Making Your Own Baby Food
As you start introducing your child to other flavors, consider making your own baby food! It might sound challenging, but it can actually be easier than making food for yourself. The steps for making baby food are as simple as wash, cook, puree and serve or freeze.
Equipment You’ll Need
• Sauce pan, baking dish, or microwave safe dish for cooking food
• Strainer and spoon or blender for straining or pureeing food
• BPA free ice cube container or cookie sheet and freezer bags for storing food
Try These Ingredients
• Vegetables: peas, sweet potatoes
• Protein: chicken, turkey, lentils, beans
• Fruit: bananas, peaches, apples
• Grain: infant cereal, oatmeal
Tips for Making Yummy Baby Food
You don’t need to buy a baby food maker or food processor. A standard blender, food mill or food processor will do. Pressing cooked vegetables or soft fruits through a strainer with the back of a spoon will work, too (especially if your baby is taking a nap and you don’t want to make too much noise in the kitchen).
Keep everything as clean as possible, including cutting boards and counter space as well as the food you are preparing.
Cook food in as little water as possible. Steam, boil or bake in a small amount of water. Some soft fruits like bananas or mangos won’t need to be cooked. Make sure meat is thoroughly cooked.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are also good ingredients; just read the label to make sure there is no added sugar, fat or seasonings.
You can also save time by using a microwave to cook these foods. Be sure to stir them while cooking and to serve at room temperature to avoid hot spots from microwave cooking.
You don’t need to heat baby food up or add seasonings, spices, sugar or fat. Use breast milk or formula to get the food to the right consistency if it is too thick.
To store the food, pour into a BPA free ice cube tray or drop spoonful’s of food (about an inch apart) on a cookie sheet that’s lined with wax paper. Cover your tray or cookie sheet with plastic wrap and freeze. Transfer the food into freezer bags.
Worried About Waste?
When trying a new food, make a small amount, like one banana or one sweet potato worth of food. You’ll be surprised how far it will go since your baby’s stomach is so small. If your baby refuses a food after several tries, you can still find some use for it. Mashed bananas or applesauce can be used in baking. Pureed carrots or winter squash can make great soups. Pureed fruit can make popsicles or smoothies.
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