Going DIY for baby’s first meals is a more nutritious and budget-friendly way to introduce solid foods into their diet. Here’s how to do it.
If Cardi B and I were friends, I’d be so excited to show her all of the easy baby foods that we could make for little Kulture as soon as she hits 4 months. However, since I’m merely a fan, I’ll settle for telling everyone else about all of the simple baby foods that new moms can make at home. Since newborns should consume only breastmilk or formula from birth to 4 months of age, these from-scratch suggestions are a good way to introduce solid foods into a baby’s diet. Therefore, in celebration of Cardi B and Offset’s new bundle of joy, Kulture Kiari Cephus, born July 10, 2018, here is how to make homemade baby food.
Making baby food is far easier (and cheaper) than you would expect. It is essentially freshly pureed fruits and vegetables that you spoon feed to your child. Cooking Light editors recommend introducing a same single fruit or vegetable into a baby’s diet for about 4 days to observe any signs of allergies or food intolerance. After experimenting with the first few flavors, continue trying out other single-flavored, fruit- and veggie-based purees until your baby has tasted a range of the mushy stuff.
Selecting the Best Fruits and Vegetables
When shopping for your vegetable and fruits, if organic produce is a feasible option for your budget, buy organic or stop by your local farmer’s market to grab the freshest produce of the season. Start with ingredients that are smooth in texture when cooked such as green peas, carrots, butternut squash, apples, peaches, mango, melons, and sweet potatoes. These ingredients are sweet, mild-tasting and pleasant to the baby’s palate. Naturally soft ingredients such as bananas and avocados can be mashed and eaten as-is without additional processing. Keep the taste fresh and clean; there is no need to add salt or additional sugar. Keeping the flavors homogeneous and simple is key.
If you have a medium pot, steam basket, food processor or blender, and colander/fine mesh strainer, then you are all set to make a batch of something tasty for your baby’s first attempt at eating solid foods. Also be sure to have baby food jars, non-toxic plastic containers, ice cube trays and zip-top bags for short- and longer-term storage.
Generally speaking, baby food consists of simply steamed or boiled vegetables and fruits that are pureed and strained into a super smooth consistency. Use the steam basket to cook your single vegetable or fruit until it’s tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. If you don’t have a basket, gently boil your ingredients in water until tender. Process the food with a food processor or blender until smooth eliminating any lumps. Use leftover cooking water to thin out the mixture, as needed for optimal creaminess. Push the processed food through a fine mesh strainer to catch any sneaky lumps or seeds. Once the cooked, pureed, and strained food is completely cooled—you’re ready for chow time.
Fresh baby food is safe to store in the refrigerator for up to two days. When you are preparing the food in big batches, freeze the remaining food for up to 3 months. An easy way to store your baby food is to portion it into ice cube trays, freeze and place the pureed food blocks in labeled zip-top, freezer-safe storage bags. Defrost the stored cubes in the baby’s food bowl in the refrigerator the night before or microwave until melted. Just be sure to stir the food and check the temperature to make sure it’s cool enough before serving.