend that you purchase fresh broccoli and chop this into several pieces, remembering to keep the stem intact. You’ll want the broccoli to be small enough to fit in your little one’s hands, but large enough for your baby to grasp and hang onto while munching.  

Sound like fresh broccoli might be a little inconvenient? You can try serving up thawed and steamed frozen broccoli instead. Frozen broccoli contains all the nutrients that fresh broccoli does and is even easier to prepare! Just be sure not to microwave your frozen broccoli for your baby; doing so increases the risk of hot pockets developing throughout the broccoli which can scorch your baby’s mouth. 

How to Cut Broccoli BLW

Wondering how to cut broccoli for baby led weaning?

When cutting your baby’s broccoli, set the vegtable on its side and cut the stem about 2 inches or so below the actual florets. This should create a good-sized ” handle” for your baby to hold onto while he or she eats. 

Once you’ve cut the stem, you’ll want to separate the entirety of the broccoli into tinier pieces to make it easier for your baby to eat.

Remember to keep the stem length intact and not to chop the pieces up too small…otherwise, your broccoli will be difficult for your baby to pick up and will be easier to turn to mush when cooking. 

 slice of broccoli

How Long to Steam Broccoli For Baby-Led Weaning

How Long to Steam Broccoli For BLW

For a young baby still learning how to eat, you’ll want to steam your broccoli for anywhere from 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the broccoli. 

If you choose to steam your broccoli for baby-led weaning, you’ll want to ensure you steam it for the right amount of time to achieve the desired level of firmness. A baby that is quite young and is still learning how to eat will require firmer broccoli but it will still need to be soft enough to easily gum. 

For reference, we find that steaming your broccoli for about 6-8 minutes renders the broccoli soft enough to gum but firm enough to grip without the broccoli disintegrating in your baby’s hand. 

Note: If your baby is a bit older and is used to eating food already, you may wish to steam your broccoli for about 10 minutes instead of 6-8 minutes. This will make the broccoli softer and easier to eat and ingest, as your baby will be more likely to actually eat the food at this point, rather than to practice eating by gumming it as before. 

eating table

How to Cook Broccoli For Baby BLW

How Do You Cook Broccoli For BLW?

As mentioned before, one way to serve broccoli to your baby is to steam the broccoli.

Steaming the broccoli helps retain the broccoli’s nutritional value (assuming that you aren’t overcooking it). For tender broccoli without overcooking it, we recommend you steam the broccoli for about 6-10 minutes, depending on the level of firmness desired. After steaming the broccoli this way, you may also consider running the florets under cold water. This will keep the broccoli from continuing to cook and to cool the broccoli off enough for your little one to handle.

Another easy but less popular way to prepare broccoli for baby-led weaning is to roast your broccoli florets. For information on how to do this as well as how to properly steam your baby’s broccoli be sure to keep reading until the end! 

How to Cook Broccoli For Baby Finger Food

How to Cook Broccoli BLW

One last and final way to cook broccoli for baby-led weaning is to boil the broccoli. Though this isn’t usually recommended.

While this method is perfectly fine if you want to tenderize the broccoli for your baby, it isn’t the best in terms of nutritional value.

That’s because when you boil broccoli in water, the nutrients within the vegetable can leach out. The final product becomes less nutritionally-dense than it was, to begin with. 

How to Serve Broccoli BLW

To serve your cooked broccoli to your baby, wait until it has completely cooled. Then, flip the florets upside down so that the stem is erected. Allow your baby to pick up and “gum” these gently steamed pieces, while watching your baby very carefully to prevent choking.

BLW Broccoli Recipe

We promised you a couple of baby-led weaning broccoli recipes and here they are! We’ve included the two most popular methods for preparing broccoli. We hope this helps! 

Steamed Broccoli For Baby-Led Weaning

  1. If using fresh broccoli, cut the florets lengthwise, from floret to stem, still having enough of the stem on for our toddler to grasp. Bigger pieces are better as there is a lesser chance of choking than tinier pieces. 
  2. Steam the cut broccoli pieces over boiling water, preferably in a steamer tray, for 6-7 minutes until cooked through. Broccoli pieces should be soft on the tops but still firm enough for your baby to grasp. 
  3. If the broccoli you are using is frozen, follow the same method as detailed above. But bear in mind that your broccoli may need to steam a few minutes longer before it is fully cooked through. Moreover, you will want to wait to cut your broccoli after steaming rather than before. This is because cutting rock-hard frozen broccoli will be nearly impossible in the beginning. 

Roasted Broccoli For Baby-Led Weaning

  1. To roast your broccoli, follow the preparation method for cooking fresh broccoli.
  2. Lay your cut broccoli pieces on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over your broccoli pieces.
  4. Roast them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until cooked through, usually about 20 minutes.
  5. Flip your broccoli halfway through to prevent charring as your baby is unlikely to like the bitter taste of burnt ends on his or her broccoli. 

If you want to use frozen broccoli for roasting, be sure to thaw the broccoli first. Then, you can follow the same method described above to roast your baby’s broccoli. 

broccoli on brown wooden chopping board

Broccoli For Baby-Led Weaning Is a GREAT Choice! 

All in all, broccoli is a great and nutritionally dense choice for baby-led weaning. When cutting your broccoli for your baby, remember to cut lengthwise. This way your baby has a “handle” by which he or she can grasp.

Also, make sure that the broccoli is still firm enough for your baby to hold after cooking. Failing to do so may cause the broccoli to become too mushy and frustrating to eat.

We hope this has given you some ideas on how best to serve broccoli for baby-led weaning…good luck! 

More about what you can feed your child:

Maria Wilcox

Former instructor with an M.A. in Education turned grateful stay-at-home mama to one, I look to share helpful insights related to babies, toddlers, kids, and families for the benefit of real people just like you.

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