Friday, July 27, 2012

Baby Food 101

I don't know why but I thought that making my own baby food was going to be way too time-consuming to attempt.  It sounds like something that would take all weekend and result in a disastrous mess in the kitchen, like canning.  That couldn't be farther from the truth.  I was shocked at how easy it was.  I have really enjoyed making my own baby food.  For the record, we do buy premade baby food still.  There are some situations when it is just easier- i.e. when we are out of the house during mealtime.  But with the bulk of our food homemade, it has really decreased costs.  I have only been making baby food for a month or two but I really love it.  Here are some of the tips I have so far:

1. You really don't need any baby food specific appliances.  A food processor is really the only thing you need.

2. When cooking the ingredients for the baby food, be sure not to add oil, salt, sugar, or strong spices.  If you do need a little oil, use it sparingly.

3.  It is a good idea to buy organic produce for your little one.  Also, try to buy in season.  Vegetables and fruit begin to lose vitamins once they are picked.  Frozen vegetables tend to retain more nutritional value if the fresh in-season version is not available.

4.  A great way to make premeasured portions is to use a muffin tin.  I have heard of people freezing the food in icecube trays.  I suppose this would work, but I like the muffin tins better.   I take a cheap fold-over sandwich bag or saran wrap and place it in the muffin cup then spoon the food into it.  Then I wrap the plastic over the top of the food and put it in the freezer.  Once frozen, I take the wrapped portions and place in a quart-sized freezer bag labeled with the flavor and date. 

5. Don't be afraid to use short cuts.  My favorite short cut is to use premade applesauce.  Apples take awhile to cook and there is not a great selection of organic apples in my area.  If you use premade applesauce make sure it is all natural, organic, and no added sugar.  I have also used canned organic pumpkin and frozen organic vegetables.

6.  My favorite components are:
  • Avocado:  It really adds a creamy, silky texture and it is packed with really healthy fat that baby's need.  My favorite combo is Chicken-Apple-Avocado and I have also mixed it with cantaloupe.
  • Sweet Potato:  Babies love sweet potato and it is especially yummy when baked.  Just pop it in the oven for about 40 mins while you are cooking dinner.  It doesn't get any easier.
  • Butternut Squash:  This is another baby favorite and it is really easy to cook.  Just cut it in half and roast cut side down in the oven for 30-40 mins.  You can make it for dinner than reserve some for baby food.

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