Do it yourself baby food

Is your baby ready to start solid foods? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting solid foods when baby is about 6 months old. But just like adults, all babies are different. Watch for developmental signs that baby is ready, such as sitting with little to no support, having good head control, and showing interest in eating solid food. When your baby is ready, consider making your own baby food. It’s simple to do and lets you control the ingredients. This was such a fun time with each of my children as I watched the funny reactions they had to trying new foods: some they loved – others not so much! Read on for some tips and tricks for making your own baby food.


Tools of the Trade

Start with your equipment. A Baby Bullet blender is the perfect size for preparing purees. A simple fork will work for mashing soft foods like avocado or banana, or you can try a product like the Nuk mash and serve bowl. Small storage containers or ice cube trays are perfect for creating small portions to freeze.


Safety First

Food safety is a top priority when making baby food. Make sure to wash fruits and vegetables well and thoroughly clean all utensils. To prevent choking hazards, remove skin, seeds and pits. Cook fruits and vegetables until soft. Make sure proteins like eggs, beef, pork and chicken are cooked until well done.


Smart Storage

Food should be eaten right away or placed in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to label and date the container. Any food that has been exposed to the baby’s mouth cannot be saved because bacteria thrives in the mouth. For example, if a spoon goes into baby’s mouth and then touches food, that food must be thrown out.


Watch for Allergies

Being a mom of a child with food allergies, I can’t stress this part enough. Introduce new foods one at a time to detect any possible allergic reactions. Try dairy, nut butters, eggs or soy starting at about 6 months. Wait a few days after trying each food to make sure your baby does not have an allergic reaction to the food, such as diarrhea, vomiting or a rash.


Get Started

When baby is ready, start with small amounts – teaspoons or tablespoons – and one food at a time. Try single-food purees of foods like avocado, bananas, pears, potatoes, carrots or green beans. As baby progresses, try more foods, such as blueberries, bell pepper, grains (quinoa and oats) and proteins (cheese and yogurt).


Keep It Simple

If the thought of having to fill your freezer with neatly stacked cubes of colorful baby food purees has you feeling a little overwhelmed, take a breath! Keep it simple, especially in the beginning. Start with small batches of one or two foods and progress from there. And it’s OK to combine homemade and store-bought baby food. The important thing is to do what works best for your family.


BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Makes 1 cup

All you need:

• 8 oz Hy-Vee Short Cuts butternut squash, cubed

• 3 tbsp water

All you do:

1. Steam squash 5-10 minutes.

2. Blend with the water.


PEAS

Makes 1¼ cups

All you need:

• 1 (10-oz) pkg Hy-Vee Steam Quick frozen peas

• 6 tbsp water

All you do:

1. Steam peas in microwave according to package directions, 9-11 minutes.

2. Blend with the water.


MANGOES

Makes 1 cup

All you need:

• 2 medium mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut up

• 2 tbsp water

All you do:

Blend with the water.


RASPBERRIES

Makes 1 cup

All you need:

• 2 cups raspberries

• 1½ tbsp water

All you do:

Blend with water.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.


Megan Callahan can be reached at 515-695-3786, or by email at

mcallahan@hy-vee.com


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