Homemade baby food
Introducing solid foods is a very important step in your baby's development and well-being. In fact, studies show that babies who are fed nutritious, healthy diets grow into stronger kids and better-adjusted eaters than those who are fed poor diets.
Many parents don't realize that making baby food at home is a simple and economical plan to provide your baby with the best in quality, nutrition and taste. It makes it easy for you to ensure your child gets the best start possible.
Why should I be aware of this?
Making baby food using fresh, all-natural ingredients has many benefits, including:
- Increased nutritional value
- Elimination of additives
- Improved freshness
- Added variety
- Enhanced control
- Lower costs
How does this affect me?
Vitamins and other nutrients are critically important to your baby. For the next three years, your baby will experience rapid growth and development. It is essential that he be fed a healthy and nutritious diet to maximize his growth and development process.
Processed baby foods have added water, sugars and starchy fillers. While these products are not nutritionally bad for your baby, their use in baby food dilutes the nutrient content of the actual foods. To make matters worse, processed baby foods are cooked at high temperatures to kill bacteria, so they can be stored in jars at room temperature. Bacteria are not the only things that are eliminated in this process. Vitamins and nutrients are also destroyed. Many baby food manufacturers compensate for the loss of vitamins by artificially adding some of them back in after the food is processed.
When you make baby food at home, you can cook it quickly. This process not only preserves the wonderful color and taste of the food, but most importantly it maximizes the foods' nutrient content for your precious baby.
All about home made baby food
Experts say that an infant not be started on solid foods until after 6 months of age. Many pediatricians still start babies on solids around 4 months of age.
- Rice and Oatmeal cereals are the least of the allergenic grains and thus most babies are started out with those cereals.
- A baby might be served raw fruits after she or he is 8 months old. However, bananas and avocados should not be cooked.
- Vegetables should alwaysbe cooked before serving until the baby is over 12 months old or when baby can chew well enough so that no choking hazard is present.
- When you serve proteins, make sure it is served cooked with no pink areas. The baby should never be given raw meat or fish.
- Do not replace breast milk or formula until after 12 months of age – serious health risks are possible. Never give a child under the age of two years old low fat or skim milk products. A baby needs whole milk.
- The type of brown rice that you would want to use for cereals would ideally be a short-grain brown rice.
- Short-grain rice cooks up more soft than does long or medium grain rice.
- Powdered whole grainrice, oatmeal and barley need to be cooked before serving. Do not confuse it with commercial powdered baby food which is already precooked.
- Homemade Baby Cereal may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours maximum.
- Whole grains/ podered whole grains can be stored for several months in a cool dry place.
- Never give honey to infants under 1 year old, as honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores to which infants have very little resistance. Once ingested, these spores may germinate and release deadly toxins. Once infants are a year or so old, they have developed some resistance to botulinum spores.
- The protein in almonds is more like the proteins in human breast milk of all the seeds and nuts
*Food Safety Tips
- Homemade baby food should be reheated only once, and make sure it is reheated at a high temp to kill the bacteria.
- Do not keep baby's half eaten food for a later meal, because saliva introduced from your baby's spoon will breed bacteria quickly.
- Always date food stored in the freezer so that food that is past its prime, or that hs even deteriorated and become harmful, is never eaten.
- Do not leave food unrefrigerated since bacteria multiply rapidly at room temp. cool food quickly if it is to be refrigerated or frozen.
- Do not add salt, sugar or honey to baby food. Salt strains the kidneys, sugar and honey encourage a sweet tooth and honey carries a slight risk of botulism infection.
Homemade baby food and health
Processed baby foods contain trace amounts of chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Although these chemicals are approvd by the concerned government authorities of most countries such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved these chemicals, they are still chemicals. Ingredients such sugar, butter and salt, that form a part of most commercial processed food are not recommended by most healthcare professionals. In addition to the natural ingredients shown on their label, manufacturers may add thickening agents such as flours and chemically modified starches. These fillers can reduce the nutrient level of the food by up to 50%.
Homemade baby food is pure and wholesome food with nothing added that you did not add yourself.
Homemade baby food and environment
Baby food are sold in bottles, jars or packages and add to your carbon footprint.
- "Manufactured" baby carrots (different from "real" baby carrots) - a rage in America as a healthy snack food - are not good for babies. Baby carrots aren't babies at all - they are grown-up carrots cut into 2-inch sections by machines. They are a brain child of Mike Yurosek, a Californian farmer who grew weary of throwing away tons of ugly and bumpy carrots every year because they wouldn't sell, and salvaged them by cutting them into smaller, neat looking sizes. Many people do not realize that baby carrots are actually not miniature-sized carrots.
- There is a myth that babies should not be fed "fatty" foods like avocado or whole milk dairy products. Fat and fatty acids are essential for brain development. Avocados contain good fat or monounsaturated fats which are said to lower "bad" cholesterol and also aid in maintaining a healthy heart.
- It is believed that commercial Baby Food "Safer" For Baby to eat due to sterility and monitoring. This is not true.
- Breast fed babies need iron fortified commercial baby food. Breast milk will meet all of your baby's nutritional needs for at least the first six months of life. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not be required or needed for a healthy, full-term breast fed baby during the first year.
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