I will never be featured as a chef on a TV cooking competition. I can’t cook. It’s not my thing. I’ve always been prone to dishes that are the simplest and fastest to assemble. I don’t enjoy spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
So imagine my surprise when I realized that I have fully embraced making my own baby food.
And baby food is on my brain right now. I have a little guy who has been eating solids for a little while now and I’m making his food. There are six reasons that made me overcome my dislike for the kitchen and become a baby food chef.
1. It’s cheaper.
When my twins were first starting solid foods, I was looking for any way possible to keep all baby-related costs down. We all know babies are expensive and having two babies at the same time meant double the normal baby costs.
When I crunched the numbers when my twins were first starting solids, we were saving roughly $0.23-$0.27 per ounce (depending on the food) by making our own homemade baby food. Those savings went up with smart shopping and sourcing in-season items.
This time of year, there are all kinds of low-cost options for fresh fruits and veggies especially. Most of us know someone with a garden that has too many zucchini or squash than they can handle. In the fall, a coworker inevitably has an apple tree that they can’t keep up with and there are bags of apples sitting at work. I’d scoop those freebies up and put them to good use.
2. It’s easy.
Like I said, I’m no chef. But making your own purees is literally the easiest thing to do. You pick and wash your fruit or vegetable of choice, steam or roast (you can skip this step with certain fruits like avocado, banana, peaches or kiwi) and throw them into a blender. If you’re using it right away, you store it in the fridge. If you’re working ahead, pour it into an ice cube tray and pop it into the freezer for easy portions that you can use later.
And that’s it.
It’s simple enough that in one afternoon nap time, I’ve prepped 4 different batches and still had time to sit down and watch some Food Network while gloating about how I’m basically now a master chef.
Plus, you don’t need any crazy kitchen gadgets to make this happen. My only investments were a silicone steamer basket and extra ice cube trays for storage. Once the cubes have set, I put them into labeled and dated freezer bags so that it takes up less freezer space and I can reuse my ice cube trays.
3. It’s convenient
Hear me out on this one.
Yes, it takes time to make and freeze the purees. But once that’s planned into your schedule, it just becomes part of the routine. Plus, anyone who does regular meal prep on a normal basis will tell you that once you have the items ready to go in the freezer, it’s a fast supper time. And by prepping multiple batches at a time, I can switch up his diet as needed. Is he a little constipated? I’ll pull out the batch of plums and he’ll be good to go without having to make a trip to the store.
I’m also not doing any extra shopping. Right now, with everything that’s happening in the world, I’m looking to spend as little time in a store as possible. By making my own purees, I don’t need to make one more stop or venture down that baby food aisle. The baby is eating the same groceries that I pick up for the rest of the family.
4. Our entire family eats healthier
Making our own baby food has made us incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into our lives. When I’m prepping carrots for baby, I’ll cut up a few extra and prep them as healthy snacks for the week for my husband and myself.
As we look to expand baby’s palate, I’m actively seeking out new foods to try. There are literally hundreds of recipes for baby food on Pinterest. One quick search and you’re feeling like a master baby food chef. By trying new foods with baby, I’m incorporating vegetables that I would have never tried as a kid and I’m finding that I like them more than I would have thought.
Plus my older kids are now actively asking for fruits as a snack instead of sugar filled treats. Which is a big win in this mom’s book!
5. There’s less waste.
We’re doing are part to save the turtles and cutting out the plastic because we don’t have the baby food packaging. Also, there’s less food waste.
I don’t know about your house, but often times one of my 4-year-olds will tell me the day I’m doing grocery shopping that they “really, really want blueberries.” And then I’ll purchase blueberries and they’ll sit untouched. Instead of letting the berries rot and tossing them out, I now puree them and freeze the puree to use as baby food. It’s extending the life of the purchase and I feel good knowing I’m not being wasteful.
Plus, there’s always going to be a food item that baby isn’t a fan of. When you have it as a frozen cube it’s so easy to repurpose. I’ve thrown carrots and pepper purees into a pasta sauce. Other purees have found their way into smoothies or jazzed up some muffins.
6. I feel good knowing what my baby is eating.
I know exactly what he’s eating and I know there are no extra additives. And when we get items from the garden or take advantage of the awesome farmers markets in the area, I get to know where the food is coming from, too.
And not only do I know that we’re making healthy choices now, we’re setting up our child to make healthy choices in the future. It’s been shown that children tend to form long-term likings for certain foods and flavors based on their earliest years of eating. We’re helping to form a good relationship with food.
I started making baby food for my twins when they started solids. These six reasons were enough to make me get past my dislike for cooking. And I’ve continued making my own food for my third baby now as he transitions to solids. Even if not all of the reasons above apply to you, rest assured that if I can do this, you can too.