Friday, August 16, 2013

homemade baby food and organic alternatives

Making your own baby food can be time consuming and challenging, but, in my opinion, one of the best things you can do for your baby. When you make baby food from scratch in your home, you know exactly what you're getting; the cleanliness of your prep area, the freshness of the produce you are using, and the exact date it was made. These are variables that you just can't be sure of when using pre-made baby food. Not to mention, most jars of baby food contain quite a few preservatives, such as citric acid, that are not necessarily harmful in low doses, but are just really unnecessary to your baby's diet. 

Today, I'd like to share with you the few tips and tricks that I've learned in the past 4 months when making D's food. I want to preface this by saying that we do not always use homemade baby food. The majority of his diet is fresh, organic produce, but sometimes that is just not feasible. One of the major downsides of homemade baby food is how difficult is can be to transport it. A jar (or pouch) of baby food doesn't need to be refrigerated until opened, making it easy to throw in your diaper bag and go. A fresh jar of homemade baby food needs to be kept cool, requiring a cooler, ice pack, and proper timing, which can definitely add a little stress to your outing. 

When we use pre-made baby food, I always read labels. A lot of the fruits contain citric acid, which I try to steer clear of. I've found that my favorite brand of pre-made baby food is Earth's Best Organic. Occasionally, there will be a preservative in there, but for the most part, the ingredients are straight forward, and all organic. They also come in jars and squeeze pouches, which I love. 

Making your own baby food can seem like a daunting task, but it's really not that difficult. The biggest challenge for me was getting accustomed to cooking fruits and vegetables that I wasn't familiar with. I'm a very picky eater, and had never tried quite a few of the things I wanted to feed D. For instance, I had never cooked squash or zucchini before, so that was a little bit of a learning curve. This has actually been a great experience for my diet as well, as I taste everything before I feed it to him, so I've learned to like new vegetables!

The first thing you need is a blender, food processor, or dedicated baby food maker. When you decide what you want to use, it's important to only use it for baby food prep, so there is no cross contamination (even after going through the dishwasher, you don't want the remnants of your margarita in your child's food!!) I was given the Baby Bullet as a gift, and have been very pleased with it. I also received the Baby Bullet Cookbook, which was a great guide for which foods to start out with.

Once you've chosen what food you want to start with, the rest is very easy! Make sure your work space is very clean. Wash, peel, core, or seed the fruit or vegetable you are working with, and chop into small chunks. You can either boil or steam at this point, but you want to make sure the food is thoroughly cooked, practically to the point of falling apart. This will reduce the likelihood of unwanted chunks in your final product. Drain your food very well, then put into the Baby Bullet or food processor, and blend the heck out of it. Seriously, you cannot overdo this part, especially if this is your baby's first introduction to solids. You want it to be smooooooth. One of my biggest frustrations with the Baby Bullet is sometimes it leaves some serious chunks, which I have to pick out... so not fun.

Sweet Potatoes!

Pour into individual containers, and stick in the fridge to cool! Baby food in the fridge will last 3-4 days, but you can freeze some and those will last for around 30 days. I recommend trying to do a few days a month of bulk freezing, as it can get time consuming. If you purchase the Baby Bullet, it has these great containers that allow you to put the expiration date on. Also, you always have the option of pureeing the food right before serving, which I do often with things like blueberries, that don't need to be steamed. 

Happy Food!

Making your baby's food can be time consuming, but it's also extremely fulfilling and rewarding, especially knowing your baby is getting the best you can offer. It's a great feeling!

I know this is a super long post, but I wanted to be as thorough as possible! If you have any questions about making your own baby food, or organic pre-made baby food products that I recommend, just email me at! 

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