Friday, January 18, 2008

From the Kitchen: Baby Food

I'm a mom of three. The youngest is currently in the "fruits, vegetables and grains" stage of babyhood, and I'm coming to a realization: Baby food frequently looks the same going in as it does coming out. Organic this, natural that... it's all ugly when it comes right down to it.

But when you make it yourself, it can be wholesome and pretty...

What you see here are some of the baby foods I made last night. Some started fresh, some canned and some frozen. From left to right: green beans, sweet peas, corn & peas, pears, tropical mixed fruit, peaches, yams, peaches & beets, pears & beets, tropical mixed fruit & beets, tropical mixed fruit & blueberries. I didn't have time to make all the varieties I had planned, but it's a start.

My tools include a can opener, a small food processor (a little attachment for a stick blender is what I use and love for so many reasons) and some breast milk storage bags. I would have preferred to use some sort of cup with a top instead of the bags, but I had them on hand and it was a good use for the leftovers from my baby's newborn days. The advantages to using lidded containers are that they are a) reusable and b) much easier to fill.

I would fill the food processor attachment with whatever I was including in that batch of baby food and some liquid (water or juice from the canned fruit), if necessary. I would then process it until it was about the consistency of applesauce, or finer if it included peas, corn or blueberries (for easier digestion). If it was too thick, I'd add more liquid. Too thin and I would add some baby rice cereal until the consistency was right. Pretty simple. Everything that wasn't canned (already cooked in processing) I cooked, such as the yams and corn. The only exception to that were the blueberries.

And a couple items you might like to consider... kids under 1 shouldn't eat significant quantities of strawberries (for potential allergy reasons, apparently) or large quantities of citrus fruits at one time (can cause diarrhea and/or diaper rash... for real, also true for bigger kids in diapers).

I love the idea of baby food because it's just introducing foods and combinations of food to your little one. So be creative! Dietitians tell you to eat colorful foods, and your baby should, too.

*Update 1.22.08 - Check out this website for more interesting information about homemade baby food, including cost and nutritional analysis as well as recipes and food suggestions for kids of various ages*

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