Fresh food is packed with goodness and is a healthy choice for baby. Providing baby with a nutritious, varied diet provides a healthy start to life and can also help to prevent fussiness in regards to certain food types in future life. Home-made baby food provides nutrients and texture to satisfy baby’s appetite.
A good healthy varied diet should be established from an early age. Home-made baby food allows a diverse range of wholesome foods to be offered. Preparing your own baby food is easier than you think and your baby will benefit greatly from home-made food. There are lots of simple ways to make healthy meals and snacks to provide baby with a healthy diet. It isn’t essential to have any high-tech gadgets to create healthy baby food.
It is far more economical to prepare food for baby, as you can use food that you would already buy such as fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as frozen, too. There is no need to spend extra on jarred food that is expensive and limited on choice. All babies have different appetites so by feeding home-made food there will be less waste, as any extra can be refrigerated or frozen.
Preparing fresh food for baby gives you control over the ingredients used. There are certain foods that should not be part of a child’s diet which are: Salt, sugar, honey and artificial sweeteners. Only 1 gram of salt a day is recommended for babies under the age of one. Once baby has tried a variety of different foods you can start offering the same food as the rest of the family, however, remember to leave out salt during cooking, salt can be added to food after it is cooked.
Safety and Preparation
Good hygiene is paramount when preparing food for baby. Always remember to wash your hands and make sure all the tools and utensils are clean, too.
- Always wash fruit and vegetables, even if you are not using the skins
- Always wash hands both prior to and after handling meat
- Never leave baby unattended with food
If baby has mastered the pincher grasp finger foods can be offered. Finger foods can encourage baby to self-feed. However, remember to only offer food that is soft and easy to swallow to prevent choking. Be sure to cut food up small. Remember to peel the skin from fruit and vegetables and de-seed where necessary. Use fine ground up bread crumbs, cereals or crackers to coat the food to enable baby to pick up the food with ease.
Diced up soft fruits such as banana, kiwi, mango and peaches are quick and easy to prepare. Other fruits such as apples and pears can be diced and boiled until soft to be offered as finger foods. Vegetables such as sweet potato or white potato, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, butter-nut squash can all be steamed, boiled or diced and make good finger food. Frozen vegetables can also be offered as finger foods providing they are diced up.
Once baby has tried a variety of food, experiment and combine textures and flavors to make delicious meals.
Other ideas for finger foods:
- Cut up pieces of pasta
- Cereals such as Cheerios
- Mashed Foods
Some foods are easy to mash down with a fork using a little boiled water or baby’s usual milk, once baby has learned the chewing action, gradually introduce more lumps. Foods such as potato, carrots, and parsnips can be mashed down with the water from cooking. Bananas are the easiest food to give, as they easily mash and are an ideal food to take out, as they come in their own packaging.
Preparing home-made purees is simple and will provide baby with more taste and nutrients. Fruit or Veggies can be peeled and boiled in a pan of water with just enough water to cover the food. Bring the pan to the boil and leave to simmer for around 6 – 8 minutes until the food is soft. Put it through a blender or just mash it to a pulp using the water from the pan or using baby’s usual milk adding a little at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
Soft fruits such as banana, peaches and avocado take little preparation and require no cooking. Avocados can be mashed down with boiled water or baby’s usual milk to make a puree. Root veggies such as potato, carrot, parsnip, butter-nut squash and sweet potato can be pureed by peeling and boiling the vegetable until soft, mash it down with either the water from the pan or use some of baby’s usual milk. To save time and money cook up a large amount of food and freeze into ice cube trays, so food is ready-made for when needed.
Refrigerated purees can be kept for 48 hours. Frozen purees can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can freeze pureed food in ice cube trays and transfer them into bags to free up space. Be sure to label the bags so you can easily find what you want.
Fruits and vegetable can also be steamed and will provide more nutrients, as the goodness is not being evaporated away when cooking.
Grated food provides an easy snack and the small pieces of food will improve baby’s fine motor skills. Foods such as cheese, apple, and carrots can be grated.
Roasted and Baked Food
The oven can be used to provide good meals. Baked potatoes make a substantial and tasty meal which you can easily add other foods alongside such as baked beans, cheese or even finely chopped meat.
Eating the same as the Family
Baby can eat the same meal as the family providing there is no salt, sugar or honey added during cooking. Transfer a portion into a grinder or blender, once it has been blended, if the consistency is still not smooth enough add some boiled water and mash it down.
Provide your baby with the best in quality, nutrition and taste with home-made baby food.