I thought I would be such a healthy mom: all natural and organic foods, no sugar, make all my own baby food, and breastfeed exclusively for at least six months. I haven't exactly lived up to those high ideals, but I have learned some quick tips for preparing easy, healthy, natural baby foods.
1. Organic Oatmeal Cereal
Use a blender to grind about a cup of organic oats at a time until you get an even, sandy consistency. Store in an air-tight container. To prepare the cereal, add to warm milk, soy milk, applesauce, juice, vegetable and fruit purees... anything you want to thicken a bit. Add a little less cereal than you think you will need, because it thickens up as it sits.
2. Organic Fruit and Vegetable Purees
If you’re eating or preparing cooked organic vegetables or fruit for the rest of the family, the easiest thing to do is to use a baby food mill. As long as the veggies or fruit are pretty well cooked, you can grind a serving at a time, and baby’s food will be ready in less than 2 minutes.
If you want to prepare a larger amount of baby food, puree the cooked veggies or fruit in a blender with just a little water. The baby food can be frozen in ice cube trays for nice little serving-sized portions. After the cubes are frozen, pop them into freezer bags, and thaw one serving at a time. You can get creative with combinations of fruits and vegetables as well: prunes and bananas, strawberries and mango, peas and carrots, corn and squash.
3. Finger Foods
Once your baby is old enough to pick up finger foods, you can serve little bits of soft cheese, soft fruits like banana and mango cut into small pieces, little pieces of whole grain breads, and if you don’t mind the mess, scrambled egg. Be sure to supervise little ones feeding themselves.
4. Happy Combinations
My son likes to eat cottage cheese and fruit, ricotta cheese and applesauce, oatmeal and applesauce, scrambled eggs with shredded cheese, applesauce and shredded cheese, and just about any combination involving yogurt.
5. Shortcuts for Really Busy Moms
These are some of our favorite shortcuts to healthy eating: Earth’s Best Foods makes yummy organic baby food products. My son’s favorite is the whole grain graham crackers. Yo Baby yogurts are organic, made with whole milk, and include DHA for brain development. Some other staples we like to have around are prepared organic applesauce, cottage cheese, and boxed cereals like Cascadian Farm Purely O’s.