Making Your own Baby Food is oh so easy.
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Did you know you can make your own baby food? It is simple and easy.
Babies don’t need solid foods until at least 6 months old. Then they can eat most of the same foods that we eat but with a little extra preparation in making them a much smaller size so they won’t choke on them.
There are lots of ideas about what babies first foods should be, but I wont go too much into that. Baby food is often just smaller pieces of the same foods that we eat. This evening I made a meal for the family and included some of the recipes below. I made the Mini basil meatloaf, the zucchini and squash bites and the butternut squash recipes below. I was able to cook them in the oven at the same time. Our family enjoyed the meal as prepared, except for our 6 month old granddaughter, for which we mashed the foods up a little more.
My daughters have done a lot of research into what is best to feed their babies and when to start them on solid foods. I have learned from them much of what I will be sharing. If you want to feed your babies the healthiest way possible then let them decide what they want to eat. Never force them to eat solid foods. They will let you know when they are ready. Give them many options so they are exposed to many different flavors. If they are not interested in a healthy food the first time you give it to them, then try it again. Some tastes are acquired through exposure. I have a 3 year old grandson who loves home made sauerkraut. My grand children all enjoy vegetables with their meals, but sometimes frown at some of the foods most kids eat like soda.
Of course I am an advocate for nursing your babies if you are able to. This is one of the best ways to protect your baby and build up their immune system.
There are a few tools that are very handy in making baby food. The first is a blender. I love my Vitamix blender. I use it almost every day as I prepare meals and smoothies for my family. The other is a Vidalia Chop Wizard”, This is a handy tool to chop foods in preparing them for cooking. Older babies can eat baby food prepared in this way. Another handy tool is Infinity Jars. They offer the largest selection of the world’s finest airtight ultraviolet glass jars and bottles, designed to preserve the freshness of your herbs, spices, and natural products. Investing in a couple of these will keep your baby food fresher in the fridge.
That being said, lets talk about what to feed babies when they are ready for solids. To start with, foods should be thoroughly mashed. This can be done with a Vitamix or other blender or a stick blender. I would avoid foods containing milk, processed sugar, tomatoes, citrus, and nuts. As baby gets older and finally gets some teeth you can leave foods as small chunks, just make sure they are small and soft. Foods containing bone broth, organ meats, and egg yolks, as well as high fatty foods like avocados are great for babies. Babies can have herbs and spices so don’t be afraid to add some flavor. I am going to share a couple of books that you can look at if you are interested. They both have recipes for baby food that you can make.
One is “What a Good Eater” by Amy Godiwalla and Alessandra Macaluso. This is a cookbook filled with nutritious recipes for babies and toddlers; a guide for parents to confidently feed their babies and toddlers wholesome, healthy, age-appropriate foods that help promote a diverse palate right from the get-go. They have included recipes for foods that are flavorful and nutritious for the whole family. They have included herbs and spices in the recipes to improve health and expand the palate. Their cookbook can help you turn raw whole ingredients into nutritious foods that you and your baby can eat. You can visit their page at whatagoodeater.com if you want more information. Here is are a couple of sample recipe from their cook book.
- 5 cups butternut squash, chopped into ½-inch-by-½-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (optional: we recommend adding salt only if your baby is 12 months plus.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the squash, oil, sage, rosemary, and salt (if using). Toss to mix well. Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet lined with foil, and spread the cubes into a single
- layer. Roast the squash for 30–35 minutes or until the cubes are soft and tender with the prick
- of a fork.
- Puree the squash, adding small amounts of water at a time if needed, or serve bite-size pieces to your child, cutting the cubes into smaller pieces if necessary.
- 2 cups zucchini, diced into ½-inch-by-½-inch cubes
- 2 cups yellow squash, diced into ½-inch-by-½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, seeds removed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-size mixing bowl, add the zucchini, squash, oil, rosemary, and lemon juice. Toss to mix well. 3On a baking sheet lined with foil, spread the zucchini and squash cubes into a single layer. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 15–18 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and tender. Serve bite-size pieces to your child, cutting into smaller pieces if necessary
- • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, preferably organic
- • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (optional: we only recommend adding salt for babies 12 months plus)
- • ½ teaspoon pepper
- • ½ teaspoon dried herb mixture, such as Herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning
- • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
- • 1 (15-ounce) can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
- • 2 cups fresh mango, diced into ½-inch-by-½-inch chunks (for time savings, check if your market
- sells this precut)
- • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
- • Juice from 1 lime, seeds removed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Season both sides of the chicken with salt (if using), pepper, and dried herbs. Set aside.
- In a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the butter, and allow it to melt. Once the oil and butter are hot, add the chicken to the pot. (The chicken should sizzle when you add it to the pot.) Sear the chicken on both sides until golden brown (about 2–4 minutes per side). Transfer the pot to the oven and bake uncovered for approximately 25–28 minutes or until the thickest part of the chicken reaches 175 degrees. (If you do not have an oven-safe pot, transfer chicken to a baking dish and place in oven.)
- Remove the pot from the oven and add the black beans. Cover the pot with a lid and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes. Add the mango, cilantro, and lime juice to the pot. Serve, cutting into smaller pieces appropriate for your baby, or puree the baby’s portion to desired consistency, adding small amounts of water as needed.
- Tip: If your baby seems hesitant or generally has a difficult time eating meats, try mixing in 1 teaspoon of sour cream. If she still seems
- hesitant, puree a small portion of the dish and spread it on a slice of whole wheat bread, creating a “pâté sandwich.” This may help make
- meats more palatable to babies/toddlers adjusting to the new texture.
- ¼ tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 egg, preferably organic
- 11/3 pounds ground beef, preferably organic and/or grass-fed beef
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ yellow onion, whole
- 2 cloves garlic, whole
- ½ red bell pepper, seeds removed, roughly chopped
- 7 medium-size fresh basil leaves
- Approximately ¼ cup of water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Thoroughly grease the bottom and sides of a muffin pan with butter to prevent sticking. In a medium-size mixing bowl, add the egg and lightly beat it with a fork. Add the beef, salt, pepper, oregano, mustard, and bread crumbs to the mixing bowl. Mix with clean hands to combine the mixture. Set aside.
- In a blender, add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, basil leaves, and the minimum amount of water needed to puree (preferably not more than ¼ cup). Puree until smooth. Slowly add the puree to the meat. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients with your hands. Fill each of the 12 muffin containers to the top with the meat loaf mixture using an ice cream scoop. Then, use the back of the ice cream scoop to compress and even out the top of each mini meat loaf.
- Bake for approximately 23–26 minutes or until the center of the mini meat loaves registers 160 degrees with a meat thermometer. Allow them to cool slightly, then gently run a knife along the circumference of each meat loaf to loosen it. Gently remove them from the pan, and serve bite-size pieces appropriate for your baby. You can also try serving these as mini meat loaf sliders between two whole wheat buns with ketchup or mustard. If at first your toddler seems hesitant, try melting a little cheese on top, or serve the meat loaf with your child’s favorite dipping sauce, such as ketchup, honey mustard, or barbeque sauce.
The other is Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breast-feeding, and Baby’s First Foods by Kristen Michaelis. This book gives great information to help you during pregnancy all the way through babies first foods. I love that she talks about foods that are packed with nutrition that help prepare the body for childbirth, foods such as organ meat, like liver. She also has a section on fermented foods, and shares recipes for them also. These are extremely healthy for you. She recommends starting babies on egg yolks, organ meats and broth as babies first foods. My grandson start this way and is a great eater. He loves most healthy foods and eats sauerkraut on a regular basis.
Mostly I want you to feel comfortable feeding your babies without feeling like you need to buy a bottle of Gerber baby food. You truly can make your own and it will be healthier for your baby. As you learn and master this skill you will be better prepared to take care of your children in an emergency.