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Making your own baby food can be as easy as seeing what is available from the store and finding your own recipe. Breast milk meets all your baby’s needs for about the first 6 months of life. Between 6 and 12 months of age, your baby will learn about new tastes and textures with healthy solid food, but breast milk should still be an important source of nutrition.
It is important to feed your baby slowly, encourage your baby to try new tastes but without force, and watch closely to see if he or she is still hungry.
Some baby foods are just food in their natural state. For example, mashed potatoes and applesauce. Yes, mashed potatoes or yet sweet potatoes are available in the baby food aisle. Convenience comes with a cost. Making your own baby food without added sugar is not only cheaper, but comes without additional ingredients such as concentrated fruit juice as a sweetener.
To begin you may need to purchase a small eight-cup food processor for under $20.00 along with ice cube trays for quick small portion freezing. Next, review food safety skills on handwashing from the CDC.
First, wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your finger and under your nails. Scrub your hand for a least 20 seconds or sing “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. Rinse hands well under clean running water. Dry hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.
Check your baby’s cues to see if they are ready for solid food. Here are USDA’s guidelines. Babies are mature enough to begin learning to eat from a spoon when they can hold their necks steady and sit without being supported. Next they should draw in their lower lips as a spoon is removed from their mouths, and keep food in their mouths and swallow it rather than push it back out on their chins.
Babies show disinterest or fullness by leaning back, turning away, pushing the food out of their mouths, and playing with the food.
It is important to learn about which foods can cause choking and why it important to not give babies honey, whole milk or home canned foods. Beets, carrots, collard greens, spinach and turnips prepared at home should not be given to babies under six months. When prepared at home, these are high in nitrates. Commercially prepared baby food spinach, beets and carrots contain only traces of nitrate and are not considered a risk.
Do not add salt, sugar, fat and other seasoning to vegetables and fruits. Remove baby’s portion before preparing and seasoning vegetables and fruits for others. Now, you are ready to begin preparing your very own baby food
Makes 6 servings
- Peel and core apples. Cut apples into large chunks.
- Place apples and 1 cup of water into a medium pot. Bring apples to a boil over high heat, stirring often.
- Turn heat to medium and simmer the apples for 30 minutes or until the apples are very soft. Stir often.
- Mash with a fork to become smoother. May be served warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutritional Information per 1/6 serving: Calories 60 Calories from Fat 0 % Daily Value* Total Fat 0g 0% Saturated Fat 0g 0 % Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 0mg 0% Total Carbohydrate 16g 5% Dietary Fiber 2g 7% Sugars 13g Protein 0g Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 8% Calcium 0% Iron 0%
Recipe: Mashed Potatoes
- Boil small to medium sized potatoes whole. This helps them keep their shape. Cut larger potatoes into halves or quarters. (Leave the skins on. The skins slip off easily right after cooking). Place the potatoes into boiling water (not cold water) this will keep more of the vitamin C. Cover and cook until the potatoes can be pierce with the tip of a sharp knife.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander. Cooking times are 10-15 minutes for small potatoes, 15-20 minutes cut-up potatoes, and 20-40 minutes for medium to large whole potatoes.
Use a potato mashed, or a hand-held electric mixer. Add hot water to reach desired consistency. Do not over beat.
Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 57 calorie, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol 3 mg of sodium 1 g fiber and 13 g carbohydrate.
Source: CDC factsheet on handwashing, CDC factsheet on Positive Parenting tips for Infants, USDA Food and Nutrition Service factsheet on Feeding Infants (especially Chapter 7 and Chapter 12)
Recipe - Applesauce “Just Say Yes” TRACKS supplemental curriculum
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