Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why I Make my own Baby Food

Now that E is starting solids, I want her to have and taste REAL foods.  I really have nothing against store bought/jarred baby food and it is definitely a route I would go if I had less time on my hands.  This may sound funny or silly but since I have been “making” her food since she was born (and even before that, I suppose) I wanted to keep the trend up.   I make dinner for Mike and I so what is so difficult about making my daughter food, too?  Seriously though, it is ten times easier than I thought it would be.

I also love the fact that I get to choose the ingredients and actually see/do the process from start to finish.  I select, wash, cut, steam, and puree it and I know there is no contamination.  I’m “processing” her foods but I am not buying and giving her processed foods.  The hope in doing this is that she will grow up loving the taste of non-processed and fresh foods instead of junky, processed foods.  Also, by introducing her to textures and flavors at 5.5-6 months (instead of giving her “one texture” purees and at a later age), I hope and believe that she will not be a picky eater into toddlerhood.

Processed and fast foods have become such an epidemic in our society, and I am victim to it.  My teenage years were spent eating fast food and drinking pop.  I fell into the slump of eating a lot of processed junk during my pregnancy and after having E and I am just now slowly transitioning back to eating whole organic foods, again.  I’m not going to withhold food from my daughter, but my hope is that she will CHOOSE healthy foods over junk.

I know… high hopes!

So far, E has only had sweet potatoes, avocado, and green beans.  She basically despised avocados (Heck, I hated them until I was in my 20’s), but seems to really like the potatoes and green beans.   I tried rice cereal about 3 or 4 weeks ago but she seemed to get really cranky the rest of the day so I basically skipped the cereals altogether.  I’ll introduce oatmeal later on. 

HATES avocados!
Theres is also the fact that making my own baby food is cost effective.  I can make 10-20 servings for the cost of 2 or 3 of those store bought pouches.  This isn't a huge reason I do this but it is a cherry on top!

The process is really quite easy:

1. Choose organic, in season produce
2. Peel skinned veggies and fruits
3. Wash thoroughly (before being cut and once it is cut)
4. Steam
5. Blend in a food processor or blender (adding cooking liquid to get the texture suitable for your baby’s age)
6. Divide into ice cube trays and freeze
7. Take food out of trays and place into freezer bags (veggies and fruits are good up to 3 months in the freezer)

The only two exceptions are bananas and avocados.  They do not need to cooked and can just be mashed up with a fork as long as they are ripe enough.  They also cannot be frozen.

Veggies need to be cooked until the child is 12 months old to reduce choking hazard.

Foods suitable for 4-6 month olds:

VEGGIES: sweet potatoes, green beans, and squash (acorn or butternut)

FRUITS: pears, apples, avocados, and bananas
GRAINS: whole grain organic cereals (oatmeal, rice, and barley)

Of course, always follow your instincts.  If you don't think your baby is ready for solids then wait.  E loves to breastfeed and nothing has changed from before we started solids. 

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