How To Make Your Own Baby Food
A Nutritional Guide To Making Your Own Recipes
Babies are ready to begin weaning off of formula or breast milk and start trying baby food. One of the biggest questions for parents across the board, much like the age-old debate between nursing versus bottle feeding is, store-bought or homemade. There are many benefits to homemade baby food, the number one benefit being there are no additives to the food, and the baby gets all the nutritional merits of the foods being transformed into baby food.
One of the most common types of baby foods is fruits and vegetables. It is recommended that all produce, both fruits and vegetables are washed and then either baked, boiled or steamed before being pureed and jarred. There are some parents who use liquids such as water, breast milk or formula to help with the thickness and consistency of the food as the baby becomes accustomed to eating solids. Fewer liquids should be added to these foods as the baby gets older and is able to digest baby food easier.
Another healthy option for making your own baby food is to use grains. Grains should be cooked and also pureed before being jarred and again liquid can be used to thin the consistency of the food until the baby is able to handle thicker paste-like substances. With meats and poultry, it is much harder to digest for a baby, so it is recommended that an all-in-one meal is introduced to the baby’s diet before feeding the baby straight meats and poultry. The meats and poultry should be trimmed and skinned and then pureed before mixed with vegetables or other pureed foods.
HOW TO MAKE THE PUREES
Making a baby puree is as easy as using a food processor and grinding the foods until they are a thick pasty consistency. Adding water can adjust the consistency of the food as needed, but there are some parents who will choose to invest in a baby food maker.
One thing that is recommended is that all jars and containers be washed for sanitary purposes so that contamination from bacteria doesn’t occur with the baby food. Baby food makers are designed to steam and cook the food and then puree it, whereas using a hand-turned food mill will help grind up and puree foods for different textures. The best way to store baby food once it has been made is either in the freezer because it will last up to three months, or in the refrigerator, where it will last up to four days.
One of the most popular baby food recipes is baby cereal. All that this consists of is rice puree and water. It is soft and easily digestible, and when babies begin to develop their ability to digest baby food, different tastes can be added to the cereal, such as fruits and vegetables so that the baby develops a palate.
WHAT TO TRY
Some parents are wary of introducing acidic or spice infused foods, but healthy herbs and spices are acceptable to introduce to baby’s and help add different flavors to the foods. There is a difference between aromatic spices and hot spices and the aromatic spices consist of cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, turmeric, ginger, basil, rosemary, orange zest, lemon zest, mint, coriander, dill, and cumin can be introduced to baby’s, but gastroenterologists recommend they be introduced after six months of age.
WHAT NOT TO TRY
It is important to be cautious of really spicy foods such as siracha or curry that can potentially burn a baby’s mouth. It could become difficult for the baby to swallow if the food is too spicy, and experts recommend that being cautious of reactions by food allergens such as dairy, peanuts and gluten allergies. Introducing a little spice to a baby is okay but cutting the spice with yogurt can help to keep the spice from being too overpowering.
A FEW TRICKS AND TIPS
One neat trick that homemade baby food makers recommend, is to use ice cube trays to freeze the homemade purees because when they are removed from the tray, they are the perfect portion size. Freezing homemade baby food is a great way to make meals in advance and then have a diversity rather than trying to use the same recipe for the baby for a few days. Baby food ice cubes can be mixed with rice, purred oats and puddings to add flavor, or added to baby cereals for flavor.
The last tip homemade baby food makers have for making at home baby foods, is that it can be as simple as mashing up soft foods like potatoes, fruits like bananas, soft-cooked vegetables, and cereals by hand, and feeding them along with the rest of the family at meal times.
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