5 Tips for Preparing Baby Food at Home

As your baby grows up, their feeding needs will change. If you’re interested in giving your baby home-cooked, healthy first foods and beyond, you’ll want to keep reading to learn some tips on how to safely prepare baby food at home.

1. Be Clean

Babies have sensitive systems that need a lot of care. Just like you wash your hands before you eat, it’s highly recommended that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 30 seconds before beginning to cook your baby food. Always wash your hands after touching raw meat, seafood, or poultry. Beyond cleaning your hands, you’ll also need to make sure that all of your surfaces, utensils, and tools are clean. A great way to clean your blender is to half-way fill it with soap and water and turn it on for 15 to 30 seconds before washing out the pitcher with soapy water. This will get your blades totally clean. Remember to always wash your tasting spoon between taste tests. This will help keep your baby safe from unwanted bacteria.

2. Prep Properly

In order to successfully complete the task, you’ll need to properly prepare your ingredients. Grains and cereals should be cooked according to the package instructions before puréeing them. It’s also a good idea to mix cereals and grains with breastmilk or formula to thin it out some. Hard fruits and vegetables should be steamed, baked, or boiled before puréeing or milling. Peel, pit, or strain fruits and veggies as needed. Sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, bananas, peaches, and pears are good simple choices for a baby’s first fruits and vegetables. Meats and poultry should be trimmed and skinned before puréeing them. Minced lamb, chicken, turkey, and beef are popular choices. Water, breastmilk, or formula can be used to reach the desired consistency. Reserve chunkier consistencies for when your baby is a more experienced eater.

3. Add Healthy Flavor

Unseasoned foods are a great start for baby’s first solid eats. Doing so will help protect the still developing taste buds and delay them developing cravings for less healthy food options early in life. When attempting to dial up the flavor of foods, opt for more healthy additions like cinnamon, mint, or basil. Herbs and spices provide some added flavor in a more health conscious way. To sweeten a purée, try adding a little fruit like peaches or pears instead of sugar or agave. Do your best to keep your flavors clean and simple, and your baby will grow up with a taste for healthier food options.

4. Safely Feed and Serve

Before you feed your baby, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Food should be kept at the right temperature, and never be left out at room temperature for more than one hour. If you’re ever unsure about the freshness of your baby’s food, throw it out. Use child safe spoons to decrease the likelihood of injuring their mouth. And when your child is old enough for finger foods, be sure to use pasteurized products. It’s also a good idea to make sure that all food items like eggs and meats are cooked to temperature.

5. Store Properly

Your homemade baby food needs to be properly stored for best results. Foods can be kept for one to two days in the refrigerator and up to two months in the freezer. Warm leftovers on the stove and let them cool down to a safe temperature before feeding.

Give your baby a good start with healthy food options straight from your kitchen. As your baby continues to grow and becomes a more confident eater, you can slowly begin to introduce the baby to what the rest of the family is eating.

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