More and more moms are making homemade baby food. It saves money and let’s you know exactly what is going in your child’s body. There are more organic baby foods available than ever at the supermarket, but even the organic options include some type of preservative. Why not make your own food? You can freeze it in individual servings to use another time when you need it on the go. Raise a healthy child with whole foods and a dash of love in your cooking.
How much do you really save?
According to Julia Scott at MintLife Blog, you can save 30 cents per serving by making your own non-organic baby food versus buying at the store. Making your own organic baby food can save you 31 cents per serving versus buying the jarred version. Over time, this savings can really add up! Just think about how much your child eats over those first few years. Julia Scott gives a personal example: when her daughter was seven months old she was having four servings of homemade food a day! This added up to a daily savings of $1.20 and a yearly savings of $438!
How To: Making Baby Food is Easy!
1. Steam vegetables, rather than boiling them. This keeps the most nutrients in the food.
2. Purée the cooked veggies in a blender.
3. Add water or breast milk for extra health benefits. The younger the child, the more liquid you’ll want to make the puréed mixture. As the child matures make it thicker and, as s/he prepares to move on to finger foods, chunky.
4. Dish the homemade baby food in to 1 or 2 ounce containers. If you have made too much for your child to eat during the week, freeze it in ice cube trays or specialty baby food trays. (You can purchase these online.)
5. Create blends as you learn what your child can eat. It is always recommended to introduce new foods one at a time to make it easier to recognize allergic reactions. For creative ideas, check out what the baby food companies offer when you are at the grocery store. You’ll see familiar blends like sweet potato and apple and more exotic blends like pumpkin, cranberry, apple. Have fun!
Don’t forget the protein!
- Chicken: Boil (or bake) chicken; cool, then chop or shred it. Blend until it looks like small crumbs or, to make it smoother, mix with puréed vegetables.
- Lentils: Just cook and purée!
- Cereal: Combine 1/4 cup dried brown rice and 2 cups of water in a sauce pan; bring to a boil; then simmer until all the water is absorbed. Stir the mixture often to avoid sticking. You’ll end up with about 16 ounces of brown rice cereal.
Beyond Baby Food
Even as children begin to eat finger foods, continue to prepare homemade meals. Cook meals that you want to eat with them! For a quick and easy meal, bake white fish (after discussing seafood with their pediatrician) with some thyme and butter and whip up a side of steamed green beans.
As a general rule, don’t be a short order cook; children will not starve themselves. At the next meal when they’re hungry, they will eat what is offered. If you continue to offer healthy options, then they will eat it. When children get old enough, involve them in the cooking and talk about the healthy food that is going into their body.
Some great baby cook books to check out at the library:
- Cooking for Baby, by Lisa Barnes
- Baby & Toddler Cookbook, by Karen Ansel & Charity Ferreira
- The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet, by Knight and Ruggiero
- Smart Bites for Baby, by Mika Shino
Kelsey Plimpton is currently a nanny in Boston and has been nannying for five years. She started as a part-time nanny while earning her associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Kelsey has worked with ages 2 months to 15 years in both nannying and babysitting positions, since the age of 13. While working with children she follows their interests to help create activities targeting developmental goals. She blogs with SitterCycle.com and is the Early Childhood Coordinator.