Making your own baby food is a great way to provide your baby with nutritious meal options and save your family money as well. While store bought foods may contain unnecessary additives, when you make your own, you can buy organic fruits and veggies and know exactly what ingredients are going into baby’s precious tummy. It’s also a great way to expose baby to different tastes and textures and get them used to eating what you and the rest of your family enjoy. Here’s some basic info on how to get started making your own baby food when it’s time to start solids.
What You Will Need:
There are several options that can be easily used to make pureed baby food including:
- A blender or food processor: Works great for large batches of food and you probably already have one in your home. It’s easy, quick and not too difficult to clean.
- A hand blender: A quick, easy and an efficient way to blend foods to create smooth purees.
- A baby food grinder: A non-electric, portable baby food maker that is inexpensive. The downside is that it will only make one texture.
- Hand-turned food mill: A non-electric option that allows for different blades to be used to create different food textures.
- All-in-one baby food maker: May be more expensive, but will steam, cook and then puree your food.
- A fork: Many foods that are already soft like avocado or banana can be easily mashed regular fork.
Other supplies you will need for making your own baby food include:
- Storage containers for freezing/refrigerating: Ice trays with a cover make a great makeshift baby food storage container. You can also buy special containers specifically for storing baby food in the freezer. Be sure to choose a container with baby-safe plastic. Check out this article on eco-friendly parenting to learn more about safe plastic.
What Foods to Introduce:
A great place to start when making baby food is with organic fruits and vegetables. Try introducing one food at a time if your baby hasn’t already had it before to prevent any confusion should an allergic reaction occur. The below foods are typically great, safe first food options to give to new eaters.
Veggies: Avocados, carrots, peas, squash, sweet potato, asparagus and sweet peppers
Fruits: Bananas, pears, mangoes, blueberries, prunes, apricots, apples and peaches
Steps to Getting Started:
- Wash the fruit or vegetable thoroughly.
- Peel or pit the fruit or vegetable when necessary and remove any seeds.
- Boil or steam veggies if necessary to soften before pureeing.
- Place vegetables or fruit in blender or food processor.
- Add liquid if desired to achieve a creamier texture. You can use breastmilk, water or formula.
- Blend until you have reached desired smooth texture.
- Serve food to baby no higher than body temperature.
- Store remaining food in storage containers to be frozen and thawed for later meals.
Tips for Homemade Baby Food:
- Don’t add sweeteners to food like sugar or honey. Honey can cause a potentially deadly food poisoning called botulism when given to babies.
- Do experiment with different spices and textures to expose your baby to a wide variety of tastes. This is a great way to broaden your baby’s palate and create a child who enjoys trying new foods.
- Only serve baby a portion that you think he will eat. Once his saliva from the spoon has touched the food, bacteria can grow and the food should not be saved.
- Use refrigerated leftovers within two days.
- Frozen fruits and veggies can be stored and used for up to 6 months. When you introduce meats in a puree, frozen leftovers should only be stored for 1-2 months.
Making your own baby food at home is not only healthy and economical but simple and efficient. It will save you trips to the store, reduce your spending, and lessen your waste output as well. Best of all, you can know with certainty the quality of the produce and exactly what ingredients your baby is eating because it was made by you with love. For questions regarding infant care or all topics related to pregnancy and natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.