Best food for your baby – homemade or prepackaged

Shutterstock: LeManna

Mothers of newborn babies don’t have to worry about their babies’ diets until about 6 months of age. Until that time, their babies’ entire diet consists of either breast milk or a store-bought milk product. When incorporating food into their diets, most mothers choose store-bought baby food that comes in tiny, neatly packaged jars of meats, fruits or vegetables. However, an increasing number of mothers have started making their babies’ food from scratch. It’s surprisingly easy and affordable, and doesn’t require any special equipment other than your typical kitchen tools or appliances.

Advantages of homemade baby food
Baby food made from scratch is the most nutritious option. Packaged food loses some of its vitamins and nutrients during a sterilization process. This process requires extremely high temperatures to cook the food. The heat kills bacteria and lengthens shelf life. Homemade baby food is fresh and doesn’t contain the additives and preservatives found in prepackaged baby food. If you’ve ever tasted the jarred baby food, then you’re aware of the superior taste of fresh food in comparison. In addition, homemade baby food can be less expensive than the prepackaged option, depending on what types of food you purchase. You can feed your baby a wider variety of foods because you choose the fruits, vegetables, and other foods.

Preparation and storage of baby food
Baby food is fairly easy to prepare, and you don’t have to buy expensive kitchen gadgets to make it. You can roast, bake, steam, or boil vegetables and fruit to create the different purees. Steaming preserves the most nutrients. Other foods that can be pureed for your growing baby includes cooked eggs, fully cooked meats, and beans. The meats have to be fully cooked with no pink areas, fat, skin, or connective tissue. You can use a potato masher, blender, food processor, or food grinder to make the majority of purees. There are containers that are specially designed for storing small serving-sized amounts of baby food. An ice cube tray will also serve the same purpose.

Steps to healthy homemade baby food
Before you start preparing the food, ensure the cleanliness of your hands and all equipment. Do the same for all your fruits and vegetables by scrubbing or peeling the skins. Cook the ingredients until they’re tender by using your preferred method of cooking. Puree the cooked food with a bit of water, breast milk, or formula, and store in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. Reheat before feeding, and remember to allow time for cooling before feeding your baby. Certain foods like ripe bananas, pears, or avocados can simply be mashed and fed to your baby. Just make sure the food has been completely mashed and there’s no chunks.

Premade baby food has evolved over the years, and there are many healthy options available. Organic baby food is among these options, but homemade baby food is still the most nutritious choice. Moms that choose prepackaged foods may argue that they are more convenient for many reasons like minimum effort and storage options. Prepackaged baby foods are ready to serve, and they don’t require refrigeration. It takes more of your time to purchase, prepare, and store homemade baby food, but it’s worth it when you consider the advantages. Busy moms can still keep a few jars of store-bought products to supplement their homemade baby food.