Would you be interested in knowing there are ways to cut the cost of feeding your growing baby and toddler without jeopardizing the nutritional value of your baby’s diet? Would you be interested in knowing these ‘ways’ actually have the potential to add important nutrients and vitamins to your baby’s diet?
Homemade baby food is an easy, economical and absolutely wonderful way to decrease your grocery bill while giving your baby’s nutrition a boost. But that’s not all….
Benefits of homemade baby food
- Homemade baby food is simple to prepare and requires nothing you do not likely already own.
- Homemade baby food can introduce your child to tastes they would otherwise not have available to them.
- Homemade baby food can be made in the quantities you need; reducing waste of both food and money.
- Homemade baby food is fresher and free of any and all preservatives.
Food for thought…
In a society where we have so many things vying for our time, you might think you don’t have the time to spare; that making your baby’s food is just one more thing on your endless ‘to-do’ list. But…
- There are several fruits and vegetables that can be mashed and blended with breast milk, formula or water and frozen in individual servings for meals on the go or travelling.
- Most home-made baby foods can be prepared while you are preparing dinner for the rest of the family.
- Much of what you feed the rest of the family can be fed to your baby once prepared appropriately sans seasonings.
The question that is likely going through your mind at this point is ‘what do I have to do-is it difficult to make my baby’s food?’
- Making home-made baby food requires nothing more than a food processor or blender, a microwave and/or stovetop for cooking and steaming most vegetables, fruits and cereals, basic cooking utensils and possibly even a small pestle, ice trays for freezing small portions and small glass containers with lids for serving and storing leftovers.
- Making your baby’s food requires little more than steaming or cooking foods until they are soft, pureeing or blending them in a blender or food processor and helping your child enjoy discovering new tastes and textures.
- When making home-made baby food, keep in mind that steaming or microwaving are the best methods for cooking those foods that need to be cooked. Both methods retain food’s nutritional value.
- Use clean, disinfected utensils to make your baby’s food. Using a dishwasher that steam dries helps to kill any bacteria that might be lurking on a spoon or blades of a blender.
It really is that easy. But before you start blending and chopping, there are a few things you need to keep in mind…for your baby’s health and safety…
- Fruit should be completely free of peelings and seeds.
- There is no need to use sugar or any form of artificial sweeteners in your baby’s food. Babies should not be given sugar in any form until they are able to consume most table foods normally.
- Never use honey to sweeten food given to a child before the age of one.
- Salt, butter and other seasonings should be excluded from your baby’s diet until they are able to consume most table foods prepared normally.
- Do not give a child under the age of one, eggs with a runny yolk. Feeding your child scrambled eggs around 8-10 months of age should be fine. Just watch for signs of allergies.
- Most paediatricians recommend you refrain from giving a child peanut butter before the age of three. This, too, is due to the danger of allergic reactions to nuts-some of which can be fatal.
- Cow’s milk should be avoided for the first year.
- Do not introduce more than one new food at a time to your child; waiting 3 or 4 days before introducing something else. This enables you to determine the cause of any allergic reactions or foods that cause gastric or digestion issues.
- Berries and grapes should be avoided due to the seeds in berries and the skins on grapes-both are a choking hazard. Exception: strawberries-as long as they are blended or processed thoroughly.
- Meats should be the last thing introduced to your child-usually at around 1 year of age. Don’t worry, they are getting their protein through breast milk, formula or whole milk once they reach 1 year of age.
- Do not soften and blend fruits with fruit juices-the sugar content is high and clings to their teeth.
Now that you know what not to feed your baby, here is a list of delicious, nutritious foods your baby will enjoy.
NOTE: Not all babies like all foods. The process of elimination is the name of the game.
- Avocado is a great first-food. It is easily mashed, packed full of nutrients and most little ones find it incredibly tasty.
- Pears and apples are old stand-bys, for sure. But you know what they say…if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Steam or microwave, puree and feed.
- Green beans and peas should be steamed and pureed with a small amount of water or breast milk/formula. NOTE: Foods pureed with milk or formula should not be kept more than 24-48 hours.
- Peaches and plums should be steamed or microwaved before processing.
- Beans-navy, great northern or brown, should be cooked thoroughly and pureed with a small amount of water. You can mix with a small amount of pasteurized cottage cheese.
- Bananas should be completely ripe before feeding.
- Dry oatmeal can be blended with milk or formula and a small amount of fruit. NOTE: The instant oatmeal packs contain too much sugar.
- Pumpkin is a storehouse of vitamins and other important nutrients. You can even buy pumpkin which has already been pureed without any preservatives.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of foods you can make for your baby, it is a great place to start.