Homemade Baby Food – Healthy From the Start!

Preparing baby foods at home helps to integrate preparation of your infant’s meals into preparation of meals for the rest of the family. By making baby foods yourself, you will be in control of the quality of nutrients that your child eats, and also you will be able to provide her diet with a greater variety of healthy foods that taste much better than any jar baby food available at your local supermarket. While having a tremendous sense of satisfaction from having impact on your baby’s health, you will also save money!

Essentials you need:

– stainless steel saucepan and steamer (avoid copper as it robs food from vitamin C)
– food processor or blender
– veggie/fruit peeler
– paring knife
– colander (for rinsing and draining)
– fine mesh strainer
– ice cube trays or muffin tins
– pen, labels or masking tape
– small freezer bags
– instant-read meat thermometer

Fruits & Vegetables

With the exception of bananas and avocado, all fruits and vegetables have to be cooked. Cooking tenderizes them and kills bacteria that may be present on their surfaces. While cooking in water is the easiest way to prepare fruits and vegetables, it’s not the healthiest, as it depletes many nutrients. To preserve all or most vitamins and minerals, steam your fruits and vegetables instead. Other healthy ways to prepare your foods are roasting and baking. You may roast or bake apples, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. Dry heat will preserve all their nutrients and bring out their natural flavor.

Meat & Poultry

Roasting or baking meat or poultry are healthier methods than frying, broiling, or grilling. Frying leaves the food too greasy and fatty, while broiling and grilling can cause formation of carcinogens, the cancer-triggering substances. Always check if your meat is done with the meat thermometer.

You do not need to add salt to your baby’s food. Also, refrain from adding spices in the baby’s first year of life, as her delicate digestive system may not ready to handle them.

Freezing

Spoon your cooked and cooled baby food into clean ice cube tray (~ 2 tbs of food), or muffin tin for older infants. Leave room to allow for fluid expansion during freezing. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. When frozen, transfer baby food cubes into small freezer bags. Label them with the name of food and the date of preparation. You may store the frozen cubes up t 1-2 months.

Thawing

Defrost the desired amount of baby food in the fridge overnight. You may microwave it for ~30 seconds per cube if you need the food right away. However, check the food’s temperature before you serve it to your infant to prevent burns! Discard leftovers. Also any baby food left at room temperature for an hour or more needs to be discarded.

Sample recipes:

BANANA

1 small ripe banana
breast milk or formula

Break banana into pieces. Blend with a blender or food processor. Add breast milk or formula to thin it out.

CARROTS

½ lbs peeled and washed carrots

breast milk or formula

Steam carrots until tender (~10 minutes). Cool for ~ 10 minutes. Blend. Add breast milk or formula to thin it out.

MEAT/POULTRY

2 oz cooked and chopped chicken, turkey, beef, or pork
breast milk or formula

Blend the meat. Remove chunks. Add breast milk or formula to thin it out.