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In some cultures, a baby’s first bite of solid food is a religious rite of passage. Even if your spiritual leader is not present for the event, that inaugural, sloppy spoonful is a hefty milestone! Selecting first foods and all your child’s early meals is an exciting undertaking. If you are interested in putting in a little extra TLC, crafting homemade baby food will have rewards for your little one, the planet – and your wallet!
Better for Baby
When you make homemade baby food, you are totally in control of what your kid is eating. There’s no preservatives and or additives that you aren’t adding yourself. You can customize and personalize food to your baby’s liking: texture and taste are big for these little guys. Some commercially sold food hardly tastes like their initial whole counterparts. Your tot won’t have to ever know what processed bananas taste like – just mash them up tableside! As a bonus, baby’s parents will be happier since homemade is cheaper, making baby happier too!
Better for the Planet
Along with conventional baby food comes a lot of packaging and much of it can’t be recycled. This waste is greatly diminished when you craft your babe’s food from scratch because you’ll reuse containers – natural resources and landfill space, saved. There’s also the carbon footprint of added transport to and from production facilities to think about – gasoline usage reduced. You will also be contributing to the “slow food” movement, connecting people to farms and food for clean, fair and whole cuisine. Introducing ideas such as these to my son early sounds right to me! Kids should know that food is grown on farms and doesn’t only come from jars or squeeze packs in a big, bright store.
Start by perusing the Wholesome Baby Food site. It’s chocked full of ideas and information. Then cook, bake or steam fruits and veggies. Only bananas and avocados don’t need to be cooked for infants. Get out your blender, food processor, potato masher or whatever you prefer and get smashing. Finally, either serve, refrigerate or freeze in chucks. Many parents plop one to two tablespoon portions into ice cube trays for easy portioning. Once frozen, transfer cubes into larger, reusable containers. Defrost as needed. Get creative and mix them up! Some favorites are apple carrot, peach sweet potato, pumpkin banana. Include some plant based proteins such as black beans, lentils or black eyed peas. Mosey down the baby aisle at the grocery for inspiration. Add spices such as cinnamon, garlic, ginger, anise or any of your favorites – baby has been tasting spices through breast milk already. And don’t stop with fruits and veggies: try making your own baby cereal by pulverizing oats or brown rice in your food processor. This is not a long or hard process and really is as easy as it sounds!
Remember to introduce new foods every four days to check for allergies. Start with easily digested, fully pureed food first.