Sunday, April 3, 2016

Homemade Baby Food: The Ultimate Guide


I have always enjoyed cooking so when I was on maternity leave (I took 16 weeks off), I took some time to really prepare myself for going back to work.  I pumped every chance I had so that I could freeze breast milk and I also wanted to make some baby food to store so that I could feed Gavin healthy and tasty meals.  There are a few things I learned along the way of baby food-making so I wanted to share to save you a few steps.  Here are some important things to consider when making homemade baby food:

  • 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!


Ever After,
Jamie

22 comments:

  1. It sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing!
    Hugs,
    Love from www.trangscorner.com {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

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  2. This is amazing because the bay gets to eat clean food which is naturally made without preservatives. Thank you so much for sharing!
    www.fashionstylemogul.com

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  3. I love this! simple, easy and effective! and yes to putting a little bit of spices in their food, it gets their taste buds developed and avoid pick eaters in the future haha
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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    Replies
    1. I agree and who wants to eat bland food? haha

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  4. I believe that home made food must be really better!
    xx
    Mónica Sors
    MES VOYAGES À PARIS
    NEW POST: KNIT ON KNIT SPRING LOOK!

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  5. Love this post! So I started out making all of Brody's baby food for him and then one day gave him a pouch, welp, it well all downhill from there! Even if I added spices and even if I thought the purees were delicious, Brody just wanted the pouches instead. Sooo, I succumbed. Then I did the same as you and used all our pureed ice cubes for smoothies later. Gah!

    Xox Dana Ivy // www.iadorewhatilove.com

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    1. haha, well some of pouches are really great plus they are easy on the go!!

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  6. Great post! I didn't make baby food until I had my second and I wish I had done so with my first. It's so good for them and so much cheaper! Great post!

    xx
    Jen
    http://www.belledecouture.com/2016/04/styling-cowboy-boot-3-ways.html

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  7. Great post! I didn't make baby food until I had my second and I wish I had done so with my first. It's so good for them and so much cheaper! Great post!

    xx
    Jen
    http://www.belledecouture.com/2016/04/styling-cowboy-boot-3-ways.html

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    Replies
    1. thank you so much.. what was your babe's favorite recipe?

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  8. These are such great tips, Jaime! I don't have children of my own, but I will definitely remember and keep in mind all of these wonderful tips! Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you have an amazing week ahead!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    www.thestylecontour.com

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  9. "I'm not saying throw in cayenne pepper..." lol, had to laugh at this. :) Cool guide, lady!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  10. I didn't realize how much sugar is in jarred baby food. I don't have a little one yet, but I'll probably definitely make the food at home. This is such a great idea!
    ~Lili
    www.thefashionsalt.com

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    Replies
    1. thanks.. I didn't realize it either until I had my own as well. xo thanks for the love

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  11. good to know, thanks for sharing! :D

    Have a great day!
    Animated Confessions

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Thanks for the love. I read each & every comment.