Making your own baby food is one of the easiest and most rewarding things you can do for your family. It's also the best way you can control what goes into your baby's body. You can choose organic or non-GMO foods and also be assured that there are no artificial ingredients or unnecessary additives. It's fun, easy, and incredibly gratifying. So let's get started!
Choosing Your Ingredients
For both nutrition and taste, choose the freshest ingredients you can find. Choose fruits that are nearly ripe and free from bruises. Vegetables should be crisp and bright. Quality matters with meats, too, so be selective with your choices.
Feeding your baby organic, non-GMO foods is a healthy choice, but you may not always be able to find these options. Just like everything else in motherhood, you should try your best but be prepared to go to plan B.
Preparing Your Workstation
I suggest getting your work station all set up before you begin. Have your cook pots and steamer out on the stove, your blender assembled and plugged in, your storage containers washed and at the ready, etc. Once you begin the process it is a breeze to go from Step 1 to Step 2 without having to stop and find what you need.
Making the Food
Every mom's a great cook when it comes to making baby food. Heck, for some things - like bananas - you don't even have to cook! But when you do, remember that steaming is better than boiling; it helps retain more of the nutrients in the food. If you don't use a steamer, use as little water as possible so you don't end up pouring nutrients down the drain.
Baby food ingredients will need to be cooked thoroughly and to the mushy state. (Meat should be cooked thoroughly with no pink remaining.) This breaks down all the cell walls in the ingredients and allows the food to be pureed to the point that babies can digest it easily.
The Cooking Process:
* Wash food thoroughly
* Peel if necessary
* Cover tightly and cool completely
* Blend thoroughly
* Strain if necessary
Remember that things like salt and sugar are learned preferences, and once your baby has them, it may be difficult to get them to eat foods that don't. Eating habits also start young, so keep that in mind when deciding which seasonings to add to your baby's food.
* Instead of salt or sugar, use savory herbs or spices to season your baby's food.
* Seasonings are just like new foods. Only one new thing should be added to your baby's diet at a time, to make sure they don't show any adverse reaction.
* In my opinion, introducing your baby to a variety of different seasonings at an early age helps to keep them from becoming picky eaters.
Storing Baby Food
Because homemade baby food does not contain preservatives, use it within two days or freeze it. If you'll be storing it in the refrigerator for quick use, be sure to keep it in an airtight container.
If you will be freezing your baby food for future use, freeze it in small quantities that will freeze quickly. You can purchase special food trays made specifically for this purpose, but ice cube trays that are BPA-free work just as well. Freeze the food in the individual compartments, then pop them out into a freeze bag marked clearly with the contents and date. Be sure to use a first in, first out inventory system in your freezer.
Content by Cherri Megasko.