Making Your Own Organic Baby Food – Tips from a Real Mom [BONUS RECIPES]
When my daughter was born, she was diagnosed with PKU. Never heard of it? We hadn't either. Basically, she doesn't make a lot of one enzyme that breaks down an amino acid in protein. So, she will have to be on a low protein diet her whole life. I decided to make her baby food and we wanted to keep it as organic as possible to give her body the best chance it can get for a healthy future. My journey hasn't been without bumps in the road so I wanted to share what I have found so you don't have to go through the same failures I experienced.
1. Start with the Basics: A baby food blender, microwave food steamer, storage bags and Squeeze station.
- I have the Hamilton Beach BeBe baby food blender. It's smaller so you can make smaller portions. Ninja has a tiny blender - love the blades that go all the way up the shaft of the blender for optimal chopping.
- My mother-in-law gave me her old microwave steamer but they are relatively inexpensive. Click here for an example.
- Infantino makes those handy little bags and re-useable silicone squeezers along with the Squeeze Station and other accessories. It gets messy but it's worth it. HINT: I reuse the plastic bags too - they are easy enough to clean out. Plus they are freezable and stackable.
2. Bake It: Okay, I know I told you to get a microwave food steamer but baking fruits and veggies in the oven makes them a little softer and the texture is velvetier. I use a glass baking pan, 1/4 - 1/2" of water and cover with tin foil.
3. Thin Your Food with Flavor: Add filtered water, fruit juice or breast milk/formula to thin the food
4. Make Recipes: After baby is used to one food at a time, start mixing and matching. My daughter especially loves the "Dinner Mix" and "Breakfast Smoothie" recipes below.
5. Go Easy on Yourself, Get Applesauce: Apples have very little protein and are a good first food for baby. My daughter goes through at least 4 oz a day. I was killing myself buying the organic apples, peeling, cooking and processing. Then, it dawned on me. I can buy the no-sugar-added organic apple sauce for about $3 a jar. One bag of organic apples $5 makes just a little more than a jar. Duh!
6. Where to Buy Organic: Check out local food co-ops, farmers markets, organic grocery stores and even large chain stores like Schnucks, The Fresh Market, Kroger and even Walmart for a large variety of organic fruits and veggies.
7. What If I Can't Find All Fresh: Fresh is best but I do add in some canned and frozen foods from time to time.
8. What if I Can't Find or Can't Afford ALL Organic: Check out the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen to make smart organic buying choices.
9. Make it Taste Good: Fresh herbs and spices make food time, fun time! Start with simple but tasty flavors like cinnamon when your baby is on Stage 2-3 food.
10. This SUCKS, I Want to Quit: As with breast feeding, just keep telling yourself OVER AND OVER, "My baby's worth it!"
BONUS: Save $$: If your little one eats an average of 5 packets a day for seven months, you are looking at over $1,200 for organic baby food pouches. If you make your own, the BeBe Blender is $20, Squeeze Station is $25, 20 storage packs (quantity 50) at $17/each are $300 and $30/month for food comes to $555. You can save even more by purchasing the re-useable silicone pouches and washing and reusing the clear plastic pouches and finding deals on organic food at the grocery store. Finally, if you are really pinching pennies, sell all your items when you are done at a garage sale! :)
- 1/2 container Yo-Yo Baby Stoneyfield baby yogurt
- 20 organic blueberries
- 1/2 banana
- 3 tbsp baby oatmeal
- Breast milk or formula to thin
Combine all ingredients in baby blender. Blend til mixed.
- 10 small organic cauliflower florets
- 10 organic baby carrots
- 1/2 organic onion
- 1/4 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup organic green beans
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 10 brown rice fettuccine noodles (cut up)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- filtered water to thin
- Bake all items (except tomato puree and noodles) at 350* for 30 minutes or until all veggies are tender.
- Boil noodles to manufactures directions
- Combine all cooked ingredients in blender and puree.