I am not a great cook. I don’t freak out if my food isn’t organic. I love Taco Bell, even though I am pretty sure they use Grade D meat. But regardless of what I put in my body, I want my children to have good eating habits and I’m a big believer that good eating starts at a young age (yes, this might mean I have to kick T-Bizzle to the curb one day…).
I’m quickly learning that those little jars of baby food at the store can add up. Plus, have you ever tasted that stuff? Most of it I wouldn’t eat, so how can I expect my daughter to like it? Green beans taste like they are 5 years old, not fresh from the garden. And banana tastes like a bad unsweetened pudding recipe – not the taste of a real off-the-tree banana.
To save money and limit Little K’s intake of jarred foods packed full of preservatives that allow for it to stay on the shelf for 10 years, I make my own baby food. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t do it for every single meal because those little jars are handy when you’re on the road, but when I can, I make her food fresh from produce purchased at local farmers markets and grocery stores.
To make your own baby food, all you need is a steamer (I just have a steam basket I got at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $7.99), food processor (my 4-cup Cusinart was only $40), and ice cube trays with lids or storage containers (I use the small containers that are included in the Ikea Pruta tupperware collection for $3.99).
Most foods can be chopped up into small pieces, steamed and blended or pureed. There are thousands of combos – use your imagination! With the help of WholesomeBabyFoods.com and a book I purchased called Top 100 Baby Purees, I’ve had fun experimenting. Broccoli didn’t go over so well, but everything else I have made, Little K has seemed to enjoy.
Here’s one recipe from the book I thought was especially tasty:
Pasta with Butternut Squash, Tomato and Cheese (suggested for babies age 7-9 months)
Makes 2 servings
1 small butternut squash (8 oz.)
1½ tablespoons of mini pasta stars
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons milk
Steam the squash for 10 minutes until tender. Cook pasta. Melt butter in a saucepan and sautee the tomatoes until mushy, then stir in the cheese until melted. Blend the squash and tomato mixture together with the milk with a blender (or in my case, a handheld mixer) and stir in the pasta stars. I also pureed to make a smoother consistency. Tastes great and baby will love!
What are your favorite foods for baby?