Making Your Own Baby Food

Are you beginning to introduce your baby to solid foods? If so, then you probably have taken a trip to your local grocery store or market to check out the prepared baby food. Prepared baby food is usually what most parents choose to feed their little ones, thinking that it will save them time, energy, and money. But in the long run, store-bought baby food can be quite expensive and it may not be all that healthy for your child. So, when it comes to time to introduce solid foods think about making your own baby food. It is a healthy, preservative-free option that won't take that much time out of your day.

Why Make Your Own Baby Food?
You may be wondering why you should take the time to make your own baby food when there are so many different options available in the supermarket aisles. Well, though these store-bought baby foods are FDA-approved and perfectly safe for your child, they may not be the healthiest choice that you can make.

Prepared baby foods contain lots of preservatives, which help the food to last longer on the shelves. Unfortunately, these preservatives can really affect the taste of your child's food, and may even affect its nutritional content. Additionally, many baby food producers add fillers, including starches and sugars, to their products, meaning that baby is ingesting a lot of extra bulk that doesn't have any real nutritional benefit. By preparing your own baby foods, you're insuring that your child won't ingest any of these unnecessary preservatives or fillers. Other benefits include:

  • Control: By making your own baby food, you get to control exactly what goes into your baby's meals. This means that you can ensure that all fruits, vegetables, and meats are of the highest quality and provide good nutrition.
  • Taste: By feeding your baby homemade baby food, you will have the opportunity to develop your baby's taste in foods. She will be introduced to a variety of different foods as well as foods of different textures.
  • Healthy Habits: It's never to early to start feeding your child healthy foods! In fact, the younger you start the better as you are preparing him for the life-long habit of healthy eating.
  • Save Money: Making your own baby doesn't require a lot of expensive foods or fancy preparation. You will find that you can actually make dozens of meals for the price of a few jars of baby food.

What Cooking Tools Will You Need?
Making baby food is not at all complicated, so don't rush out and buy top-of-the line appliances. All you need to make healthy and tasty meals for your little one is:

  • a few pots and pans
  • a vegetable scrubber
  • a paring knife
  • a masher
  • a blender or food processor
  • a sieve or strainer

Food Safety
Because your baby's digestive system is extra-sensitive, it is important to practice good food safety. This will prevent your baby from eating any foods that might be contaminated with bacteria, like salmonella, which could cause serious health problems. Be sure to:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap.
  • Clean all appliances of old food particles, using hot water.
  • Clean all food preparation surfaces.
  • Wash all utensils thoroughly, particularly when preparing raw foods.
  • Freeze extra portions immediately in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, place the frozen food cubes into freezer bags and mark the date on the front. Frozen foods can last up to three months when stored properly.

Before You Start!
Before you start baby off an a wonderful taste adventure, be sure to follow these tips:

  • Always talk to your pediatrician before feeding your baby a new diet.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time. Wait at least four days before introducing other foods. This will give you time to assess your baby for food allergies, lactose intolerance, or other digestion problems.
  • Always test the temperature of foods that you give to your baby. Baby's mouth is very sensitive and can burn easily.
  • Never force food on your baby. Though it can be distressing when your baby won't eat, it is usually a sign that he isn't hungry or doesn't feel up to eating. He will make up for it during his next feeding.

Baby Food Recipes

Here are a few easy recipes to try out at home:

Apple Sauce
This applesauce can be made from Gala, Braeburn, or Macintosh apples.

  • Peel, core, and cut apples into chunks.
  • Place the apple chunks into a saucepan and cover with water.
  • Bring apples to a boil and let them simmer until they are tender.
  • Drain the water into a measuring cup and reserve for later on.
  • Mash the apples using a potato masher or puree in a blender.
  • Add some of the reserved water to thin the apples to the desired consistency.
  • Let cool and serve.

Green Beans
Purchase organically-grown green beans for this recipe to ensure that your baby is getting only the best.

  • Wash the green beans and scrub thoroughly with a vegetable brush.
  • Snap the ends off of the beans and remove any stringy bits.
  • Steam the beans by placing your strainer over a little bit of boiling water.
  • When tender, reserve the remaining water for thinning. Puree the beans in a blender.
  • Add reserved water to thin the beans to the right consistency.

Beef or Veal Dinner
Here is the perfect Sunday dinner for your little one!

  • Cut up lean beef or veal into one-inch pieces.
  • Place in a saucepan with one cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Wash, peel, and dice one celery, three carrots, and two small potatoes.
  • Add the vegetables to the meat and cook for 35 minutes, or until tender.
  • Let the mixture cool. Remove vegetables. Strain and reserve excess water.
  • Add the meat and one-third of the water to a blender. Puree.
  • Add vegetables. Puree.