How to Make & Store Baby Food at Home
Every parent wants their child to grow up healthy and strong, a large part of that growth is dependent on their nutrition. Baby foods on the market today are full of preservatives, they reduce the taste and decrease the nutritional value. They are not as nutritious as the food you can prepare for your baby at home. Homemade baby food is not only extremely nutritious but if made correctly it can aid in the right development.
Video : How to Make & Store Baby Food at Home
What Equipment Do You Need for Making Baby Food?
The right equipment can make the experience of making food for your baby a non-cumbersome affair. The equipment you choose should have the ability to break down regular food into puree form for easy consumption. Some of the equipment will already be available in your kitchen.
Baby Food Maker
This is specifically designed to make baby food. It steams the food and purees it too. A wide range of food types can be prepared in this including fruits, vegetables and even meat.
The regular blender can be used to puree food that has been steamed beforehand. Just add a bit of water to get the right consistency.
You can use this equipment specifically for making baby food. Since the amount of food you will be preparing will be small, this gadget will be handy as it requires minimal cleaning.
This equipment is portable and non-electric and can be used on the go. It comes with different blades that allow for different textures. Most parents swear by this gadget.
Baby Food Grinder
Much like a food mill, the baby food grinder is also portable and non-electric. However, it does not give you a choice in textures. Do your due diligence and buy one that comes well recommended by other parents.
The ever reliable fork or a spoon can be used to mash pre-steamed food like sweet potatoes.
How to Choose the Best Fruits and Vegetables?
Choosing the best fruits and vegetables is as crucial as any aspect of infant food preparation. Here are some tips to choose the best fruits and vegetables:
- Buy fresh – Fresh vegetables and fruits contain the most nutrients. Try preparing all the vegetables and fruits within the first couple of days after buying them.
- Buy organic – Buy vegetables and fruits that are grown organically, they contain no chemicals and are healthy. Organic food may be more expensive but it is far healthier for your child.
- Frozen organic alternatives – If fresh organic vegetables aren’t around, buy frozen organic ones. Fruits and vegetables that are organic are only slightly less healthy when frozen.
- Consider your baby’s anatomy – Before buying any vegetables and fruits consider if your baby has a digestive system that can handle it. Children who are below 4-months-old cannot process root vegetables due to the nitrates within them, while children above a year require certain minerals and vitamins to help their development. Before buying, ensure their nutritional requirements are known.
Do You Need to Be Concerned About Nitrates?
Nitrates are chemicals found in the soil, water and certain foods like spinach, beets, and carrots. These food items must not be given to babies under the age of three months. However, since it is not recommended that babies be given any solid foods (babies can be exclusively breastfed till six months only, post which some basic foods in mashed form can be added) until they are four to six months of age, there is no need to worry about nitrates. Once they are old enough to eat solid foods, the digestive system is developed enough to handle the nitrates present in the nutrient packed food.
Tips for Making Baby Food
Making a transition into homemade baby food can be hard without the proper knowledge of how to prepare baby food. Here are ten tips to help you prepare and cook baby food.
Steaming baby food is a great way to get rid of bad bacteria, keep most of the nutrients and keep the natural flavour of the fruits and vegetables intact. Be cautious about overcooking the food by steaming it though as it can become very unpleasant to consume.
If you need moisture while pureeing the baby food try using the same cooking water used for steaming. Water infuses with the nutrients of vegetables and fruits while steaming, and using this water to balance the puree can help enrich the food even more.
Baking is another great way to get rid of bad bacteria while ensuring that there is no loss of nutrients. It is recommended that you try using dry baking techniques. These techniques do not use oil, help regulate nutrition requirements and cook the food completely. Take precautions about overcooking the food as it can render the essential nutrients useless.
Microwaves can be ideal for cooking small amounts of food. However, the gadget tends to cook the food unevenly, so ensure that all the food is cooked.
4. Keep It Plain
Do not worry about adding any flavouring agents to the food such as salt, sugar, or other masalas. Babies love the natural taste of food and will eat most food.
5. No Stale Ingredients
The best fruits and vegetables are the freshest. Buy your produce on a daily basis. Stale ingredients have fewer essential nutrients and have increased growth of bad bacteria which can make your baby fall sick.
6. No Leftovers
Do not keep leftover food from your baby’s meal. It is best to dispose of it to avoid any bacterial growth.
7. Use Ice Cube Trays
Using the ice cube trays to store the baby food is a great way to ensure that you do not waste the food you’ve prepared. When it is time for your baby’s meal, thaw out the number of cubes your baby usually eats.
8. Taste It
Before you freeze your baby’s food, make sure that you taste it.
9. Don’t Overdo It
If you are planning on freezing the baby food, then make sure that you do not prepare for more than a month. The food could spoil.
10. Start With Avocados
Since it does not require any cooking and can be stored easily, we recommend that you start with this one to help you get used to preparing food for your baby. It is also great tasting and will be a hit with your baby.
When preparing and storing your baby’s food in advance, it is imperative that your storing methods be proper. Here are a few tips to follow when storing your baby’s food.
- Make sure that all work surfaces are properly cleaned.
- Ensure that while preparing the food, your hands are clean.
- Having the right storage units can go a long way in helping you portion out the food.
- When defrosting the food, place the portion meant for your baby in the fridge the previous night.
- Do not store food for more than a month.
- Do not store leftover food. It can contaminate the other food in the freezer as well.
In a world filled with mass consumerism, we cannot guarantee the baby food you buy at stores can provide the nutritional value your baby requires, it could in fact be worse due to the immense amount of preservatives used by companies to ensure shelf life. Your baby deserves the best and healthiest nutrition, this is why nothing compares to making your own baby food at home. It is fresh, nutritious and healthy.