Make Your Own Nutritional Baby Food

A recent study conducted by the British Children’s Food Campaign found that some baby foods were actually worse than junk foods, containing as much sugar and saturated fats as cookies and cheeseburgers! It’s no wonder more parents today are choosing to feed their tiniest tykes a made-from-scratch diet.

baby eating water melon

Whether you are introducing your baby to his first taste of solid food or he is graduating to finger foods, you too might want to consider the benefits of home-made meals: they can provide better nutrition at a cheaper price, with less waste than their store-bought, pre-packaged counterparts. And it’s easy to do.

Just remember to use CLEAN utensils, tools, and pans; wash and peel all fruits and vegetables; and follow the current guidelines and your pediatrician’s advice for age appropriate food introduction.

While you can purchase specific baby food makers, you can often get by with just a blender or a food mill.

Stage One

Stage One foods are meant for babies 4-8 months old. These are your child’s first foods – they are thin, watery, bland, and the least likely to cause an allergic reaction.

To make your own Stage One cereal, grind brown rice or steel cut oatmeal (not instant or quick cook varieties) in a blender or food processor ( a great kitchen tool, by the way) and use the resulting powders in the following:

Rice Cereal

  • ¼ cup rice powder
  • 1 cup water

Add rice powder to boiling water, stirring constantly. Continuing to whisk, simmer for 10 minutes. Add formula or breast milk and/or fruit. Serve warm.

Oatmeal Cereal

  • ¼ cup ground oats
  • ¾ cup water

Add ground oats to boiling water, stirring constantly. Simmer for 10 minutes while continuing to stir. Add formula or breast milk and/or fruit. Serve warm.

When she’s ready to move beyond cereal, try these recipes to satisfy her hunger pangs (and your conscience).

Just remember the 4-day rule for new foods to isolate possible food allergies.

Applesauce

1. Peel and core apples (I like to use Gala, Braeburn, Roma or Macintosh apples).

2. Cut into pieces or slices and place in a medium saucepan.

3. Add enough water to just cover the apples.

4. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Add more water if necessary.

5. Mash with a potato masher or place in a blender or food processor with a small amount of water to puree. An immersion blender is also a wonderful tool to have on hand for making your own homemade baby food.

Avocados

These area great source of vitamins A, C, niacin, and folate as well as a variety of minerals including potassium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and calcium.

1. Choose dark green fruits with bumpy skins.

2. Peel and remove the pit.

3. Mash flesh with a fork.

For further reading, check out our posts on storing them as well as softening an unripened avocado.

Green Beans

Green beans offer large amounts of vitamins A, C, K, niacin, and folate, as well as minerals including potassium, sodium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, and calcium.

1. Start with 1 pound of fresh green beans, washed, with the ends snapped off and strings removed.

2. Place beans in a steamer basket in a pan with enough water to touch the bottom of the basket, and bring to a boil.

3. Steam until very tender, keeping an eye on the water level.

4. Puree in a blender or food processor with just enough cooking liquid to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.

5. Push through sieve if you need to, to get rid of any skins. You can also place hot beans in an ice bath (a large bowl filled with ice and water) before pureeing with an immersion blender or running through a food mill, for a smoother consistency.

Sweet Potatoes & Yams

1. Sweet potatoes and yams contain lots of healthy vitamins and minerals including A, C, folate, potassium, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, and calcium.

2. Start with 2-3 medium sweet potatoes or yams. Wash the potatoes and prick with a fork. Wrap in foil to prepare in the oven, or plastic wrap to cook them in the microwave.

3. Bake in a 400°F oven for 30-60 minutes until soft, or microwave on high for 8 minutes until tender.

4. Remove skins and puree, adding liquid of your choice as needed for a smooth, thin consistency.

Stage Two

Stage Two Foods are meant for babies 8-10 months old. These are thicker, lightly seasoned, and made with foods appropriate for this age group, such as yogurt, cheeses, meats, and other proteins.

Meat or Poultry Puree

  • 1 cup cold, boneless beef, pork, veal, or chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ¼ cup cooking liquid/juices or water

1. Place meat or poultry in the blender or food processor and puree until powdery.

2. Continue to puree, slowly adding enough liquid for the mixture to become smooth.

3. Add vegetables or fruits as desired.

Egg Yolks

1. Hard boil eggs, then peel and cut in half.

2. Remove the yolks and mash with formula, breast milk, yogurt, applesauce, etc.

Finger Food

Finger foods are also often introduced at this time. Your baby should be able to chew at this stage, and he should have a pretty good pincher grasp. Foods should be soft, and cut into a small dice.

Storage Tips

Current recommendations for storing homemade baby foods are up to 48 hours in the refrigerator, and up to 1 month frozen.

To freeze, put purees in ice cube trays and cover with plastic wrap. Transfer to freezer bags when frozen.

When ready to use, thaw out a cube and reheat. Using a standard ice cube tray, one cube equals on ounce of food.

Healthy Eating from the Start

Start your children off eating healthy foods and before you know it, they will be old enough for you to teach them to cook!

We live in a time of global crises that range from environmental to financial, and often the big picture can seem out of our control. But sometimes it’s the little things you can do that end up making the most difference.

By ensuring good nutrition for your child right from the start, you may be boosting the likelihood that she will adopt healthy eating habits later in life. When you consider the benefits to your wallet and the environment as well, making your own baby food looks like a real bargain. In fact, It’s a triple-play coupon!

If you don’t already have a blender, then you can check out this buying guide to ensure that you purchase one that meets your needs.

So, what’s on the menu for your baby today?

The staff at Foodal are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.

Photo credits: Shutterstock.

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About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

31 thoughts on “Make Your Own Nutritional Baby Food

  1. The Rice cereal recipe is so simple, I should had known that simply Rice Powder would suffice. I do use Gala Apples to make our applesauce with a half of a pear added. The recipes are wonder, I really appreciate having them. Thank you!

  2. Glad to know of these amazing tips and guides, i’ll be sure to implement them when little visitors come to stay :)…great thing is, they are so easy to make, no spending tireless amounts in the kitchen scratching one’s head until you end up with a hairless patch, wondering what the baby is going to eat.

  3. I made all the baby food for my kids when they were small enough to need it. I have a Ninja blender, so between steaming the fruits/vegetables and popping them in the blender it didn’t take much time at all. My kids didn’t eat purees for long though, however I have incorporated the same methods into adding fruit and vegetable to smoothies for them. I find that adding a puree makes a less obvious impact (at least with vegetables) and I know my kids are getting the nutrients they need.

  4. I am going to bookmark this page! The recommendations are pretty helpful to mom’s-to-be like me as I’m giving birth in two months. I am now following a healthy diet, and I think my baby would be like me when she gets out of her little world in my tummy.

  5. It’s pretty scary that some baby foods have loads of sugar and saturated fats! I make my own because it’s easier and I know what’s going into it. Babies’ systems are so fragile and new that only good foods should be going into them. I’ll be incorporating these recipes into my little babe cookbook 🙂

  6. These are some great tips to make sure you know exactly what your baby is eating. Very easy and a lot of ingredients are usually on hand anyway.

  7. I remember the panic when my kids were babies, and I read an article that the lining of baby food jars had cancer causing chemicals that leached into the baby food. It was a landmark moment in my life. If I can’t trust baby food to be safe, what can I trust? It made me question all processed foods. We eat very little processed food today because of that.

  8. My sister is now five months pregnant with her second child. She’s really interested in feeding her baby with healthy organic food.

    I once read an article where milk contained plastic particles of melamine. This was to fool people of the protein content while disposing of factory waste. So many mothers and their infants died or got sick.

    Nowadays, it’s really hard to trust every product. Sometimes you have to take things into your own hands to be safe. I’m glad there are ways for us to do it. Otherwise, we’d all be at the mercy of processed food.

  9. These seem amazing! I don’t have kids yet (I’m not even married yet!) but when I do, I’m definitely going to go homemade for the baby food. I’m linking this to my cousin, too – she has a tiny bundle of joy coming pretty soon. 🙂 I love that these are all super easy, and you can trust that you’re not feeding your baby a ton of processed things. Also, your baby will probably like these better. Did you see the YouTube trend “Baby Food”? It’s a tag in which people taste-test baby food in a jar and try to guess what it is, and the general consensus is that pretty much all baby food in a jar is gross, gross, gross>! It’s tasteless, disgusting, and mushy. These will definitely be a nice, healthy, organic change. 🙂

  10. Good article with some practical tips to make baby food at home. It is very expensive to buy canned baby food and a lot of it has added flavors and preservatives. We don’t ant our young being exposed with processed food so young!
    I have read that studies have shown that if you involve your kids in the making of dinner i.e. cutting up vegetables or mixing sauce, they are more likely to enjoy eating healthy food. So not only are you teaching them life long skills they will enjoy the food better too!

  11. This is just what I needed this morning- my partner and I were literally just talking about the disadvantages of buying baby food from a store. Not only does it not always seem like it’s the healthiest, but it’s actually more expensive than making your own too. These recipes give us an awesome springboard, and now that I know it’s possible to make your own easily, I’ll definitely be researching this more online. I’m going to try the meat and poultry puree tonight!

  12. Wonderful article! I wish that I had come across this 5 months ago when my son’s pediatrician gave me the ok to start him on solid food. He’ll be turning a year old next month and I say ‘Better late than never!’ I’m a first time and the thought of making my baby’s food never crossed my mind until I started to get to know other moms my age. I just always assumed that since baby food products like Gerber and Earth’s Best were made just for babies, that there was some special ingredient or special method that made it more ‘baby friendly.’ Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to try these out!!!

  13. Love the article! Before I became a new mom I wasn’t exactly a good cook. My partner would eat anything really. When we got pregnant we started eating better and once baby came and started solids we would read everything on the label. We realized homemade is the best way at least for all three of us.
    I love these recipes you shared. They’re simple and not even a cook like I was could get it wrong. Plus, it opens up baby to goooood food. New moms would love this. I know I felt better making my king’s food at home.

  14. I don’t have kids so of course never have to buy baby food. But that is really upsetting that some of the baby foods are worse than junk food, wow. My parents had us eating finger foots like carrot sticks and other veggies at a young age. These are great easy recipes, I am going to email this to my sister. Thanks for the good read.

  15. I wish more people would take the time to make their own baby foods. It’s super easy as you have shown here. Plus no surprises you know just what your baby is eating. It makes you feel like a good mom preparing your own. I know I made it for my babies back in the day, and they loved it.

  16. I think there are so many options in the baby puree department. Enjoyable to test yourself as well. I made an amazing sweet potato, apple, & jicama combination my son couldn’t get enough of. I have a whole notebook of recipes I intend to pass down to my children. They’re less enthusiastic at 7 & 11 about it then I am.

  17. I’m stunned to learn that some baby foods are THAT unhealthy. That’s terrible.

    My daughter has made her own baby applesauce before, but I’ll be sending her over here to check out the rest of these. They seem easy to make. It’s much better when you know what is going into your baby’s food.

    Planting your own fruits and vegetables is a great help too and then you can make fresh baby food from them.

    Here’s to starting kids off healthy!

  18. As long as moms keep it simple making baby food for the little ones will come second nature. I think the problem is most new moms get overwhelmed and worry too much about the process. Just take it slow and remember your baby will really benefit from it. Also if you can’t buy fresh there are a lot of really great frozen options!

  19. I think it is extremely important for parents to realize how easy and affordable it is to make your own baby food. Preservatives, replacement sugars, fillers, & dyes are so detrimental to a child’s brain function and growth. What a lovely article. I will definitely be sharing this with my friends that have children.

  20. thank you so much for such easy recipes… tried oatmeal with my kid and he really loved it. really helpful n especially i prefer home made, which were free from artificial things and these recipes are amazing. hope for liquid food recipes soon 🙂

  21. Thank you for the tips! I’ve never thought of doing my baby food at home. I always end up buying canned baby food from the store and it’s very expensive.
    Also those recipes are healthier than what I am buying so that’s a plus. It’s a lot more cheap too.

  22. Thank you so much for the great tips! With my first child I never thought of making my own food at home but seeing all the recalls lately on baby food I’ve taken a big interest with my second baby. I have always heard of people making vegetable purees for their babies but I have never heard of anyone making cereal, that’s such a great idea! These recipes look very easy and seem very inexpensive, I cant wait to try these with my son!

  23. I am so happy to see this guide! I am a new mother, I have a four month old (she will be five months soon) and she is my first. I always heard that the jarred/packaged baby food is not very nutritional and can sometimes be as bad as junk food, as you mentioned. This is a wonderful list to start off with, I will be introducing my daughter to homemade very soon. I find the recipe with the using the yolk of boiled eggs very interesting and a great idea, I have never heard of that! I can’t wait until she’s old enough to try that.

    I also have to agree that this will help children in eating healthy in the future, especially if you can continue to provide fresh healthy fare when they start to get older.

  24. Years ago, I had a cat who would periodically develop Pancreatitis, so the veterinarian suggested I serve him baby food, which was healthier and purer than cat chow, which I did.

    So, recently, when one of my cats was sick, I stopped by the grocery store, to pick up a few jars for him, to see whether they would help.

    I wasn’t happy with what I read on the ingredient labels, so I passed them by and made my own for him here at home. These are some great recipes, and I might incorporate some of them into my homemade cat chow.

  25. My baby boy likes green beans and some fruits, but I’d like to try making homemade applesauce and give him some avocados. It’s bad that these are things I don’t even think of. I want to feed him healthy but don’t know where to start really for some reason. This article helps a lot.

  26. Thank you so much for this article! I feel like I’m running out of ideas. I want my children to eat as healthily as possible but I also want them to try a variety of different tastes and textures so hopefully they won’t grow up to be fussy eaters. I sometimes worry about what I can and cannot feed my youngest so this page has been great. Thank you again!

  27. I would totally do this once I have kids on my own.

    Store bought baby food always looks un-appetizing and to know what goes in it is also a plus. My mother was always making baby food at home, and telling me later in life how my father loved it and always waited if I have any leftovers from my food 🙂

  28. Definitely adding this to our recipe book! Our son is almost ready for solids and I don’t see myself buying processed baby food for him. Most of these ingredients are usually in our pantry or fridge and it seems easy to prep for a few days in advance. So excited for this upcoming stage in our lives, thank you for the information!

  29. I absolutely agree with this. With our first child we realised very quickly the baby food expense adds up quickly and so much would be waisted, she wasnt a fan of the tastes. Not to mention, when you first open the jars, they have that top layer of “gunk” from settling and preservatives! With our youngest child, now 1.5 years old, we made our own baby food. It cost very little, and has a fresh taste and we never had an issue with her eating it. Much healthier too!

  30. Well I am not really in the market for baby food at the current time, but that said, I did have a friend who just gave birth last week so I am betting that she would love something like this. I will probably wait a little bit and let her settle down, of course, before I start giving her things to make in the kitchen, but I know that she will appreciate it. When it comes to the health and well-being a child, you can never be too safe. Great stuff, and thanks for sharing.

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