Make your own baby food: simple ideas
Making your own baby food is great: it’s generally cheaper than buying the packaged stuff, and you know exactly what goes into it, so you can put in the freshest stuff you can find. You can introduce ‘adult’ foods much more easily, too; a lot of packaged baby food is based on the premise that babies will only eat a small variety of fairly bland foods. In reality, babies will eat pretty much anything an adult will, especially if their parents do.
For my daughter, I have used a combination of packaged foods and homemade foods. I generally used Sprout Baby Food, which I love, not because it’s organic, but because there are no artificial ingredients or additives. For the Level 1 Roasted Sweet Potatoes, the ingredients list read ‘sweet potatoes.’ Some have some water added, usually the ones with rice or something that requires some cooking in water, and some have ascorbic acid as well. But compared to ingredients list that are mostly unpronounceable chemicals, these get my vote.
I have also used the Sprout food as inspiration for making my own baby food. For example, I never would have thought to combine Carrot, Apple, and Mango, but it’s really good and easy to make yourself. The Peach Pumpkin Pie with Graham gave me the idea to crush graham crackers up and mix them with fruit for a healthy, delicious dessert. I know that sounds cliched, but the Roasted Bananas and Mango (unfortunately no longer produced, but still available from some sellers) was so good, I would have gladly had it for dessert. I also started adding seasonings like pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and nutmeg to my daughter’s food to educate her palate.
I love the book French Kids Eat Everything by Karen le Billon. It is a comprehensive look at how the French are taught to eat from an early age; their cultural attitude toward food is as different from Americans’ as night and day. The French don’t eat emotionally, don’t use food as rewards or bribes, and don’t eat between meals. They know how to introduce all types of foods to their children and how to experience food not just as tasting ‘good or bad,’ but as a wide variety of flavors, textures and scents, some more pleasant than others, but all to be enjoyed for their own unique characteristics.
Mme. le Billon divides the book into ten ‘rules’ for eating, but makes sure to incorporate the spirit behind each rule, so that eating is not just by rote, but a wonderful, sensual experience. And she takes the reader from the first vegetable soup given to French babies in their bottles all the way through childhood dining experiences. She lists recipes and great ideas for what to puree for your baby. To be honest, this book completely changed the way that I view food and eating, and I hope to train my daughter with these good habits. Children mimic their parents, and eating is no exception. If you have bad food habits, it will be very difficult to teach your children otherwise. French Kids Eat Everything is a wonderful guide to making eating a fun, healthy, life-long passion.