Baby Food 101
We all know how important nutrition is for little ones, but many moms are intimidated by the daunting task of making homemade baby food. Thankfully, Amy Nelms, Nutritional Nanny from MMMunch.com is here to help! She helps busy parents feed their kids delicious foods without spending the day in the kitchen or wanting to pull their hair out!
Top 10 Reasons For Making Homemade Baby Food
Making your own food for your baby is simple and easy, but many people still wonder why they should bother when they can just buy food already made. Here’s why…
1. Save money. Yep, making your own is cheaper.
2. It’s safer. There’s zero threat of contamination, botulism, etc., because you’re making it with ingredients you know are good.
3. Your food will be fresher. Pretty sure you’re not going to let your baby food sit in the pantry for years before you use it, right?
4. It will be tastier. ‘Nuff said.
5. It will be more nutritious. You’ll be making it with fresh, wholesome ingredients so it has to be.
6. It’s more convenient. You can make a one-month supply of purees in no time!
7. Your baby gets variety. Expose your kids to a variety of nutrients early and often and they’ll continue the habit as they get older.
8. Flexibility. You have the ability to change the texture of baby’s food. First food will be runny; then you can move on to chunkier versions.
9. Adventure! You will be creating a life-long adventurous eater.
10. It’s a time-saver. You will save time by making one meal for the entire family. Just set aside some for baby and puree. (You can add spices but don’t add salt, as babies’ kidneys are still developing. And be sure to wait three days before introducing a new food.)
Not convinced yet? Here’s one more reason: Jarred baby food contains preservatives, additives, extra sodium and other artificial fillers. Not exactly the kind of stuff you want to be spooning into their little mouths, right?
So How Do I Get Started?
In an ideal world, you start with fresh, local and organic ingredients. Children are four times more susceptible to the toxins used to grow conventional produce. Yuck. If you don’t want to purchase all organic, at least consider the Dirty Dozen, a list of the most contaminated and the least contaminated produce.
You don’t need any fancy-shmancy type of equipment to make food for your munchkin. I like to use an old food processor. You can use a blender, food mill or even an immersion blender. You’ll also need a pot and a steamer basket.
You can use a variety of cooking methods for your baby’s food including steaming (retains nutrients), roasting or baking (perf for root veggies!), stewing (good for fruits that are not easily digested), pureeing (puree everything in the beginning) and mashing (use for foods that don’t need cooking like avocado or banana). Try the recipe below to get you started, but have fun with it. The sky is the limit!
Kale and Squash Puree
2 c chopped kale, washed
2 c squash, washed, peeled and diced
1. Steam kale in a steamer basket until soft but still retaining its color. Cook squash until soft in a steamer covered for about 15 minutes.
2. Add kale to the squash. Puree using a small amount of the cooking water.
Easy, right? A big thanks to Amy for the tips! If you have any questions, need more recipes, or just want to say hello, email Amy at email@example.com. —Jenn