Looking for easy baby food ideas? How about making your own healthy baby food at home It’s probably a lot easier than you think it is, especially with the right tools. I’ll admit it, when my son was an infant, I went the easy route and just bought premade food. He was such a picky eater, though, so I ended up spending a ton of money on food that went right into the trash (okay, some of it went into the dog)!
When my niece started eating baby food, I was surprised by how much my brother and sister-in-law made for her. Sure, they bought a few jars of premade food here and there, especially for traveling, but for the most part, they just made their own. I’m going to share with you all the tips and baby food ideas I learned from them so you can make your own healthy baby food too!
Things to Think About Before You Make Baby Food
Before you start to make your own baby food, you need to know what types of foods you can safely feed your tiny tot. The rules have changed quite a bit over the years. Once upon a time, doctors recommended waiting until well after the first birthday to introduce certain “high-risk” allergen foods, like peanut butter and eggs. They also recommended avoiding spices and seasonings.
Those old baby food rules have all but gone out the window. In some cases, yes, you should still wait to introduce certain foods with high allergen potentials. If your baby already shows signs of allergies (including eczema), follow the old rule. Honey is always a no-no until after age 1. If your family has a history of certain allergies, you might want to proceed with more caution. For the most part, though, according to the experts at Baby Center, the old rules are just that: old.
One rule that remains the same: introduce new food slowly. This goes for both when you buy premade jars and when you make your own healthy baby food. Wait for three days between new foods. That will give you time to make sure your baby isn’t sensitive or allergic to that food. I know it’s hard when you have a book full of genius baby food ideas that you can’t wait to try, but it’s important.
As far as spices go, feel free to experiment a bit, but use common sense. Obviously, you’re not going to toss ghost pepper seasoning on your tot’s food. OUCH! Mild spices and herbs though are fair game. Think about it this way: if you were breastfeeding, your baby’s milk was already spiced! Why would you take away all that fun flavor and introduce bland food when you transition to solids?
One last thing before we get into the tools you need to make your own healthy baby food: when in doubt, consult with your pediatrician. This advice is especially important if you have an underweight or premature baby, or a tot with any other medical issues or concerns. When it comes to feeding your infant, one size does not fit all. These tips are based on research and what worked for my brother and other parents I know who make their own food, but you need to think about what is best for your baby. Make sense? I know you know all this, but I have to say it anyway.
Tools You Need to Execute Your Brilliant Homemade Baby Food Ideas
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Here’s where it gets fun or tricky depending on how you look at it and how much you like buying new kitchen gadgets. You won’t need everything on this list, so pick and choose the items that work best for your budget and lifestyle. I’m also including a few baby food recipe videos using the tools below, when applicable.
A good electric blender is the number one most important thing, in my opinion, because it takes the work out of mashing up your food.
A hand blender is perfect for those when you’re traveling or when you’re just mashing up something quick and don’t feel like breaking out the big blender.
Handheld Baby Mill
A manual baby mill is a must if you plan on camping with your baby. It’s also perfect for making food when the power goes out.
While you’ll need a lot of cooking supplies that you probably already have, a vegetable steamer is one of the most important, so I’m highlighting it here. It’s a healthy way to cook and soften veggies without losing the nutrients.
Obviously, you’ll need someplace to store all that homemade baby food! If you also buy food, save the containers. Otherwise, you can use BPA-free plastic containers or Baggies.
Tape and Marking Pen
While they do make special marking pens that wash off, let’s be honest: at some point, you’re going to lose it. Plain old tape and a Sharpie work just as well.
Aside from helping you freeze baby food, Ice-cube trays are the perfect portion size for young infants. While you can go with a standard dollar store ice-cube tray, I like the silicone trays because they’re more flexible.
All In One Baby Food Maker
I used to think that those all-in-one baby food makers were just glorified blenders. Then I checked them out. Wow, they have some, like this one, that does everything from steaming food to pureeing it. Magic Bullet also has a really cute baby food maker that’s not quite as costly. Plus it comes with a set of adorable containers.
Fun bowls and utensils
Another item that isn’t an essential but still nice to have, fun dishes and utensils can make feeding time more fun for picky tots. NUK has cute “mash and serve” bowls that are great for smashing up already-soft foods.
If you’re not feeling the love for the tape and Sharpie method of marking baby food, you can use some labels to write on instead. These run the gamut from plain old white labels to super cute “chalkboard” labels.
Other supplies vary depending on the type of baby food that you want to make. Most of them are things you already have in the house, like a saucepan, fork, potato masher and so on. Dr. Sears has a pretty comprehensive list of everything under the sun that you could ever possibly need to make baby food.
Best Books for Baby Food Ideas
Technically, you don’t NEED books or special recipes to come up with baby food ideas. In the beginning, you’ll just be making single-ingredient baby food. It’s not like you need a recipe to mash a banana! Later, though, when your tot gets more advanced (and adventurous), you might want to mix things up (literally).
You have two choices: search the internet for baby food recipes or buy a few good books. I prefer books because they have a ton of recipes right there, just waiting for me to flip through. While I actually prefer printed recipe books (easier to highlight things we like), you can grab a few good ones for free on Kindle too. Check out some of my favorite baby food recipe books in both print and on Kindle.
This best-seller is available both in print and on Kindle. If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, it’s free. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for it. However, you’ll want to wait until your tot is about nine months to pick up this book, as the recipes are geared for that age and up.
Available in both Kindle and print, this one has 100 recipes for babies and toddlers of all ages. It even has recipes for fun finger foods, like animal crackers.
Also available in both formats, this one promises to help you make three months of baby food in just one afternoon. The description doesn’t tell you how many recipes it includes, but looking at the index, it’s a nice number. I also notice that it gives flavor compatibility tips for many different ingredients.
This was probably the first book on how to make your own healthy baby food that I remember seeing. It came out over a decade ago and remains one of the foremost authorities on the subject. They’ve revised it over the years. Now it’s available on Kindle as well as in print. Aside from information on making food, it has tons of tips on what and when to feed your baby.
With these tools and books, you’ll have pretty much everything you need to come up with great baby food ideas. You just need to supply the baby and decide what to feed him!