Once your baby starts to transition from solely feeding on milk, it opens a new exciting phase of his development, as he now gets to taste a wide variety of flavors. However, this new stage also brings in a lot of concerns with regards the kinds of food he gets to eat. And this is where crafting homemade foods for your young one becomes a good idea. Here, we will take a look at how to prepare such meals in your own kitchen as well as give you some recipes to try out.
Why opt for homemade food?
At this point, it is worth pointing out that opting for homemade baby food does not mean that store-bought is a bad option, as it has its own merits. However, homemade food also has benefits that you will find useful.
1. Homemade food is more nutritious
One thing about manufactured food is that all that processing tends to remove some of the nutrients. Also, processing introduces all sorts of preservatives and chemicals that might not be good for your baby. By preparing your baby’s food yourself, you can ensure that all the necessary nutrients are retained through proper cooking techniques while keeping out the preservatives.
2. Your baby gets to taste more flavors
Another major consequence of giving processed food is that your child has a limited variety of flavor to get into. What more, a lot of store-bought foods are bland-tasting and unappetizing. By whipping your baby’s food right in your own kitchen, you get the freedom to play around and come up with tasty meals that your baby will love. For instance, you can use some herbs and spices not normally found in processed food. Though, of course, you need to be careful in using such for your baby’s meals.
3. It saves you time and money
This might seem odd, what with the amount of work you will do and money spend for each meal. However, by stocking up on ingredients, you can cut down on grocery trips and the associated costs. Also, since you can prepare a week’s worth of food and store them on the fridge, you can cut down on prep time more and spend more time on the actual meal with your baby.
What tools do you need?
One thing that you need to note of when it comes to preparing your baby’s food is that you should use the right kinds of tools and utensils to ensure that the meal comes out right. Some of these tools are as follows:
Hand-operated food mill-this is useful for cutting down food to bite sizes. It would be a good idea to pick a model that has several different blades to create a variety of textures on the food.
Food grinder-his one works in conjunction with the hand mill to chop down food to pieces. Do note that the grinders might not be able to process food the way you want to. But this is still an indispensable piece in the kitchen.
Blender/food processor-This one is especially useful for making pureed fruits and veggies for the young one. While you probably have the larger ones already, getting a hand blender is actually a good idea, as it makes the small jobs easier to handle.
Baby food maker-This one first steam cooks your fruits and veggies (and meat) then purees them for serving. They are a bit on the expensive side but are certainly going to be worth their price.
Storage containers-you will need a lot of these for storing the prepared foods in the fridge. Make sure to get microwavable ones so that you can readily reheat them when needed.
Maintaining proper hygiene
As you should already be aware by now, maintaining proper hygiene when preparing your baby’s food is important to prevent any disease-causing agents from getting in. For that, here are some quick tips:
Wash your hands and everything in thoroughly. Also, be sure that you wash your child’s plates, bottles, and bibs thoroughly before using them. When giving your child finger foods, wash his hands before the meal.
When pureeing fruits and vegetables, it would be best to soften them first through boiling, steaming, or baking them. This also helps kill out any harmful bacteria that might be left. When boiling, use as little liquid as possible.
Be aware of the presence of nitrates in fresh fruits and veggies. For this, it would sometimes be better to use frozen food than freshly-bought ones, as these have lower nitrates levels. This is also one of those instances where store-bought baby food may be a better option.
You also need to ensure that the water that you are using is free of any undesirable chemicals. For this, it would often be best to use distilled or bottled water. You can also have your water supply tested to be sure.