It’s funny. Our grandparents had no choice in the matter – they just made your parents food. However, with the advances in marketing, your parents were faced with a choice, either to make your food or buy it from the store – it’s likely they did a bit of both, but favoured homemade foods over store-bought. Now you too have a choice, you can either buy it from the store or make it yourself. Surprisingly your cohort probably buys most baby foods from the store. Oddly, it’s probably because they lack an alternative.
This strikes me as odd. I mean, how hard is it to turn foods into the store brand variety. You’d think baby foods required a lot of extra processing, a lot of ingredients, special blends, vitamin additions, or lots of specialized tools. Not so. Baby food is just adult food ground up. That’s it! There’s really nothing more to it than that. You might also be curious to know that baby foods have changed very little over the years and remain relatively pure. They lack harsh preservatives, sugars and salts. This is in complete contrast to adult foods (and sadly enough – child snacks).
Knowing this, all it takes to make baby foods is a food processor – scratch that, I never had one. Let me start again, all it takes to make baby food is something to cut and mash food up. That’s right! I made 80% of my son’s baby food with a knife and potato masher. I mashed carrots, peas, potatoes, bananas, apples and even meat. If you’re smart, you keep your left-over baby jars and just refill them with your own brand. Fruits are best left fresh though, but even these can keep in the fridge for a day. A brown apple might look bad to you, but is surprisingly tasty to a baby.
When you do make your own food though, be sure not to store it for too long a time, as by cutting and mashing you are increasing the surface area of the foods and therefore increasing the area bacteria can grow and multiply. Freezing pre-prepared foods is just fine, but also keep in mind that once foods are frozen, the bacteria that is already present goes through a second bloom once defrosted and rapidly grow. Freezing foods does NOT kill bacteria, it only slows its growth. This isn’t a big deal, but when you freeze foods you want to avoid waiting a long time beforehand, then freezing, then waiting. In other words, if you’ve made a lot of food, freeze it right away so it stays fresh longer!
Besides that, there isn’t much to do about making your own baby foods. Just have a peak in the baby food isle and decide what kinds of foods are good for babies. Remember that while baby foods will only be consumed for a short period in your baby’s life, they can be costly. Our aim was always to move our son onto our eating schedule so we could all eat the same foods. This is one of the biggest savers – our time and energy making and serving meals, not to mention the added expense of specialty foods. Even as a toddler, our son ate what we ate, no choices or exceptions. Your toddler is your biggest food critic so if he won’t eat it, chances are pretty good that it’s not very tasty! Keep that in mind next time you plan your meal!