Homemade Baby Food
by Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers
Introducing solid foods is a very important step in your baby's development and well-being. In fact, studies show that babies who are fed nutritious, healthy diets grow into stronger kids and better-adjusted eaters than those who are fed poor diets.
Many parents don't realize that making baby food at home is a simple and economical plan to provide your baby with the best in quality, nutrition and taste. It makes it easy for you to ensure your child gets the best start possible. Making baby food using fresh, all-natural ingredients has many benefits, including:
- Increased nutritional value
- Elimination of additives
- Improved freshness
- Added variety
- Enhanced control
- Lower costs
Increased nutritional value
Vitamins and other nutrients are critically important to your baby. For the next three years, your baby will experience rapid growth and development. It is essential that he be fed a healthy and nutritious diet to maximize his growth and development process.
Processed baby foods have added water, sugars and starchy fillers. While these products are not nutritionally bad for your baby, their use in baby food dilutes the nutrient content of the actual foods. To make matters worse, processed baby foods are cooked at high temperatures to kill bacteria, so they can be stored in jars at room temperature. Bacteria are not the only things that are eliminated in this process. Vitamins and nutrients are also destroyed. Many baby food manufacturers compensate for the loss of vitamins by artificially adding some of them back in after the food is processed.
When you make baby food at home, you can cook it quickly. This process not only preserves the wonderful color and taste of the food, but most importantly, it maximizes the foods' nutrient content for your precious baby.
Elimination of additives
Processed baby foods contain trace amounts of chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved these chemicals, you may choose not to feed your baby products containing them. Buying certified organic produce (fresh or frozen) and preparing food at home eliminates agricultural chemicals from your baby's diet.
While your baby does not have the refined palate of an adult, he does respond to taste, color and smell. With the enormous availability of fresh produce in your grocery store and the simplicity of making baby food, there is really is no reason he needs to be deprived of colorful, tasty, great-smelling baby food.
Processed baby food is developed for the mass market and, as a result, is limited in variety. Today's grocery stores offer a tremendous variety of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. What's more, preparing baby food at home enables you to add herbs, combine flavors, and easily introduce new textures, making your baby's mealtime a pleasurable, gourmet experience.
As a parent, you want to understand and trust the ingredients in your baby's diet. Similarly, you want assurance concerning the purity, safety, quality and consistency of such ingredients. Preparing baby food at home provides you with control of your baby's diet and knowledge of exactly what goes into your baby's food.
Processed baby foods are expensive. The average baby in the United States will consume 600 jars of baby food. Parents who use processed baby food spend an average of $300 or more on baby food during their infant's first year of life. Making baby food at home is extremely cost-effective, as foods may be purchased either in season or on sale. On average, baby food prepared at home can cost as little as $55 in the first year.
With all these benefits, you may think that it is difficult to make baby food, but it is a lot easier to make than you may imagine. Using fresh produce, a blender and set of ice cube trays, you can make food in quantity and freeze it in single servings. This means you only need to make food once or twice a week. Bottom line, it takes about 30 minutes a week.
Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children, and founders of Fresh Baby (FreshBaby.com). Raised by parents who love fresh foods and entertaining, their mom, a gourmet cook, ensured that they were well-equipped with extraordinary skills in the kitchen. Both with long track records of business success, they decided to combine their skills in the kitchen with their knowledge of healthy foods and children to create Fresh Baby. Cheryl and Joan put a modern twist on the conventional wisdom that when you make it yourself, you know it's better. Their goal at Fresh Baby is to make the task of raising a healthy eater a little bit easier for all parents. Fresh Baby's breastfeeding accessories and baby food making supplies provide parents with practical knowledge and innovative tools to support them in introducing their children to great tasting, all-natural foods easily and conveniently. Visit them online at FreshBaby.com and subscribe to their Fresh Ideas newsletter to get monthly ideas, tips and activities for developing your family's healthy eating habits!
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