Rosi has now started her first tastes of solid foods. She is enjoying this new step in her life. As a parent, my priority is to raise a healthy baby.
I have done a little research about commercial baby food vs. homemade baby food as well as using organic and I have decided that the best option for us is to make our own baby food.
I bought a few books and researched on-line and have come up with a homemade baby food routine that will work for us. I know that it is healthier, but also inexpensive and easy to prepare. Here is some of the facts and reasoning that I have read about in regards to making my decision to make our own baby food. I will post later about how I am going about buying organic, preparing, and storing the foods included with some recipes.
- Easy...because they are already prepared.
- There are some organic baby foods out now that are a little healthier than the standard commercial baby foods. (Though expensive)
The sad truth is that leading manufacturers of meals for babies six months and older often replace real food with water and thickening agents. Many leading brands of second- and third-stage dinners may contain as little as 28%* of the whole food nutrition found in first-stage foods.
**Even sadder is that with many commercial baby food products you are paying 7 times more for chemicals, starchy fillers, sugar and sodium that are anything but nutritious!
Here is a price comparison for you.
I can buy a box of organic whole grain rice cereal for $3.29 which provides about 16 servings (2 Tbsp a serving).
I can buy a 32oz bag of organic brown rice for $2.99 (on sale). I take 1 cup of the grain and grind it into powder in my vita-mix and then cook it with water. I can make about 8-10 servings (2 Tbsp a serving) with one cup of rice. There are four cups in 32oz bag of rice. 4 cups = 32-40 servings.
40 meals of commercial organic baby food equals 2.5 boxes. 2.5 x $3.29 = $8.23
$2.99 vs $8.23. So a little extra time preparing my baby's food is well worth every penny. Don't you think?
** Many food companies process baby food in facilities where a variety of foods prone to triggering allergic reaction, such as peanut butter, may be prepared. You simply don't have those same risks in the comforts of your own kitchen.
- Foods that pose potential health risks to babies and young children:
- Eggs (Yolks can generally be introduced sooner than egg whites)
- Peanuts/Tree nuts and nut butters
- Dairy products (Allergy is often outgrown)
- Soy (Allergy is often outgrown)
- Wheat (Allergy may be outgrown, but an intolerance called Celiac disease is not a true allergic reaction, but must be managed carefully with help from your health care provider, as this is not outgrown)
- Citrus fruits
- Commercial canned foods-not recommended due to high sodium content
- Beets, spinach, collards and turnip greens (and other root vegetables)-- not recommended because they have higher concentrations of naturally-occurring nitrates which can reduce hemoglobin in babies less than 6-8 months of age. After 8 months of age the baby develops the stomach acids necessary to fight the bacteria that can cause nitrate poisoning.
- Honey - not recommended for children under the age of one year due to potential risk of infant botulism
** More Nutritious: No additives, salt or seasonings. Less processed foods-- I can steam veggies instead of overcooking-- (saving more nutrients of the veggie for my baby). Some of the baby food on the market has additives and thickening agents including cornstarch, flour, chemically modified starches.
**More Control: I can control what goes into the processing of making the food. I can monitor her diet. I know which vitamins and nutrients are lacking from her diet, etc.
** Taste: Fresh, seasonal food just tastes better. I would rather taste the food I make verses the food out of the jar. Why should my baby eat it, if I won't even taste it.
Making food gives you control over quantity, taste, texture and expense. You will not have to throw away partially eaten jars of food. Instead you can cook what you know your baby will eat, prolong the life of your homemade food in the freezer.
Because your homemade purees are made with whole foods, the leftovers can be made into soups, side dishes and sauces for the rest of the family. You may doubt that because you never considered making a delicious soup from a jar of baby food. However many favorite cream soups get their start from humble, fresh purees.** Cost
We have already discussed this earlier. I think I made my point with this. Making your own food is quite less expensive.
Cons: Time Consuming to some people
I will say that for some people this may be a touchy subject. The things I share here are what I have found works for us. If using jarred, already processed food works for you, great - go for it! I am not saying that homemade baby food is the only way, just our way. In my research, I have found that this will be the best solution for our family and more importantly the health of my baby. I am not a doctor or certified nutritionist and I know that everyone will have to consider what is best for their baby and what method they are comfortable using.
I tend to buy pre-made things for our family at times and I am trying to gear that towards a more whole foods diet, where we use less processed and more "real foods". It takes time and I am starting out with baby steps.
Homemade Baby Food
Wholesome Baby Food
Benefits of homemade baby food
The Petit Appetit Cookbook (Penguin March 2005) by Lisa Barnes.