This is a special series of blogs on Food & Your Children, written by my wife, Donna Samuelson.
Many parents do not realize the ease and financial saving of making their own baby food. We did this from the start with our daughter Hannah and it was a wonderful experience. The average jar of baby food costs at least .50! You can make a whole month’s worth of peas for about $2 and about an hour of work.
Here are some basic rules to doing it yourself:
(Make sure to consult with your child’s pediatrician about when to introduce new foods. )
Vegetables and fruits are best when baked. This retains the most nutrition and creates a better flavor. For foods like sweet potatoes, squash, apples, peaches, and pears this method works best. Just bake the fruits/vegetables at 350* on a baking sheet until they are soft when piereced with a fork. (For younger infants remove the skins) Mash the cooked vegetables/fruits until they are smooth. You can also use a blender or food processor. Formula or breastmilk can be added as well as water or fruit juice as desired to reach the right consistency. The pureed baby food can then be placed into icecube trays and frozen for up to a month. I prefer to use silicone icecube trays for this. The food pops out much easier!
For foods that need to be boiled such as broccoli, green beans, carrots and peas use as little water as possible. Follow the same process as before by pureeing the veggies until you reach the desired consistency. If needed the cooking water can be used to thin out the puree- this makes use of the nutrients that have leached out into the water.
There are many foods that can be served without being cooked. My favorite is Avocado! It is high in fats and can be the first food you introduce to your baby!! Just simply mash the flesh of the fruit and serve. Bananas are also a great choice for this method. As your baby gets older you can mash the banana less and less to achieve a lump consistency.
Making pureed meats for baby is easy too. Chicken can be baked and chopped into small pieces before pureeing. Water will be needed to loosen up the constancy.
Some great and unexpected baby food combinations: apples and chicken, avocado and peach, peas and pears, carrots and chicken