When you cook food instead of buying a ready made meal, you trade time and convenience for money. The same is true when as a new parent, you make some or all of your baby’s pureed foods. Proponents of making their own purees cite that it saves money, they know exactly what they are feeding their newborn, and they can introduce the foods and flavors of their choosing. Although it saves money, it does come at a price. New parents find the time required a disadvantage. Additionally, homemade baby food requires refrigeration, and spoils more quickly than what you pick up at the grocery store, compounding the time problem.
That, however, isn’t stopping parents from ditching the easy on-the-shelf option. The New York Times reported earlier this year that sales of baby food have been declining since 2005, and companies like Beech-Nut are changing what is offered to try and win back customers. If you too find yourself wanting to make your own purees, Atlanta-based pediatrician Jennifer Shu, MD, told WebMD you do not need any fancy equipment to get started. “All you need is a food grinder and a way to steam the food,” Shu stated.
Before you start, wash all the equipment, and your hands. Then scrub and cut up the fruits and vegetables you plan on using. Steaming or microwaving preserves the most nutrients, but you could also bake or roast the produce until it is tender. After it is ready, puree it in a food processor with a little bit of liquid, such as water or breastmilk. Place the puree into airtight containers, and store in the fridge or freezer until ready to use. You can buy specifically sized tupperware, portion the puree out into ice cub trays, or mini muffin tins. Rewarm before using. Depending on the age of your baby, cooked meats, beans, or eggs are also fair game for pureeing — provided they have been properly cooked. Consumer Reports can help to break down which foods are best pureed when.