When I was pregnant with my first child, I knew I wanted to give her the best nutrition. It started with my diet. I cleared out all the conventional meat in my freezer and replaced it with organic meat. I improved my diet and when my daughter was born I breastfed her. So when it came time to introduce solid foods, I knew that processed baby food was not for us.
Making your own baby food may sound cumbersome, but I find it to be as easy as making a smoothie and actually quite fun. And when you calculate the cost of store bought baby food, you will find that making your own is a lot cheaper. Besides, when you are your child’s chef, you get to choose foods that you wouldn’t even find in the baby food section, like black eyes peas and collard greens, plantains and black beans, or even quinoa and yams.
There are a lot of new products out there marketed to new moms who want to make homemade baby food. But you do not need a hundred dollar product to make your own baby food. You probably already have everything you need in your kitchen.
Just follow four simple steps:
1. Prepare: Washing and cutting up the food.
2. Cook: You can steam them with a pot and a steam basket, steam them in the microwave, bake or boil your ingredients. All will work, but steaming preserves most of the nutrients.
3. Mash, Blend or Puree: You can mash with a fork, potato masher or put it in a food processor or blender. It all depends on the texture of the food and how long you cooked it for.
4. Freeze, Store and Label: Dates are important to put on the food so that you don’t keep it too long before serving. Some people freeze their baby food in ice trays, but I prefer specially made baby food containers with the lid attached. Masking tape works well for labeling. You can freeze baby food for up to a month and store fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
When I started making baby food the two solids I started out with were bananas followed by avocados. All you need is a fork to mash and a spoon to feed. Just make sure each is ripe.
Bananas are a great first food because they are sweet and loaded with potassium and they are sweet. Avocados are awesome because they have that good fat and are a great source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, folate, and B6.
After this I dived into a variety of fruits and vegetables. We continue to make homemade applesauce and will probably never stop eating this one. We slice the apples (I keep the peels on) steam them, then blend. Yummy! If you choose you can add cinnamon, but for the baby’s first taste I like to just feed them the plan fruit or vegetable. Remember they haven’t had all the seasonings we are used to so they wont miss it.
If you live in a warm or hot climate, you may want to make your baby a popsicle. My daughters loved these especially when they were teething! I made these by taking the puree from their baby food and putting them in these cute little baby popsicle molds. These are good for babies that can hold things on their own. I would make apple popsicles, mango, and even yam popsicles!
Combining foods is where things get fun. Here are a few recipes that we enjoy:
1. No Cook Mango/Banana Puree (6 months and up)
2 ripe bananas
2 ripe mangoes
2 tablespoons full of water (optional)
Peel the bananas and mangoes. Cut the mango and discard the seed. Place all food in food processor. Add water for thinner consistency. Freeze or serve.
2. Apple/Pear Quinoa
1 cup of dry quinoa
2 cups of water
dash of cinnamon
Rinse off quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Add quinoa to a pot of water to cook for about 15 minutes. While quinoa is cooking, cut up pears and apples. (Remove skin if desired) Place cut up apples and pears in a steam basket and steam. After quinoa is done cooking, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Place apples and pears into a food processor and puree. Combine and mix fruit with quinoa. Add a dash of cinnamon. Freeze or serve.
3. Yams & Greens (10 months and up)
2 large Yams
1 bunch of collard greens
1/4th cup of garlic
1/8 cup of red onions
Wash and chop collards, onions and garlic. Place them in of water pot to boil for an hour. Wash and peel yams. Place in steamer and steam for 45 minutes. Combine yams and other veggies in food processor and puree. Freeze or serve.
Eventually your child will move on to eating raw fruits and vegetables. Some parents even skip purees altogether and use baby led weaning. I am a smoothie addict and love to cook, so I prefer making the food. But, as with everything, there are many ways to parent!
Mommies, have you ever made your own baby food? What recipes did your baby like the most?
Angele is a wife to a wonderful creative husband, mother to two beautiful intelligent daughters and a lover of art, education and laughter. She is the creator and author of ABC remix.