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DIY Baby Food You Can Make at Home

DIY Baby Food You Can Make at Home

Taking care of a little one is already a full-time job without the hassle of trying to figure out whether the food you’re buying is healthy enough to give your child the best possible start in life. And that supermarket shelf presents a paralyzing amount of choice. What should your baby food include? What should it definitely not include? How much should you have to pay? Can you trust a well-known brand? Are “organic” and “natural” just marketing buzz words?

When you have a young one to feed and care for, there often isn’t enough time to do much of the research needed to sort the good from the bad when it comes to store-bought food.

While many new moms may assume that making baby food takes longer than buying it, more and more are converting because DIY removes that difficult decision-making process and gives you more peace of mind about the things your baby eats.

The Problem With Store-Bought Baby Food

While most nutritionists would probably agree that commercial baby food formulas have improved over time, there are still many problems with the store-bought varieties.

The Problem With Store-Bought Food - DIY Baby Food You Can Make at Home

They’re expensive

Considering the small portion sizes, baby food off the shelf is extremely expensive. In one estimate from an article published in Slate, store-bought baby food can be almost five times more expensive than preparing the exact same food at home.

They’re often less nutritionally rich

Some commercial baby food is produced using extremely high temperatures, which can alter the nutritional profile of the ingredients. Just like cooking your veggies at home at high temperatures, this process often destroys the nutrients we assume we’re getting.

Some are full of preservatives

Store-bought baby food needs to maintain a certain shelf life. Grocery stores want to sell all their stock, not throw it away, so they are more interested in items with longer shelf lives. This means the baby food you buy at the store is often full of preservatives.

Many have more sugar, more salt, and less fiber

Because many baby food formulas are produced from concentrated fruit, veggies and meat, to which they add water and sometimes fillers like starch, the concentration of sugar and salt can be higher than similar food formulas prepared at home, even if the company states that it doesn’t add any sugar to the recipe.

The Benefits of Homemade Baby Food

There are many benefits to making your own baby food, and it’s actually relatively simple and quick to do. Unlike preparing your own food, which requires many ingredients, complicated cooking processes, and a variety of herbs and spices, homemade baby food is a piece of cake. (Not literally – don’t feed your baby cake!)

When you make your own baby food, you know exactly what is going into it. You can select your fruits and veggies by hand, including choosing those that are organic, or you can even grow your own. If you choose to puree the same foods that you are preparing for the rest of the family, you can also get your baby used to the kind of foods you eat on a regular basis. This can also help get you in the habit of preparing healthy meals.

Homemade Baby Food Tips

Homemade Baby Food - DIY Baby Food You Can Make at Home

Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing baby food at home:

  • Avoid these allergens for babies: eggs, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.
  • Try to buy organic when it comes to fruits and veggies that can contain a lot of pesticides: apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, potatoes.
  • Make foods that are appropriate for different stages of your baby’s development: single-ingredient purees for 4-6 months, thicker purees with one or two more ingredients and a bit of protein like meat for 7-9 months, and chunkier purees introducing a little dairy like yogurt and cheese for 9-12 months.
  • Make sure you store homemade baby food in BPA-free plastic containers or, better yet, glass in the fridge or freezer.
  • Remember that baby portions should be small (about 1-2 tablespoons).

Homemade Baby Food Recipes - DIY Baby Food You Can Make at Home

Baby Food Recipes for Different Stages

1. 4-6 months: pea puree

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 2 tbsps water

Instructions:

  • 1. Put frozen peas in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water, and heat for 2 minutes until peas are plump and bright green.
  • 2. Place peas and 2 tbsps water in a blender, and puree until smooth and creamy, adding more water if needed to achieve a thinner consistency. You can strain the mixture to make it even smoother.
  • 3. Serve immediately. You can store the puree in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze it into individual servings (1 oz) in an ice cube tray for up to 3 months.

2. 7-9 months: beets and blueberry mash

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium organic beets
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Instructions:

  • 1. Rinse and scrub beets well, then peel and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a medium saucepan with blueberries.
  • 2. Add enough water to just cover the beets and blueberries. Cook on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until beets are soft.
  • 3. Pour into a blender, and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

3. 9-12 months: white fish, carrot and leek purée

Ingredients:

  • 1 6-oz fish fillet
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
  • ½ cup water

Instructions:

  • 1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a boil over medium heat. Place fish, carrot, and leeks into a steamer over the water, cover, and steam for 15 minutes.
  • 2. Transfer steamed ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, adding small quantities of water at a time to reach the desired thickness.
  • 3. Serve immediately, or keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, 2 months in the freezer.

Homemade baby food is undoubtedly worth the effort, and you may be surprised to discover it’s not that much effort after all. You can actually save time and money and provide more nutritious meals to ensure your growing baby’s healthy, happy future. Get mushing!



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