Now that your breastfed baby is older, it’s time to start adding some solid foods to her diet.
Making your own baby food isn’t as hard as it sounds. It’s a lot more economical than buying the jarred stuff. It’s also a great way to give your baby the best, freshest food possible, that’s free of additives, fillers, artificial colors and flavors, and other questionable ingredients that are in some baby foods.
Here are five healthy,easy baby food recipes to start with.
5 Easy Healthy Baby Food Recipes
1. Raw fruit
This is an easy one. Simply peel soft, ripe fruits like peaches, pears, bananas, plums, and melon and mash them with a fork or run them through a blender or food processor. Babies love the taste of pure fruit without added sugar. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays, then pop one or two cubes out, thaw, and serve. This method of preservation works for nearly all home-made baby foods.
2. Whole grain brown rice cereal
In a grain grinder or blender, grind 1/4 cup organic brown rice until it is a flour-like consistency. To prepare, bring 1 cup of water to a boil and whisk in the brown rice “flour.” Simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool and flavor the hot cereal with a couple of frozen fruit puree cubes described above. You can also stir in a little breastmilk for flavor, nutrition, and consistency. You can substitute ground, rolled oats for the brown rice for variation. Note: Be careful when introducing grains to your baby, as they can be very constipating. Start with extremely small portions diluted with breastmilk, and watch carefully for any reactions.
Full of probiotics (“good” bacteria), yogurt is a wonderful baby food. You can make your own in a crockpot, flavor it however you like, and save a lot of money! You will need:
- 2 quarts of organic, non-ultra pasteurized milk
- 1/2 cup plain, organic yogurt already prepared (you can use some from a previous batch of your own, or a commercial brand)
- thick bath towels
Set your crockpot on low. Pour in the milk, cover, and leave it for 2 1/2 hours. Turn off/unplug the crockpot. Leave the milk mixture in it for 3 hours. Then, stir in the 1/2 cup of prepared yogurt and cover. Wrap the crockpot in thick bath towels – be sure to cover the top and sides. Leave 8-9 hours (overnight). In the morning, the milk will have thickened and you have yogurt! Mix with the organic, mashed/pureed fruit of your choice.
This is one product that often contains a lot of added sugar and/or preservatives when purchased from a store. Here is a simple way to make applesauce for your baby.
Core and coarsely chop and peel as many apples as you like (you will get about 1/4 cup of applesauce per apple). Put chopped apple into a steamer basket and steam for 10 minutes or until tender. Press the soft apples through a sieve or run them through a food mill. This gets some of the nutrients from the peels into the applesauce.
5. Chicken and vegetable soup
Great for an older baby who is eating a variety of foods, this is a good way to get a lot of nutrients in one meal. You will need:
- 1 large chicken breast, bone-in
- 2-3 cups pure water
- pinch of salt
- pinch of poultry seasoning and/or bay leaf
- 3/4 cup of mixed veggies, such as peas, green beans, or carrots
Simmer all ingredients in a saucepan for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through. (You could do this in a crockpot or pressure cooker, too.) Remove the chicken from the bones; discard bones. Chop, mash and/or puree the chicken and vegetables and serve warm.