Stretching food dollars and preparing nutritious foods for children are a winning combination. If there’s a baby (aged six to twelve months) in your home, now could be a good time to consider making your own baby food to save a few dollars. Making your own baby food could reduce your food costs, and provide your child with nutritious meals that can also help your child get better acquainted with some of the foods you and your family eat. And it’s SO easy!!!
Prior to making your own baby food, it is a good idea to discuss the option with your child’s pediatrician to be sure your child is ready for baby food and to address any other concerns. Remember to try one food at a time and wait a few days to make sure there is no allergic reaction in your child before you introduce another new food for the first time. That way if there is a reaction you will be able to have a good guess at which food caused it. If this is your child’s first food experience, talk to your doctor about what is best to try first after cereal. If you make baby food at home, you will need a few tools, many of which you probably already own. If you don’t own these items, they can be purchased at a relatively low cost. You don’t need all of them- different tools will work for different foods. Just make sure you get it very finely blended, and take out any skins, seeds, or stringy things!
1. Spoons/forks—these are used to mash soft foods to the right consistency
2. Potato masher
3. Sieve/strainer with a small mesh to allow you to press foods through the mesh with the back of a spoon.
4. Baby food mill (grinder)—can be used for cooked fruits, vegetables and soft fresh fruits
5. Hand held blender
It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly and work on a clean surface when preparing baby food. All work surfaces must be washed with soap and hot water. Equipment should also be washed with soap and hot water and rinsed well. Fruits and vegetables must be washed, paired/peeled, and have the seeds removed.
If foods are cooked, boil them in a small, covered saucepan with a small amount of water until tender. Smaller amounts of water keep more nutrients in the food. Before feeding your baby, test the food for smoothness by rubbing a small amount of food between your fingers. You can add a liquid like formula, water or breast milk to achieve the proper consistency. If preparing your baby’s food while cooking for the rest of the family, be sure to separate the baby’s portion before adding seasoning or spices.
I used to make Brooke’s food myself when she was a baby- I just couldn’t handle paying so much for jars of baby food! We did use them if we were away from home, so I didn’t have to worry about keeping anything cold like you would with homemade food. But at home I would simply buy bags of frozen fruits and veggies, cook them briefly if they needed it, and blended them with my hand blender. We made a lot of green peas. You can keep leftovers in the fridge for about 3 days, but any longer than that and you should freeze them. I used ice cube trays so I could pop them out a few at a time!
1 medium apple
4 tablespoons pineapple juice
Peel, quarter, and core the apple. Cook with pineapple juice until soft. Blend until the texture is smooth.