I have one active toddler and she is such a great eater! One of the things that I can credit to her great eating habits is the fact that I exposed her to a wide range of foods including fruits and vegetables once she started eating solid foods. Apples, kale, pear, peas, avocado…you name it, I probably steamed it, mashed it or pureed it several times over.
By the way, making your own baby food is not only cost effective; it is healthier for your baby and can be more convenient than you think. It does however require three essential steps:
When I was preparing my daughter’s food at home I used a steamer or steamer insert as part of some food preparation. I prefer to steam foods like broccoli, peas, spinach and carrots to make sure that we are getting the best nutritional value. Boiling can cause nutrients to leach into the water, which is often thrown away after the food is prepared.
A blender or food processor will be necessary if you want to make your own baby food at home. Using this tool will not only give you the consistency that you desire but, it will also cut down on meal preparation time (as mashing foods can get quite labor intensive).
Storage containers are also a necessity in order to make puree’s convenient for feeding and transportable for travel. Consider making certain foods puree’s in bulk, freezing the food in ice cube trays, then transferring the “food cubes” into plastic food bags for storage.
As a parent, if you deem making your own baby food to be important then you need to do whatever you can to make it work. Keep fresh fruits and vegetables replenished and abundant in your home. Keep a grocery list on your refrigerator at all times so that you can easily add an item to your list once it is finished. You can even make a chart with all of the fruit/vegetable combinations that you would like for your baby to try, a menu of sorts. Remember to allow at least 3 days between introductions of new foods to see if there are any allergic reactions.
When you really think about, there is only a 6-8 month window where you will be preparing your own baby food. Even if you do work outside the home most “meal prep” can be done on the weekends or your days off. If you have older kids, get them involved in washing and even peeling or prepping some of the foods. Allow this meal planning for your baby to carry over into other areas of your life. There is no reason that the rest of your family should not be eating more meals and fresh fruits and vegetables at home either. Stop making excuses, buy the tools, plan ahead and make it work!