- Before you make it in bulk, make in a single serving and let your baby try first. I wish someone told me this advice! I made this mix of kale, banana, and apple with my Vitamix which I thought was so delicious. Gavin, on the other hand did not. I was stuck with a bunch of kale banana ice cubes. Luckily, I was able to make protein smoothies out of it.. but wish I had him try it before I made a dozen batches of it!
- Buy jarred baby food for texture. If you are a first-time-mom like me, I had no clue how the consistency of "stage one" food should be. I think this fear turns a lot of people off from making their own food. I went to the grocery store and bought some stage-one jarred food and played around with my own consistency until it was similar in texture. If it was too watery, I'd add more ingredients and if it was too thick, I blended more or added more liquid. I did the same for each stage of food so I could get inspiration.
- Don't be scared of spices! I'm not saying throw in some cayenne pepper but it's fine to throw in a little garlic or parsley for flavor. I use cinnamon a lot to sweeten things up a bit.
- The easiest foods to serve are avocados and bananas because there is no preparation needed! As long as they are ripe, you can usually skip the blender part and just whip/mix to desired consistency. I always take a banana on the go for Gavin.
- You don't have to invest in a special "babyfood maker." As a new mom, it's easy to get sucked into everything in baby stores. Some of the products are simply marketing as "baby products" and you don't necessarily need something special for making homemade food. I already had a Vitamix and it works perfectly for making Gavin's food. Plus, not having a separate machine helps me save money and space. God knows I have enough clutter of baby stuff!
- Use leftovers. If we are having sweet potatoes with dinner, I throw the leftovers into Gavin's food. He pretty much eats whatever vegetable we are having for dinner. One of the best benefits of homemade food for your baby is that you save tons of money, not to mention you know what's going in your baby's food. A lot of people think eating organic or all natural will be expensive, but it's actually the opposite here! The average baby consumes 600 jars of baby food by one year. Six-hundred! Prepared baby food can get expensive and a lot of them are filled with additives and are "watered" down. For example, I did some research on my own with one of the veggie servings I bought. Not only did is have a lot of sodium, but it had 14g of sugar in a tiny serving! I also dug a little deeper and thought it was "sweet potatoes with apples and carrots", the majority of the food was made up of water. I am not saying I never use jarred food.. I do! I always have some on the go and keep some in my cupboards. I just wanted to be informed so I can make the best decisions when it came to providing nutrition for Gavin. When I do buy, I try to buy organic, non-gmo and really look at the ingredients. My favorite brands with decent prices (I try to buy on sale) are:
- Nature's Promise organic Stop + Shop brand
- Babies R Us "Purely Simply" brand
- Beech Nut Organics
- Earth's Best
Gavin's two favorite recipes so far have been banana-apple and sweet carrots mixed with sweet potatoes and cinnamon. I do make these with organic fruits and vegetables. Both recipes are given so you can make as much or as little as you want. The recipes are so simple:
Banana-apple puree: Peel, core and cut apple into slices. Boil or steam apples until slightly cooked. I use one of these to cook fruits/veggies. Mash apples with a potato masher and combine a ripe banana (no need to cook/steam banana) to make a smooth consistency. Place the mix of apples and bananas into a blender (I use the Vitamix). Keep blending until desired texture (again, I bought the stages of baby food to achieve the same texture/consistency for inspiration.) You can add cereal to thicken or water/breast milk to thin out.
Carrots with sweet potatoes and cinnamon: Trim and peel carrots and sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Steam carrots and potatoes in a steamer or boil until tender. Mash with potato masher, then put in blender, adding cinnamon and other spices/flavors of choice. If you need to thin out a bit, consider adding low-sodium chicken broth instead of water for extra flavor.
Storage in Bulk:
- For storage, I really like these small containers because they are mess-free and are already in individual portions and can go right in the freezer.
- Make sure whatever you buy is BPA free You can always use silicone ice-cube trays as well but I liked that I could just grab one and not have to hassle with the ice tray to get one out.
- Recycle small jars - I used some glass jars from store-bought food.
- Make sure to consumer within 3 months of freezing.
- To thaw, transfer in refrigerator until thawed or if you need to quickly thaw put in a glass container and defrost in microwave.
- After thawing and serving, consumer within 1-3 days and do not refreeze thawed food.
Any other moms make their own baby food? I'd love to hear some of your baby's favorites!