Commercially-sold baby food first emerged on supermarket shelves in 1920, and by 1950, 90% of parents were feeding their infants’ store-bought purees. In the last decade, however, baby food sales have been declining as parents return to a more holistic and hands-on approach to feeding their children. Making your own baby food has several advantages over choosing store-bought jars. Homemade baby food gives you the peace of mind of knowing exactly what goes into your child’s first foods. Homemade food also retains more nutrients, as jarred baby foods typically undergo extreme heating to kill bacteria, which depletes some of the nutrients in the process.
Choosing to make your own baby food may initially require you to invest in a blender, steamer, and storage jars. However, making your own food is far more cost-effective and produces less waste than buying premade jars and pouches over time.
Homemade Brown Rice Cereal Makes the Perfect First Food
Brown rice is rich in iron, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber, and packs plenty of protein and carbohydrates to keep your baby feeling full. To begin preparing your baby’s brown rice cereal, place 60 grams of rice in a spice grinder or blender for about one minute, until the grains are finely ground. Boil 250 milliliters of waters, then sprinkle the rice in, slowly adding it tablespoon by tablespoon and stirring continuously. Let the cereal cook between 5 and 10 minutes, then let it cool before serving. Cooked cereal can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. You can also store leftover ground rice in an airtight container, keeping it somewhere cool and dry.
Sweet Potato Puree Packs Important Nutrients
Sweet potatoes are not only a superfood that is rich in antioxidants, multi-vitamins, and fibre, but they are also slightly sweet, making them a favorite first food for many babies. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes is important for healthy eyes and vision, and the complex carbohydrates will give your baby energy, without causing spikes in blood sugar. You can cook a sweet potato in several ways – either baking, boiling, or steaming.
If you choose to bake, wrap the potato in silver foil and cook it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it’s soft in the center. Let it cool, then scoop out the inside of the sweet potato, and put it in a blender with a little bit of liquid (either water, formula, or breast milk). Many baby food making machines use the steaming process, which requires you to peel and cut the sweet potato into 1.27-centimeter cubes, then add water, formula or breast milk to the steaming container and puree. You can expect your baby to eat about 113-170 grams at mealtime, and store the rest. You can store pureed sweet potato in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Babies Go Bananas for Banana Puree
Banana purees are easy, inexpensive and add sweetness and texture to your babies diet. Rich in potassium, manganese, vitamin B6 and Vitamin C, bananas will help meet many of your babies nutritional requirements for the day. Very little work is required for pureeing a banana. You can merely peel it, blend with water, formula or breastmilk, then serve.
One banana will yield about two meals for most infants 4-8 months old. As your child gets older and can handle foods with more texture, you can mash the banana with a fork, instead of pureeing in a blender. Bananas also enhance the creaminess and sweetness of other foods. Once your child is comfortable with bananas on their own, you can mix in other fruits, like apple and pear, or carrots and kale, to make vegetables more appealing.
Fresh food always tastes better, and cooking for your child from the start can be an important bonding experience for both of you. You can have fun experimenting with different flavour combinations as your child’s palate matures and they develop preferences for certain tastes. Making your own baby food allows for more variety, reduces cost and waste and is more nutritious for your child.