Homemade Baby Food – Cheaper for You and Healthier for your Baby
Homemade baby foods for newborns and toddlers are slowly gaining ground against commercially manufactured baby foods because mothers are now aware of the inherent health and nutritional value of homemade baby foods. More and more parents who are concerned about what their children eat contribute to the immense popularity of homemade baby food.
It is relatively easy and simple to make your own baby food in the kitchen. It is also very economical. Nutritionally, homemade baby food is more wholesome and healthier because it has no additives, extenders or preservatives.
Making your own baby food does not require expensive equipment, in fact most of the equipment you will need are probably in your kitchen already like a clean pot, sieve, blender and food processor. At a minimum, you can get started making your own homemade baby food with a strainer, fork and a clean pot. Foods like bananas, carrots, potatoes, apples and squash require only a fork for mashing.
Almost all foods, raw or cooked, can be pureed with a blender. Make sure to remove tough peels and seeds from vegetables and fruits before blending or they will be ground with the food which is definitely not a good idea.
Hygiene and sanitation should be a priority when making homemade baby foods as bacteria can easily upset your baby’s digestive system. Make sure that even your hands and the cooking utensils you use in preparing your baby’s food are sterilized and absolutely clean. Do not forget to wash your hands and equipment with hot, soapy water, rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.
The best way to cook homemade baby food is by steaming in order to preserve vitamins and minerals in foods. Place foods or vegetables in a steam basket or colander above boiling water and cook in the steam. Another option is to microwave them as they cook quickly in very little water.
Although boiling is an acceptable cooking method this results in the loss of some nutrients; if you have to boil some foods, be sure to use only a small amount of water. It is best to save the broth to thin the pureed food to eating consistency.
It is unwise to add seasoning to your homemade baby food since babies do not have a preference for salty or sweet tastes. Especially because studies suggest that feeding babies too much sodium can trigger high blood pressure later in life.
One drawback of homemade foods is that they spoil more easily than the commercial variety. It is therefore necessary that homemade baby foods are used up immediately or frozen for future use. The longest you can store them in the refrigerator is 2 to 3 days after which they should be discarded.
However, you can cook them in large batches and freeze them in single serving zip lock bags or containers for later use. You can thaw frozen baby foods by heating them in a double boiler or in the microwave but never thaw them at room temperature because it may spoil.
The best thing is that homemade baby food is several times tastier than any commercial product. Since you and I enjoy a good meal, there’s no reason babies have to wait several years before having a good meal of their own!