When babies begin to reach the age where they're eating puréed or solid foods, many parents are faced with the decision of whether or not they want to start making their own baby food. For those who decide to go the DIY route, there are plenty of baby food making tips that'll make feeding your child a whole lot easier.
The benefits of making your own baby food are long, but can be narrowed down. For starters, you get to decide what you put in your child's stomach. If you're struggling to pronounce the ingredients on the jarred stuff, you can rest easy knowing every item in your baby's meal. In doing so, you're also able to cut out additives like sugar, salt, coloring, and more. Additionally, you can save some money. When you think about the cost of a single baby food jar, using produce can be the cheaper options. On top of that, there's no need to make an extra trip to the store when you're out of baby food, because you can make it out of food at home and save time.
So, if you've decided to dabble in making your own baby food, or want to switch to homemade completely, this list of baby food hacks should help you get started.
1. Introduce Foods One At A Time
To avoid the risk of allergies, you should introduce one food at a time every three to five days, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAI). The organization also noted that delaying introduction of allergenic foods past 4 to 6 months old may increase your baby's risk of developing allergies. So build a solid basis of foods one at a time, introduce allergenic foods, and continue building upon that foundation with baby food mixtures and recipes as you progress.
2. Start With A Simple Superfood
Making baby food can feel a little overwhelming at first, which is why Laura Harris of Kids Ain't Cheap suggested you try starting with simple food so you don't burn out. Some great superfoods to start with include bananas, avocados, or squash. Once you get used to making simple baby foods, you can easily build from there.
3. Add These 7 Foods Before 1 Year
According to Parents, the more fruits and vegetables your baby eats before 1 year old, the more produce he'll consume by 6 years old. The seven foods to mix into their baby food before 1 year include strawberries, peaches, kale, lentils, salmon, peanut butter, and squash.
4. Use A Creative Base
Once you start to build on your baby food making, it's a great idea to find simple, go-to bases to add in for new consistencies and flavors, according to Amy of Eat Raise Love. Bases like yogurt, hummus, leftover mashed potatoes, and even breastmilk are great things to add in with veggies, beans, fruits, and more to step up your baby food game and create new textures.
5. Roast Veggies
Debbie Koenig, author of of Parents Need to Eat Too, wrote on her site that roasted veggies are perfect for babies because the softer texture works perfectly for them to eat. A few of my kids' household favorites include carrots, sweet potatoes, and asparagus (cut up, of course).
6. Try Ice Cube Trays
One of the best baby food hacks is to use ice cube trays to store and freeze perfectly sized servings of baby food. Wholesome Baby Food noted that you can freeze homemade baby food for up to three to six months, giving you an easy pre-prepped meal on hand.
7. Opt For Puré
Again, you don't need baby-specific equipment to make your baby food. Puréeing vegetables and fruits is a quick way to make fresher, less expensive, easy meals for your baby.
8. Spice It Up
Herbs and spices are super healthy for anyone, and also one of the easiest things to throw into the blender or pan when you're making baby food. According to the aforementioned Wholesome Baby Food article, it's smart to experiment with different tastes and take advantage of the long list of herbs and spices you can include in your baby's food.
9. Make Sure Baby Food Isn't Too Hot
When heating or reheating baby food, Baby Center noted that you should make sure it's not too hot. The site suggested heating food on the stove or placing the baby food container in hot water to warm it up. If using a microwave, check for hot spots, as it doesn't always heat evenly. To test the warmth, make sure the baby food feels no warmer than your skin.
10. Pay Attention To Serving Amount
In order to cut down on costs and make sure you're able to save and use baby food efficiently, measure out servings into sizes you know your little one will eat. The aforementioned Baby Center article note that, whatever amount of food is leftover from a serving should be thrown out because your baby's saliva mixes in, making it easier for bacteria to grow.
11. Grab Inspiration From The Baby Food Aisle
If you find yourself in a funk or aren't sure what combinations may taste good to your baby, try heading to the grocery store and scoping out the baby food mixtures there for inspiration, according to Simply Rebekah.
12. Avoid A Few Ingredients
Today's Parent suggested avoiding salt, sugar, and honey when making baby food. Salt and sodium aren't tolerated well by babies' kidneys, so just make sure to look for low-sodium options for foods like beans and avoid adding any extra salt to the mix. There's no need to add sugar to foods you're preparing, and using honey should be held off until 1 year old when your baby's digestive system is better equipped to handle potential bacteria.
13. Remove Skins And Seeds
Don't forget to remove the skins and seeds from fruits when prepping and cooking them for your little ones. By taking off the skins and checking you've removed all seeds, you're also taking away any potential choking hazards or pieces of food that are too hard to nom on for babies.
At the end of the day, making your own baby food is doable for any parent. Many times it can actually save time and money; plus, it allows you the freedom to decide what you're putting in your baby's body and create your own personalized recipes. Using these tips can help you get started, learn what foods and tricks are best for your baby, and get yourself out of funks when you need to shake things up.