Monday, November 9, 2009

DIY Baby Food 101

This is for all you new moms out there. I'm not a nurse or dietician, so feel free to prove me horribly wrong. :)

It's a ton cheaper to make your own, so hopefully this can help make it doable for you.

A few general principles (if you already know this stuff, I’m totally not trying to be condescending!):
· Baby food is basically a soft fruit or veggie, or a cooked hard one, pureed with a little water in a blender or food processor (a few are soft enough, like bananas, to just mash up in a food chopper).
· Don’t cook if you don’t need to; that takes away nutrients. Save the water you cook it in to add to the blender, to keep some of the vitamins.
· Don’t feel like you need to add salt or butter (and definitely not honey, since they can’t have that till 1). Just like for toddlers, you’re training them how to eat for life, and they’re not used to having the taste of that stuff anyway, so they don’t really need it. But I don’t think it’s horrible for them if you just use the leftover veggies from your own dinner.
· To preserve it, just pour the blender contents into ice cube trays, then save the frozen cubes in labeled Ziplocs. Three cubes are thawed in about 45 seconds in my microwave; our six-month-old has two to three cubes per meal right now.
· If it’s a thinner consistency when you pull it out of the fridge or thaw it, just add a little cereal.
· Rice cereal makes it go further (i.e. makes it cheaper), is more filling, and adds some vitamins. Soon, graduate to whole grains so that he starts to like the taste of whole grain stuff (much healthier).
· You can eventually combine a few together, like bananas and strawberries or pears, or the mixed frozen veggies. But at first you want to serve them something solo for a day or so to isolate any allergies he might have.
· For ideas, look at the baby food aisle in the store (they have ingredients on the back if the name of the food isn’t clear about what’s in it).
· You can eventually try some more exotic stuff: mangoes, avocadoes, etc. A little more expensive, but if teaching your little guy/lady variety is important to you, it may be worth the extra cost.
· I tend to think that frozen vegetables are less processed, less salt, and generally healthier. But our pediatrician advised that we could use canned fruit as long as it was preserved in juice, not syrup.
· Around eight months you can add meat to the blend (I just used what we had for dinner if it wasn’t to seasoned or spicy! I want them to be able to transition to table food without too much trouble), but if you’re feeling more cautious, you can always cook a chicken breast and throw it in there. Spaghetti works fine too.

Bon appetit!

1 comment:

Alison said...

Thank you!! I am starting Jack on solids and need all the tips I can get. So far, he hates rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, and sweet potatoes. But he eats most of it at least :-). I'll keep trying...