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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Homemade Baby Food: Healthy Feeding Made Easy

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Homemade Baby Food: Healthy Feeding Made Easy

Baby food can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it, from fruits and vegetables to stews and casseroles.

When it comes to feeding our babies, it’s natural to be a little nervous.  “Am I giving them enough? What exactly is in this stuff? Why is baby food so expensive?”  Well don’t worry; there is an easy way to control costs and make sure only the best ingredients go into your baby’s meal: make your own baby food!  Although the thought of preparing your own food seems overwhelming, it is actually very easy.

Most babies will start out with cereal and then move on to vegetables and fruits.  This makes it easy for us moms learning the baby-food-making ropes!

Here’s what you will need to get started:

  • fruits and vegetables of your choice (we’ll use pears and sweet potatoes as examples)
  • an ice cube tray
  • a small pot
  • a small food processor or blender

To make baby food vegetables:

  • wash and peel a sweet potato
  • place in a small pot of boiling water until soft
  • remove from water and allow to cool
  • mash potato with fork or puree in a food processor until the consistency is smooth
  • separate out the desired amount for baby to eat (about 2-3 oz or ¼ cup)
  • Portion the remainder in the ice cube tray and freeze.  When frozen, remove from tray and put in plastic freezer bags for later use.  Simply reheat when you want to serve again.

To make baby food fruits:

  • wash and peel the pear
  • place in a small pot of boiling water or bake until soft
  • remove from heat and cool
  • puree in a food processor until the consistency is smooth
  • separate out the desired amount for baby to eat (about 2-3 oz or ¼ cup)
  • Portion the remainder in the ice cube tray and freeze.
  • When making fruits that are naturally soft, such as bananas, kiwis, etc., there is no need to boil or cook these fruits.  Simply mash with a fork or puree and serve!

Once you have mastered the world of fruits and vegetables and your baby’s taste is more sophisticated, you can move on to making soups and stews.  The best advice I can give parents here is to make it easy on yourself.  Make soup for the whole family; as long as it’s not very spicy or salty, babies are generally good about eating what mom and dad eat.

The easiest way to prepare soup or stew for baby is to separate out a portion from the pot before you add a lot of the spice and salt.  Let it cool for a few minutes, puree in a food processor, and you’re done!  Baby will have a complete, nutritious, homemade meal!

Follow these government-recommended food safety tips for baby food.

Time-Saver Tip:

  • A handheld blender also works great for soups; you can blend it right in the pot, there is less clean up, and it takes only a few seconds to reach a pureed consistency.

The last bit of advice I can give is to have fun.  This is just another great way to bond with your baby and provide him or her with the best ingredients to grow strong and healthy.  Here’s to good food, good times and good health!

Test your baby food IQ

Which of these foods should I avoid giving my baby during the first year?

  1. Honey
  2. Avocado
  3. Broccoli

Answer: a (honey should not be given to babies until after the first year of life)

Is it okay to put any seasonings in my baby’s food?

Answer: Yes, (babies have tasted different flavors through the amniotic fluid during pregnancy and through the breast milk if you nursed.  As long as it’s not too spicy or salty, using herbs and seasonings during cooking is perfectly fine)

For more great baby food tips, check out this great video tutorial with recipes! Our favorite recipes include Sweet Potato with Broccolini and Grains, Quinoa with Chicken and Vegetables, and Pasta with Carrots and Kale.

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About the Author

Picture of Maria Bournas, MS, RD, LDN

Maria Bournas, MS, RD, LDN

Maria is a registered and licensed dietitian in Chicago, IL with a broad background in both the research and applied settings. Having worked in a variety of settings including school, clinical and supermarket nutrition has taught her that nutrition is not one size fits all. She believes that each person has their own specific obstacles and strengths and enjoys working with her clients to develop an individualized plan. Maria also serves on the executive committee of the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group, which has further sparked her passion and understanding of reproductive health and fertility. She lives with her husband and three boys. In her free time, she loves to read, cook, travel and spend time with her family.

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