Feeding your children healthy, yummy food is one of the many costs of raising a family, but a baby’s food budget needn’t break the bank!
Depending on the brand, the cost of buying prepared baby food ranges from $50-100 per month!
I’ve tested the stuff and am convinced it isn’t nearly tasty enough to cost that much.
Not only is it expensive, most prepared baby food has been sitting on a shelf for weeks (or months.) Many types have sugar and other ingredients added, to “enhance” the flavor.
A child’s first introduction to food helps set the stage for later eating habits.
I want to teach my children to love whole, fresh, healthy foods. I want to introduce them to the delightful tastes of carrots and chicken and apples. I want them to ask for seconds of vegetables. I don’t want them to think that food has to be laced with artificial flavors and sugar in order to be yummy.
This is why I make my own baby food. I love food that is healthy and thrifty. I especially like it when it’s easy too. (Like these 12 breakfast ideas!)
Making your own baby food is thrifty, healthy, and easy. Really, really easy.
Here are three ways I’ve kept my babies happily fed (mostly) healthy foods with minimal cost and time.
Nurse your baby to at least age one
I know that nursing is simply not an option for some moms. It nearly wasn’t with our oldest and I sympathize strongly with those that can’t breastfeed. Had it not been for incredible support, lots of expert help, and God’s grace I wouldn’t have been able to. Don’t feel badly if you can’t nurse your baby!
For those that can nurse, breast-milk is the perfectly designed food for your baby. Did you know the nutrients, fat content, and immunities change to suit your babies age and even the time of year?! (We have such an amazing Creator!)
The World Health Organization and American Association of Pediatrics (and of course most midwives!) recommend exclusively breast-feeding for the first six months and to continue to supplement until at least one year. The benefits to both mother and child are incredible.
[Random side note: If you're going to nurse till five, please, please don't pose for a provocative picture with your son for the New York Times. Really. Not only was it revolting, that kid is going to have to live with that picture for the rest of his life!]
Make and freeze a big batch of homemade baby food
- Choose high quality vegetables and fruits that are appropriate for your baby’s age. (Check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to find foods that contain the least amount of pesticides, buy organic, or grow your own!) Sweet potatoes are a healthy, super-thrifty choice!
- Scrub, peel and/or pit.
- Cook the vegetables until nice and soft.
- Flash freeze. Many people put the food into ice cube trays. I just lined a pan with wax paper and put little dollops on (since I don’t like washing out ice cube trays.)
- Once frozen, store the baby food in an air-tight container.
- Remove individual portions from freezer as needed and thaw.
I spent about an hour making three big bags full of baby food. It has lasted us for weeks.
Feed your baby from your plate
Homemade baby food is great, but usually there is something at every meal we eat that is baby-safe. Plain (homemade) yogurt, tiny bits of tilapia, or freshly mashed avocado make great choices depending on the age of the baby.
This baby food grinder makes it really easy to get the food small enough, but I usually just use a fork and make sure it’s really well mashed.
I save the nutrient-rich water from steaming or cooking vegetables to thin the food with. (Just make sure the water is fresh and unsalted!)
Linked up at Teach Me Tuesdays, Titus 2sdays, Living Green, Healthy 2Day Wednesdays, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Thankful Homemaker, Encourage One Another, Creative @ Home, Homemaking Linkup, Women Living Well, Works for Me, Natural Living Link Up & Simple Lives