As parents, choosing and preparing your baby's meals is one of the most important decisions you will make. Food that is fresh, delicious, and healthy is particularly vital during those early years.
And, there is no better way to know what your baby eats than by learning how to make organic baby food yourself.
Why You Should Make Your Own Baby Food
There are several good reasons to learn how to make organic baby food. For instance, children develop life-long patterns regarding food likes based on what they eat during early childhood development.
And, it is generally accepted that homemade baby food made with fresh ingredients is tastier than commercially processed food. Additionally, baby food made with fresh, whole ingredients is more nutritious.
Likewise, there are safety concerns regarding store-bought baby food. For example, a new scientific study conducted by Healthy Babies Bright Futures found that 95 percent of baby foods tested contained toxic heavy metals.
So, what does this mean for your baby? According to the report, these neurotoxins "can permanently alter" your baby's developing brain. It can also "erode IQ, and affect behavior."
For that reason, learning how to make organic baby food is probably the safest way to ensure proper nutrition and health for your baby.
Pros and cons of making baby food
My mother used to tell me that parenting is the most important job any human being can undertake. Certainly, raising a baby has its challenges to include loss of sleep, diaper wars, and frenzied feedings.
With that in mind, it is essential to consider the pros and cons of learning how to make organic baby food.
Advantages of making baby food include:
Healthier baby food: You don't need to worry about your baby consuming harmful heavy metals and other unhealthy food additives.
Cheaper baby food: Commercially produced baby food is expensive, particularly when purchasing organic products.
More flavor options: You choose your own ingredient, and manufacturers' flavor choices do not limit you.
Disadvantages of learning how to make organic baby food include:
It is time-consuming: Purchasing ingredients takes time as does cleaning, peeling, steaming or boiling, and pureeing ingredients.
It's not always convenient: Pre-packaged baby food is already portioned and ready-to-eat out of the jar.
It is not portable: Homemade baby food requires refrigeration. For that reason, it does not transport well in a diaper bag - particularly for long periods of time.
Feeding Your Baby
Making proper food choices for your baby in the first year of life is essential. Your baby's growth occurs more during his or her first year of life than at any other stage.
Additionally, children's long-term cravings for certain foods are based on their earliest eating patterns. For that reason, establishing good eating routines the first year helps set your child's lifelong healthy eating habits.
Additionally, it's important to feed your baby healthy foods at the right stage in their development. For example, solid foods should not be started before your baby reaches four months, according to Stanford University's first year feeding guide.
Reasons for this delay include:
Your baby isn't developed enough physically to eat solid food.
Feeding solid food to your baby too soon can lead to overfeeding and unwanted weight gain.
Baby formula or breast milk provides all essential nutrients in the first four months of your baby's life.
Baby food feeding tips
There are several points to consider when learning how to make organic baby food, whether making fruit or vegetable purees.
Steaming or boiling fruits and veggies is recommended to aid proper digestion until your baby is eight months old. (Avocados, bananas, and kiwis are exceptions to this rule)
Introduce new fruits and veggies to your baby one at a time before combining them in recipes.
When introducing new food items, use them for three to five days before adding new items. This way, you can monitor any allergies or food's not tolerated by your baby.
Always serve fresh purees within two hours of preparation.
Serve purees warm or at room temperature.
Dilute the puree with water, breast milk, or formula if too thick at room temperature.
If a recipe calls for formula, do not boil or cook it. Instead, add it to the finished puree.
Don't limit your baby's food choices to your likes and dislikes. The idea is to develop lifelong eating habits using a variety of ingredients.
Likewise, don't limit the levels of fat or cholesterol in your baby's diet unless instructed by a medical professional. Babies require both for proper development of the brain and nervous system.
Feed your baby using a spoon. Only us a bottle or infant feeder for formula or water.
Mash ingredients with a fork or a potato masher for more texture as your baby becomes accustomed to solid food.
Ingredients to avoid when making baby food
Standford University recommends you avoid the following ingredients the first year of your baby's life:
Added salt - babies only require about one gram of salt per day. Any additional salt puts an undue burden on your baby's kidneys.
Added sugar - the chemicals used to refine sugar can be harmful to babies. Additionally, excessive sugar can depress a baby's immune system.
Cow's milk - cow's milk does not provide proper nutritional support for babies.
Honey - honey of any kind is linked to infant botulism.
Nuts, seeds, and round candies - these food items can cause choking in infants.
Simple Baby Food Recipes
1. How to Make Organic Baby Food: Mixed Vegetable
Our first organic baby food recipe comes to us from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, a non-profit academic medical center. The included video shows how to make organic baby food using mixed vegetables.
What you need
1 sweet potato, diced organic
1 zucchini, sliced organic
3/4 cup peas, organic
3/4 cup carrots, diced organic
How you make it
First, bring about four cups of water to a boil using a medium-sized pot. Meanwhile, wash and dice the sweet potato, zucchini, peas, and carrots. Then, once the water boils, add the veggies one at a time using the instructions in the first note below.
Second, drain the vegetables and puree them using a food processor until smooth.
Third, serve immediately or store the prepared baby food in small ziplock pouches or jars and refrigerate. Likewise, you can store and freeze in ice trays for later use.
Add the sweet potato to the boiling water first. Next, add the zucchini two minutes later. Then, add the peas and carrots 1 minute later and continue cooking for a total of about 10 minutes until tender.
Feel free to substitute other vegetables to come up with different flavors.
For optimum cost-savings, purchase locally-produced, seasonal vegetables instead of costly imports.
Four cubes of puree equal about one jar of baby food.
2. How to Make Organic Baby Food: Puree
Our next recipe comes to us from the American Heart Association. Your baby will love this healthy and delicious recipe.
What you need
3 apples, organic
3 sweet potatoes, organic
How you make it
First, wash and dice the apples and sweet potatoes.
Second, boil the apples and sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes until soft.
Third, puree using a blender or food processor until smooth, adding water as necessary.
Fourth, serve within two hours or store the puree in small pouches or jars and refrigerate. Additionally, you can store the puree in ice trays and freeze for more extended storage.
You can bake or microwave the apples and sweet potatoes if you prefer.
Feel free to substitute different fruits such as blueberries, pears, and peaches. Get creative and have a fun time.
As with the mixed veggies recipe, purchase locally produced fruits and veggies for optimal savings.
Defrost frozen puree overnight in the refrigerator, or microwave for about one minute.
Four cubes of puree equal about one jar of baby food.
What We Learned Today About Making Organic Baby Food
We hope you enjoyed our article discussing how to make organic baby food. However, we understand that you may not always have time to make your own baby food. If that's the case, you can check out our comprehensive buyers' guide to the best organic baby food.
Now we would love to hear back from you. Do you make your own organic baby food? Are there any tips and tricks you want to share?
Using the comments section, let us know your experiences learning how to make organic baby food.
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