When my son Sammy was an infant, I spent so much money on jarred baby foods. There was a time when he would eat one or two jars of commercial baby food at every meal. That was around 20-40 jars a week for about 6 months! I finally figured out a way to make inexpensive, healthy baby food for a fraction of the price! My daughter rarely ate store bought baby food.
I like to buy cans of vegetables with no salt added or unsweetened fruits in their own natural juices. I drain the liquid, but reserve it -the liquid contains a lot of vitamins and flavor! Then I simply puree the fruits or vegetables in my food processor, adding the reserved liquid until it is the right consistency. The finished product should be very smooth and thin for those just starting baby food, thicker and chunkier for more experienced eaters.
Frozen fruits and vegetables work well also, but you may need to add water, formula, or breast milk to get the desired consistency. Of course fresh fruits and vegetables are ideal. My children particularly enjoyed these fresh foods: baked sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, and strawberries. Some items need to be cooked before pureeing, but it is very easy to steam vegetables and bake sweet potatoes in the microwave.
Rotisserie chicken, silken tofu, and hard-boiled eggs are high protein items that can easily be made into baby food at home. Check with your pediatrician for suggestions on when to introduce potentially allergic foods such as egg whites, tofu (soy), strawberries, nuts, shellfish, etc. As your child gets older, you can make baby food out of whatever the rest of the family is eating. If necessary, separate the infant’s food before salting or seasoning it. Spaghetti with meat sauce and chicken rice soup are favorites in our house.
If you make several servings of baby food, you can freeze extra portions in ice cube trays, small covered plastic containers such as glad-ware, or even reusable plastic baby food tubs. If you have any extra glass baby food jars, you can use them to store your homemade food in the refrigerator.
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