How to make healthy and cost-effective baby food

Sure, those store-bought little jars of nutrients are convenient, but they not as fresh as homemade food, aren’t as good of a preparation for the way you eat at home, and are significantly more expensive. That’s why many parents opt for a DIY alternative: homemade baby food. Making your own baby food is not only cost-effective: it allows you more nutritional control over what Baby eats each day.

10 time-tested baby food favorites

Wondering where to begin your shopping list? Try kicking off Baby’s homemade baby food adventures with some of these simple baby-friendly delicacies.

  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Mangoes
  • Peaches
  • Prunes
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Stew meat
  • Yogurt

How do I choose the right ingredients?

The operative word here is “fresh.” There’s also some evidence that buying organic can be good for babies, so you may sometimes choose to buy fresh produce that’s organic, if you can. Babies have less of an ability to filter out pesticides from their systems than adults do. If you can’t buy organic, fruits and vegetables that are in season may not have been exposed to as many pesticides as other fruits and vegetables. Scrubbing fruits and vegetables before eating them, and removing peels or outer leaves can also cut down on pesticide exposure. Frozen and canned foods are usually fine as long as they don’t contain additives like salts, sugars, or special sauce. If you end up going with canned ingredients, try not to buy any products that are packed in their own juices, as the juice often contains additives.

How should I prepare these ingredients?

Whatever you’re cooking for Baby is going to be either partially or fully pureed. So when it’s chef time, start by inspecting your ingredients and removing anything you wouldn’t want inside a blender: seeds, skins, gristle, etc. If you’re using firm vegetables such as sweet potatoes, give them a thorough boil or steam until they’re tender and sufficiently squishable. Any meats or fish should also be cooked until well done. Finally, once everything has had a proper swirl in your pureeing device, check the consistency. You might need to add some water to achieve an ideal softness.

Serving and storage suggestions

Before you wish Baby a sincere bon appetit, give your freshly-made baby food a few minutes to cool off, especially if the primary ingredient is any kind of boiled vegetable. If there are any leftovers after you’ve wiped Baby’s chin, you can refrigerate them for up to 48 hours in a sealed container. However, if the cuisine in question contains any meat, fish, or eggs, be sure to reuse it within 24 hours of refrigeration.

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