Thursday, June 26, 2014

Homemade Baby Food

I am not a complete health nut, since having Jemma 10 months ago, I pretty much crave donuts on a daily basis. However, I have been trying to keep my little family filled up on healthy meals. As a nurse, I have seen numerous cases of childhood obesity and diabetes; the majority of which are brought on by high carb foods and sugary snacks, provided by the parents. These children have an over-developed "sweet tooth" due to these foods being eaten too frequently. Our impact on our child's food preferences and habits starts as soon as we begin giving them solids. Babies are born with a fully developed sense of taste just ready to be shaped. As soon as we start feeding our babies solid foods, we are impacting their taste development. Studies show that "Infants developing a sweet preference may “pattern” their eating habits for later in the toddler years for sugar and fat intake." The types of foods we chose to give our kids now, will influence their food preferences, weight, and overall health. 

Many parents give their babies apple juice in their bottles. Thankfully, this is less common as more and more doctors are warning against it. High intake of sweets can lead, not only to obesity and diabetes, but also dental carries, even if the baby has no teeth at the time they are drinking the juice. 

Sugar content wasn't the only reason that I decided to make my own baby food...have you tasted it?  Most of it is disgusting!

When I first thought about making my own baby food, I thought it would be way too much work, or take too much time. But it doesnt. It is so easy and I typically make a 2 week supply each time. I found this wonderful little system by Infantino on Amazon for under $18.  Infantino says that food can be stored for up to 2 months in the freezer and up to 48 hours in the fridge. This means you could make a 2 month supply each time! It comes with only 10 food pouches (hence my 2 week food supply) but you can buy more bags and stretch out the time between making the food. The Infantino bags technically are not reusable but I haven't had any problem washing them out in the sink. I usually also run them through the dishwasher to sterilize them. 

I often include a boiled chicken breast as it is a great source of protein which baby girl needs more now that she is nursing less. I also always have cooked sweet potatoes around for snacking on so they are easy to include as well. When attempting to make baby food for the first time, keep it simple. If your baby doesn't like the taste after a couple of tries, then add another carrot or a few strawberries to sweeten it a little bit. Natural sugars are easier for our bodies to utilize and digest.

Homemade Baby Food

1 Chicken Breast
1 Cooked Sweet Potato (bake at 390 for about 50 min depending on size)
3 Cooked Carrots
1/2 C Cooked Squash
1/2 Avocado
A handful of Spinach
Plus any other veggies you want to try

These are rough measurements. Think of them more as guidelines.  Cut each ingredient up and add them to your blender. Add water a cup at a time until you have blended everything to the consistency of apple sauce. If you were working with warm ingredients, then let it cool before you bag them. 

Tips & Tricks
Slide pouch into stand, then roll up the food pouch from the base to squeeze the air out before pouring the food into the tube. This will help reduce the amount of food that comes back out when you unscrew the tube

Getting children to eat healthy foods will always be a battle. However, as their role models we can determine how big or small that battle is by what foods we keep in our homes, what we eat ourselves, and how creative we are with our recipes. If the food tastes good, they will eat it!!! 

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