Is your pantry currently stacked with store-bought containers of applesauce and packages of puréed vegetables and fruits that you feed your baby? Maybe it is time to consider making your baby’s food right in your kitchen — not only will it save you some money, but it will also allow you to introduce new flavors to your baby’s palate while ensuring that your little one gets only the most nutritious foods possible.
Benefits of Making Your Own Baby Food
Cultures around the world link food to love and affection and what could be a better way to show your love to your baby than by providing nutritious and delicious food right from the start? Preparing your baby’s food at home will also help you keep control over what goes in and what needs to be left out.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, solid foods can be introduced when your infant is between the ages of 4–6 months. This change of diet will help you introduce new flavors, textures and ingredients, often opening up the child’s palate and helping the baby become familiar with the flavors of your home.
Just keep in mind to watch out for the nutrient content in the foods you prepare and make sure your baby is getting all the essential ones for optimal physical and cognitive development.
More specifically, fats from dairy, nut butters, pumpkin seeds, extra virgin olive oil, ghee and coconut oil are essential for brain and nerve development. Iron is essential for the proper transportation of oxygen through the body and can be obtained from tofu, leafy vegetables, poultry and vegetables.
Similarly, babies also need omega-3 fatty acids for good brain development and healthy gut bacteria for digestion and overall immune health. It might be a good idea to include foods like yogurt and fermented vegetables to enhance your baby’s gut flora.
How to make baby food at home
The logical first step to baby food is of course puréed vegetables and fruits, and that’s where you can start from too. Along with creative ideas, nutritionists and DIYers recommend these pieces of equipment for making the best baby food possible:
- Powerful food processor
- Fresh, seasonal ingredients (preferably organic)
Once you have these on hand, your baby’s new favorite food is just three simple steps away: steam, add some water or breast milk and/or fats like coconut oil and purée it all together.
Many nutritionists and pediatricians recommend starting out with savory foods because babies don’t need to be introduced to sweets that early. The best options for the first savory solids could be carrots, sweet potatoes, oats and spinach. You could also try fruits like pears and bananas for an occasional indulgence.
Foods to avoid: popcorn, nuts, tough meats and grapes that can be choking hazards.
After feeding your baby with plain puréed vegetables for a week or so to see if they pass the taste test, you could try adding some herbs and spices like ginger, mint, garlic and parsley for some adventurous flavors. And if that bodes well with your baby, you can switch up the ingredients and feed your adventurous eater with delicious and nutritious foods prepared right in your kitchen.
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Middleberg, S. (2018, September 13). It’s Way Easier Than You Think: How To Make Your Own Healthy Baby Food. Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-make-your-own-baby-food
2017, L. U. (2018, August 03). Favorite first foods for babies – Photo Gallery. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/101_favorite-first-foods-for-babies_10403314.bc