Buying baby food from the market seems like an easy and quick option. This is tested for quality and approved by paediatricians too. However, especially when our babies are young, we prefer to give them homemade food. It is a healthy and wholesome choice. Additionally, cooking food at home ensures that your baby is taking clean food without any artificial additives. You can make food of your own choice - from dalia to upma to purees - and do not have to rely on manufacturers for flavours. However, there is one thing that we must remember when doing this: babies have sensitive tummies and weak immune systems.
This means we need to be extra careful when learning to prepare and store baby food at home. Here are the five main precautions you must take to ensure that your baby tastes the delight of your cooking while also getting the required nutrition and staying healthy:
Check the fruits and veggies you buy for these harmful things
Fruits and veggies are often not stored properly in conventional stores. If they are not fresh, or have been kept in unhygienic settings, they will not provide adequate nutrition for your child. They may even be contaminated and lead to illness and infection. Recently, there were reports where a mom found maggots in the food she was serving to her baby! Remember to buy only fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid frozen stuff as far as possible. It is a good idea to stick to high-quality produce that is quality tested. Always read the labels, when available, before buying, so you know the manufacture and expiry date.
You can also consider buying organic vegetables and fruits to prepare food for your baby. They are a bit expensive but it's a worthwhile investment for the baby.
Mash fruits and vegetables with water or breast milk
Many healthy food items that you feed your baby would need just peeling and mashing. There is no need to cook them. This can be done for pears, avocados, and bananas. However, make sure that these fruits are ripe enough for your baby to easily digest them. If your baby is very young, you can mix water or breast milk with the mashed food to get a thinner consistency. You should also double-check that any tools or areas you use for mashing (for example, countertops, utensils, cutting boards and blenders) are well-cleaned with an anti-bacterial soap. Babies have a high risk of catching an infection and food is a risky medium for germs!
Check out some healthy baby puree recipes here: Green Peas Puree, Chikoo Puree, Mix Fruit Puree, Carrot Pumpkin Puree
Make sure you steam these foods in the correct manner
Foods like carrots and squashes should be steamed first, and then made into a puree in a blender. This can be done separately using a steam basket and then blending it, or it can be prepared in a baby food maker that performs both the actions together. Filtered water should be used for steaming the vegetables and then the same water can be added to the puree to get the desired consistency. The left over water after steaming is filled with vitamins and minerals! Also make sure that the vegetables are cooked sufficiently to make them soft and easily digestible for the baby. Then cool them to room temperature before serving to your baby to avoid scalding his tongue. ||
Use this method to store baby food in the fridge without spoiling it
Once you prepare baby food items, you can easily store them in the refrigerator for 1-3 days depending on the type of food. Because of the short shelf life of homemade food, it is best to store it in the freezer. The food can be kept in plastic boxes and placed over ice cube trays. You just need to take out one portion and reheat it to serve. A lot of busy moms today use freezing to make and store large quantities of food items at once. This saves a lot of time and energy - but rest assured, it does not compromise on the nutrition value of the food item.
Be careful though about how long something can be safely stored. Remember that bananas and avocados cannot be stored for long. A rough guideline you can follow is up to 48 hours for fruits and veggies, and 24 hours for meat and poultry, when stored in the fridge.
Be careful of this while reheating stored baby food
Always remember to thaw the baby food in the refrigerator or in a microwave. It should never be thawed at room temperature. Reheat home prepared food in a double boiler or in the microwave. Always test the temperature of the food before feeding it to your baby. Make sure it is warm and not too hot.
Also Read: From Diapering to Baby Food - Here are the BEST Parenting Tips Moms Shared in 2016!
Once you have observed these safety precautions for your baby's food, you can start experimenting with various combinations of flavours and textures. Yes, mild spices can also be added to baby’s food. After all, the baby should enjoy every new food given to him, rather than turning his nose away from it. The more varied his feed is, the better are the chances that he will get accustomed to new flavours and types as he grows (read: less chance of becoming a fussy eater).
So, here's wishing you a happy meal-time, mom!
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