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When their children begin weaning (being introduced to solid food), most parents often opt to buy the readymade or premade foods. Of course, healthy premade foods exist that include the organic baby foods among many other types. However, for parents who are keen on what exactly is in the formulation of their child’s food, they often prefer homemade baby food. Just like in the case of feeding formula, you need to know what to give your child prepare it well and ensure it is healthy and suitable for your child.
Benefits/Advantages of Homemade Baby Food
If you are uncertain whether to turn to homemade baby food or continue relying on baby formula, here are some of the advantages, benefits or reasons why you should think twice:
- They are more economical as opposed to the premade food for children. However, a few parents have reported no cost difference between these two types of foods.
- You will know what your child is eating (all the ingredients) as opposed to the premade foods where some of the ingredients might be unfamiliar to you.
- The baby will get used to eating foods that the rest of the family members are currently eating.
- Homemade baby food gives you a chance to decide on what is in the food such as fruits and vegetable instead of relying on a manufacturer’s flavor.
Downside of Homemade Baby Food
Although the above benefits of homemade baby food are no doubt very appealing, you ought to know some of the downsides of these foods compared to the premade foods. Among the reasons, why some mothers prefer premade food include the following:
- Homemade food for babies are time consuming since you need a lot of time to prepare a little food serving to give your child compared to prepackaged food servings.
- Premade foods are very convenient since they come in measured amounts that are ready to serve.
- Unlike premade foods, homemade baby food will require you to store it well i.e. proper refrigeration to ensure it remain safe for your child, especially if you prepared more food than the baby can eat.
Selecting Ingredients for Homemade Baby Food
If you want your child to enjoy nutritious and healthy homemade baby food, you need to begin by choosing the right ingredients. It is advised you go for fresh foods since they still have all their potency. However, going for canned or frozen foods is not a bad idea if you ensure they do not contain added sugars. Canned fruit syrups, cows’ milk, broth, yogurt and apple juice will be ideal to be used for thinning homemade baby food. On the other hand, wheat germ, mashed potatoes, farmer/cottage cheese and whole grain cereals will be perfect in thickening foods for children. Finally, ensure you do not use unpasteurized dairy products, honey, foods canned at home or any other food that has expired. These foods could affect your child’s health.
Preparing Homemade Baby Foods
Other than selecting the right ingredients while making homemade baby food, you also need to ensure you follow the correct preparation procedure. This will ensure your child is not exposed to any risk of food borne illnesses, since at the tender age the baby is much vulnerable to illnesses. Preparing food will require you thoroughly wash your hands and the foods. Use separate chopping boards from the rest of your family members to ensure your homemade baby food is not contaminated with foods you might not be feed your child. Furthermore, baby food should be adequately cooked to kill any bacteria that might be present. For instance, fish should be cooked at temperatures above 145 ºF while meat might require temperatures of 160 ºF. Generally, baking, steaming, roasting and using a microwave until the food is tender are most advised since they retain most nutrients.
Homemade Baby Food Recipes
When preparing homemade baby food, you need to ensure you have a good recipe that will ensure the child gets all the nutrients they require. Many recipes that exist both online and you could get them from your local dietician. However, when choosing the correct recipe for homemade baby food, you should consider the age of the child and any allergic reactions or intolerances to some ingredients. There are recipes for children who are less than four months and those above four months. Discuss any recipe you want to try with your physicians to ensure it will be safe for your child.
Storing Homemade Baby Food
Having looked at how to prepare homemade baby food safely, it is wise also to look at how you can store the food to ensure it remains safe. Raw food such as meat, dairy products and poultry should be kept at the coldest point of the refrigerator. Furthermore, homemade baby food should not be left to stand in room temperatures for more than two hours, especially once you have prepared it. Avoid storing baby foods for long hours in refrigerators especially for more than 24 hours for any cooked foods. Fruits and vegetables should stay for not more than 48 hours in refrigerator.