TIPS FOR SAFE BABY FOODS
Before You Start –
- Wash your hands before preparing food.
- Use clean cutting board, equipment and containers to cook and store food.
- Always wash and peel fruits and vegetables and remove seeds and pits before using.
When You Are Done –
- Cover and refrigerate or freeze cooked food immediately after it is prepared.
- Keep pureed food in a covered container in the refrigerator for no more than three days.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
The following items are useful EQUIPMENT for making baby food, but really only a fork is necessary to get started.
Blender Sharp Knife Heavy Saucepan
Fork Rubber Spatula Steamer
Strainer Vegetable Brush Food Mill
WAYS TO MAKE BABY FOOD – You don’t need to use all methods, just find one or two that will work for you
Use a fork to mash soft food. Ripe bananas and cooked foods with no skins or seeds can be used. Cooked apple, white or sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and egg yolks are easy to mash.
SIEVE OR STRAINER
You can use a strainer or clean, fine mesh wire and spoon to push the food through. Repeat the process if results are lumpy.
Cut the food into pieces. Put the cooked food through the food mill. (The skin and seeds will stay in the mill.)
Foods can be finely chopped or scraped with a knife, then mixed with liquid.
A food grinder can be used to grind up meats when the baby is ready for junior foods (about 9 to 12 months old).
Read the directions with your blender. Put a little formula or fruit juice, or juice from the food you are making or water into the blender. Cut food into cubes and add to the juice. Blend to desired consistency. Use a rubber spatula to push food own to blades when motor is turned off Using the blender is the easy and fast way to make baby food.
HOW TO FREEZE BABY FOODS?
An easy way to freeze baby foods is in FOOD CUBES. Food cubes are a perfect size for smaller babies and a good way to introduce new foods.
To make them:
- Freeze baby foods in plastic ice cube trays.
- Pop out the frozen cubes and store in clean ziploc or plastic bags in the freezer for up to one or two months. DO NOT TURN BREAD BAGS insideout to reuse.
Food cubes are also handy for traveling or visiting. Since baby food does not always have to be heated, thaw the cubes in the refrigerator and feed at room temperature within 30 minutes of removing from refrigerator. As his or her appetite grows, use more cubes!
Now you are ready to start learning a few basic recipes. Try one recipe at a time …. soon you will be comfortable enough to prepare larger amounts of food at the same time.
Basic Recipes for Baby Foods
Wash fresh fruit. Cook in a little bit of boiling water until soft. Puree or strain so all of the lumps are gone. Make sure there are no seeds or skin in the fruit. Rinse canned fruits to remove part of the sugar if canned in syrup. If using home canned products, make sure proper canning guidelines were followed.
Ripe Banana and Other Fresh Fruit
Ripe bananas have a brown skin with spots. Mash a little bit. Other fresh fruits can be ripe cantaloupe, peaches, apricots, pears, prunes
-prunes are especially good for constipated babies.
Frozen unsweetened fruits purchased in bags can be slightly thawed, then blended and frozen in ice cube trays no need to cook them as long as equipment is clean and things are done quickly.
An 18-ounce bag of frozen fruits and vegetables will fill an ice cube tray.
(See chart above)
To cook: Boil, Steam or Bake, then blend or mash.
If the baby foods are too thin, add Baby Rice Cereal, and if they are too thick, add fruit juices, formula, or juice from the cooked vegetables.
DO NOT add salt, sugar or fat.
DO NOT feed corn to babies.
By 5 months of age, spinach, beets, carrots and turnip or collard greens, whether home grown or commercially prepared, should be tolerated. For some infants who are sensitive to high nitrate levels, only commercially prepared strained or junior spinach, beets, carrots, turnip or collard greens should be served. As a general precaution for all infants, feed only I to 2 tablespoons of home grown or canned spinach, beets, carrots, turnip or collard greens at a time.
MEAT AND MEAT ALTERNATES
(Do not add salt or fat)
One pound of meat equals one and a half cups pureed (blended) meat, about 8 to 10 food cubes. Do not use pre-cooked luncheon meats such as bologna or bacon because of too much salt and additives.
Basic Meat Recipe
Half a cup finely cubed meat that is well-cooked, and 2 tablespoons (more or less) formula or unsalted meat broth.
Liver is the easiest meat to blend. It also is very rich in iron. Steam liver in a small amount of water in a covered pan about 8 to 10 minutes and blend.
Put a fresh egg in water. Bring water to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the egg sit in the hot water 20 minutes. Remove the cooked yolk and mash with a fork. Do not serve the egg white to the baby until baby is 12 months old.
Put one egg yolk, ¼ cup milk, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a pan. Stir over medium heat until mixture is thick.
FINGER FOODS FOR THE TEETHING INFANT
Hard bread roll, toast (without butter) or bagel Banana pieces
Chicken drumstick (remove gristle)
Avoid using sweet cookies, cakes, pretzels and pastries for the teething infant. Children will learn to eat sweets and salty snacks soon enough as they grow up.
As your baby approaches 9 months of age, junior foods can be introduced (see page two for new foods to try)
Besides trying new foods, continue with the fruits, meats and vegetables your child enjoys eating. Simply blend foods for shorter periods of time to leave food “chunky”.
When using strongly flavored foods such as chili or beans and rice, serve small amounts first to see if your baby is ready for them.
If you decide to BUY BABY FOOD already prepared, there are a few things to know:
I. It is best to buy strained fruits, strained vegetables, strained meats. This way you know what you are feeding your baby.
2. Read the labels on jars cans and boxes, especially the words following “Ingredients”.