Make your own baby food
With a little bit of know-how and the right tools, you can make tasty, nutritious meals to help baby grow.
Making your own baby food
What goes into your baby’s body is important for his growth and development. By making your own baby food, you will be avoiding all the nasty additives that some store-bought food contain, gaining control over exactly what it is that your baby is eating and exposing your baby to a greater variety of textures and tastes.
What you'll need Everything you need to make your own baby food will probably already be in your kitchen. You will need:
Make sure your kitchen is clean and safe, and that you wash your hands before starting to cook; this is especially important as babies are susceptible to digestive upsets.
- Vegetable peeler
- Sharp paring knife
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Vegetable steamer (or pot with lid)
- Ladle and spatula
- Food processor or blender (even a fork or potato masher will work)
- Small freezer bags and storage jars
A few tips Baby food must be easy for baby to swallow and easy to digest, so prepare foods with a texture that is appropriate to your baby’s age. Don’t start your baby on solid foods before he is at least 4 months old. The best foods to start with are bland fresh fruits and vegetables like butternut, pumpkin, apples and pears. Wash, peel and remove seeds from all produce. It is best to steam fruits and vegetables so that they retain their flavour and nutrients. Don’t add salt or sugar to your baby’s food, however bland it may seem. Your baby’s taste buds are still developing and he actually enjoys the natural taste of bland foods. You can prepare a week’s worth of food and freeze it in cubes for convenience. To defrost, put a few cubes in a teacup placed in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer until hot. Microwaving frozen baby food is not advised: it causes hot pockets that can burn your baby’s mouth. Introduce new foods to your baby’s diet one at a time, and allow 3 days between each new food. This will give you time to notice any allergic reactions that your baby might have to a specific food. All vegetables and hard fruits like apples and prunes need to be cooked so that they are soft enough to puree. It’s important to preserve the vitamins and minerals present in these foods. The best way to do this is to steam them. You can also bake or boil them. Remember to use as little liquid as possible when boiling the food. To puree fruits and vegetables, simply add a bit of liquid (cooking water, breast milk, formula) as you grind or blend, until the mixture is smooth. Meat and chicken should be thoroughly cooked by stewing, poaching or roasting so that it is hygienically safe, tender and retains nutrients. Remove excess skin and fat before pureeing and freezing and include some of the cooking liquid, or baby’s milk, so that it is not too dry.
Two easy recipes:
Perfect Pumpkin Ingredients
1. Peel and seed the pumpkin. 2. Cut into chunks. 3. Steam until tender. Alternatively, you could boil the pumpkin. 4. Drain and place the pumpkin “meat” into a blender, or your choice of appliance. 5. Puree the pumpkin, adding water as necessary until the mixture is smooth
- Whole pumpkin or pumpkin chunks
Scrumptious Baby Beef Stew Ingredients
1. Finely chop the veggies 2. Simmer the vegetables in water for 20 minutes, or until soft. 3. Add the macaroni and cook until soft. 4. Drain. 5. Add the cooked meat to the veggie and pasta mix, and puree.
- ½ cup cubed cooked beef
- 1 potato, peeled
- ¼ cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 stalk of celery
- ¼ cup macaroni, uncooked
- 4 cups Water