Quick, easy-to-grab, ready in a dozen different flavored jars at the store... Or chopping, blending, mixing, grinding work that leaves a mess on your counter? That’s right, the choice is yours, and for many moms the choice is between the easy way or the hard way. But what if the question is not which way is the easiest, but rather, which choice is the best? Whether it’s for adults or babies, there is little question as to whether fresh, homemade food tastes better than processed, convenient food. But many moms may question whether the nutritional difference is worth the time it takes to make homemade baby food. While some baby food companies may claim otherwise, the truth of the matter is, once your baby starts eating solid food, there’s nothing better for their little bellies than fresh, homemade baby food.
Anything that is boiled down, preserved and processed, has, by default, lost vital nutrients along the way. These are nutrients your growing baby desperately needs. Their small, developing stomachs and digestive systems can only handle tiny quantities of food at a time. Which means, like it or not, every bite counts.
When you make your own baby food, you not only know exactly what goes into your child’s mouth, but you can offer them a much larger variety, since you’re not going to easily find pureed avocados in the baby food aisle at the store. You'll also get much more economic value. In addition, it helps set the stage for your child to acquire the taste for healthy, fresh foods, as opposed to pre-made processed options for life, which can start them on the right foot toward valuable life-long nutrition.
Making homemade baby food is a lot easier than you may think. And taking the time to give your baby the best you can is highly satisfying! Along with simply pureeing the foods your family is already eating with a food processor for baby, try a few of these tasty recipes:
Homemade Wholesome Rice Cereal
1/4 cup brown rice powder
8 oz (1 cup) water
A little formula/breastmilk
To make the rice powder, simply grind brown rice in a blender or food processor. Another suggested method for making the powder extra fine is to try using a coffee grinder. Bring the water to a boil. Add the rice powder, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes (continually stir, to ensure the rice does not stick). Stir in enough breastmilk to give the consistency your baby needs.
Avocado & Melon Creamy Fruit Mash
1 apple or pear, peeled, cored and diced
1 slice of cantaloupe melon, diced
1/2 avocado, peeled
Place the prepared apple or pear along with the melon into a small saucepan and add a little water. Simmer gently until the fruit is tender. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Mash the avocado with the fruit puree and serve.
Sweet Apple and Spiced Squash
1 medium acorn squash
1 sweet apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tsp unsalted butter (melted)
1 tsp pure maple syrup (optional)
pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg
(optional) pinch ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds (roast later as a tasty snack for older kids and adults). Cut squash in half again. Place the pieces of squash in a greased baking dish, with the skins facing up. Cover and bake 30 minutes.
Combine the sliced apple, butter, maple syrup and spices in a bowl. Once the squash is removed from the oven, turn each piece over so that the skin side is down and cover the pieces with the apple mixture. Cover the dish and return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes, or until tender. This squash can be mashed or pureed for your baby.