Saturday, September 20, 2008

Homemade Baby Food

When it came time to start feeding the little man solid food, we started with Earth's Best Rice Cereal, like basically every other baby I know. After that, it was time to start veggies and fruit. Since we cook pretty much everything from scratch for ourselves, we decided we should treat the little man just the same, and make his food, too. It's actually quite easy (if you are used to cooking).

Our favorite baby cook book, and the one that gave us the basics in a helpful and well-organized manner is Le Petit Apetit by Lisa Barnes. We're still using it, since it has recipes for babies AND toddlers.

In addition to a good cook book, there are a few other essential tools to make your own baby food. You need a blender and/or a food processor, and you need at least two ice cube trays. A steamer is helpful, too, as steaming the veggies and fruit is a great way to cook them. And yes, you should cook more tart fruit such as apples and peaches too make them a little sweeter. I figured that one out the hard way!

When you make the food initially, you process it until it is all the way smooth. As your baby gets older and starts being able to have a little texture, you can leave it more lumpy. Once you've cooked and pureed/smashed to desired texture, you put the food in the ice cube trays and freeze it. The frozen cubes keep in freezer bags for quite a while, and you can put a few cubes in a bowl and microwave them when it's time for baby to eat. You can even mix and match cubes for more interesting meals.

To get the little man used to lots of flavors, we try to give him a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains, as well as a little meat. We also use spices in his food (we've been gradually increasing the additional flavors as he gets older).

Here's a (not comprehensive) list of the foods he eats regularly:
  • Bananas (no need to cook - just mash with a fork; they freeze great)
  • Peaches / nectarines (with skin included)
  • Plums (skin included - good for digestion!)
  • Mangoes
  • Pears
  • Apples (no skin - with cinnamon!)
  • Zucchini (with curry and/or chili powder)
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Green peas (with butter and curry)
  • Spinach (with nutmeg)
  • Brown rice (sometimes I throw a bay leaf in with the rice)
  • Black beans
  • Poached chicken
I also have a couple of my own "recipes" that I'll post soon.

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