Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DIY Baby Food - Starting Solids

Little B is not so little anymore.

Well, technically, I guess, he is. He's in the 25th percentile for weight, but the 80th percentile for height. I was a scrawny child myself, so we're not too worried about the weight. (He's developing right on schedule, if not ahead of schedule. He's pulling up and standing and this weekend we frantically ran to Target to buy an obnoxious Fisher-Price play table in the hopes that it would distract him from climbing up the coffee table and entertainment center. This was only mildly successful.)

Anyways, my not so baby-ish baby has been eating solids since 6 months. Which means that my over-achieving, healthy-eating, organic-insisting self has been busy in the kitchen. I didn't buy one of those expensive baby food makers, though my sis-in-law has a Beaba and loves it. I've just been steaming or roasting veggies and fruits and then pureeing them in my Cuisinart food processor. I make BIG batches and freeze individual portions in what is essentially a glorified ice cube tray. So far, we have had good experiences with acorn squash, apples, pears, sweet potatoes, peaches and peas. (The peas are a bit hard to get really smooth - save those for once your baby can tolerate more texture.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I do buy some jarred baby food. My parents both became ill with a nasty bacterial infection (more on that in my next post) and Little B and I had to drive to Atlanta in a hurry. Needless to say, I wasn't super concerned with packing up little freezer bags of homemade goodness. Nope, we hit up a grocery store in Hot-Lanta and scooped up a few million jars of organic baby food. And Little B never knew the difference. Well, actually, I'm pretty sure he prefers my peas, squash, sweet potatoes and pears, but he was polite about it. In general, I much prefer to select my own veggies, when they are in season and ripe, rather than relying on jarred food. However, I have not EVER attempted to make prunes and we have regularly (and I DO mean regularly!) relied on jarred prunes to keep things, umm, moving. You follow?

My fave of all the homemade varieties has been the uber-delish sweet potatoes. And sweet potatoes are so GOOD for baby. Check out a few of the health benefits below.

- Excellent source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A (Note: To improve the body's absorption of the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, it's important to include a little fat in the meal. Easy peasy - just mix in an ounce or two of breast milk!)
- Sweet potatoes boast natural anti-inflammatory properties
- AND they contain glycosides that have been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties

Ridiculously easy recipe follows...

Pureed Sweet Potatoes for baby (6 months and older)

Ingredients
-1 lb. organic sweet potatoes
- tiny dash of cinnamon

Instructions
- Thoroughly wash the sweet potatoes and cut into rounds. You can peel them if you like, but I prefer to skip this step as many of the best vitamins can be found in the skin.
- Arrange in a jelly roll pan and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan
- Sprinkle with cinnamon (leave this out if this is baby's first foray into solids)
- Roast at 400 degrees until tender
- Puree in a food processor, adding water as necessary to adjust consistency (Note: Don't over-blend as you'll make the puree paste-y.)

Done and done! Divide and freeze, and just pop out a couple ounces for each feeding. Super easy!

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