Thursday, February 25, 2010
Save Money and Time by Making Your Own Baby Food | Family Economics
When I was still a working mom, I often relied on jarred baby food to save on time. But even with coupons and sales, it was still pricey.
When I had my twins and became a stay-at-home mom, store-bought baby food became an even greater strain on my budget.
So I got creative and started making my own baby food. I estimate that I saved half the cost of buying baby food in the store. It’s really not that hard to do and when you make it in bulk, it doesn’t take long at all.
Most of what you have in your kitchen is all you need to get started. I also recommend having a food processor, a vegetable steamer, and a slow cooker. You’ll also need some airtight storage containers to freeze your creations when you’re finished.
When you’re determining what to make for your baby, just take a look at store-bought baby foods for ideas. You’ll see that they rarely contain any spices, salt or sugar. They’re usually just a fruit or vegetable and water.
Fruits and vegetables are very easy to make. Apples, pears, carrots and peas can be steamed and pureed with a bit of water. Bananas are the only thing I didn’t make in advance because they don‘t need any cooking. They don’t freeze well unless you add a little bit of lemon juice, and they’re very easy to mash up as you need them.
Sweet potatoes and squash can be baked in the oven together. Just a few sweet potatoes and a squash can make for many servings for your baby.
My little ones never liked beef, so I rarely made it. Instead I would cook boneless skinless chicken breasts in water either on the stovetop or in the slow cooker, mix it with the cooking water in the food processor and stir to the desired consistency. I would often mix it with apples, sweet potatoes or squash for added flavor and nutrients.
I recommend setting aside a few hours every week or so (depending on how many babies you’re feeding and how much they eat) and doing a bulk cooking session. You’ll save time by doing all the prep work and freezer work at one time and you’ll save energy, too.
Once your baby food is cooked, you’ll need to freeze it. My favorite method is to freeze it in tiny reusable food storage containers. You can also freeze the food in ice cube trays and then move it to freezer storage bags.
Take the food out of the freezer the night before you need it and put it in the refrigerator and it will be thawed by the time you need it. Then just heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds (test the temperature before serving!).
As my babies got older, I would often puree the meals we were having for dinner that night, so they got used to our regular menu. It made it easier to transition them to table foods.
One of the perks of making your own baby food is that you know exactly what is in it. You’ll find that feeding your baby organic foods is much more affordable when you make your own baby food.