Although it may seem easier to purchase pre-made jars of baby food from the grocery store, it isn’t necessarily easy on the budget. Making your own baby food does not have to be as daunting as it seems. It is actually very simple, more nutritious, and the finished product is much tastier than the store bought variety.
The move from a milk-only to a milk and solids diet can feel overwhelming. On top of breast milk or formula feedings, you now have to think about three meals a day plus, possibly, snacks. You need to introduce foods one at a time to weed out any allergens while considering how to feed your child a variety of nutritious foods. It may seem much easier to stock your pantry with store bought jars but the cost adds up quickly. When I was facing this next step in my daughter’s life, I wondered which option was better.
It took one trip to the baby food aisle at our local, low-cost grocery store to answer my question. Those jars are expensive! Making homemade baby food couldn’t be that bad, could it? It didn’t make sense to me to buy a small jar of strained bananas for just under a dollar when I could mash up a fresh banana myself for just pennies. From here, my journey began and it really hasn’t been so bad at all.
Easy to use Utensils
Chances are, you have everything you need right in your kitchen already. So far, I’ve found all I really need is a blender, a hand mixer (or stick mixer), a large mixing bowl, a spatula, and some ice cube trays. Very simple. Generally, the stick mixer works the best and makes for the easiest cleanup. I put my cooked product in a large bowl, blend it up by hand and I’m done. These easy utensils can be used to puree soft-cooked and peeled vegetables and fruits. Some foods, like meats, need a little more work, and for those I use the blender.
Storing and Serving Baby Food
To store homemade baby food, simply pour the purees into ice cube trays, freeze for a few hours, then store the cubes in labeled freezer bags.They should be good in the freezer for about a month. It is best not to make batches that are too large to minimize the length of time they stay in the freezer.
When meal time rolls around, take out the cubes you want and heat them in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. They thaw very quickly, and if they seem too hot, pour some cold water in to thin and cool them off. I don’t use much liquid when making my purees as I prefer to thin them if necessary at my daughter’s meal time.
If you are more organized than I am, you can take the cubes you need out of the freezer and store them in the fridge. They should be thawed and ready to eat within a few hours.
Give Baby Food Cooking a Try
After reading the above, I hope you’ll give this adventure a try. It is not as daunting as I thought it would be and it is actually very fun to watch my little girl gobble up something that I myself made for her. Try comparing the taste of jarred sweet potatoes to a puree you made yourself. The difference is amazing and your child will notice it. It is also a good preparation for the days when they will be eating whatever their mom and dad are having for dinner. And you can’t beat the money savings!