Admittedly, life changed when the Tiniest r(E)volution came along almost 11 months ago. As much as we denied it would happen, it did. We found ourselves being a little less strict on our all-natural, quasi-minimalist, values. We accepted most of the clothes and toys and decorations sent our way. MOST. Not all! And as time marched on we realized that it was all a bit too much. That is another post though. What I want to talk about today is the one things that has remained so high on our priority list that it is its own category! Homemade, organic, healthy, toxin-free, great tasting, baby food. And yes, I call it baby food because at nearly 11 months old the Tiniest r(E)volution isn’t ready for a lot of foods (although her 6 teeth think otherwise!).
Natural food for babies has become extremely popular in mainstream America bringing rise to organic jarred foods, baby blenders and processors, and even multimedia baby food kits! I tend to think the initial reason for this awareness and methodology is due to parents’ understanding of toxic food, unwanted and unsourced ingredients, as well as pesticide sprays, weed killers, growth supporting chemical substances along with other compounds may be applied to the foods which are manufactured into infant food. When making your babies food and when making it from sourced, organic foods you can be sure that your child isn’t eating anything that carries any of the chemical substances we’ve come to know and despise.
Creating baby food at home is also a great solution to spending too much on store-bought foods and otherwise consumer products. On the health side of the coin though it is fantastic for being able to identify what your child may or may not like, may or may not have a reaction to, and may or may not be able to digest well. It goes without saying too that making your own baby food allows you to really source the food and know what may or may not be in it or on it. In our case we buy produce and fruits from our local farmers market or from a trusted friend. This way we can be certain what is going into our baby’s system. While organic and natural foods of almost every kind can be found in the majority of grocery stores they are rather expensive and far too often include ingredients that are not organic or natural at all.
Example: the 2nd Dinners – Beef, Carrots & Corn Country Dinner made by Earth’s Best Organic says very clearly that a 4 oz. jar contains:
- 4 grams of protein per serving
- A good source of vitamin A
- USDA organic beef: no growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids or potentially harmful pesticides or herbicides
- No added salt, sugar
- No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives
Sounds great, right? If I may be picky though, the label does not say what the beef ate, what was on what they ate, what was sprayed around what they ate, etc. It simply says the beef itself was not administered growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids or kept around potentially harmful pesticides or herbicides. Such confusion can be avoided if you source your meat from a local rancher whose farm you can visit, walk around, and see the cows. Further to the point, I am not sure that I truly want to feed our baby minced up, pureed beef on any scale. At least now now. Bizarre!
So, what do we do to feed our daughter? Do we go to the local Whole Foods and buy “organic baby food?” Do we feed her table scraps, so to speak? Nope. We find a nice balance of things recommended for her age and new, interesting flavors and textures available no further than our garden!
Begin with organic, natural, or home grown foods. It helps when you can source the food and know how it is grown. Right now our daughters diet hinges largely on fruits and vegetables so we are fortunate to have a number of those resources in our own backyard. If not though, we have several farmers markets to choose from and even family members whose growing practices we are familiar with.
Prepare the food. After washing, cook vegetables – and fruits like apples and prunes that need to be softened – before pureeing or grinding. Bake, boil, or steam the produce until it’s soft. Peel and pit the produce if necessary and strain out any seeds. Some fruits and vegetables don’t require any liquid – simply mash, add a seasoning or two, and serve. For others, you may want to add a little liquid (breast milk, formula, or water) as you puree or grind to get the consistency you want. Grains like quinoa or millet can also be pureed or ground in a food mill.
Feed your baby. Make sure to wash your hands before hand feeding your baby. As our daughter has gotten older we have used different spoon sizes and even used meal time as a chance for her to develop her motor skills. There is no right or wrong here. Just be sensitive to your babies needs and make sure you aren’t taking time to prepare healthy foods only to laden them with plastic, toxin-rich, silverware!
Save the leftovers. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container and use them up within a couple of days. You can also freeze leftovers in ice cube trays or freezer jars. After the cubes are frozen solid, remove them and store in plastic freezer bags. Fruits and vegetables frozen this way will last six to eight months.