Making Homemade Baby Food the Easy Way
Making homemade baby food may seem like a daunting task but with the correct tools and a little bit of planning, it can be simple and stress-free. Feeding my children healthy food has always been extremely important to me. Homemade baby food is much more fresh and nutritious than the store bought alternative. When making it yourself, you can ensure that the food is free of preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, dyes, and added flavoring.
Store bought baby food can be very expensive! Making it at home will save you a ton of money. I went through a lot of trial and error in making my own baby food. But, by the time my third child was ready for solids, I had a great system figured out.
The best way to save time and money when it comes to making baby food is to cook large amounts and store it in the freezer. I would typically make large batches of a few different foods every other week. That way I didn’t have to spend a ton of time cooking and pureeing food every day.
Ideas for Homemade Purees
It is recommended to offer one new food at a time when babies are just beginning to eat solids. But once they are well established with a variety of foods it is fun to start offering different combinations. The options for baby foods are endless. You can try out different mixtures of fruits, veggies, meats, and certain grains. It is so important to offer babies a wide variety of foods.
These are some of the pureed combinations my babies liked best:
- Apples and Spinach
- Chicken Soup (chicken, rice, carrots, celery)
- Sweet Potato and Liver
- Butternut Squash and Kale
- Avocado and Banana
- Roast Beef, Potato, and Carrots
- Peas, Carrots, and Broccoli
These two books were my go-to for finding healthy recipes when feeding my babies. Not only do they contain great recipes but they offer valuable information on nutrition throughout different stages of feeding.
Preparing the Baby Food
- Organic fruits, vegetables, or meats
- Liquid to thin purees- Bone broth or water
- Steamer basket and sauce pan or Instant Pot
- High powered blender- I have always used a Ninja and it has worked very well for pureeing
- Ice cube trays- this tray is made specifically for baby food and even has a lid!
- Large plastic bags or containers for freezer storage
Decide what combination of foods to make. Chop the fruit or vegetables into medium size pieces. Also, cook any meat that you are including.
Bring water to a boil in the saucepan and place the steamer basket in the saucepan. Add the fruit or vegetables. Cover with a lid and allow to steam until tender. Some ingredients such as meats and fruits like banana and avocado do not need to be steamed.
Alternatively, the steaming could be done in an Instant Pot. This great steamer basket accessory makes the steaming process very quick and easy. Follow this informative tutorial if you have never used the steaming function on the Instant Pot.
Once all the food has been cooked it is time to start pureeing. Place all the food in a high powered blender and add a small amount of liquid. Blend until smooth. Add more liquid as needed to obtain the desired consistency. Bone broth is a great liquid to use with meats and vegetables and it adds in extra nutrients. Fruits are best thinned with water. Add salt or other seasonings to taste.
At this point the food is ready for baby to eat or to be stored for later use.
Storing the Baby Food
The most helpful advice I ever received was to freeze the purees in ice cube trays. Being able to pull out and thaw a few cubes at a time is SO much more convenient than waiting for a large frozen container to thaw. It sounds so basic but it really is the absolute best way to store baby food.
Once the puree has been prepared, simply spoon the food into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. Allow the food to freeze completely. Then remove the tray from the freezer and place it in warm water for about 15 seconds. I do this part in a sink filled with a couple inches of water. Remove the tray from the water and flip upside down to remove the food cubes. The cubes can be stored in gallon size freezer bags or any type of freezer container for up to three months.
Cooking baby food in big batches and storing it in the freezer allows you to have food conveniently ready whenever you need it. Not to mention it is much more budget friendly than purchasing jars of baby food. Feeding your child healthy, nourishing foods from the start helps to set them up with good eating habits for the future. I hope this post has given you the information and confidence you need to start making your own baby food!