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When my daughters were babies, there was nothing more that I enjoyed than making homemade baby food.
After pouring over recipes in The Baby and Toddler Cookbook, and discovering amazing new flavor combinations of fruits and vegetables, risotto dishes and stews, I loved steaming, pureeing and serving them up to my little ones.
Making your own homemade baby food is one of the best things you can do for your child and a great way to set him up for a lifetime of healthy eating.
Despite the fact that homemade baby food is fresher (just look at the colors of each and you’ll be convinced!), healthier, and way more tasty than store-bought, homemade baby has been given a bad rep for being too time consuming and more expensive to make, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Here, learn 5 of the most common homemade baby food myths and why they’re totally wrong.
Myth #1: Homemade baby food takes too much time
Between the shopping, washing, prepping, cooking and pureeing that’s required, many moms think it’s simply too time consuming to make homemade baby food.
Sure, it’s much easier to throw some jars or pouches into your shopping cart, but it’s actually not as time consuming as you might think.
I’d say it took me anywhere between 1 to 3 hours a week.
And since my husband was totally on board too and pitched in, it was even faster.
If you make your baby’s food in bulk and freeze it or make a few batches throughout the week, it won’t become a part-time job.
If you decide to freeze it, the more storage cubes you have, the less time you’ll spend.
Although the baby food makers are handy, a larger unit like the Vitamix can make more at one time.
Looking for more ways to save time? Read my blog, How to Make Homemade Baby Food—Fast.
Myth #2: Homemade Baby Food Is More Expensive
I used to think that making purees was more expensive, especially because I was buying mostly organic ingredients.
Yet making it from scratch surprisingly yields a lot from single fruits and vegetables.
According to Liz Huber, Founder of Sage Spoonfuls, it’s about three times less expensive!
Another way to save is to shop in season and hit the local farmer’s market, when food is also freshest.
Also, look for deals at club membership stores or buy frozen foods, which are picked at their peak freshness and flash frozen so they may be healthier than fresh varieties.
In fact, a June 2017 study in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis found in some cases frozen produce is more nutritious than fresh that’s been stored in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Myth #3: Homemade Baby Food Is Too Hard To Make
When I became a mom, I had very limited skills as a home chef. I could scramble eggs, pop salmon in the oven or sauté some vegetables, but that was about it.
You might feel intimidated to make your baby’s food because you think it’s too hard, but if you can do all the other things you do as a mom, it will be a breeze.
The key is to have the right tools on hand. I recommend basic kitchen gear like:
- A cutting board
- Knives: a pairing knife for peeling and a chef’s knife for chopping. I love Wustof knives.
- A steamer basket, pot and lid
- A blender and/or immersion blender
- Ice cube trays
- Small storage containers
- Storage freezer bags
Anything else, like a sheet pan for roasting veggies, you probably already have on hand.
Myth #4: Homemade baby food isn’t as safe as store-bought
It’s true that store-bought baby food is heated at high temperatures to kill bacteria and extend shelf life, but it doesn’t make them immune to recalls and other issues.
In fact, in 2016 Gerber recalled two types or organic baby food due to a packaging defect that could cause them to spoil during transport or handling.
And more recently, a Consumer Reports’ investigation found concerning levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead in baby food, and organic foods were just as likely to have it as conventional foods.
You might be worried about food borne illness and food poisoning, but one of the best ways to prevent it is to follow some basic food hygiene guidelines: wash your hands, your utensils and appliances, and rinse produce under clean, running water before peeling it.
Also, use separate cutting boards for produce and meat, a meat thermometer to make sure the food is properly cooked, and always store food properly.
The FDA also recommends avoiding ingredients like raw, unpasteurized milk and honey in infants under 1. Always check with your pediatrician about how and when to safely introduce allergenic foods like nuts.
Myth #5: Homemade baby food is inconvenient
Jars and pouches are easy to throw in your diaper bag, bring to daycare or take on a road trip.
But if you store baby food in individual, grab and go containers or re-usable pouches after you make it, it’s just as convenient as store-bought.