Make Your Own Baby Food for One-Third the Cost of Store Bought

Every new mom imagines getting her young child off to a healthy start by providing the best possible diet and encouraging a life-long love of vegetables. Many of us begin with the ambition of eating better ourselves and even making our own baby food so we know exactly what he or she is eating (until we get behind schedule and decide it’s a hot dog for us, a jar of Gerber for the baby).

BirminghamMom Kristin didn’t waver in her determination to provide home made food for her daughter. Kristin says she made almost all of her daughter’s baby food with the help of the book Superfoods by Annabel Karmel, a British mother of three. This book of recipes for children of all ages incorporates the acknowledged ”superfoods” considered high in health benefits (blueberries, carrots, etc.) into a variety of preparations to appeal to kids and even has healthy meal plans for families.

While there are a few popular cookbooks suggesting ways to sneak fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet, Superfoods doesn’t aim for mild deception such as prunes baked into brownies. Instead the book relies on old-school marketing tricks like bright colors and fanciful names to entice the kiddos to eat (I’m sure any mom, having invested her time in making the food, is bound to add a few threats of her own as well).

Kristin admits making baby food from scratch is a commitment and compares it to breastfeeding in terms of effort. One big payoff, however, is the cost, which she found to be one-third to one-fifth the cost of store-bought baby food. As for convenience, she says she filled tons of ice cube trays with pureed food and just popped individual cubes out as needed.They held up well during the day in an insulated container and were thawed out by feeding time. When a frozen cube wasn’t workable, she resorted to pre-packaged foods, but found she seldom needed them.

Now that her daughter is eating finger foods, Kristen says serving her vegetables is easy. For example, she takes a small package of baby carrots, places them in a microwave safe dish along with a tablespoon of water and a teaspoon of butter, and places a plate on top to retain the moisture. After microwaving three minutes, she inverts the carrots onto the plate and voila – her daughter has softened but fresh carrots.

Kristin and her husband both have full-time jobs, so she took a block of time every other week or so to prepare the baby’s food and freeze it. In cases when fresh produce wasn’t available, she also had great results with frozen. Just imagine all the tiny jars and lids she didn’t have to haul in from the grocery, stack in the pantry and throw away or recycle.

Author Annabel Karmel has also published books with recipes for picky eaters, packed lunches, and kids’ parties. We’re picking up some good ideas from the Brits on how to discipline the kids (nanny TV), why not some advice on feeding them as well?