Adding solids into their baby’s diet can be a stressful time for many parents. And, with so many prepackaged baby food brands on the market, it seems easier to rely on jarred foods instead of making baby food at home. However, store-bought baby food is not always the best in terms of nutritional value and taste. Furthermore, while you can find some very healthy options, they are oftentimes more expensive than the ones that come at a lower price. If you learn how to make baby food at home, you know exactly what ingredients you use and you can introduce your baby to fruits and veggies that are rarely found in prepackaged baby food.
Despite what you may think, making baby food at home is quite easy. It requires some planning and learning but once you get a hang of it, it’s a simple task that you can complete in a couple of minutes, depending on the recipe. We’re here to walk you through the whole process. Moreover, we have a few baby food recipes we think your baby will absolutely adore.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Homemade Baby Food
Feeding your baby homemade baby food is a healthy option. However, there are advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of before pureeing fruits and veggies for your baby. If you learn how to make baby food at home the right way, with proper planning, the disadvantages will fade away and you will be able to easily make healthy and nutritional baby food at home.
Advantages Of Homemade Baby Food
Making baby food at home comes with many advantages. Here are some of them:
- You know exactly what you feed your baby.
- It’s budget-friendly to make food for your baby at home.
- You can use fruits and veggies of your choice instead of relying on the prepackaged food options that are oftentimes limited.
- Some store-bought baby foods contain fruits and veggies cooked at high temperatures to prolong storage time. High-temperature cooking is not ideal, as it alters the taste of the foods and, most importantly, it decreases the nutritional value of the veggies and fruits. Making baby food at home can mean added nutritional value if done correctly.
- Making baby food at home is also eco-friendly because you reuse dishes and reduce the disposable packages store-bought baby food comes in.
- You reduce the risk of contamination.
Disadvantages Of Homemade Baby Food
While homemade baby food is definitely the better option, there are some disadvantages too.
- Making baby food at home takes time. It’s faster to buy premade baby food from the grocery store while grocery shopping for the adults in the family.
- The prepackaged baby food comes in ready-to-serve amounts so you don’t have to spend time calculating how much to feed your baby.
- Homemade baby food can spoil quickly, especially if you make it ahead of time and you don’t properly store it and refrigerate it. On the other hand, prepackaged baby food can be stored at room temperature until the jar is opened.
- Texture can be a problem. If the puree is too lumpy, it can be a choking hazard.
Is It Safe To Make Baby Food At Home?
Yes, it is absolutely safe to make baby food at home. Sure, you have to make sure the tools you use while prepping the food are properly cleaned to avoid cross-contamination but, other than that, making baby food at home is perfectly safe.
What You Need To Make Baby Food At Home
Before we go into the process of how to make baby food at home, let’s see what tools are required.
Tools For Making Baby Food At Home
Many people think they need a baby food maker to make baby food but not that’s not at all true. Sure, if you have one, you can use it since the baby food makers are very convenient. But, if you don’t have one, you can use a regular food processor or blender. Even a potato masher is good to use, as long as you make sure the puree doesn’t have chunks in it.
- a kitchen knife for peeling and chopping;
- a spoon for mixing;
- bowls for serving;
- storage containers – small jars for storing the food in the refrigerator;
- ice cube tray for freezing if you plan to make baby food in advance;
- freezer bags or freezer-safe containers for storing frozen baby foods.
What To Do And What Not To Do When Making Baby Food At Home
If you decided you want to make baby food at home, follow the guidelines below:
- Steam or roast fruits and veggies instead of boiling them to maximize nutritional value.
- Use small amounts of water, formula, or breast milk to help mash or puree fruits and veggies until smooth.
- To freeze – transfer the baby food to an ice cube tray, cover the tray with plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer. When frozen, move the baby food cubes to freezer-safe containers or freezer bags and store them in the freezer.
- Defrost baby food in the fridge. Rewarm the food to room temperature right before serving, not in advance.
- When introducing new fruits and veggies, make one-ingredient purees to be sure you can identify the ingredient that caused an allergic reaction if one occurs. Use water, breast milk, or formula if you need to thin the puree.
- Don’t freeze baby food for more than a month (some fruit purees can last for up to 3 months in the freezer so if it’s mentioned in the recipe that you can store baby food in the freezer for more than a month, you can do so. If not, stick to the one month rule.). Label the bags with the preparation date for safety.
- Do not add salt, sugar, spices, cereal, or any other ingredient to your baby’s food. The only safe additional ingredients to add are water, formula, and breast milk.
- Do not store homemade baby food at room temperature. Prepackaged baby foods can be stored at room temperature until opened but homemade, fresh baby foods cannot.
- Don’t refrigerate baby food for more than 3 days unless otherwise specified by the recipe (some baby foods can last for up to 5 days in the fridge). If you want to store for longer, freeze baby food and store it in the freezer.
How to Make Baby Food At Home
Here are the steps you should follow every time you make baby food at home:
- Wash and rinse your hands.
- Wash and rinse the tools.
- Wash, scrub, and peel fruits or vegetables.
- Steam, roast, or microwave fruits and veggies until tender (unless you make no-cook purees in which case you should skip this step);
- Puree the fruits or vegetables in a food processor, blender, or with a potato masher. Mash the fruits and veggies if your baby is old enough to handle more texture. Use water, breast milk, or formula as a liquid.
- Store the baby foods in airtight containers in the refrigerator or the freezer.
- If you freeze baby food for later, defrost overnight in the fridge.
- Rewarm only when it’s time to eat, not in advance.
Easy Baby Food Idea
When you’re in a hurry, you can make baby foods faster by cutting the steps down to one. For example, you can quickly mash a ripe banana, avocado, or pear. Or, if you’re making mashed potatoes for yourself, set aside some potatoes before you add milk and butter and mash them for your baby.
Healthy Snacks For Healthy Babies
Just like us, babies need snacks throughout the day. If you’re busy, you don’t have to feed your baby jarred food. Same thing goes for when you’re on the go. You can opt for quick and healthy snacks. Older babies have more options than younger babies so make sure you take age into account when choosing the snacks. Here are some good options:
- Ripe banana mashed with a fork or spoon;
- Ripe avocado mashed the same way as the banana;
- Diced fruits, such as pears, melons, and peaches for older babies with new teeth;
- Tiny cheese cubes – make sure you opt for pasteurized cheese, such as mozzarella.
Tips For Making Homemade Baby Food
If you still think you need a little extra help before making baby food at home, read these extra tips before proceeding:
- To ensure the blender has enough volume to blend well, use at least one cup of fruit or veggie.
- If you feel like the fruit puree needs thinning, add tiny amounts of water, breast milk, or formula and blend again. Repeat until you get the desired consistency.
- Once you introduce your baby to a variety of fruits and veggies and you know the baby is not allergic to any of them, you can mix two purees together to create more complex flavors.
- Babies are not too fond of tart food so taste the baby food to make sure it’s not too tart. To add a little bit of sweetness, mix the tart puree with sweet potato puree, banana puree, or applesauce if you already introduced your baby to these ingredients.
6-8 Months Baby Food Ideas
Young babies who just got introduced to solid foods need thinner consistencies. Babies should be able to move the puree in their mouths with ease.
If you had to start solids before 6 months due to medical problems or at your doctor's recommendation, you really have to make sure the baby food has a thin consistency. You should also opt for low allergenic ingredients.
7+ Months Baby Food Ideas
Babies over 7 months can typically eat purees that are a little thicker in consistency. You can also combine ingredients, as the baby is always familiar with many fruits and veggies.
5 Fast & Easy Baby Food Recipes To Try
Now that you know everything there is to know about how to make baby food at home, it is time for some quick and easy recipes! All of these are no-cook and can be made ahead and frozen to simplify your days.
Banana Puree For Babies
Ripe bananas are a staple ingredient for parents who prepare baby food at home since they require no cooking and no additional ingredients. All you have to do is blend. Banana purees are easy to digest and they are appropriate as stage 1 baby food.
Extra tip – make sure you opt for a ripe banana with a few brown spots to make the puree easy to digest, thin, and sweet.Tools
- Kitchen knife;
- Small serving bowl;
- Storing containers.*
*This recipe makes approximately one cup of banana puree. Serving is 1 tablespoon so make sure you store the leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
1 ripe banana (or more, as needed)
Slice the banana to measure out about 1 cup.
Add the banana slices to the blender.
Blend until very smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides as needed.
Avocado Puree For Babies
Rich in healthy fats, avocado puree is healthy and nutritious baby food. It also has a mellow flavor, it’s super smooth, and all you need to make it is a ripe avocado. If you plan to store it for later, you have to add a little bit of lemon juice.
- Kitchen knife;
- Serving bowl;
- Storage containers.*
*This recipe makes approximately one cup of avocado puree. Serving is 1 tablespoon so make sure you store the leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month. Check the recipe for more storing tips.
- Ripe avocados;
- Water, breast milk, formula if needed for thinning;
- Lemon juice – if you plan to store it for later.
Cut the avocado in half with the knife.
Scoop out the flesh.
Repeat until you can fill up a cup (you need at least a cup of avocado to get a smooth consistency if you use a blender);
Add the avocado to a blender;
Blend until smooth.
Add water, breast milk, or formula to thin if the puree doesn’t have a smooth consistency.
Serve immediately as is.
For storing, transfer the puree to airtight food storage containers. Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice at the top to prevent browning.
Blueberry Puree For Babies
This blueberry puree is flavorful and full of antioxidants. You can serve it as is or mix it with yogurt or baby oatmeal if your baby is old enough.
- Serving bowl;
- Storage containers.*
*The recipe makes 8 servings. You can store leftovers in the fridge for 3-5 days or up to 3 months in the freezer.
- 1 cup of blueberries;
- ¼ cup of water (more if needed).
Add the blueberries to a blender.
Add water and blend.
If needed or if you want to make a thinner puree, add more water and blend again.
Mango Puree For Babies
You can make this mango puree with fresh or frozen mango. It blends in seconds, it’s flavorful and full of vitamins. If the puree is too tart, you can mix it with banana puree or applesauce.
- Kitchen knife for dicing mango;
- Serving bowl;
- Storing containers.*
*This recipe makes 8 servings. You can store for later in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
- 1 cup of diced mango;
- 2 tablespoons of water, formula, or breastmilk (or up to ¼ cup, as needed).
Place mango in the blender.
Add two tablespoons of water/breast milk/formula.
Add more liquid, in small amounts, if needed. Blend again.
Peanut Butter Puree For Babies
This may have not occurred to you, but you can make peanut butter puree! In fact, this is a great and safe way to introduce peanut butter to your baby. This recipe makes one serving. Peanut butter changes texture in the fridge so it’s best to make one serving at a time.
- Small mixing bowl;
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter;
- Water as needed.
Add peanut butter and a little bit of water to a bowl.
Mix together with a fork.
Stir until the mixture is well blended and it has uniform texture and color.
Extra tip: Use warm water or room temperature peanut butter. The puree will come together faster and easier.