Monday, September 5, 2011

Baby Food

My son loves baby food, and since it is the only way I can get him to eat fruits/vegetables, I make it a lot. Not a lot has to go into making baby food. In fact, it's very simple. And CHEAP.

Pick out fresh and ripe produce with no blemishes. Get mostly fruit and one vegetable that is mild flavored. So you could do a peach, a few pears, and a small yam. That would be perfect to start out with. You could also do just one fruit. Bananas don't seem to work out very well though, so I skip it.

Peel, cut, and dice up your fruits/veggies. Some veggies need to be cooked in order to use them, such as potatoes and squash. It is wise to put in the juice of 1/2 lemon as well, to preserve flavor and color.

Use whatever means you have to puree the food (cook it first, if you need to)--food processor, magic bullet, mixer, or even a sieve. Puree it REALLY WELL. If you need to, be sure to cut up the fruit into tiny pieces, that way the blender can puree raw fruits/veggies (if you are trying to keep it raw)

As your child becomes tolerant of some blends or single fruits/veggies, you can puree less and less until it resembles applesauce more than puree. The goal is to eventually have mostly chunks of fruit/veggies by slowly adding very small amounts of solid/semi-solid food into the puree as tolerated.

Once pureed you can choose to keep it as is or heat it up to get rid of the water and to concentrate the flavor (my boy loves it when I do this for peaches). To thicken up the puree for children who have swallowing difficulties, add some cornstarch or a teaspoon or so of flax meal.

Use mason jars to store the food in the freezer, taking out one jar at a time as needed. Serve warm or cold--in a bowl, on toast or waffles, or as an extra topping for fruit if your child handles that well. Everyday I give my son some 'gerber' so he can get in a serving of fruit. He also enjoys practicing his feeding skills by using a spoon all by himself.

In bento, fruit puree can be stored small airtight containers inside the bento box. Your child's aide can help your child use his/her spoon to feed themselves everyday at lunch. If you keep it small--only about 1/4 cup or less--then your child can use their spoon to eat something tasty but be finished before they get frustrated by the process. Success! Your kiddo did something them-self, used a spoon, ate something yummy, and got a fruit serving all in one sitting!

Baby food is also a great place to hide supplements.

Some Ideas:

peaches and yam
pears and cauliflower
cherries pears and beats
strawberries kiwis and pears
cucumber and melon
plums beets and peaches

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