BABY FOOD: HOMEMADE VS. STORE BOUGHT
When it is time to add vegetable purees into baby’s diet, the health conscious mother looks for an alternative to the store-bought baby food jars filled with added sugar and salt. One also does not know if the vegetables in the jars were exposed to harmful chemicals such as pesticide residue. The baby food sold in jars has salt added to preserve the food and often sugar is added to enhance the flavor. The healthiest choice is for mother to make baby-food at home with organic vegetables. The lower the intake of salt, sugar, and chemicals, the healthier baby will be. Recently we discussed the importance of monitoring the salt content in baby’s diet as published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
PREPARING VEGETABLE PUREES
Making your own baby food is easy to do if you have a blender or food mill and access to fresh, organic vegetables. Even if you do not have a blender or food mill, you can still make your own baby food at home. Begin by purchasing only organic vegetables. You can peel, wash, chill, grind/puree, and immediately steam the vegatables. Or, you can peel, wash, cook, and then grind/puree. Most blenders have a setting labeled “puree.” The food mill allows you to grind the food into the tiny particles which make a puree. Either tool works fine. Or, one can grate or shred the vegetables if there is no food mill or blender available. Today there are books/websites available on making your own baby food. Have fun with it!
INTRODUCING PUREES TO BABIES
Is baby not eating her vegetables? The method I recommend to mothers for introducing a new food to babies is one I learned from the great nutritionist Dr Carlton Fredericks. In his chapter “The Well-Fed Baby,” from his book Look Younger, Feel Healthier, Dr. Fredericks describes this special technique. “The most successful method is to present the new food combined with a familiar one,” he explains. “Cook it in milk at a simmering temperature of approximately 200 degrees (Farenheit) . The milk should be subsequently used for cream sauces and soups.” Over time, add in less of the familiar food. Remember to always check with your doctor to learn what foods should not be given to baby and at what temperatures food should be heated.
BENEFITS FOR BABY OF HOMEMADE BABY FOOD
- omits sugar content
- free of added salt
- eliminates pesticide/chemical residue when organic vegetables are used
- virtually no nutritional values are sacrificed