There’s nothing better for baby than homemade food.
As a new mom, I want the very best for my son. As a nutritionist, I know how food can influence his growth, development and overall health. I also know he is at the best age to be introduced to the exciting world of food. Food with lots of taste, texture and nutrition. Food I have carefully selected and prepared.
There is no great mystery to making baby food. It is an easy and economical alternative to the pro-cessed and expensive prepared baby foods at your local grocery store. With minimal equipment and a little bit of time you too can make wholesome, nutritious and very tasty food for your baby.
Homemade more nutritious
A new baby in the family definitely puts a strain on the amount of time new parents have, but the benefits of making your baby’s food are so great, finding the little bit of time it requires will be worth it. By making your baby’s food, you have much greater control over what your baby eats. You can avoid the excess water, sugar and starchy fillers used in processed baby foods. These fillers dilute the nutritional content of the food. And by choosing organic foods, you can also avoid the many agricultural chemicals that can find their way into processed baby foods.
Your baby food will be made with fresh foods that taste, look and smell great! The wide selection of produce at your local grocery store or farmer’s market becomes your baby’s menu. Choose what you want your baby to eat, filling the menu with variety. You’ll be helping to develop your baby’s tastes for different foods while providing high quality foods for optimum growth and development.
Making your baby’s food also has tremendous benefits for our environment – you are forgoing all the packaging involved in store bought processed baby food, you are reducing food miles (especially if you purchase local foods), and if you choose organic, you are reducing the toxin overload on the environment. Who knew making your baby’s food was so “green”?
Start with fruits
So I have convinced you to give it a try, but you have no idea where to start. Here goes. You will need the following equipment: cutting board, knives – paring and chopping, lidded pot with steaming basket, hand blender, baby food storage containers (available at your local baby store), and Ziploc bags.
The best first foods for your baby include apples, pears, apricots, bananas, sweet potatoes, carrots and peas. Fruits are great first foods for a number of reasons: they are easy to digest, are a great source of minerals and vitamins, and their natural sugars appeal to developing taste buds.
Choose the food you would like to introduce to your baby, wash it well, peel off the skin and chop into small pieces. Steam for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until soft. Transfer to a bowl and puree with the hand blender to desired consistency, using the steaming water to thin the puree if necessary. Spoon the puree into baby storage trays and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a Ziploc bag, label and use within one month. To defrost puree, remove one cube of food from the freezer and let thaw in the fridge overnight. And that’s it!!
When you introduce food to your baby, always begin with small amounts and wait three days before introducing another food. This will allow you to check for any food sensitivities. Once your baby is enjoying a variety of foods you can experiment with many combinations; my son is partial to sweet potato and apple puree.
On the path to healthy eating
There’s really nothing better for your baby than home cooked food made from the freshest ingredients. Exposing your baby to a wide variety of tastes at an early age will help to shape her food preferences for the future, starting her on the right path to healthy eating. Preparing your own baby food gives your baby the best start in life.
Bananas, when very ripe, can simply be mashed and given to your baby, but my son much prefers this banana puree.
5 bananas, unpeeled
Pre heat oven to 300 degrees. Place bananas in a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until bananas are soft. Transfer to a plate to cool, and reserve excess liquid. Once cooled, peel bananas, holding them over a bowl to catch any liquid. Add reserved liquid and using a hand blender puree until smooth. Transfer to baby storage cubes. Refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to one month