17 Oct 2012

Raise Good Eaters: Make Your Own Baby Food

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When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, there was really no question in my mind that I’d be making baby food. Ensuring a healthy diet and knowing that my son would be getting the necessary nutrients were my determining factors. I also wanted to be in charge of what was going into my son’s system and wanted to be able to offer him a wide palate of foods.

I knew this couldn’t be done if I bought food from a jar at the grocery store. How often do you see eggplant, collard greens, and zucchini purees at the grocery store? Unless it’s an organic gourmet baby food line such as Yummy Spoonfuls it’s highly unlikely you’ll find less common veggies and even fruit.

To be in control of my son’s first start with solids I knew I’d have to make his baby food from scratch. If making his own food meant being aware of the ingredients, then I was willing to take that plunge and go for it. I’d much rather know what was going into my son’s food then always worry and have to read each and every label. With all the preservatives, chemical, added sugar, salt and starch it made absolute sense to avoid those factors and just make it.

Some baby food companies are starting to turn a new leaf and offer a healthier version of baby food without all the extra additives and some are even organic. Ultimately, the baby food had to be fresh. For me it was the freshness, variety and packaging I wanted to avoid that made absolute sense.  Making homemade baby food is easier than you think. The prep may take some thought and time but as soon as you realize your child’s enjoyment of your homemade goodness the satisfaction becomes part of the process.

There are a few different ways to prepare baby food and it really all depends on preference. You can try the unplugged approach and use a baby food mill. I’ve heard good reviews about the baby food mills but didn’t use one myself. Since all we had was a food processor, I figured I’d put it to use. After recently reading the post about blender and food processors possibly containing BPA and other toxins it made me realize I may want to reconsider using our Cuisnart and Kitchen Aid mixer which converts into a food processor.

As if, us mom’s didn’t have enough to worry about. Sheesh! I hate thinking I may of exposed my child to toxins, but it could possibly be true. Either route you choose, whether it be a BPA, PVC free food mill or food processor the task is simple. Steam up the veggies or fruit of your choice and send through the food processor. Viola’. You have homemade baby food. You can even bake/roast certain vegetables, like squash or potatoes, zuchinni and eggplant. They’ll blend up just as nicely and bring out a different flavor.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the food mixture combinations. It’s all about using your imagination and getting creative. You have the option of refering to a book for recipes or keeping your own record of the veggies and fruits you mixed and matched! I did both. You can also include meat or fish into any of your variations when baby is ready for different textures and flavors.

Here is a favorite recipe:

Steam cubes of butternut squash & a few handfuls of spinach

Simmer up a batch of Quinoa

Blend all 3 together and serve!

It’s super simple and your baby will love it.

As far as storing the baby food look into ice cube trays with lids that are considered safe for storage. Look for BPA and Phthalate free. It’s so easy to store the homemade baby food and each cube equals a single serving size for baby.

Once you get the hang of making a few batches, it’ll then become part of your daily routine. I would often prepare steamed veggies and fruits and blend them up after my son had gone to bed for the evening. I’d then leave out a freshly made portion in a glass dish and refrigerate for the next day. I’d freeze the rest in the food trays. When I needed to defrost a portion I would get a cube’s worth or two out and defrost by setting it out first thing in the morning. This way I didn’t need to use any appliance to heat it up with and by lunch time it would be room temperature.

If the baby food needed warming, I placed the food cube(s) in our small glass pot and heated over the stove. I really enjoyed preparing my son’s first foods. I attribute his excellent eating skills from eating freshly made, local, and organic homemade baby food. I look forward to enjoying the experience again in the coming months! Making your own homemade baby food reduces waste, some energy (depending on the methods used), and harmful toxins. The entire process is very eco friendly.

[This post was written by Leslie Quigley, found on http://ecochildsplay.com.]

Try Snowcrest’s new baby food recipe:  Pork with Blueberry and Applesauce

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