Making your own baby food can improve the health of your child and improve the state of your budget. By preparing it yourself, you're not only able to control what your baby is eating, you can also make sure nutrients and vitamins don't get lost during the preparation process. And making baby food at home may be easier and less time consuming than you think.
Jody Woehl planned to make her own baby food even before four-month-old Mason was born. Her grandmother even bought her a special mixer to blend the food.
"He likes avocados and sweet potatoes for sure," Woehl said.
Mason's only been eating solid food for a couple of weeks now so Woehl is still new at this. But she says she's already saving money.
"I can make four servings out of one banana," Woehl said.
While making your own baby food may be more cost-effective, some parents think it takes too much time. Hy-Vee Dietitian Jennifer Colgan says it doesn't have to.
"Basically take those same things that you're incorporating into the rest of your family's diet and give them to baby in a safe and healthy way," Colgan said.
Simply clean, peel, and core the fruits and vegetables. You also need to make sure you remove any seeds or pits. Depending on the food, you may have to cook it before putting it into a blender.
"When we're making meat items, we want to make sure they're well-cooked. We want to make sure we take off the skin and remove any bones so they're ready to use," Colgan said.
It's also important to make sure you store the food in a safe way. Colgan recommends using ice cube trays so you can reheat one portion at a time. It's also important not to keep food in the refrigerator for more than three days.
"If we're freezing items, that really extends the shelf life. Frozen meat items can be kept for up to one month. Frozen fruits and vegetables are good for six to eight months," Colgan said.
Woehl says her favorite part of preparing her own food for Mason is that she knows exactly what's in his food.
"I have the power to decide what goes into his food and what he eats rather than maybe preservatives or additives that are in other baby foods in the store," Colgan said.
Do you want to know more about how to make your baby's food at home? There's a class that can teach you the evening of June 4 at the Kenny Anderson Community Center in Sioux Falls. The cost is $8. Find out more about the class on the City of Sioux Falls' website.