You’ve probably experienced this scenario: standing in the baby food aisle, staring at the endless choices of baby food products, and wondering which meals are best for your baby. As a result, an increasing number of mothers are starting to make their own baby food, a relatively easy process that provides many health benefits for your baby. Here are the top five reasons you should make your own baby food.
1. You Control the Ingredients
When you make your baby’s food, you control the ingredients that he or she eats. You don’t have to spend time reading labels and looking up ingredients online. When you create your baby’s food, you can pronounce everything that he or she eats—no chemicals or preservatives! You can also ensure that the foods are fresh, seasonal, and organic, providing the most nutrition possible.
2. You Save Money
One steamed and pureed butternut squash can make a huge amount of meals as opposed to one plastic or glass container made by Gerber. Making your own baby food saves you a ton of money in the long run. And you most likely have everything you need to do it: a steamer, a blender, ice cube trays, and storage containers. Baby food systems such as the Baby Bullet are nice, but by no means necessary!
3. You Make an Ecologically-Conscious Decision
Making your own baby food dramatically decreases waste; you won’t be recycling or trashing dozens of small baby food containers each week. By becoming your little lad or lady’s personal chef, you’re dramatically decreasing his or her carbon footprint. And if you purchase the food locally through a CSA, Co-op, or farmers’ market, you’re supporting your local farmers, further reducing your tiny tyke’s footprint!
4. You Create Great Combinations
When you purchase baby foods at the store, you’re limited to someone else’s imagination; when you make it yourself, you can create wonderful combinations and expose your baby to interesting tastes and textures unavailable in the mass market. Making your baby’s food also allows you to supplement and include vitamin D or healthy fats for brain development. For example, if your baby loves the creamy texture of avocado, you could mix avocado with tomatoes, and add a few drops of vitamin D. Typically exotic foods such as pomegranates, star fruit, kumquats, and purple potatoes won’t find their way into the baby food aisle, but you can offer them when your baby is ready.
5. You Avoid Contamination
Whether you grow your own food or purchase fruits, veggies, and grains from your local farmer, you can ensure the freshness of the foods your baby eats. Although gross to contemplate, food produced in large scale operations is allowed to have a certain amount of insect and rodent parts. The FDA deems some contamination unavoidable, including insect parts, rodent hair, mold, and certain parasites. For example, according to their online Defect Levels Handbook, it’s acceptable for canned tomatoes to have 10 or more Drosophila fly eggs per 500 grams or 5 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots! Gross, right! Creating your own baby food ensures the least amount of possible contaminations while guaranteeing the most nutrients possible.
Making your baby’s food at home isn’t a large time commitment. Two hours each weekend should be enough to feed your baby for the week. Plan out a diverse menu, chop up and steam fruits and veggies, braise some meats, and then store your delicious creations in the refrigerator for immediate enjoyment, or in the freezer for later. It’s a great idea to freeze baby food purees in ice cube trays; you can pop out the serving sizes you need quickly and easily the night before, and it will be ready to enjoy by breakfast. Although making baby food may seem intimidating, it is actually easy! Not only will it save your family money, but it will save the planet and bring you peace of mind. Bon Appétit!!
For wonderful online resources for creating your own baby food, visit these websites:
Kathryn is a baby-wearing, cloth diapering, DIY mom to her quickly growing and pretty cute toddler. When she isn't researching and writing about natural approaches to pregnancy and parenting, she's acting out her favorite children's books or singing off-key made-up songs.