As my daughter rounded the 6-month mark, I began to think about what sorts of foods I would start her on. I perused the grocery aisles and was not impressed with the selection, even with the organic and natural varieties. They seemed colorless and bland, and when I read the ingredients lists, water was near the top.
Convenience is definitely a selling point when it comes to jarred baby food. But I started wondering - how complicated and time-consuming could making my own baby food really be? So I left the baby food aisle and headed over to the produce area and picked up some organic carrots, beets, bananas and apples.
The only equipment you need to make your own baby food is a pot! But if you have a steamer, then you can use that, too. Wash, peel and chop your fruits and veggies and steam them until the are tender. If a fork easily passes through, then it's ready. If steamed vegetables and fruits are soft enough, you can mush them with a fork. I also like to use a handheld blender.
Save some of the water from the steamed fruits and vegetables to add to the puree, if you need a thinner consistency. If you have made a large batch, place the puree in ice cube trays and freeze them - that way you always have convenient, ready-made food for your baby in perfect portion sizes. And it’s more flavorful, colorful and most important, you are in control of what your baby eats. Making all the food took less than 30 minutes, which is less time than running to the grocery store! And your baby can be introduced to foods that you would had a hard time finding in jars, like spinach, kale, beets and turnips.
You can also have a baby food party. If you know other new moms, invite them over and everyone can make a different puree. Then you can swap!
Here are some tips for feeding your baby.
1. Start with one food at a time. Give it a couple of days to ensure that there aren’t allergies. Once your baby has tried many foods, then you can make combinations and even add some flavor with spices (no salt and nothing spicy).
2. As your baby gets older, you can change the consistency, so it’s a little more chunky.
3. If your baby refuses a certain food, don’t give up. Try again at the next feeding or the next day. Babies' palates are always changing, so what he or she may not like today, may turn out to be a favorite in a week.
4. Add a drop or two of liquid vitamin D3 to the serving you are feeding your baby to ensure they are getting their quota of the sunshine vitamin.
Now for the recipe. The following continues to be one of my daughter's favorites. It is chock-full of vitamins and flavor. I think it tastes fantastic, too.
- 8 carrots
- 3 apples (I use whatever apple comes in my organic bin)
- 1 small beet (the size of a walnut)
- cinnamon to taste
Steam and puree everything together and add a pinch of cinnamon, to taste. This recipe makes almost two ice cube trays of food.
Do you make your own baby food? What’s your little one’s favorite?