Thursday, March 17, 2011

Making Baby Food

I must admit that I did not make baby food for Solana. Making baby food seemed like the sort of thing that crazy people with way too much time on their hands did. Plus, how could anyone know what to feed a baby without the "Stage 1," "Stage 2," etc. on the label? Well, we've been watching some food documentaries over the past year and I've made some big changes to our diet: -Local and organic whenever possible -Less meat -Meats raised humanely by local farmers (pastured, cage free, grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free) -Lots of whole grains and legumes, etc. This diet is really working well for us. Dave's losing weight, we're going to the bathroom more regularly (and more quickly!), my skin has improved, and we feel good about what we're putting into our bodies. In order to give Chloe the benefits of our improved diet I needed to begin making her purees myself.

I was intimidated but it's turned out to be a very simple and satisfying process. I swear that the food I make for Chloe is 10x more appetizing than anything I've ever gotten out of a jar. The peas are an amazingly beautiful flourescent color. The fruits smell wonderful! Everything's organic. And now that she's moved on to more complex meals I find that I can pretty much puree anything that we have for dinner.

Chloe is having texture issues and will not self feed anything mushy or slimy. (Her vision therapist believes this has something to do with her vision impairment.) She only has two teeth so this leaves a limited amount of finger foods: crackers, cheerios, toast, broccoli, sweet potato fries...that's about it for now. She turned her nose up at: peas, carrots, scrambled egg, cheese, and bananas. I forsee pureed foods in my future for quite a while.

If you're interested in making baby food you must check out This website tells you anything and everything you may want to know about making baby food. When to introduce, how to prepare, how to puree, how to store and for how long, nutritional value (vitamins/minerals), why they're good for baby (eyes, brain, muscles), and recipes for almost any food you can think of.

Another misconception I had was that I would need special equipment for steaming and pureeing baby food. There are lots of baby food makers out there and I considered many. In the end, I just couldn't bring myself to spend $100 on a tool that would be good for just a few months (little did I know how long Chloe would be on purees). I went with the $7 steamer basket, my blender, and these freezer cubes that I LOVE. Guess what. They work just fine and that's really all you need. I baked some of the fruits/veggies at the beginning, too. The food processor is also a good tool, if you have it, but you can get by with just a blender. I rarely use the food processor because it chops really well but sometimes I have a hard time getting the smooth texture that Chloe likes for most of her foods (this may be user error since I'm not a huge food processor, anyway).

In preparation for our upcoming Mexico trip (I'll blog about that later) Dave bought me this mini food processor so I can make baby food for Chloe while we're at the resort. I'm crazy about it! I can mix up small amounts of food in a breeze and it's such a small appliance that it doesn't take up much room in the dishwasher. The double blades are nice, too, because sometimes thicker foods get "stuck" in my blender. You know, the bottom stuff keeps blending but I didn't create a vortex so the stuff at the top just sits there and never moves down to the blade. This one doesn't seem to have that problem.

My final misconception was the time committment. It's really not that bad. I can't say for sure how much time I spend making baby food. It varies. I think I probably spent 1.5 to 2 hours a week max at the beginning. Now I probably spend 1 hour a week max. I make up a couple batches of fruit cubes to mix with yogurt for breakfast and those two batches will last me a couple of weeks. A batch of veggies and beans will last me a couple of weeks, as well. And now that Chloe's eating a lot of our meals it's just a matter of scooping her serving into the blender and whizzing it up really quickly as I'm serving our own meals.

So if you're interested in making baby food I say, "Give it a try!" You'll probably love it!


The Hillbergs said...

We've been on a food transformation too! It started with watching Food, Inc (have you seen that??) and then more and more reading and research. Since I'm the grocery shopper in our family, my family didn't have a choice! I try to get organic when I can and local whenever possible. Local strawberries are to die for. The downside is that the season is so short - you can't have them all summer (its too hot here for the strawberries to grow). We also joined Weston Price -- although, some of their stuff is a bit extreme for me (I just am not 'granola' enough to embrace WP in whole). We're taking cod liver oil (dang that stuff is expensive!) and I puchase grassfed butter (well, its the cows that are grassfed) and whip with EVOO for a great butter spread.

Cyndi Hendrickson said...

Yes! Food Inc, Food Matters, and Supersize Me. I've taken to shopping at Trader Joe's for lots of things. They sell non-GMO (genetically modified) products and it's almost a matter of principal for me to buy non-GMO soy! I almost exclusively buy local grass fed pastured non hormone/antibiotic meat and we only eat meat every other day. We're not 100% transformed but it'a amazing how many changes we could make fairly easily. I buy organic frozen fruits and canned tomatoes off season and I've been able to find lots of organic foods (dry beans, lentils, canned tomatoes, prunes, etc.) on that I can't find at the grocery store. I can't wait for my garden and for the farmer's markets to open!