yesterday at the pool, one of my girlfriends was asking me some questions about making your own baby food. this is something i really love to do and, although i don't make ALL of my baby's food at home, i try to make as much as i can. because a) it's cheaper, b) i can control what goes into it, and c) even those all-organic pouches (that i love!) aren't as nutritious as fresh, homemade food because they are cooked at extremely high temperatures. this allows the food to have a decent shelf-life, but it also kills lots of the nutrients that your baby could be getting from fresh food. so, i do both. when i need something easy and on-the-go, i use the organic pouches. but when i'm at home, i prefer homemade baby food!
okay with that said, here are my tips on what you will need to make your own baby food.
1. a good blender
i am a die-hard blendtec user and lover. my parents bought us this
one for christmas and, since we've used it 190 times in the 6ish months we've owned it, i would say i'm fairly obsessed.
i realize that's pretty spendy so if you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, cooks illustrated recommends the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender that costs half the price of a blendtec, $199. you can also get the certified remanufactured version for $149.99. if that's still too steep for you (i totally get it!) then the next blender on cooks illustrated's list (recommended with reservations) is the Ninja NJ600 Pro Blender for $99.99.
if you have a food processor at home or have been wanting one of those, you can use that instead of a blender! i have used my Cuisinart 14-Cup Capacity Food Processor
and it has done a rockstar job of blending baby food. so if you have one of those or have been wanting one for your kitchen, that's an excellent option too.
2. a stock pot and a baking sheet
the next thing you'll need is something to bake and steam your fruits and veggies in. i use this to steam a big batch of anything with
and these to bake with.
they are my favorite, but anything you have in your kitchen will do just fine.
most people already have all the things i listed above: a blender or food processor, a pot, and a baking sheet. so really, in my opinion, there's absolutely NO reason to buy one of those expensive baby food makers. not only are they unnecessary, they only make small portions of baby food. if you use a blender or food processor and a baking sheet or pot of steaming water, you can make big huge batches and freeze as much as you want!
which leads me to my next item.
3. ice cube trays
you WILL want these
they are magical ice cube trays that will perfectly freeze your baby food into 1-ounce cubes. okay fine, they're not magical. but they are silicon and super nice. they won't crack after a few uses like those ghetto ones we all used to use 10 years ago at our parent's houses. and they're cheap, $10.57 for a set of two in blue or $12.51 if you want the pink ones like i did! they come in 7 different colors.
and now for the fun part. it's SO EASY. you just go to this website and select whatever fruit or veggie you want to feed your baby, and it will give you all the nutritional values of that food, when it's a good time to introduce that food to your baby, and the healthiest, easiest way to prepare it. ta da! seriously, it's so easy.
you can also buy a baby food cookbook if you prefer a book over a website. we have used this one and love it.
i love to make mango rice pudding for my baby for breakfast. okay don't freak out, it doesn't actually have pudding in it. it's just pureed fresh mango that i get from costco, plus a little rice cereal. this is the kind i buy for her.
here's a snapshot of what it looked like this morning (i threw a banana in too!) in the blender, right before i mixed it up. added just a tiny bit of bottled water to make it blend easier.
blended it on “soups, syrups and fondues” setting, but anything that purees it will work great.
added a little rice cereal to thicken it up, and to add iron.
what it looked like 5 minutes later:
nummy! all gone.
a couple of things to keep in mind when you're staring your baby off with baby food: introduce new foods 4 days apart. that means if you give your baby peas for the first time on a monday, wait until friday to give him/her a new food. this way if they have an allergic reaction, you know what new food caused the reaction.
also, i highly recommend having some prune baby food on hand when you first start out. my poor baby got so constipated when we started out with baby food! i gave her banana which she loved, but it was hard on her tummy. anytime i introduce a new food, i give her prunes within the next 24 hours to make sure she stays regular 🙂 you can make your own or i really like plum organics prunes.
and on that note, we have tried a variety of organic food pouches for on-the-go and we love plum organics , happy baby, and ella's kitchen. i honestly just buy whatever's on sale. we like them all. you can get them at target, whole foods, and lots of other grocery stores, but the best bang for your buck is to buy them in bulk from amazon.
a couple other little items that make feeding your baby easier. some good spoons, like these. $2.99 for a pack of 5. like my husband loves to say, you can't beat that with a stick! i know, har har har.
we have absolutely loved making baby food at home! some of our favorites are peas, butternut squash, melon, banana, avocado, mango, pears, blueberries, sweet potato and white potato. we explore new foods all the time and our baby loves trying new things!
if you have any questions please feel free to ask! i love getting feedback from my readers.