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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Baby Food

Frugal Kitchens 101Commercially prepared baby foods have been on the market for quite some time. Manufacturers have convince new mothers that they need to feed their children commercially prepared foods that are not only costly but are eco-friendly. Now there are some commercially prepared baby foods that might be necessary such as baby formula and pablum but for the most part the idea you have to buy commercially prepared baby foods is a myth! Countless children have survived their infant and toddler years without so much as a spoonful of commercially prepared baby food passing their lips! Today's Frugal Kitchens 101 is all about baby food.

When our kids were infants they were breastfed so we never had to deal with the baby formula problem that now costs as much as $30 per week! I only know that figure because youngest grandbaby is on formula. One of our kids started pablum early but other than that our kids right from introducing solid foods ate pretty much the same foods as we did sans any sugar, salt or seasonings. This really was not as difficult to do as some seem to think. By the time children are walking aka toddlers they have enough teeth specialized food should not be necessary although you may have to cut things like meats into smaller pieces.

Key equipment needed for making baby food:

  • blender - An electric blender will allow you to purée foods to the desired consistency for infants. In general start with a very smooth purée then gradually less smooth to add texture for older infants and toddlers
  • tabletop food grinder - This is a specialty item that has come on the market recently making it easy for you to prepare baby food when you are traveling or away from home.
  • fork - It's surprising just how well a fork will work for mashing foods for older infants and toddlers.
  • small containers or ice cube tray - If you want to prepare baby food ahead of time you will need small (4 oz or less) containers for storage or you can freeze the food in an ice cube tray for 1 oz portions. Pop the frozen food out into a zipper style freezer bag then use one cub as needed. If using plastic containers for storing baby food this way it is very important you do not heat the food in the plastic container. Transfer it to a small glass bowl (eg. custard bowl) to heat in.
When our kids were in the infant stage there were very few food restrictions. Rice pablum was always the first to be introduced because there was the least likelihood of any problems. Other than that any food was pretty much fair game. From experience I recommend not giving the following foods to infants under the age of one:
  • honey - There is a recognized risk of developing Botulism if honey is ingested under the age of one year.
  • egg whites - The protein in egg whites can cause a severe allergic reaction in infants under the age of one year. If you would like to introduce eggs to your infant use the yolk only. To make scrambled eggs mix in a little water with the yolk.
  • cow's milk - Cow's milk can cause two problems. The first is an allergic reaction and the second is lactose intolerance. It's best not to give cow's milk to infants.
  • cruciform vegetables - Cruciform vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts. These vegetables tend to cause gas that will make the infant quite uncomfortable.
  • legumes - Legumes also produce gas that will cause discomfort.
  • refined anything - This includes white sugar, white flour, white toast, corn syrup etc but also includes hidden sugars in fruit juices, processed fruits, apple sauce and yogurt. Older infants can have yogurt but it should be plain yogurt with at most a little fruit purée or unsweetened apple sauce stirred in.
  • citrus - Most citrus is quite acidic so it is best not to give citrus to infants.
  • fatty foods - Fatty foods should be avoided as infants can't digest them well. Any meat should be as lean as possible.
  • seasoned foods - Avoid adding salt, pepper, herbs and seasonings. Keep food on the bland side.

2 food lovers commented:

A Year on the Grill said...

brought back memories... My kids are 26 and 24. They were raised on homemade baby food, but mostly because of costs. But, they are healthy and happy today, with no allergies, so for what ever the reasosn, great results...

good post!

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks :) I really do feel it is important especially in these days where commercially prepared foods filled with excess sugars, salts and preservatives are the norm. Keeping these commercially prepared foods away from your kids as long as possible is one of the best things you can do.