Starting solids is a huge milestone in your baby's life. Learn all about when to start your little one on solids and how to make homemade baby food. Making your own baby food at home is nutritious, economical, and a lot easier than you think!
Making baby food at home has become very popular in recent years. Although it may seem intimidating, it's actually pretty easy to do. All you need is some basic equipment and in a few hours, you can make enough baby food to last for weeks!
Why make homemade baby food?
- It’s nutritious. Commercially prepared baby food is sterilized at very high heat to increase shelf life, a process which kills a lot of nutrients and affects flavor and texture. Homemade baby food, on the other hand, retains most of its nutritional value, taste and texture. When you make your own baby food, you control the ingredients- it’s all natural, no additives or fillers.
- It’s economical. Store-bought baby food can be expensive. You can save money by making large batches of homemade baby food and storing it in the refrigerator or freezer. Most baby food will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days and in the freezer for 3 months.
- It will bring out the chef in you and perhaps make your baby a more adventurous eater.When you make your own food, you can create your own yummy combinations and expose your baby to a wide variety of flavors. Sienna loves when I mix apples, kale and sweet potatoes. Another one of her favorite combinations is cherries, pears and Greek yogurt.
When should you introduce solids into your baby’s diet?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solids at around 6 months but many people introduce them earlier. The truth is that every baby is different and you should discuss this with your pediatrician. Whenever you do decide to introduce solids, here are a couple of rules of thumb:
- Wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Many parents choose to use organic produce- it’s your choice whether you want to use organic or not. One option is to check the Environmental Working Group’s website when deciding whether or not to buy organic. They are a non-profit environmental research organization that releases a yearly guide of the fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues. For more information on the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen,” go to: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/
- Introduce only one new food at a time for at least 3 days. That way if your baby develops any adverse reactions, you’ll know what’s causing it.
|Top row: carrots, mango and prunes. Middle row: pears, Greek yogurt, kale and butternut squash. Bottom row: peas, sweet potatoes, and peaches|
How to make baby food at home
It’s simple. Start with a ripe fruit or vegetable (or meat when your baby is a little older). Cook it by lightly steaming, roasting or boiling it. Then puree it, add any seasonings and serve. Done! Not bad, right?
I recommend lightly steaming or roasting your baby food rather than boiling it as a lot of the valuable nutrients can leech into the water with boiling. Many ripe fruits can be pureed without cooking, leaving all of the important nutrients intact.
How to store baby food
For more great baby and toddler recipes, check out my cookbook, Natural Baby Food: Over 150 Wholesome, Nutritious Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler. It's available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Penguin Random House, Walmart, and anywhere books are sold!
Fresh Peach Baby Food (Makes about 6-8 ounces puree)
- 3 medium ripe peaches or other similar fruit
- Wash the peaches thoroughly.
- Peel and cut the fruit into pieces. Place in a steamer and steam until tender, 3-5 minutes. Note: If peaches are very ripe and soft, you can skip this step.
- Remove the fruit and transfer to a food processor or blender. Puree to desired consistency. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender.
- Serve immediately or pour the puree into individual storage containers and refrigerate up to 3 days.
- If freezing, transfer the puree to multi-portion freezer trays or ice cube trays and freeze.
- When you're ready to serve, pop out individual portions, heat and serve. Enjoy!!!