Not pressed for time? Feeling motivated? Like the idea of doing it yourself? While commercial baby foods are better than ever, preparing your baby’s meal from scratch—some or all of the time—is a wonderful option. Just be sure to follow these guidelines:
- When introducing a new food, prepare and serve it without any added
ingredients, including sugar, salt or other seasonings. If you’re cooking for the whole family, remove baby’s portion before adding these.
- Cook and serve baby’s food without added fat.
- Steam, pressure cook or water less cook vegetables, exposing them to a minimum of light, air, heat and water.
- To preserve vitamins, boil, microwave or bake potatoes in their skins, then peel after cooking.
- Don’t cook in copper pots, as this may destroy vitamin C.
- Don’t cook acidic foods (such as tomatoes, once they’re introduced) in aluminium, since they can cause small quantities of aluminium to dissolve and be absorbed into the food.
- Don’t add bicarbonate of soda; it may preserve colour, but it depletes vitamins and minerals.
- Soak dried legumes (peas and beans) overnight; or for a quicker method, boil them for two minutes, them let them stand for an hour, and cook in the soaking water.
For the first several weeks of feeding solids, or at least until baby is seven month old, the food you serve should be finely pureed, and strained or sieved (though you can mash bananas and thin with liquid). For convenience, you can prepare a batch of carrots, peas or other vegetables, then freeze in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, keep individual cubes stored in airtight freezer bags.
Before using, thaw in the refrigerator, in a double boiler, in a microwave (at ‘defrost’, not ‘cook’, setting), or under cold water (still in the plastic bag)—not at room temperature.