Making your baby’s meals from fresh whole foods has so many benefits that far outweigh the inconvenience of preparing homemade meals. Whilst there is such a large range of commercial baby foods on the market, unfortunately there is almost always a downside. They are often heated at high temperatures which destroys many important nutrients, have added salt, sugar, colours, preservatives or fillers.
The most important benefit of preparing homemade baby food is the increased nutritional value. Gradually introducing a range of good quality, fresh vegetables, fruit, proteins and healthy fats means your baby will not only be enjoying a wonderful array of essential vitamins and minerals, it also enables your baby to develop a healthy palate for a diverse range of foods and textures. I encourage you to choose organic foods where possible. There are two main reasons for this, firstly it will increase the nutrient density of the foods your baby eats and secondly reduces the pesticide load. It is of particular importance when buying fats such as eggs, butter, ghee, meat, milk and cream as pesticides and chemicals store in fat.
As a general rule commercial baby purees come in one texture – super smooth and sloppy. Having different textures in foods is so important for your baby to develop a healthy relationship with all sorts of food. Have you ever tried commercial baby food yourself? It’s a great experiment to prepare some homemade baby puree and compare it to a commercial baby food with similar ingredients. Not only will you notice a distinct difference in textures, you will be surprised how much more flavoursome your homemade version is. Commercial baby foods also tend to contain a much higher percentage of the sweeter ingredients such as apple and pear in comparison to the vegetables, while still tasting fairly bland and savoury. Likewise they tend to have fairly low percentages of protein. Babies are more likely to be open to new flavours and textures if they are exposed to a wide range during their early days of starting solids. By making your own baby food the combinations, ratio of each ingredient and resulting texture are endless!
You might be surprised to learn that from a budget perspective you will actually save money by cooking your own baby food. You will also be doing your bit for the environment by avoiding excessive packaging waste by using your own reusable storage and serving containers.
So get into the kitchen and get creative. Not only will you feel great knowing that you are contributing to a healthy bub from the inside out, you are also playing an incredibly important role in helping your baby develop a healthy, happy relationship with all kinds of amazing, healthful foods.