Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Healthy Habits Challenge March: Eat Real Food, Part 2-Real Food for Babies

Before I even had a baby I knew I wanted to make a lot of his baby food. Now, I’ll start off by saying that I do still buy baby food. They are great to have when you’re in a hurry, on the go, out of ingredients, and lets face it…it’s just easier. And there are some good natural products out there! But I’ll give you a few reasons why I choose to make his food (when I find the time).

 1. Give your baby better nutrition. I wanted to know exactly what he was eating. This was the biggest reason for me. Knowing I can add exactly what I wanted to the baby food gives me so much control over what he’s eating! He eats only natural foods, no added sugars and no preservatives.

 2. You can control the taste and texture by added or taking away things your baby doesn’t like. There are a wide variety of spices, herbs, etc. that can be added to your purees and it helps introduce your baby into more foods. I’m hoping this will help him not be so picky when he’s older…unlike me ☺ As for texture; I like having the option to make his food a little chunkier to introduce chewing without having any choking hazards.

 3. It saves you money. Now who doesn’t like to save money? It does take extra work, but when making the foods in large batches allows you to freeze them and use them down the road! I can hear that ‘cha-ching’ in my head!

 So where do you start? It’s important to know what kind of foods can be introduced to them at different stages.

Early Stages (typically 4-6 months)
*low-acid fruit and sweet and starchy vegetables. Common fruits at this age are apples, apricots, pears, bananas and blueberries. Good vegetables to serve are pumpkin, sweet potatoes, peas, and broccoli and spinach.
*This is a good age to introduce single-grains such as oats, rice, etc. Make sure to thin this out with water, formula or milk since the texture can be a bit much early on.

 7-8 months
*At this stage you can add in more variety of fruits and vegetable purees. Foods to consider are peaches, raspberries, plums, mangoes, beets, asparagus, green beans, lentils, etc.
*Start introducing more texture as your little one has probably begun to get the chewing motion down. Make sure they are still small enough though to avoid choking. (I’m a worry wart when it comes to that!)

 9-11 months
*More chunky, mashed fruit and vegetables.
*Some dairy products such as whole-milk yogurt, and cottage cheese.
*Finely minced meats such as turkey and chicken.

 1 year and up
*At this stage they should be able to eat table food as long as it’s a good small bite size.
*Honey, milk, and eggs are okay to feed after 1 year. Prior to a year there are bacteria that can be found in these foods that could be harmful to your baby, so avoid them until at least 1 year.

I hope this has helped you in knowing what is good to feed your baby as they are still growing. Now go play around with different food combinations, you’d be surprised what goes! Below are a few of my little guys favorites.

(above: apple, sweet potato, pumpkin and blueberries)

Apple, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Blueberries
-1/2 sweet potato
-1 cup pure pumpkin puree
-1/4 cup blueberries
-4oz apple sauce
-1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Peel, chop and boil sweet potatoes until tender. 
2. In blender add sweet potatoes, pumpkin, blueberries and apple sauce. 

(above: Mango Peach and Banana Oatmeal)

Mango Peach Banana Oatmeal
 -1/4 cup oatmeal 
-1/2 cup water
-1/4 cup frozen mango chunks
-1/4 cup frozen peaches
-1/4 banana
(makes about 4 oz)
 1. Mix oatmeal and water and cook in microwave for 1 minute, or until oatmeal is softened.
 2. Add oatmeal to a blender. Add in mango, peaches, and banana. Blend until smooth.

(above: Apples, Mango and Carrots)

Apples, Mangos and Carrots
-4oz apple sauce
-1/2 cup mango slices
 -2 handful baby carrots
(makes roughly 8 oz)
1. Boil carrots until soft, about 10 minutes.
 2. Add apple sauce, mango, and carrots to blender. Blend until smooth. Add water little at a time for desired consistency.

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