Like anything else before I was a mom, I never gave much thought to what I would feed my baby.
When I was pregnant, I read about the benefits of breastfeeding and decided that I would breastfeed for at least a year. But starting solids didn’t seem like a big deal to me. Other moms I knew fed their kids baby food in a jar and that seemed like the thing to do. I had written a story about Plum Organics and their organic baby food pouches seemed like a good idea too.
After I read The Baby and Toddler Cookbook however, I was certain that homemade baby food was going to be the best decision for my family. And when I started to steam and puree fruits and vegetables for my daughter, I realized that it was easy, quick and even less expensive than store-bought baby food.
When I offered my daughter all of the wonderful new flavors, tastes and textures, I was so excited. I enjoyed knowing exactly what I was feeding her and I knew that by exposing her to fresh baby food, she would learn what real food tastes like and she would grow into a healthy eater.
The Case For Homemade
Making your own homemade baby food is one of the best things you can do for your baby. You can choose food that is organic, local, from the farmer’s market and those that are in-season so they’re fresher and more affordable.
Although many of the store-bought brands don’t have preservatives or additives, open them up and you’ll smell—and taste—the difference. In 2015, Good Morning America found that water was the most predominant ingredient in Plum Organics’ baby food and other ingredients like fruits, vegetables and meat, were in smaller quantities.
Store-bought baby food may also contain less than 20 percent of the recommended levels of many minerals and micronutrients, a 2012 study out of the U.K found.
Although you may want to make your own baby food, you might be strapped for time. No problem. I can’t guarantee that it’s not work, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Here are some tips to make baby food fast.
1. Get the right gear
To make large batches fast, I recommend you purchase a large steamer if you don’t already have one and a blender.
You can also find all-in-one baby food systems that allow you to steam and puree food quickly. Later on when your baby can handle chunkier textures, a food processor will do the trick.
Baby food can be stored in the refrigerator for three days so if you want to freeze larger batches, you’ll also need containers or ice cube trays. After they’re frozen, simply pop them out into a plastic freezer bag to free up the containers.
2. Make it in batches
You might find that making small batches every few days is easier or spending a couple of hours on the weekend to make large batches to last a few weeks is best. You can find time when your baby naps or after he goes to sleep at night if you’re not too exhausted yourself.
3. Mash it up
At 7-months-old, all types of fruit except for apples can be pureed or mashed without being cooked, Liza Huber, Founder of Sage Bears, LLC and creator of Sage Spoonfuls told me for this Fox News story.
4. Feed your baby what you eat
As your baby gets older and you introduce new foods and textures, you can set aside your own meals and put them in the blender or food processor so it has a consistency he can handle. If you have a pot of rice already on the stove for example, set some aside for a vegetable risotto for your baby.
5. Get help
Feeding your family should be a family affair so ask your partner or another family member to help out. Or make part of the process easier—and faster—by having your groceries delivered every week.