Guest Post by Lexie of Lexie: Naturals
If you are anything like me, you often try to cut costs here and there. Making your own baby food is a huge money saver!
Some people get nervous just thinking about it or even think that they could never, EVER make their own baby food. But the reality is – IT’S EASY! It also doesn’t require fancy kitchen tools (though I’m sure they can be helpful). Let’s also not forget about the many health benefits of HOMEMADE ANYTHING.
I started making my own baby food when my little girl was a baby (and currently make it for my 8 month old). My husband and I both worked at the time, but he was home with her for the majority of the day while I taught school. He still comments on how easy it was to pop a cube or two out of the freezer and warm it for her! He would also help me prepare and mash the food as well. It’s really that simple!
Homemade Baby Food
#1: Fresh (and organic) is best, but frozen won’t hurt.
I always like to use fresh produce when I make baby food. Some great “go-to” fresh foods for babies include: carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, apples, corn, black beans, squash, bananas, avocado and pumpkin. This list really could go on and on. If you do buy frozen, make sure there is no added salt or sugar listed in the ingredients. You should avoid canned food whenever possible (for these reasons).
#2: Steaming (or baking) is great, but boiling is okay, too.
I like to use my inexpensive collapsible steamer because it keeps more nutrients in the food. BUT, if you need to boil in a scant amount of water that’s fine. Simply add most of the water from the saucepan back into the food before you puree it. Overcooking will cause nutrient loss, so only cook the food until it just begins to get tender. Some foods like bananas and avocados don’t need to be cooked. Most fruit should be slightly cooked for younger babies.
#3: Mash or puree your baby’s food once it’s cooked.
I do love using my hand blender (a great gift from a friend), but it certainly isn’t necessary. A good fork will do the trick. Simply mash the food until you reach the right consistency. It should be very smooth for babies who are first eating table food, and it should have more texture for older babies.
#4: Feed your baby what you are eating.
If you are having fresh foods in ANY part of your meal (carrots in your salad, rice or broccoli as a side, soaked beans in tacos, baked sweet potatoes, etc.), steam some to the side with no added salt. I even puree raw spinach leaves into my baby’s food if we have it on hand. Be creative!
Rice, black eyed peas, raw spinach
#5: Make and freeze large batches.
It’s very simple to roast a whole pan of sweet potatoes or pumpkins and steam some fresh veggies at the same time. Then you can simply mash or puree them, spoon them into clean ice cube trays and freeze them for later use. I cover the puree with a layer of plastic wrap and then transfer them to a labeled bag once they are frozen to save room in my freezer.
So, you’re asking, “Where should I start?” Make a decision today to prepare one food item for your baby instead of buying it. You will be surprised at how easy it really is. We’d also love to hear pointers you’ve learned along the way. So, share away in the comments!
Lexie is a follower of Jesus, the wife of the very talented Stephen McNeill, and a stay-at-home mother of two exquisite girls (ages 3 and 8 months). Her passions include spending time with friends and family, reading, traveling, and teaching. In an effort to live more naturally and frugally, she began making and selling her own lotion, lip balm and diaper cream. She loves sharing these passions with others and helping other families catch the vision of living more naturally.