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Wisconsin Parent

How to Make Your Own Baby Food

Jan 21, 2014 08:40PM ● Published by Guest Contributor

When it’s time to introduce solids to your baby, the “make or buy” decision will surely cross your mind. Store bought baby foods are convenient, especially for travel.  But there are many benefits to making baby food, including affordability and the fact that you have more control over what your baby eats. Baby food is easy to make—probably even easier than making your own meals because there are fewer ingredients. Here’s a list of things you need to make baby food—you probably already have them:
  1. Food: If your baby is new to eating, you’ll be starting with single ingredients. Seasonings are not required. Avoid spinach, beets, carrots, green beans and for young babies (less than 6 months), which can be high in nitrates and can cause anemia. Commercial baby food has been tested for nitrates and is safe.
  2. Liquid: Water, breast milk or formula is added to achieve the right consistency.
  3. A tool for pureeing: You can use a blender or immersion blender, food processor, hand powered grinder, or even just a fork for mashing. You don’t need one of those products marketed specifically for baby food making.
There is no standard recipe for making baby food. The cooking time, amount of liquid and method for pureeing will differ depending on the food you’re using and the age of your baby. Here are some guidelines:

Carrots chopped 2Prep the food. This may include washing, peeling, trimming and cutting.

Carrots in steamer 2Cook the food. Steaming or microwaving are quick and easy ways to cook vegetables while preserving nutrients. Meats should be thoroughly cooked – poaching works well. Soft fruits like avocados or bananas do not need to be cooked.

Carrot baby food 2Puree or mash the food. If this is your baby’s first time eating, it should be thin with no lumps. Liquid may be used to reach the desired consistency. As your baby gets older, the food can become progressively thicker and lumpier. You can also start mixing foods together, and even start pureeing what you’re eating (soups and stews work great for this).

Keep in mind the following tips for successful feeding and baby food making:

Don’t:

  • Puree potatoes with a blender or food processor, they will become sticky. Instead use a regular potato masher or fork.
  • Assume that just because your baby didn’t eat something, he doesn’t like it. It can take a baby up to 20 exposures to a new food to accept it. Keep trying.
  • Go on a baby food making spree and fill your freezer. Babies don’t eat much, so a single recipe will go a long way. Also, babies don’t need pureed food for very long. You can start offering soft finger foods (like scrambled eggs, cheese, pasta, cut up chicken, etc.) as soon as baby can bring her hands to her mouth.
  • Add sugar or salt to baby’s food.
Do:
  • Allow a 2-3 day gap between new foods to watch for signs of allergies.
  • Consider using frozen fruits and vegetables. They can be more affordable and nutrient contents are similar to or better than fresh.
  • Introduce iron rich foods - especially meats – early, to meet a growing baby’s requirements.
  • Look outside the baby food aisle for store bought items. Regular unsweetened apple sauce is much lower in price than apple sauce marketed as baby food, and the ingredients are exactly the same.
  • Let your baby play with her food. This is her way of learning.
  • Be a role model with food. A baby or child is more likely to eat foods he sees his parents eating.
  • Use common tools to store homemade baby food. Ice cube trays work well for freezing individual servings.
About meToday's guest post is written by Carissa Serink. Carissa has lived in the Madison area with her husband and 1.5 year old daughter for the past 8 months. Before that, she lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Carissa is a Registered Dietitian, but at the moment is loving staying at home with her daughter. She has a passion for food and cooking and all things homemade, blogging about both at www.DomesticDreamboat.com.
Food+Dining parenting diy baby food baby food prep how to
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