Once my son was diagnosed with moderate to severe eczema, it was suggested that his flare ups could be food related (though it has since been indicated that it's probably NOT food related *rolls eyes* lol). But I told myself that I would strive to make all his food once introduced to solids. Google is my best friend! I searched for some easy homemade baby food recipes and voila! Honestly, its SUPER easy, cost efficient and for me, safer. We don't know what is in today's foods (I'm dreading watching that new Netflix documentary on health). Between GMOs, pesticides, and I know you all remember the whole Capri Sun and Go-Go Pouch "MoldGATE" lol I didn't want to take any chances. I kind of feel bad I didn't think about this with my daughter. Nonetheless, I made a commitment to myself and my son to at least TRY to make all his food! I couldn't afford a Baby Bullet or some other food processing tool so I used what we already had in the house, a good old blender! Between that, our ninja (which was a wedding gift), some BPA-free silicone ice trays, and plastic wrap, I was well on my way to creating fresh organic baby food from my kitchen.
So in case anyone is interested I'm sharing my top fav below and some other helpful sites! :)
Disclaimer: You should always consult your pediatrician before introducing food to your baby. We were given the go ahead when DJ was 6 months. And always do your own research! Only the best for these lil crumb snatchers.
So Where Do I Start
Another good "first food" are sweet potatoes. Takes a little more effort, but they store great!
Clean the potatoes thoroughly. I made my own fruit and veggies wash by using 3 part white distilled vinegar, lemon juice and water in a spray bottle. I also use a veggie brush to gently scrub the skin.
I then cut the potatoes into small cubes, or triangles (however the shapes panned out) and threw them over in my skillet.
Add enough water to cover the potatoes. You have to eyeball it. If you don't add enough water and watch the potatoes, they will burn (lesson learned haha). If you add too much they get a little too mushy.
Let them simmer until tender. Check by poking a few with a fork. If they are pretty soft, they're done!
Add them to the blender with a little of the water reserve from the skillet. (I have a puree function on the blender and that worked wonders.)
Check the consistency of the potatoes and add a little water as needed to make sure the food is completely pureed
Bananas are suggested as a great first food for baby. And these are by far the easiest to make. They don't have to be cooked first and you can make them in a matter of minutes.
Knife & Fork
Water/ Formula/ Breastmilk
Instructions: I've read some sites that suggest washing the peel of the banana first. I just peeled it and then washed my hands before slicing lol. Whatever makes you happy is my motto lol
Slice the banana and microwave for 25 seconds. Just enough to heat the banana to make it soft
Using a fork mash the banana
Add water, formula, or breastmilk to get your desired "creamy" consistency
Note: I found the ripper the better (just not over ripe). It's easier to mash and sweeter. Also, since bananas brown once exposed to air, I don't prefer making bananas in advance. Now there is nothing wrong with the banana once it browns, it was more of a personal preference for me. Plus it literally only takes a few seconds to make, so I just make them on the spot. You will notice the color is different than what you find in the jars, and that's because the banana is in its natural state and ascorbic acid and other preservatives are clearly not added.
Another note: Bananas can cause constipation. Found that out! OH and if you see black fibrous specs in babies' poop after feeding them, bananas are more than likely the culprit.
Pour the pureed food into ice trays. When I first started I used these god awful plastic ice trays. It was terribly hard getting the food cubes out so Hubby found these amazing (red) BPA FREE silicone ice cube trays from Target. Points for Daddie! (Note these trays are meant for large ice cubes for adult beverages, but who cares right lol) The cubes are a lot larger, which means more food and i'ts much easier getting them out.
Let the food freeze overnight and then transfer the food cubes into freezer bags. Label your bags with the food item and the date. They say prepared food can last up to 3 months in the freezer, but they never last in my freezer longer than two weeks! LOL
But how much is enough?
Great question lol The amount of food baby needs is dependent upon their age. My pediatrician gave us a food chart with the suggested amounts. We keep this on our fridge. You can also check out the Guidelines for Feeding Healthy Infants. And since we are using ice trays with no other formal way of measuring, here are some helpful hints and tricks I found in my research.
1 standard size ice cube = about 1oz
My giant trays = 3oz
The Gerber 1st food containers are 2.5oz each (they typically come n packs of two) and 2nd stage are 4oz. I use these as my serving size guide and for food combination ideas!
And what about those bananas we just mashed and never measured? Use this site to help convert the amount of bananas needed to achieve the desired amount. This site was so useful!
I know it sounds like ALOT of work, but so is being a parent. DJ is now 10 months and pretty much eats anything we give him. I still make MOST of his food, but we do supplement a few food items with the Beech Nut brand! For example, we made Sweet Peas once and they were a disaster so now all his green veggies are purchased. We also get other fruit and veggie combinations like his Beet-Pear-Pomegranate; because let's be honest who wants to puree pomegranate seeds, or a beet for that matter LOL. If it's overly complicated or just too messy (like peaches), I'll just purchase them. However ALL his meats, his apples, pears, bananas, avocados, butternut squash, zucchini, and sweet potatoes are made with love by Mommie, at home! And no, I am NOT bragging. I am just super proud of myself for sticking it out! Truth be told, the fact that I'm a struggling artist and it's so much more cost efficient, keeps me grounded LOL. A $4 pound of turkey can feed him for a week and half; those $1 jars will only get him through dinner. Oh and don't let me catch a sale on sweet potatoes. $.78 a pound! Yes Please! You do the math :)
Happy (Baby) Meal Prepping!
Some of DJs (Food Combination) Favs!
Sweet Potatoes-Cinnamon apples