Lately, a few people have been asking me what we feed our children and how do we get them to try new things.
We have a 14 mo old girl and a 4 yr old boy…both, I’m relieved to say are pretty good eaters.
I am going to be doing a series of posts regarding how we eat…starting with baby food.
With both kids, I made all of their “baby” food. With my oldest, I started with purees, but by the time my little girl was born – I learned about baby led eating and it has worked great for us.
Making baby food is easy and cheap! I worked 40+ hrs a week and still was able to make all of my son’s food…it is that easy. My suggestion is to get a stick hand blender – I started out with a food mill, blender, and a food processer, but got the stainless steel Braun hand blender, which was so much easier and faster to clean.
Start out with simple purees – pears, carrots, peas, potato, sweet potato, squash,etc . All of these are fabulous first foods (bananas and avocados are great, but you just serve those fresh, mushed up). Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash you bake and then mash (you can add a little water, breast milk, or broth to help with the consistency). All the other fruits/veggies I mentioned can be cut into pieces, steam, and then use the Braun hand blender, regular blender, food process, or food mill to puree. If you need, add a little liquid to get the right consistency. You can make it very smooth or chunky – depending on what your infant prefers.
Whatever you do, please consider skipping rice cereal. It does not have much nutritional benefit and is empty calories. I am weary of anything that states it’s “fortified”…that just means whatever nutrient has been chemically added to the end product. If you really want to, you can easily make rice cereal. Just make rice and puree – adding water to get the right consistency.
I made 1-2 batches of different veggies/fruit a week every Sunday. Baby food is easy to freeze. You can buy fancy freezer trays or you can simply use ice cube trays. An ice cube is approx. 2oz, so it’s an easy guide to know how much you should thaw. I simply filled 1-2 trays a week of a type of food, let it freeze, than popped them out of the tray for easier storage. When we needed some, I’d thaw out how much of each veggie/fruit and serve. This is also a great way to mix and match – carrots and potatoes, pears and peach, etc. When we went out (like to a restaurant), I’d simply take the baby food with us. I had small mason jars I’d put the food in and I did find some awesome freezer containers that worked great to. When we were out at a restaurant, I would ask for a cup or bowl of hot water. I’d rest the mason jar/container in the hot water to let it thaw and warm up to the right temperature.
I’d be remiss to not state that there are some that do not believe in purees. Nourished Kitchen has a great article on the who, what, where, and why on baby led eating. I must say, it is so much easier and enjoyable! My daughter loves to eat and is happy to pick up pieces and feed herself. She is also much more interactive during our meals. She is now insisting on a spoon (even when she doesn’t need one) and attempts to use it. Grant it, she is a mess by the end of the meal and I, inevitably, forget to use any bibs or covers – but the whole meal time experience is so much better. I used to have to feed my son first, than gobble my food after. I always felt left out. This way, we all eat at the same time and it is a true family experience.