Working Variety into a Baby’s Diet

Banana Again??

Banana Again??

Now that Frances is down to nursing three times a day, the amount of solid food she can consume at one sitting is quite impressive. I don’t know how her stomach can hold so much food!

I’ve been worrying, as only a mother can, about the variety in her diet. Since she’ll eat just about anything, I’ve been pureeing every vegetable I can think of into a thick paste with some sort of meat. I keep a fish version, a lamb version and a chicken version in the freezer and alternate which one she eats each day.
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Do you make your own baby food?

I had visions of whirling up organic autumn blends of apples and squash for my babes. And I did, but not for every meal. I made huge batches of sweet potatoes and mashed bananas in my blender, froze them in ice cube trays, and then stored them in zip lock bags in the freezer. It was long process, but I loved reflecting on the fact that making baby food means saving about 90% over the cost of pre-made organic baby food and avoiding the environmental costs of packaging and processing. Still, working nearly full time, not getting enough sleep and having a relatively picky baby motivated to buy jars of organic baby food to save my sanity now and then.
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Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler Review and Giveaway

Homemade baby food became somewhat of a hobby for me. I don’t think my daughter had more than three or four jars of store-bought food, and I smiled smugly when she rejected it in favor of my delectable concoctions of ground oats, flax seeds, and kale. (That smugness has since faded: See the Any Brilliant Ideas for Picky Eaters? post!)

As obsessed as I was with making my own homemade baby food, I could have used this incredible book: Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler by Jeannette L. Bessinger and Tracee Yablon-Brenner of Real Food Moms. Their guide goes way beyond my boring purees, with more than 150 recipes and snack ideas for babies and kids under three. Many of the recipes sound delicious for adults, too—zucchini cupcakes with mascarpone frosting, veggie pancakes, pasta with pesto and garbanzo beans, creamy choco-banana smoothie. And don’t worry—there are still plenty of recipes for “traditional” baby fare such as teething biscuits, grain cereals, and apple sauce.
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Using a Blender to Make Baby Food

blended baby foodRebecca likes to cruelly taunt me about the use of my blender for making homemade baby food. Honestly, I could care less. I proudly stand behind my little Osterizer and its amazing ability to whip up heaps of sweet potatoes, baby spinach, and pureed pears. (By the way, Rebecca and I are playing up the blender drama just for show. Our nearly twenty year friendship hasn’t been damaged by this small appliance duel.)

Due to limited storage in my kitchen, I have to limit my gadgets. Nothing earns the right to live in my cupboards unless it can prove that it has many functions on a regular basis. My blender is a standby for summer smoothies, popsicles, and, of course, baby food. I simply steam or boil the food, dump it in, and add some of the liquid used to cook it. Then I whirl it up and dump it in ice cube trays for storage. When it’s frozen, the cubes go into labeled freezer bags where they wait to be microwaved for dinner. If you’re looking for some elegant and healthy recipes, along with cloth diapering tips and heaps of ways to save money on raising baby, check out our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.
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