First off let me tell you a bit about me. I am a stay at home mom with mutliple children. After the birth of my second child I started making my own baby food because I couldn't believe how much the major companies (you know who they are) get on a two pack of baby food. Talk about ripping you off...you can buy two entire cans of vegetables for the same amount.
Making your own babyfood is really easy...ANYONE can do it..and you WILL SAVE MONEY GUARANTEED, here's how...
- Blender or hand food mill, any size will do...if you make it as you go a smaller hand blender or food mill works best. If you prefer to stock up then use a larger one. Food Processors also will work, expecially as your child gets older, food doesn't get as smooth as it does with a blender.
- Storage containers...for freezing, ice cube trays and plastic gallon size bags, for refrigerator storage, small tupperware or other storage containers.
- Fruits/Veggies/Meats/Pasta.. fresh, frozen or canned vegetable and fruits...whenever possible choose no salt veggies or light fruit, whole grain pasta and lean cuts of meat.
First and foremost decide whether you would like to make small quanities or larger quanities. If you choose large quanities...freezing is the only storage option. If you choose to store in the refrigerator only make enough for a day or two so it won't spoil.
Decide which method you'd like to use...using canned vegetables and fruits is quite a bit quicker but won't save you as much money as if you use frozen or fresh produce. I'll usually watch the sales and pick up what I can when they are marked down.
Fresh and frozen items...cook/boil until they are tender, blend and add water to desired thickness...Option 1: transfer to storage container, freeze, after frozen transfer to plastic bags and label...Option 2: refrigerate immediately.
Canned...blend and add water to desired thickness...Option 1: transfer to storage containers, freeze, after frozen transfer to plastic bags and label. Option 2: refrigerate immediately.
To use: Simply cook in microwave safe container (I like to use the small coffee cups that come with your set of dishes...they make awesome baby food servers)
That's pretty much it. The sky's the limit...you can mix fruits, veggies, meats, pasta, spagetti sauce, etc. to make wholesome and nutritious meals for your little ones. You can also add mild sipces such as onion powder and cinnamon for added flair to meals and desserts.
I do keep some store bought baby food on hand for outings and things like that as they don't need refrigeration...otherwise it's all homemade. Keep reading on for a few extra hints...
There is also a huge selection of toddler graduate food on the market....this is just a marketing thing....you will be surprised when you read the labels that there is no different in the "graduate" food when compared to "grown up" food.
Here are a few that I have found...
- Cereal bars...choose nutragrain or even store brands cereal bars
- Fruit snacks...look for softer 100% vitamin C brands
- Juice...buy 100% juice varieties such as Juicy Juice
- Veggie crackers...look down the cracker aisle
- Cereal...choose cheerios or rice crispies and any other low sugar kind
- Meat dices...check the prepackaged or canned chicken (usually by the tuna fish), all beef/kosher hotdogs, etc.
I could go on and on...don't be fooled in thinking that the baby food brands are healthier than the rest. Generally, they are not. You may have to cut and dice a few more things but it is definitely worth it for the money you will save.
Good luck and feel free to e-mail with any questions.
Disclaimer: These are just my opinions. I am not associated with any company or product. I am simply a stay at home mom sharing some things I have learned. I am not responsible for any misue of the information I have provided. Use at your own risk.