Save money and reduce waste
Babies seem to require a lot of stuff nowadays. And they can produce a lot of waste, and I’m not talking about their dirty diapers. The packaging for their clothes, diapers, car seats, strollers, toys, and other paraphernalia seems to really add up. You may not be able to avoid all this packaging and will just be left with the option of recycling some of it. But there is one type of packaging you can avoid using: baby food containers.
Making your own baby food may seem like a daunting task. But it is one you should consider for the sake of the environment. You may also find it cheaper than pre-packaged meals for your tyke. And by making your own food you can provide more food options than are found on supermarket shelves.
Yes. That’s the answer to the readers wondering if I’ve done this. After buying about a week’s worth of food for my baby, I started making baby food at home and haven’t stopped. And yes, it takes longer than buying it in the store, so it may not be an option for everyone. But I did do it as a full-time graduate student, so it is possible amidst a hectic life.
The keys to my success were freezer space, a basic food processor or blender, and a reference book. My reference book was Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron, which is essentially vegetarian, but can be used by non-vegetarians as a reference for their babies’ non-meat foods. The information I used most from this book was about how to choose and prepare different vegetables and when to introduce them. IMPORTANT NOTE: I always referred to my child’s pediatrician first about when to introduce foods, especially the major allergens like dairy, eggs, and nuts and the potential health hazard honey. The pediatrician suggested introducing all of these foods later than did the author. Feel free to comment about other helpful baby food books.
The basic idea of the book is to purée vegetables and grind grains in bulk. Then you can freeze the vegetables and cook and then freeze the grains in ice cube trays. Once the cubes of food are frozen, you pop them out into a freezer-safe container so you can continue to use the ice cube trays. I used plastic zipper bags. When the zipper bag was empty, I’d leave it in the freezer to use again later. Defrost the food cubes however you like. I’ve continued the basic idea with my toddler. Instead of buying the ready-made waffles at the store, I make a big batch of waffles at one time and store the extras in the freezer. I pop them in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes, just like the ready-made ones.
With a few basic tools and a bit of motivation, you can save money and reduce waste. Now if you can just get your little one to eat all the food!
Photo credit: Victoria M. Vazquez