Home-made organic baby food vs commercial baby foods
As a new parent searching for the right baby food or an experienced parent looking to make the healthiest decisions, selecting the right baby foods can lead to life long healthy eating habits and overall nutrition. When it comes to baby food, do you think all baby foods are created equally? Many think so, however jarred baby food does actually differ from fresh organic baby foods, in many ways (even organic baby food). A study conducted by Daryth D. Stallone, Ph.D., M.P.H. & Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., Cheating Babies: Nutritional Quality and Cost of Commercial Baby Food, found common commercial baby foods contain sugar and salt, increasing calories without increasing the nutrient content.
The debate on baby foods have been going on for years as some parents opt to prepare home made baby food and others use jarred baby foods. Preparing fresh baby foods can be some what time consuming, but fresh organic home made baby food is always better, in my opinion. See 5 reasons to buy organic food, for more info on organic foods.
The same study mentioned above (Cheating Babies: Nutritional Quality and Cost of Commercial Baby Food), announced Gerber and Heinz replace up to 70% of their second- and third-stage fruits with water and then thicken them with chemically modified tapioca starch. They also add starchy fillers to all their regular second- and third-stage dinners. Homemade baby foods do not need any thickening agent added nor do they need to be made with fillers.
When I was looking to the best options for my own babies food, I decided I would make my own baby food right at home. If I made baby food with fresh organic veggies and fruits, I would know exactly what my child was eating and how old it was. With a few tools, making baby food is not hard at all, and you are able to offer more varieties of foods than commercial baby food.
Jarred baby foods are prepared to be able to withstand a shelf life of 2-3 years! I simply can not imagine feeding my baby food that was made 2 years ago! Food processing alone can reduce the nutrients found in all food, including baby foods, and I wanted my babies to have only the best and the most healthy. Not to mention, I wanted to know exactly what my kids were consuming.
After a bit of research I was making home-made baby foods in no time!
So how do you make your own baby food? Here is what you will need for making your own baby food:
- Baby food grinder, an electric blender or a food processor. You can also use a Beaba Babycook (baby food processor; steamer, warmer, blender and defroster all in one)
- Organic vegetables, fruits, meats, grains, and legumes.
- Liquid, (breastmilk, natural baby formula, or water.)
- Pot for cooking meats and vegetables.
- Freezer-safe containers such as an ice-cube tray or Beaba Multiportion Containers (used for storing made baby food)
Homemade baby food facts
Bananas and kiwis can be served raw, but all other foods you give to your baby need to be cooked until mushy before being mashed or ground. To serve bananas, simply mash until tender. You may also add breastmilk, formula or water to to reduce thickness. Hard fruits, like apples and pears do need to be cooked.
The basic homemade baby food process:
- Locate fresh organic produce that is free from soft spots or aging spots.
- Wash fruits and vegetables under running water.
- Remove peel, pits and seeds from fresh produce; remove bones, fat and skin from fresh meats.
- Cut food into small pieces to speed cooking.
- Put a small amount of water in the pot or steamer. It should reach just to the bottom of the steamer insert, but shouldn’t immerse the food. OR, add produce to your Beaba Babycooker baby food processor for preparation.
- Place the food on the steamer insert and put a lid on the pot.
- If cooking in a pot, bring the water to a boil, then cut back the heat until the water simmers.
- Simmer the food until it’s mushy (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- Remove the food to a bowl or food grinder; save the water in the pot.
- Mash cooked food with a fork, press through a strainer, or grind in a food processor, adding some of the cooking water to create the desired consistency.
Remember not to over cook, as you will cook away nutrients. Refrigerate baby food up to 2 days or freeze up to 2 months. Homemade baby food can be stored in freezer-safe containers such as an ice-cube tray or Beaba Multiportions containers.
You may also find Getting Started With Solid Foods helpful for deciding when to start making your own baby food!
Photo via Flickr.