Cooking baby food
If you’re used to cooking different types of food you probably don’t need to read any further, but if you’re more comfortable with a computer than a pot and cooker, read on for some tips on how to prepare your baby’s food.
5 easy steps to healthy baby food
- Peel the fruit/veg if it needs pealing. Wash thoroughly if not.
- Chop into small chunks
- Place in pan of boiling water or a steamer
- When soft, drain leaving at least a couple of table spoons of water in the pan
- Use a processor (hand or counter top) to puree, or a masher or fork to mash.
Until your baby has learned to chew, all their food needs to be pureed and/or mashed at around 6-7 months. Most fruit and vegetables will need to be peeled, chopped and boiled with a little water or steamed before they’re soft enough to be pureed/mashed. There are some exceptions. These are; Banana, papaya, kiwi fruit (though don’t give this until 7+ months), ripe mango and avocado. The more soft and ripe the better. You may find you can mash very soft pears with a fork without needing to cook first.
In fact, everything you cook for your baby in the early stages can be boiled up or steamed. Whether its fruit and veg or meat and fish.
There is no need to add any salt or sugar, your baby doesn’t need it, and certainly won’t notice the difference.
Heating baby food
Your baby will be used to taking milk at body temperature, so even fruit purees should be slightly warmed. Warming the food by standing in boiled water is a good way to bring up the temperature evenly, or heat in a pan on the stove. If you do use a microwave beware of hotspots and stir food thoroughly to disperse these.
NB Don’t use aluminium pots (or foil) to heat food with high acid content such as tomatoes, rhubarb, cabbage and many soft fruits, as it can effect the taste of these foods.
You can always use your leftovers from dinner for your baby’s meals the next day, but pureed up. As long as you haven’t used salt or strong spices etc. You can even cook up a few extra vegetables at the same time as cooking your own, with baby in mind.
Make sure the food isn’t too hot – a baby’s mouth is much more sensitive than an adults so even if it’s just cool enough for you, it may still be too hot for your baby. The best way to test the temperature is the lip test. Hold a bit of the food on a spoon to your top lip and if it feels just warm, it’s good to go.
Storing your baby food
The most time saving way of making your own baby food is make enough for several meals and freeze the food as individual portions.
You can buy baby food storage pots but to save on money, normal icecube holders would do. Try and get the rubber ones which make getting the frozen cubes out easier.
Once the food is frozen you can empty the cubes of food into a freezer bag and label with type and date (so you know the difference between the carrot and the mango cubes).
Length food can be stored in a freezer (-18˚C)
Meat 3-4 months
Fish 3-6 months
Poultry 3-9 months
vegetables 8-12 months