Parents are in charge of everything eaten by their babies. Infants do not choose what they are fed. They cannot go to a snack bar. They cannot take a bottle out of the refrigerator.
This is the best time for them to learn to accept new foods and flavors. It is the time to open babies up to new smells and tastes. Experts say good food choices last forever. By the time children are toddlers or preschool age, the moment may be over.
It is also the best time for homemade baby food.
Homemade baby food is better and tastier than processed food. It must be fresh and made from whole foods and nothing else. Processed food is what you buy in the store.
When you cook a big batch of homemade baby food, it is cheaper than food from the store. You can control the quality and the quantity of ingredients when you make your own. Start by making just a little. See how it goes. Mashed fresh avocado or banana makes a perfect first food. No cooking is needed.
How to make your own.
Vegetables and fruits
- Steam vegetables or fruits (begin by chopping large pieces into one-inch pieces).
- Puree in a food processor or blender.
- Add enough water to make it easier to digest.
- You can freeze servings in ice cube trays, covered with wax paper and then wrapped in aluminum foil, or freezer wrap (up to three months).
- Grind ¼ cup brown rice, millet or oatmeal in a blender for 1 minute.
- Boil 1 cup of water.
- Reduce heat to low and add grain.
- Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve, refrigerate (two to three days) or freeze (up to one month) in ice cube trays.
- Grind cooked chicken, fish or meat in a food processor or blender and refrigerate (one to two days). Babies should be 7-8 months before eating most poultry, meat and fish.
- Serve alone or mix with pureed vegetables or cooked grains.
- Homemade stock is full of vitamins and minerals. It aids digestion and builds bones.
- Mix homemade chicken or vegetable stock into baby’s cereal or vegetables to liquefy and add nutrition.
- Babies can drink homemade vegetable stock from a bottle after the age of 9 months.
Worried about allergies? Introduce one food at a time. Wait at least four days before introducing another. Common problem foods: cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, soy, nuts, shellfish and artificial additives. Shellfish and honey should be avoided until at least a year.
Source: The Washington Post October 20, 2015