What do you get when you combine a catalog with a magazine? Our magalog, Surprises, is your guide to the best of our baby gear selection and the top toys of the season. But there’s more: each issue of Surprises is loaded with informative articles about babies and kids, and common-sense advice that you can use.
Just in case you missed them, we’re reposting our magalog backlog here on the Spilling the Beans blog. And we’ve got a great new issue on the way, launching in November 2012. Go here and sign up to make sure you get yours!
A Matter of Taste: Making Your Own Baby Food
By Dana Morgenstein
It’s not hard to make delicious and nutritious purees for your baby at home, as long as you have the right tools. Even if you buy exclusively organic, you’re still likely to save money. And you control the content of homemade food: no additives, no sodium.
More advantages: “When you make your own baby food, the colors are beautiful and the flavors taste like the food you would serve the rest of your family,” says Jessica Dennis of Babyfoodscoops.com.
Pediatricians recommend starting your baby on solids between 4 and 8 months (ask your doctor when your baby is ready), and introducing a wide variety of foods – anything other than nuts, eggs, seafood, citrus, or honey should be fine to start with. “My daughter loved squash, sweet potatoes and asparagus,” says Jessica. She also suggests trying tofu as an early protein.
For most fruits and vegetables, baby food preparation follows most of the same steps:
- Cook it: Steaming is best, because it preserves nutrients. You can use a steam basket, steam in your microwave, or use a baby food maker like the Beaba Babycook.
- Puree it: Use a hand-powered baby food grinder, an electric blender, a food processor, or, again, a Babycook.
- Store it: Set a few portions aside in the fridge for the next few days. Pour your extra portions into a storage tray like OXO Baby Blocks, and freeze. Put the resulting brightly-colored food bricks into freezer bags and label with the date and the kind of food. Thaw these in the Babycook or in the microwave. Mix well to avoid hot spots, and test the temperature before feeding.
You can also skip the cooking with some foods: avocado and bananas can just be mashed up and fed as-is.
Finally: there are plenty of options for store-bought baby food that are packed with nutrition, and even a few organic brands. You can use them to supplement your homemade foods if you’re in a rush – or, use homemade food to supplement a diet of mostly jarred food. Either way, you’re getting your baby off to a nutritious start!
The Mighty Avocado
“Avocados are a wonderful food for infants to adults,” says Michael Mansueto Leidig, the founder of Nutrition & Fitness Advisors. “They’re high in heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats as well as full of nutrients like Vitamin E, Folate, Magnesium and Potassium.”
Turning an avocado into baby food is easy, since it doesn’t require any cooking and a ripe avocado is already very soft. Organic is best, but the avocado’s thick skin protects the edible part from pesticide residue, so don’t worry if you’re on a tight budget. Choose a ripe avocado (dark green, firm but yielding), slice out the pit, scoop out the meat, mash it up with a fork, and feed it to your baby. It’s that simple. And then make some guacamole for yourself – avocado is good for you, too!