A Beginners Guide to Cheap, Healthy Homemade Baby Food Purees August 13, 2015 10:40
Starting solids is a big step for any baby! When I first started solids with my daughter I felt so lost. I had no idea what to feed her, in what quantity or how to prepare foods for her. I put together this list of things I wish I would have known as a guide for other new moms.
Things I wish I knew:
- You Don’t Need a Fancy Baby Food Maker - Making food your baby is really easy. In fact, with the right equipment, you can make nearly all of the food your baby will need for the week in a couple of hours.
You Can Buy all the Equipment You Need to Make Homemade Baby Food for $50 or less. Some of the equipment needed you might already own. The main items you’ll need are:
A standard saucepot. The steam basket will fit in almost any standard pot.
An immersion blender – This also doesn’t have to be fancy because the foods you’ll be feeding your LO will be steamed and super soft. Hamilton Beach makes an immersion blender for roughly $20 that includes a wand, whisk and chopping bowl.
Glass baby food jars – Baby companies will try to sell you specialized baby food jars but the truth is, you can buy a set of twelve, 4-ounce Ball Jar Jelly Jars for $10 and purchase plastic tops for $3.
A regular ice cube tray – The rule of thumb is that an ice cube is roughly 1 ounce of food. I recommend an ice cube tray with a lid to avoid leakage and freezer burn. For example, this model from OXO is $5. I’ve also used the Beaba 2-ounce silicone freezer mold and it worked really well. It’s a bit more pricey at $20.
1.) To get started, gather your fresh or frozen produce that you want to prepare for the week. I kept a growing list of fruits and vegetables on my refrigerator so I knew what my daughter had already eaten. The rule of thumb is to introduce a new food every 3-5 days (or as your pediatrician recommends). It’s also good to give babies a new food early in the day as an allergic reaction can take a few hours to show.
2.) Using your steam basket and saucepot, add 1.5-2 inches of water to the bottom of the saucepot. Make sure the water doesn’t come up over the steamer. Put the steam basket in BEFORE it gets hot to avoid burning yourself. Add the food to be steamed in the steam basket, cover and set a timer. Setting a timer is very important as I’ve ruined a pot by letting things steam for too long and running out of water. A guide for steaming times can be found be found here.
4.) Once cool, place your fruits or vegetables in a mixing bowl. Use your immersion blender to blend to the right consistency. For younger babies, make the puree finer and more soup-like. For older babies, you can gradually increase the consistency of fruits and vegetables to be a bit thicker.
5.) Once your baby has reacted well to certain foods, you can mix them together. For example, if your baby likes apple and green beans, why not mix them together? Add some cinnamon or whatever spices your baby likes (again, introducing them moderately ensuring your baby is reacting well to them).
6.) Pour the food into an ice cube tray or silicone storage tray and freeze for at least 2 hours. Once everything is frozen, move each item into labeled ziplock freezer storage bags.
7.) When you’re baby is ready to eat, take the ice cubes out of the bags (in whatever combination you want) and add to the glass jars. This is great for when you’re on the go as the ice cubes will keep the food cold for considerable amounts of time.
8.) Use an insulated lunch bag like the Mitz Accessories Construction Trucks or Sweetheart Bag for easy on-the-go food carrying. Bags like this are FANTASTIC as they lay flat when empty and can be easily stored in a baby bag.
A sauce pot (most kitchens already have this)