- Family and Parenting
8 Healthy Baby Food Purees
Healthy Food, Healthy Baby
Making your baby's food is very rewarding, for both you and your baby. By preparing the food yourself, you can assure yourself that you are providing exactly what your baby needs without added ingredients or chemicals that may not be that great for your baby. That said, I have four children and my first three ate packaged store-bought food and are perfectly fine and healthy, but for my fourth child I decided to give homemade baby food a try for a few reasons: It is WAY cheaper, it is healthier, I know exactly what my baby is eating, and it is actually quite fun!
I know, I know, you are busy and don't have time to mess with making baby food. Let me tell you I have four children, I am a freelance writer, I have a knitting business, someone has to take care of this house, and... you get the picture. You may be surprised at how little time preparing the food takes, especially if you whip up a bunch of batches and freeze them.
This lens will cover ten healthy homemade purees that you can make for your baby when he or she begins eating solid foods at around six months. Some are starter foods, some are not. As you likely know, always start babies on new foods one at a time a few days apart to rule out any possible food allergies. The recipes are in no particular order and all of the recipes except for the video recipes are originally mine. I made them up for my baby and he loved them all! I hope you give them a shot!
Photo credit: http://www.articlesweb.org/health/fruits-and-veget...
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1. Mango, Banana, and Avocado Puree
This is one of our easier recipes simply because there is no need to cook these fruits first. Just make sure they are all good and ripe.
Avocados are one of the best first foods you can give to your baby. They are rich in beneficial monounsaturated fat that is perfect for your baby's growth and development, and they are a great source of potassium, vitamins E, B, and K, fiber, thiamin, niacin, folic acid, protein, zinc, riboflavin, and omega 3 fatty acids.
Bananas are such a great first food for babies because they are safe and mild. In other words, the risk of any allergy is extremely minimal and bananas are very easily digested by babies. Plus, most babies absolutely LOVE bananas!
Loaded with vitamin C, mangos and are super nutritious as well, but not recommended as first foods. After your baby is well-accustomed to many different foods, probably around nine months, this recipe would be a delicious one to try.
Mango and Avocado Puree
1 ripe mango
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe banana
Cut the mango, banana, and avocado into chunks and place them into a food processor. Puree with a bit of water. You will probably need to add a bit more water to obtain the desired consistency.
Storing Your Baby's Food
aka: What do I do with all this stuff?
Always be sure to throw away any leftover food that your baby has eaten from because if the food has saliva in it, it will become contaminated pretty darn quickly. It is a great idea, in a time-saving kind of way, to spend a couple of hours a couple times a month preparing a bunch of individual batches of food and then refrigerating or freezing them for later use. The food you make will be safe in the refrigerator for three days and in the freezer for one month. Be sure to label all foods with the date of preparation so you know if any needs to be thrown away.
Note: Bananas, avocados, and a couple other fruits and vegetables tend to brown after they are exposed to the air. This process is called oxidation and the brownness might not look so great, but the foods are still perfectly healthy for your baby. (IF you follow the rules I mentioned above in bold).
2. White Bean and Rice Puree
White beans are full of nutritious fiber, protein and iron and are a wonderful addition to your baby's diet. This recipe takes a bit longer than other recipes because you have to cook the beans, but dry beans are preferable over canned ones that contain sodium and other undesirables. You can use white kidney beans, Great Northern beans, or Navy beans for this puree. Also, brown rice is preferable over white rice, although you could use either. Brown rice is healthier and contains more fiber, but takes longer to cook.
Add about a cup of beans into a pot and cover them with water. They will soak up quite a bit of water as they cook, so be prepared to add water as necessary, but not too much because you don't want to have to drain them later as much of the nutrients would go down the drain. Bring the beans to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat so that the beans simmer. (I do not worry about using a lid when cooking beans) You will then simmer the beans until they are nice and tender, which usually takes about two hours, give or take.
While those bean take their sweet time, cook up some brown (or white) rice. Follow the directions on the package depending on what kind of rice you are using. For this recipe, you will need about one cup of COOKED rice.
When your beans and rice are ready, simply puree them up! You may wish to add some sort of spice to jazz the puree up, but don't feel like you have to because babies tend to really enjoy the sweet taste of white beans as they are. If you like, you may choose to add some carrots or another cooked vegetable in with the beans when you puree them.
Baby Food Processors
This is the system I used and loved it!
3. Sweet Potato and Banana Puree
Let's hear it for these two superfoods that are both perfect as first foods for baby!
Let's start with sweet potatoes, and get ready because this is a long list of great stuff. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, thiamine, niacin, copper, potassium, beta-carotene, and vitamins B6, C, and E. Wow. You know what else is great about them? They are naturally sweet so most babies slurp them up happily.
You know what else is naturally sweet? Yep, the popular baby favorite: the banana. Loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, they are also mild and easy for babies to digest.
Let's mix these two up, shall we?
Sweet Potato and Banana Puree
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 banana, peeled and cut into large pieces
Start this recipe by cooking the sweet potato chunks. I choose to steam mine, but you could boil them. Either way, cook the sweet potato until it is very tender. Let the pieces cool a bit and set aside some of the water that you used to cook them with. Then, simply add your sweet potato and banana into your food processor, add a touch of the water you had set aside, and puree. Add more water as necessary for the desired consistency.
4. Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Cheese Puree
This is a great instructional video from Nicko's Baby Food on YouTube about how to make cauliflower, broccoli, and cheese puree. Packed with beta carotene, calcium, folate, and vitamins, A, B9, C, and K, this is a baby recipe that you will feel great about feeding your baby.
Steamers Are Wonderful for Cooking Baby Food... - and feeding the rest of the family too!
5. Chicken, Carrot, and Peas Puree
Chicken is a great source of B vitamins and protein and, when pureed with some cooked carrots and peas, it becomes a tasty and nutritious meal for your baby. Now, you may choose to bake your chicken with a pinch of a spice such as rosemary, cumin, or lemon pepper to give it extra flavor, or you may decide to boil the chicken in water to ensure that it is nice and moist and ready to be pureed. Either way is fine. Personally, I like to boil the chicken because I feel that it never fails to be nice and moist.
Chicken, Carrot, and Peas Puree
Cook any cut of chicken you like in any way you prefer. You will want it to be completely cooked (no pink!) but not tough. Cool off the chicken, take off and dispose of any skin, and break the chicken meat apart with clean hands, setting it in a bowl to the side. You will need roughly one cup of cooked chicken for this particular recipe. Backtracking a bit, while the chicken is cooking, steam two peeled and chopped carrots and a cup of frozen peas. Again, set some of the cooking water aside for when we puree. When all of the food is prepared for pureeing, well, puree it! You will need to add some water as you go.
6. Butternut Squash, Spinach, and Apple Puree
PACKED with Antioxidants
This recipe is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to its nutritive qualities and your baby will surely appreciate its deliciousness. Butternut squash, spinach, and apple are all three good first foods for your baby. Tons of vitamin A, calcium, antioxidants, vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin are all packed into this recipe. In fact, I'm such a huge proponent of just spinach itself that I have a lens dedicated to it called Spinach, The Superfood.
This recipe can tend to be just a tad tricky, though, because butternut squash is so big that if you make the whole thing your baby will likely turn orange after a few weeks from squash overload (just kidding). I would use half of the squash and maybe freeze or use the other half for something else. Even so, this recipe will make a large batch of food that you can separate into containers or ice cube trays for freezing.
Butternut Squash, Spinach, and Apple Puree
1/2 butternut squash cut into large pieces
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into a few large pieces
Steam the butternut squash over boiling water until it is ALMOST tender. Add the apples into your steamer and continue steaming the squash and apples until they are both tender. The apples don't take nearly as long so we just add them later. Don't turn off the burner just yet! Add the fresh spinach and steam for just a couple more minutes until the spinach is wilted. As with our other recipes, save the water that you use to cook with because it contains some of the nutrients the food has lost during cooking. Cool the food down for awhile and then puree it with a bit of the water you set aside. Add more water for the desired consistency.
Is Baby Food Making for You? - There are TONS more recipes out there!
7. Spiced Carrot Cauliflower Puree
This is a great video by Weelicious on YouTube that shows how to make "Spiced Carrot Cauliflower Puree". I love how she adds in some cumin!
8. Pear, Papaya, and Spinach Perfection
Our last baby puree recipe is right in line with all the others - delicious, wholesome, and packed with nutrition. Loaded with vitamin C and calcium, your baby will enjoy the simple sweetness of the natural sugars from the fruits. This is a short and sweet recipe since the pears and the papaya do not need to be cooked in order to make the puree.
Pear, Papaya, and Spinach Perfection
2 soft pears
1 papaya (see video below to find out how to pick a good one and how to actually cut it!)
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
Cut the ends off of the papaya, peel it with a peeler, and cut it into many chunks. Peel the soft pears and cut them as well, adding them into your food processor with the papaya. Next, steam or boil the spinach for just about a minute or two until it becomes wilty. Then simply have fun pureeing up the papaya, pear, and spinach puree! Use a bit of the water you used to steam or boil the spinach if you need to for the desired consistency.