2012-08-30 / Lifestyles

Guidelines for making homemade baby food

EAST LANSING – Parents and caregivers should consider making their own baby food, according to Michigan State University Extension educators. Money savings and greater control over what ingredients the baby is ingesting are among the reasons provided by the organization.

“Making your own baby food is very simple,” said MSU Extension educator Dawn Earnesty. “It also gives you control over exactly what goes into your baby’s food, and it usually costs less than buying prepared foods.”

Babies should not be introduced to solid foods until they are about six months of age, she noted.

Earnesty has compiled the following guidelines:

Types of food to use in homemade baby food:

• Use fresh, quality foods whenever possible.

• If using frozen food, make sure it contains no added sugar, salt or sauces.

• If using canned foods, choose those without salt or fruits packed in their own juice. If this is not possible, pour off any syrup or salty water, and rinse the foods with clean water.

Preparing homemade baby food:

• Wash, peel and remove all seeds or pits from fruits or vegetables.

• Cook firm or hard fruits and vegetables until tender.

• Remove all bones, fat and gristle from meat or poultry. Seafood is not recommended until your baby is at least one year old.

• Bake, broil, poach, boil or steam meat or poultry until wellcooked.

• At first, food should be completely pureed. As your baby grows and develops, move to mashing and then dicing into small pieces.

• Blend, food process, or grind and strain until the texture is safe for your baby’s stage of development. Add water if needed to achieve the desired consistency.

• If you wish to use the same foods that the family eats, set aside a baby’s portion before adding salt, sugar, spices, gravy or sauces. The food will not be too bland for your baby’s young palate.

Serving homemade baby food:

• Serve the food soon after preparing it, but let it cool first.

• Never chew foods before feeding them to your baby – this can add bacteria to the food that could harm your baby.

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