How to Make Homemade Baby Food
If you have never made your own baby food, I have good news for you and your pocket book. It is extremely easy to do and it saves you a ton of money! Are you ready to begin? Good, let’s get to it!
Note: Consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about what foods are appropriate or how to make homemade baby food. I did this at length and followed the pediatrician’s guidelines of what to feed my children.
The main kitchen appliance I would recommend for this is a food processor. It makes the whole process extremely quick. Once you are set up with one, you may be wondering what to make. Of course if your baby is just starting to eat baby food you want to only introduce one food at a time so you can check for allergies. Once you are in a groove and know that your baby can tolerate a variety of foods, try to consider if you can portion a small bit of your families dinner to puree for your little one. You might want to set aside a bit of food in a container before adding salt or hot spices to your final dish.
Ideas for food:
- Sweet potatoes and apples
- Chicken with broccoli and cheese
- Beef with carrots, peas and gravy
- Potatoes with cheese and vegetables
- For younger babies, just start with single foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. See how they tolerate the food for several days and to check for any allergic reactions. Then continue on and try something else.
- Steaming – Preserves the taste and nutrient content of food
- Microwaving – Quickly cooks fresh fruits and vegetables (and later on fish) with minimal nutrient loss.
- Boiling – Can destroy nutrients if over cooked, so be sure to boil just until tender with the minimum amount of water necessary
- Baking – Retains nutrients and is convenient for multi-tasking Mommas. Bake until tender and scoop out the flesh of the fruits and veggies.
Blending: Cut the pieces of food into small pieces. Blend in a food processor until very smooth. Add a tablespoon of water bit by bit if needed to thin the puree. You can use the water from the boiling pot if you cooked the food that way. Just don’t use bottled mineral water because of the high sodium content.
Freezing: Store the pureed food in a dish in the fridge until it has cooled. Spoon into ice cube trays and place in the freezer until frozen. Pop out of ice cube trays and store in freezer zip lock bags that have been labeled and dated. Try to remove as much air from the bag as possible. If the food cubes are being stubborn and don’t want to pop out of the trays, dip the bottom of the tray in hot water for 10 seconds then try again. They should pop right out.
Reheating: Reheat in the microwave or in a sauce pan. Be sure to reheat until it is hot all the way through. This is important so that any possible bacteria is killed. If using the microwave, be very careful of hot spots that can occur in the babies food. This means that one area of the food may be ice cold, while another area is extremely hot. Stir the puree very well after heating and make sure any hot spots are gone. For safety, do not reheat a puree more than once.
- Veggie purees – 6 months
- Fruit purees – 6 months
- Purees w/milk – 2 months
Food Safety Tips:
- Only reheat the baby food once. Discard any unused portions. The same goes for partially eaten puree leftovers in the fridge. Once saliva hits that food, bacteria starts forming, and you don’t want your baby to eat it later on after it has developed in the fridge.
- Always date your food and throw away expired baby food.
- If you are cooling down a cooked food, store it in the fridge, not on the counter, otherwise more bacteria will form.
- Don’t add extra salt, sugar or honey to baby food. Salt puts a strain on the kidneys, sugar encourages a sweet tooth and honey caries a slight risk of the botulism infection in young children.