Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baby Food for Thought

At em we spend a lot of time thinking about what goes on the bodies of customers. It's only natural considering that's what we specialize in. Today, though, we want to talk about what goes in. Specifically, what goes in your baby. When the time comes to begin feeding baby more than just breast or bottle, we know that many families are concerned about finding the very best for their little ones.

Of course, there are plenty of options when you're at the grocery store. There are multiple brands, choices between regular or organic, decisions about which type of cereal to choose. When my youngest was a baby, it was much easier. There was basically just one brand and about the only decision was whether he liked peas or carrots better (for the record, it was peas; lots and lots of peas).  Unfortunately, the other consideration is cost. Good gravy, baby food is expensive! If you want to buy organic, be prepared to pay upwards to a dollar or more for a single jar! As babe gets a little bigger and is eating a couple at one sitting, that really starts adding up! The solution? Make your own! I know it sounds difficult. It sounds time consuming. It sounds messy. Trust me, it doesn't have to be! 

First, there's cereal. Many people believe that cereal is the only option for a first food. In my own personal experience, that's not always true (but I'm not a pediatrician so please understand this is only my personal experience and should be taken only as that).  My own children at a combination of cereal and fruit and veggie purees as their first foods.  But, I digress... cereal.

The beauty of making your own is that YOU get to choose the ingredients. If you want to do rice cereal, for example, you have the option of choosing what kind of rice it is - white, brown, basmati, jasmine, organic, etc.  So, how do you make it? It's a piece of (rice)cake!  Just grind up your chosen grain.  A coffee or spice grinder is perfect for this as it will grind your grain to a nice powder. Once you have your powder, just store it in an airtight container. To turn your magical powder into cereal for baby, just add 1/4 cup of cereal powder to 1 cup boiling water, stirring constantly, and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. If desired, you can then stir in breastmilk, formula, juice, or a fruit or veggie puree.  See? Easy!! And, you're not limited to rice. You can do the same with barley, oatmeal (don't use the instant "quick" oatmeal; only use the old-fashioned oats), uncooked pasta, or quinoa.  Just be sure you cook the cereal. Your powder is from an uncooked grain, after all, and that's hard for baby to digest.

This is a great example of brown rice from grain to powder to cereal from www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com. They've got TONS more great information on their site, too!

Moving on from cereal, fruits and veggies are always fun to introduce to baby. I would write a bunch about it here, but instead, I'm providing you with a video from Abbey at Everyday Champagne. In less than 5 minutes, she shows you how to make roughly 28 ounces of homemade baby food for around $3. That's an amazing savings, and she does it all in a tiny little corner of her kitchen! 

See what I mean? Easy! And you don't have to use flash frozen veggies if you don't want to. Pick up something delicious and seasonal at your local farmer's market. Pick something delicious from your own garden. Just be sure it has been cooked first (in the case of most veggies and apples) and is soft enough to go into the blender. Personally, I'm thinking carrots and green beans from our garden or blueberries from the local U-Pick farm.  Yum!!

So go pull out your blender from the back of the pantry. Pick up some extra ice cube trays at the dollar store. And start with the baby food makin'!  Don't forget to share your success stories with us, too!


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