Baby Food Basics: Make it Yourself and Save

by Gina Blitstein · 1 comment

There is little that’s more important to an infant’s development than superior nutrition. During infancy, a baby’s body and brain undergo dramatic growth that will impact his or her health and well-being. In addition to physical growth, during the first few years he or she develops the eating habits and attitudes that will sustain him or her throughout life. That’s why food for baby should be so much more than what is provided in those pricey little jars.

You can take control of your baby’s nutrition and do so at a fraction of the cost of commercially prepared baby food by making it yourself. It’s very simple to do and will insure that your baby receives high-quality nutrition and develops a taste for ‘real’ food while you save money.

Making Homemade Baby Food

Rather than thinking of baby food as something completely different than adult food, think of it simply as a modification. Babies who have no allergies or sensitivities can, in general, eat what adults eat — according to the nutritional requirements for their age, of course. Consult your pediatrician for guidelines for feeding your infant with regard to specific foods and quantities, then instead of purchasing those foods in a jar, serve the real thing from your kitchen. All you need are the foods themselves and a small food processor. Even if you have to buy one, it will be a sensible investment, considering all the money it will save you in the long run.

*Remember: discuss your baby’s food readiness and appropriate foods and quantities for his or her age with your pediatrician.

Here’s a basic guide to feeding baby from your kitchen instead of from a jar:

  • First foods: Most babies begin solid foods at 3-4 months of age. The first solid foods a baby can begin eating are pureed fruits and vegetables such as bananas, peaches, pears, carrots, sweet potatoes and squash. Simply purchase the actual foods (fresh or frozen are most nutritious). Introduce only one food to baby at a time and serve the same food for a few days to insure that he or she tolerates it well.

Puree perfectly ripe fruit or well-cooked vegetables in the food processor to a smooth consistency, adding a touch of liquid such as water, juice or formula as necessary. If you make more than baby can eat at a sitting, the extra can be stored for a day in the refrigerator or frozen in an ice cube tray for future use.

As babies get a few months older, they can eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, including pureed berries, citrus fruits, green beans, spinach, peas and corn.

  • Second foods: Around 8 months of age, babies can begin eating proteins, which include meats, egg yolks, chicken, cheese and legumes. At this stage, babies can eat the same meats served to the rest of the family, pureed or chopped to an appropriate consistency. The components of any meal can be fed to baby, so long as the seasoning is appropriate. Feeding your baby real food will teach him or her about flavors and textures so those things will not be foreign to his or her taste buds as they develop.

It’s important to encourage babies of this age to begin feeding themselves. Appropriate finger foods can be small chunks of well-cooked vegetables, ripe fruits, chopped meats, toast, crackers and noodles.

You already have nutritious foods in your house, so why purchase separate food for the baby? There’s no magic to baby food — you can make it yourself simply and for pennies per serving.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Priswell October 30, 2012 at 11:46 am

I never bought baby food when my child was young. Once he started eating solid foods, I got a hand-powered food mill, put a tablespoon of food in it and ground it up for him to eat. I would never criticize a parent for buying/using baby food (ya gotta do what you need to do to keep your world together), but I figure I saved quite a few bucks by using my little food mill.

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