Skip to content

Cooking for the most critical audience: babies!

April 5, 2011

Thought I’d take a break from themes this week and just share what seemed interesting this week on my blog.  Today’s topic: baby food!  Now I realize that this topic may not interest all of you, but I’ve had several requests for tips so I wanted to oblige. 

We make almost everything from scratch in my house, so it only seemed logical that I would make my baby food.  This was all well and good until my son started eating solids and seemed to hate what I fixed him.  It was devastating!  I was putting so much love and effort into it, but somehow he didn’t get the memo.  I pureed until my heart’s content and nothing won him over.  After watching him devour bottled baby food I soon discovered it was all about consistency.  With that lesson learned, it was game on!

Here are some helpful tips and things I’ve learned to help you if you choose to make your own baby food:

  • You do not need a fancy baby food maker.   I had bought a fancy gadget before my son was born (I’m obsessed with kitchen gadgets and thought I HAD to have it!), but soon discovered it was highly unnecessary.  All you need is a sauce pot and a food processor.  I was able to cook much larger batches using a regular food processor and the purée came out much smoother.  Many friends have recommended using the Magic Bullet for pureeing as well, but unfortunately that is one gadget I do not own (yet).
  • Planning ahead is key.  Ideally, it makes it easier to set aside an hour or two one day of the week to make all your purees.  I would cook 2-3 items one afternoon a week, freeze them in batches, and would be set for the week.  I used special baby food freezer trays that broke the food into 1 ounce portions, but ice-cube trays are just as effective.   Once frozen, I would pop out the servings and put them all in a labeled and dated freezer bag.  This made it really easy when it came time to start mixing and matching food, i.e. apple sweet potato purees, broccoli cauliflower purees, etc.  Also, I would take out portions I would need the next day to defrost overnight in the refrigerator so I could avoid using the microwave.
  • If you steam or boil your fruit or vegetable, add the cooking liquid to the food processor to attain the right consistency.  Foods leach out key vitamins and minerals during the cooking process and this is a great way to add them back into your purees.  You should NOT do this when cooking carrots however!  Carrots leach out nitrates when they cook and these should be avoided. 
  • If you are breastfeeding and have expressed milk on hand, incorporate it into the purees.  Babies like the recognizable flavor and it makes the food even more nutritious.  You can also use formula in the same way.
  • Some foods are not worth making on your own.  I will admit that I considered making my own puffs for my son, but thankfully I never actually attempted it.  Some other foods that just aren’t worth the effort?  Peaches (I don’t like peeling them), pureed peas (my son hated the skin so I would have to push the purée through a strainer), and prunes (same reason as peas), just to name a few.
  • Avocado and bananas make the perfect on the go foods.  Who needs a bowl when you can scoop right out of the skin?  Keeping the pit inside a cut avocado will help it from turning brown.  The same holds true for keeping the skin on any unused banana. 
  • Coat hard to grasp foods with crushed puffs or rice cereal. A friend recently recommended this trick and I wish I had tried it sooner! When your baby is ready to move to the finger food stage, it can be tricky to get him/her to actually eat the banana and not mash it in his/her tiny hands first.  By coating slippery foods you increase the chances the food will actually make it to his/her mouth!
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment!  The beauty of cooking your own baby food is that you have full control over what you are giving your child. This does not mean it needs to be boring.  Babies can eat herbs, spices, onions, garlic, and more!  The goal is to have your child learn to like your style of cooking so transitioning to the dinner table is easier.  If you cook with it, and your baby has reached the appropriate stage, don’t be afraid to have your baby try it.  My son adores the curry sweet potato and lentil soup I make him, complete with garlic, herbs and a bit of shallots.  Bland will never do in our household!

Hopefully these tips help you to realize that making baby food really isn’t that hard and definitely worth the effort.  You will have control over what your baby eats AND save a lot of money!  If you have any questions, be sure to post in the comment section.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: