Homemade baby food? It must be for stay-at-home moms or granola types. That was what I used to think. After all, what working mom has time to make their children baby food?
After reading a magazine article touting funds like tuna and blueberries for young toddlers when my first was very young, I was intrigues. After all, there are only so many baby food combinations available in stores, and we eat far more variety than oatmeal, green beans, applesauce and peas. As my daughter wanted to explore ‘big” foods and tastes, I started to explore with her.
By a year, our little foodie was enjoying broccoli, salmon, blueberries by the half-pint, even asparagus. I firmly believe that little ones, if exposed young, will be very open to exploring new tastes. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a short order chef, with one meal for adults, another for the toddler and a third for the baby. I’ve found it’s just as easy to blend or mash a “baby” version of what you’re eating – just chop, microwave to soften, and blend. As for our little one, he’s become quite found of squash, zucchini (which I’ll sometimes add some fresh oregano to) and cantaloupe, things I’ve yet to find in even on the organic aisle. And at not quite eight months, he covets our grilled asparagus spears to knaw on while teething!
Ease isn’t the only reason why I encourage you to at least try making baby food on at least one occasion. Variety, cost and waste are other great reasons to try this. Consider: $1.40 for a 4-ounce pack of organic baby food (nearly $6 a pound) – or blending a few ounces of a new vegetable from the farmers market. The waste is a factor; few companies still package baby food in glass jars, which are recyclable. Gerber packages its food in #7 plastic – not recyclable at all in many markets. If your little one if eating multiple containers of food each day, that’s a lot of plastic waste.
If you’re still a little wary of making your own baby food, here are some tried and true recipes my kids have enjoyed. These are from Annabel Karmer’s The Healthy Baby Meal Planner.
My oldest couldn’t get enough of teething biscuits. Then I realized why. Looking at the ingredient labels, I was shocked about the added fat and sugar – they are the nutritional equivalent of an infant candy bar! Both of my children have loved this homemade version, which uses breads of your choice. Healthier, less waste and definitely cheaper.
Slice bread into three strips. Place on cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
1 tsp. butter
Small banana, sliced
2 tbsp. orange juice
Melt butter in small skillet. Stir in sliced banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Sautee for 2 minutes. Pour in orange juice and cook 2 minutes. Mash.