I’ll admit it. I used to hear about parents who made their own baby food and I always thought I’d never be one of “those people.”
But then I had a revelation. It happened after I played a rather ill-advised game of “guess what the food is” at a baby shower. The game is simple in its grotesqueness. You’re required to taste food from unlabeled baby food jars–the person who guesses the contents correctly wins a prize.
I didn’t win any prizes. But I did leave with the knowledge that my kids would never eat anything that tasted like that stuff did.
So I bought books on making baby food and read a ton online. And then I realized something. Babies like the same foods we do. They like different flavors and colors. They just need them in a form they can handle.
Enter the food processor. Place a scoop of what you’re eating and a little fresh water into the processor and puree. It could be anything from grilled chicken to blueberries. Depending on the age of your child, add more water to soften the food into a more desirable consistency. And if you add too much water, just stir in some baby cereal to thicken it back up. When your baby is older, whiz together frozen fruit or vegetables with a little water–the crunchy frozenness keeps the food from totally pureeing, adding some texture to the meal.
Be sure to avoid egg whites, seafood, and honey if your child is under one year old. And use good judgment–it’s unlikely any child would want pureed pickles.
Store unused food in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze it in ice cube trays and pop out portions as needed.
Voila! You’ve just saved money, created a nutritious meal without (many) preservatives, and started your child on the path to eating more diverse foods. I found that from about 8 months on, my kids really seemed to like an added pinch of salt or Cajun spice in their food. My son, still not a year old, gobbles down pureed Indian Palak Paneer. His older sister will ask specifically for pink sea salt on top of her chili.
It makes me feel good to know exactly what they’re eating. But it feels even better to get a sincere high five from a 2-year-old who has learned that every food is worth trying.