Want to give your baby healthy meals but struggling to find the time? Learn how to make baby food at home easily and conveniently. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Thistle. All opinions are 100% mine.
If there’s anything I geeked out on in the baby stage, it was making baby food.
I made baby food for all three kids, poring through recipe ideas and blending and storing their meals. I even tracked all the food they ate and loved watching their reactions as I offered new varieties.
The decision to feed my babies homemade baby food came easily. I found so many benefits, including:
- The variety. I wasn’t locked into a handful of flavors from the store shelves. Cooking my own baby food meant many combinations and possibilities to offer my kids.
- Less picky eating. With so many flavors to try, my kids learned to be open and accept all types of meals, right from the start. Even now, they eat a variety of food and are willing to try new flavors.
- Healthy eating habits. Because all the food I made was fresh, I avoided offering processed, high-sugar meals. I knew exactly what went into their meals.
- Easier transition to table food. As baby food became more complex the older my babies grew, I was able to transition them to the same meals the rest of the family was already eating.
How to make baby food at home
With so many benefits of making baby food, how can you do this easily and conveniently? Below, I share my best tips on how to make baby food at home, even as a working mom of three kids:
How to prepare fruits
Guess what: You don’t have to start with cereal as a first food to introduce to your baby. In fact, I suggest starting with simple fruits and vegetables as his first baby food. Here’s how to prepare fruits:
- Peel and core. Except for berries, start by peeling the fruit and removing its core.
- Slice into sections. Slice the fruit into sections to make for easier blending.
- Place into a steamer. Fill the bottom half of your steamer with about one inch of water, then set your fruit on the top half. If you don’t have a steamer like I did, fill a regular pot with water and set a fitted colander on top, then cover with a lid. Steam the fruit anywhere from 20-30 minutes until that point when it’s tender.
- Blend. Place the fruit in the blender, then add enough water to make the food blend well. Add more water for younger babies who prefer a thinner texture, and less for older ones who can take chunkier meals.
A few fruits don’t need to be steamed, such as bananas, avocados, mango, papaya and kiwi.
How to prepare vegetables
Like fruits, cook the first few vegetables your child eats. Down the line, she’ll take to finger foods like peas, corn and carrots, but for now, cook and blend vegetables as you would fruits.
One difference with most vegetables with a thin skin is that you don’t have to peel them like you do with fruits. Vegetables like zucchini and summer squash can be steamed and blended directly.
Any fruits and vegetables whose skin you wouldn’t eat will need to be removed, such as pumpkin, butternut squash, pineapples or bananas.
And finally, root vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams do best by roasting. Wrap the vegetable with its skin on in aluminum foil and bake for 30-45 minutes. Remove the skin and scoop the insides into the blender. Add some water to liquefy, and blend.
How to prepare meat, grains and dairy
As your baby gets older, you can introduce more complex flavors and textures. Yogurt makes a wonderful baby food. Blend fresh fruit like strawberries, then mix it with whole-milk yogurt.
Prepare meat as you normally would, such as baked, grilled, boiled or on the stove top. Start with no seasoning at first and keep the meal plain. Then, take the cooked meat apart and place it in the blender. Finally, add some water and blend to the consistency you like.
Mix grains like cereal and oatmeal with water, breast milk or formula, following the instructions on the package.
Offer food one at a time
Your child may react to certain food, and the best way to see which ones is to offer only one food every two to three days, especially in the beginning. Reactions can include allergy symptoms, rashes, fussiness or gas.
When I first introduced solids to my eldest, one of his reactions was constipation. I eased on offering him solids for a few days until he was able to digest as usual.
Once you can see that the new food doesn’t seem to affect your child, go ahead and introduce a new flavor.
Store food correctly
Homemade baby food can stay in the freezer for one month, in the fridge for three days, and at room temperature for no longer than one hour. When storing in the freezer, pour them either into ice cube trays (where typically one cube equals an ounce) or baby food containers.
A convenient way to make baby food at home
Even with all the benefits of homemade baby food, one downside is the time it takes to prepare. From shopping to slicing to storing, homemade baby food isn’t always the most convenient to prepare, especially when you’re already low on time as it is.
For the longest time, we were stuck: We either had the convenience of store-bought baby food, or the time-consuming freshness of homemade baby food.
Homemade baby food, made easy
Introducing Thistle, the baby food subscription service that gives you the best of both worlds!
Every week, you get the convenience of organic, flash-frozen produce delivered to your door. No juggling babies and shopping carts at the grocery store!
All the items are pre-washed, chopped and already portioned to save you time—you can cook three recipes in under 15 minutes each! Open each pouch of produce, steam and blend. Al the prep work has already been done for you.
With so much convenience, you’d think you’re stuck with the same flavors you’d find on the shelves, but not so.
Thistle makes nutritious, homemade baby food with a ton of variety. Fruits, vegetables, super foods, herbs and spices to widen your baby’s palette and give her the nutrients she needs.
And at $2 a meal, you’re actually paying less than what you’d pay for most organic store bought brands.
You can pause or cancel your subscription at any time, too—no commitments. And the best part? Your first box is 30% off, automatically.
Thistle understands how busy we get. They want to make homemade baby food not only easy for parents, but a way to foster a lifetime of healthy eating habits for kids. With Thistle, you get the benefits—and the convenience—of homemade baby food.