6 Reasons to Make Homemade Baby Food

Your baby is ready to eat her first solids. You have all the feeding essentials from bibs to bowls, spoons, and placemats. But now, you’re wondering what to feed the little one and where to start.

It’s so tempting to go for the jar stuff and let the baby food companies guide you through the appropriate ingredients and the various ages and stages. But did you know there is a really simple and cost-effective alternative? Before you give in to your store-bought baby food temptation, check out these six reasons to make it at home.

There’s No Hidden Stuff

“You are what you eat” ...So the saying goes. And what we’re eating is making us obese, high-strung people with attention deficit and countless other disorders. As parents, we’re constantly monitoring for a whole slew of epidemics and that instills an incredible amount of stress.

Don’t give into the fear-mongering, or the stress, but do arm yourself with the facts. There are simple, easy solutions to help give your kids the best start in life. And it begins with what you put into your baby’s little tummy.

Jarred baby food – even the organic stuff – is going to have some extras you don’t want in your baby’s gut. From preservatives to salt, sugar, emulsifiers, food dyes, and other chemicals, it’s filled with ingredients you wouldn’t put in your baby food. And chemicals aside, manufacturers bulk up baby food with refined rice, corn, and/or wheat. That decreases the nutrients in your little one’s meals while it increases the dough in their pockets.

With home-cooked meals, your baby will be eating fresh, wholesome food and you will know exactly what’s in there.

Guaranteed Nutrition

How long would you keep a mashed up banana out of the fridge? How about beef stew? Think about the shelf life of baby foods (again, organic ones are no exception!). Expiration dates are often a year or more out, and there’s no mention of when the food was actually made. So those jarred little purees could easily be older than your baby is!

If that revelation isn’t shocking enough, how do you think they manage to keep your baby food from perishing instantly? That’s simply more proof that there’s got to be loads of salt or preservatives to help in the process – and either one is just too much for your baby’s immature digestive system. In addition to the unnecessary ingredients, commercial purees have been heated to incredibly high temperatures in order to kill the bacteria that would otherwise make them perishable. It’s not only the bacteria that’s killed. Bye-bye vitamins and so long nutrition!

“But the labels still boast high percentages for daily recommended amounts,” you counter. Once the naturally occurring nutrition in the food has been killed off, lab-made nutrients are added back in – and these just aren’t as digestible.

Greater Control: Organic, Non-GMO, and Allergy Safe

While we’re on the subject of nutrition, what exactly do you want to put in your baby’s body? Making homemade baby food allows you to decide. Whether you’re all about organic produce, you want to avoid GMOs, or the sound of Pumpkin Kale Pear Mash-up just doesn’t whet your appetite, you have complete control over the ingredients your baby will eat.

Plus, you’re able to determine the cooking method. If you don’t want your bananas cooked and thereby stripped of their nutrients, you can puree them raw. Do you want to make sure your baby gets the maximum health out of each bite? You can choose to steam foods rather than boiling them on high heat.

And if you have a family history of allergies – or your baby has already shown allergic symptoms to certain foods – you can avoid them completely. No searching the ingredient list and no looking for that all-important warning: Made in a factory that handles milk, soy, gluten, or nuts.

Big Cost Savings

Consider this: The average baby goes through more than 500 jars of baby food by the time he is one. And the money you spend on that food isn’t just for the ingredients and the preparation. You’re paying for packaging, food miles, marketing, and those adorable little commercials of babies slurping down multi-colored purees.

What with all the new expenses you’re facing, there’s some room for cost-savings in your baby’s food. Your money will be well spent on ingredients only, plus a minor investment on a tool to puree your homemade baby food. You’re able to cook healthy, delicious meals in 10-15 minutes and make them in bulk (extra cost savings!) to freeze and store for later. The time commitment is minimal, the cost-savings is very well appreciated, and the food is more nutritious . . . What’s not to love?

Training the Palate According to Your Tastes

Let’s face it, when it comes to jarred baby food, while it serves up convenience, it disappoints in taste. Commercial purees are downright bland. Plus the odd combinations leave a lot to be desired. If you’re making baby food at home, you don’t have to skimp out on taste.

Whether you tend to make recipes from your cultural heritage or you simply are drawn to favorite flavors, you can serve up unique dishes that match your taste. Korean babies love a higher-than-average level of spiciness while French tots slurp up beets and goat cheese. There’s absolutely no reason why baby food needs to be bland. As long as you avoid the salt and sugars, you can make purees so delicious, you’ll want to add them as a side to your own meals.

With homemade foods, you can train your child’s palate to enjoy the variety of foods, spices, and herbs you favor from the get go. And if you’re ever stuck for ideas on healthy and delicious combinations, there are a number of mouth-watering baby cookbooks out there.

An Easy Transition to Family Meals

When your baby’s food comes from your own kitchen, the transition to single meals for the whole family is so much easier. You’ll already be using your best-loved ingredients. And your baby’s palate has been trained according to your tastes. Soon, you’ll be saying goodbye to your blender and cutting up bits of your own meals in bite-sized little pieces.

You won’t be automatically associating feeding your baby with reaching into the pantry for a jar of food. Instead, the fresh, wholesome ingredients in your kitchen – that you yourselves eat – will be showing up in their meals. And before long, you’ll be cooking up a single meal for all.

Are you planning on feeding your little one home-cooked baby food? Share your favorite recipes with us in the comments below!

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