Yep, you can totally skip the cereal! It's pretty empty nutrtionally and certainly not as fun to taste and experiment with as fruits and veggies. Possibly try avocado, sweet potatoes or yams, peaches, pear, watermelon, winter squash, etc. Here is what kellymom.com states regarding cereal:
"Cereal is not at all necessary, particularly the baby cereals. Regular (whole grain) oatmeal is more nutritious for your baby. Many doctors recommend iron-fortified rice cereal as baby's first food because it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction and because most babies sometime after the 6th month require an additional iron source other than mother's milk. If your baby starts solids around 6 months or later, there is much less chance of allergic reaction to foods. It's debatable whether healthy breastfed babies need the extra iron (you can get baby's iron levels checked if you're worried about this). In addition, infants need lots of protein and cereal has a low protein-calorie ratio (even lower when mixed with water or fruit). Many experts (including LLL) suggest giving meat or other foods naturally rich in iron instead of foods with added iron. For more information on iron, see Is Iron-Supplementation Necessary?
Here are LLL's recommendations:
Most babies love fruits. Make sure they are ripe, and wash well before peeling. Here are some favorites:
Bananas cut into slices which have then been halved or quartered
Unsweetened applesauce, or tiny apple chunks that have been softened by cooking in the microwave
Plums, peaches, pears, and apricots, gently cooked if necessary
Avocado diced into small, bite size pieces
Fresh vegetables should be washed, peeled and cooked until tender. Frozen veggies are convenient to have on hand. Avoid the canned varieties to which salt has been added. Your baby may enjoy:
Baked or boiled sweet potatoes, in tiny chunks
Mashed white potatoes
Baby carrots, green beans, peas and squash
My DD is 8 months old we are following her lead on when to really start solids. Breast milk provides complete nutrition for the entire first 12 months, so there's no rush. Most of a baby's solid food the first year is just for play and experimentation. And they sure have fun *playing* ... it is very messy and super fun for them and for us parents watching them explore! Here is a page I have really enjoyed ... baby-led approach to the introduction of solid foods. I really like the idea of letting the baby set the pace and keeping the focus on play and exploration so the transition takes place as naturally as possible.
Here is another link on starting solids, with good ideas for first foods: First Foods.
Good luck and have fun!