Lisa Barrangou, author of “Real Smart Baby Food,” said the most common misconception about making homemade baby food is that it is difficult.
“Making baby food is one of the easiest things you can make,” Barrangou said. “The most delicious, nutritious baby food is simply fresh fruits and vegetables that have been puréed.”
Barrangou, who has an M.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science, created a system to produce three-months worth of baby food within three hours, all safely made in a home kitchen and compactly stored in the freezer. She shares this knowledge in her book to help other parents start their children off with healthy, wholesome foods.
The basic tools needed to make baby food are already available in most kitchens:
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Vegetable peeler
- Small or medium pot with a lid
- Baking pan
- Blender or food processor
- Ice cube or other cube-shaped storage tray
Buying baby food may seem convenient, but even organic jarred food can’t compete with the benefits of homemade food.
“Commercially processed baby foods are subject to very high temperature and pressure treatments, which allow the food to last on your shelf for years, but results in substantial nutrient and flavor loss,” Barrangou said. “Homemade baby food, on the other hand, may be stored long term in the freezer, which is a gentle preservation method that locks in nutrients and flavor, rather than destroying them.”
That’s not to say your baby won’t be a picky eater with homemade food. Barrangou recommends diluting strong vegetables with fruits to ease babies into new flavors.
“All babies will likely exhibit some level of pickiness over the course of their eating adventure,” she said. “It is important to know that new foods may need to be introduced repeatedly, maybe as many as 10 times, for acceptability to develop.”
Tackling homemade baby food may seem like a major chore, but the end results can be extremely beneficial in the long run.
“When babies are offered the vibrant flavors of fresh foods right from the start, they will quickly learn to accept and prefer these foods, which makes a lifetime of feeding your child a healthy diet that much easier,” Barrangou said. “Starting baby off with the right foods can be the gift that keeps on giving.”