How to Make Baby Food at Home

Woman preparing baby food using blender, close-up

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When a baby starts to eat solid foods, many people just start buying jars of baby food. However, there is another option—make the food at home. Preparing your own baby food works really well for some families. It can seem like a lot of work, but actually it can be quite simple if you have the right tools and techniques at the ready. Plus, making your own food at home can save money and you'll always know exactly what is going into your baby's body.

Benefits of Making Baby Food at Home

Often, you can use the food you are preparing for the rest of the family and simply process it a bit more to make it safe for your baby. Even better, foods prepared at home will last in your freezer for about one month.

What You Need to Make Baby Food at Home

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How to Make Baby Food at Home

  1. Thoroughly wash any fresh vegetables or fruits to remove dirt and some types of pesticides.
  2. Steam or boil the fruit or vegetable. You will want the food to be mushy if your baby has just started on solids. If your baby has been eating for a couple of months you can cook the food until it is easily pierced with a fork to allow a thicker consistency.
  3. Puree the food in a blender or food processor, or process with a food mill until the food reaches the right consistency for your child's stage of eating.
  4. Strain the food to remove any stray peels. Alternately, before cooking food, you can remove the peels at that time to avoid this step.
  5. Spoon the pureed food into ice cube trays and cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. When the cubes are frozen, you can put them in zip lock bags or another food storage container. Be sure to label with the type of food and the date it was prepared.
  6. When it's time to eat, remove as many cubes as you need and allow to thaw in the refrigerator in a bowl placed in warm water, or you can thaw in the microwave. Be sure to stir well and test the temperature before serving.

Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food

Many frozen fruits and veggies are picked and flash frozen at the peak of freshness, so don't shy away from using frozen options if fresh isn't available. Canned fruits and vegetables also can be an option. Just be sure to opt for varieties in which water and the fruit or vegetable are the only ingredient (no salt or sugar added).

When your baby is just beginning to eat solids, both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend introducing only one food at a time every three to five days. However, some professionals are moving away from this advice especially for non-allergic foods in the interest of exposing children to a number of different foods with a variety of nutritional benefits. Talk to your pediatrician to see which approach is best for your child.

Skip sugar and salt when making purees, but consider using spices like cumin, garlic, cinnamon, and so on as your baby gets more comfortable with solids in order to increase their exposure to different flavors.

Some fruits do not need to be steamed or cooked, such as kiwi fruit, avocados, and bananas. If soft enough and for older babies, they can be given in small pieces. Otherwise, they can be mashed.

Some easy-to-puree fruits and vegetables to start out with are apples, plums, pears, apricots, peaches, bananas, carrots, peas, green beans, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. But, the more variety you can give your baby before they hit the one year mark, the more likely they are to be adventurous eaters in their toddler years.

A Word From Verywell

With a little planning and knowing a few simple techniques, making baby food at home can be easier than you might think. It's cost-effective and you'll know exactly what is in their food. Even better, your baby can eat many of the same foods you eat with the rest of your family.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When, what, and how to introduce solid foods. Updated December 11, 2020.

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