Baby eating baby food

Why bother making your own baby food? As a busy parent, sometimes the pre-made things can make life that little bit easier, why opt for the extra stress? Well, I’ve found that the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks and that, actually, it is not as time-consuming as you would think! Here are my top tips on how to start, as well as five of my favourite recipes!

 

The Benefits of Home-made Baby Food.

The first is simple: you know exactly what your baby is eating. No unwanted chemicals, no nasty surprises – based on where you buy your ingredients, you can know exactly where they have come from, how they have been produced, and how they were washed. You can know for certain that what went in your baby’s food was fresh and organic. It is also easier to tailor it to your baby’s specific needs and preferences, adding extra specific vitamin-rich foods or playing about with new flavours. You will almost certainly save money doing it and, most importantly of all if you are an eco-parent, you can save on unnecessary packaging in a major way.

 

What you should know before you start.

It’s not as difficult as you think! Once you have spoken to your paediatrician and done your research on allergens, you may even be able to give baby a version of what you are cooking for your own dinner! Making a roast? Why not boil down and puree some of the vegetables you will be having? Keep things simple.

Although each baby is different, as a general rule they should start eating solids at around 6 months, breast milk or formula should be enough until then. Before you start, consult your paediatrician for advice on what foods would be good to start with and always speak to them before introducing new foodstuffs. The best way to test whether a food is right for baby is to continue incorporating it as part of their diet for 4 days in a row – this will show you whether there are any digestive problems, potential allergies…or if they simply do not like it! Avoid introducing more than one new foodstuff at once as this will cloud your results.

Begin with pureed fruit and veg – some good starter examples are bananas, mangoes, apricots, avocado, carrots, sweet potatoes and peas. (The earlier you can get them into vegetables, the better!) After time you can start slowly introducing things like meat, fish, and yoghurt. Avoid sweetening your baby’s food, but use seasonings like simple herbs and spices such as oregano or cinnamon. Babies get bored of bland food too!

Be sure to wash everything – food, hands, pans – thoroughly, and serve food no warmer than body temperature. Final tip – you can re-use sterilised jam jars and ice-cube trays to store or freeze individual portions of baby’s food to save on time!

 

5 of my favourite recipes

1) Pasta Soup from Parenting.com

Ingredients

-          335ml low-sodium chicken broth or stock

-          22g uncooked pastina (teeny-tiny pasta stars, you can buy them here)

Method

-          Bring the broth to a gentle boil

-          Add pastina

-          Cook, stirring frequently, for 7-8 minutes until the pasta is soft

 

2) Pureed Peas from Steelhousekitchen.com

Ingredients

-          3 cups of peas

-          2 tbsp water

Method

-          Steam the peas for 2 minutes

-          Blitz the peas with the water in a food processor or blender until the peas are creamy in texture.

 

3) Brown Rice Cereal from weelicious.com

Ingredients

-          Half a cup brown rice

-          Water

Method

-          Blitz the rice in a blender or spice mill until it is a fine powder (you can store it in this phase if easier!)

-          Bring half a cup of water to boil and sprinkle in 2 tbsp of the brown rice powder

-          Whisk for 30 seconds then stir occasionally for 4-5 minutes until the mix is thick and creamy

 

4) Apple and Oats Porridge from YummyTummyAarthi.com

Ingredients

-          1.5 tbsp steel-cut oats

-          Half an apple

-          Quarter of a tsp ground cinnamon

-          Half a cup of water

Method

-          Peel and chop the apple

-          Add the oats, apple, cinnamon, and water to a pan

-          Cook for 3-4 minutes until the oats are soft

-          Puree in a blender until it is smooth

 

5) Baby Food Lasagne from Love and Duck Fat

Ingredients

-          Half an onion

-          1 tbsp olive oil

-          1 garlic clove

-          1 tsp dried oregano

-          2 carrots

-          1 cup courgette cubes

-          2 tbsp tomato puree

-          1 cup vegetable stock

-          Half a cup of pasta

-          2 tbsp ricotta

-          1 tsp parmesan

Method

-          Cook the onion in the oil until soft

-          Add the garlic and the oregano

-          Add the carrots, courgettes, tomato puree, and stock

-          Bring to the boil

-          Add the pasta

-          Once all the vegetables are tender, take the pan off the heat

-          Mix in the ricotta and the parmesan

-          Allow the mix to cool and then puree in a blender until soft.

 

Nutritious, delicious, and surprisingly simple! Why not give it a go and let us know how you get on? Got any other great recipes you would like to share? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter and let us know! And please be sure to check with your paediatrician before making any of these recipes for your baby!