Ok, so I had a friend recently ask me how on Earth I have time to make baby food for Grayson. Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s HARD. Really hard. With Becca, it seemed I had endless time while she slept to do anything I wanted. (Well, maybe not really, but let’s put it this way – I didn’t know how to appreciate the time I had.) Now, with two kids who occasionally are napping at the same time, I really struggle to find time to get everything done. My friend has three kids, and she’s really dealing with that pull of always a child who needs her.
Another thing that’s different this time around that I have noticed is that this boy can eat. I mean, big time. Eat. Or, he can be finicky and just want his bottle. I never know what to expect or how much food to prepare. Which is really frustrating. And, there is that little fact that as soon as he starts smelling anyone else’s food, he starts to moan, wail, groan, cry, and make all sorts of frustrated noises – at the top of his lungs – until he is fed. Ugh. Love the boy, don’t love his volume.
So here’s what I do. It’s not the best. It’s not fool proof, but it seems to work ok for our family and the time constraints I’m faced with.
Veggies are best purchased in frozen form. Here’s why – as a busy mom, you don’t really have time to spend HOURS making up huge batches of baby food, steaming them fresh and all that junk. Don’t we all wish we had those hours back? Yeah. Anyway, so buy frozen. They are always flash frozen fresh, and you won’t have spoilage because you haven’t gotten time to pull out your produce and do something with it. Also, you can pull out just a handful of frozen peas and stick them in a little bowl with some water, cover with clear-wrap, and zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Amazing – steamed peas in 30 seconds! Then whip out a fork, mash them up, pour in a little store-bought unsweetened applesauce (see my section below on what to buy pre-made), and there you go – instant meal.
If you’re gonna have a little bit more time, and have a teether on your hands, a great idea is to get a small bag of baby carrots, rinse, then steam them up whole (about 25 minutes). Put about 3/4 of them in a freezer bag and freeze (you don’t want them to go bad on you before baby eats them!), and stick the rest in a ziploc in the fridge. Then when you need them, heat 2 or 3 on a little plate for 20 seconds in the microwave, and you’re ready to go! They should be soft, but still have a little firmness to them so they are easy to hang onto. Or, you can also take your fork to those and mash them up for spoon feeding.
Fruits are so easy. Seriously. If you have any sort of a blender at home, buy a box of strawberries, rinse, cut off the tops, and throw them all in. Puree them up, and stick most of the puree in the freezer. Save a little for fresh mix-ins with veggies or oatmeal within the next few days. Same thing with pears, apples, blueberries – any other fruit can just be used fresh. No need to take time to steam.
Or, if fresh fruit is again hard for you to find time to process, there are a fabulous selection of frozen fruits at your store – and any item that is frozen fresh is likely frozen fresher than what you can buy at your store, and maybe cheaper – I have a HUGE bag of frozen peaches in my freezer that I pull from frequently. Just put on the counter with clear-wrap over top and let them thaw out over the course of the day, and then blend up. Or, if you’re in a hurry, microwave them with clear-wrap on top – they don’t even need any water added!
Note: if you freeze pureed blueberries, they do weird things when they thaw out, so make sure you freeze them alone, NOT with other items.
Also note: If you have a mix that is too runny (for example, pears and strawberries together is really runny, and blueberries turn to water), adding banana will help thicken it up – pureed banana becomes thick when refrigerated. Your puree will turn dark, but no worries!! It still tastes just the same, and freezes great.
When is it worth it to just buy pre-made?
As I mentioned before, I buy store bought applesauce. I love making homemade applesauce, but I just don’t have the time to do all that all the time. Since my store brand applesauce is very affordable and is truly only apples and ascorbic acid (to retain color), we go through a jar a week. Our kids eat a ton of applesauce. It’s much more affordable for me to buy it pre-made – not only b/c of the cost, but b/c of the time.
I also buy pre-canned pumpkin. I would love to serve my kids fresh pumpkin, but 1) we don’t have fresh pumpkin available at our store year round and 2) this Mommy ain’t go time for all that! Our store sells a brand of pumpkin that the only ingredient is “pureed pumpkin,” so that’s what I buy. Grayson loves it. And when I don’t have time for any steaming of veggies, I pop open a can, scoop out some pumpkin, and mix it with some of that fruit I’ve pureed. Takes two seconds, and it’s a healthy addition of a veggie to his diet.
Hopefully these tips have helped! And, as for that busy Mommy? Well, my “me” time for blogging is over for today! But please let me know if you have any questions about making your own baby food! It’s truly a much more affordable and HEALTHY way for your kids to be eating. (Have you ever read the labels on some of the baby foods out there? They add a lot of junk…oh, and… some babyfood pouches might say on the front what’s in them… always read the labels. I recently had to buy some pouches when we were on a trip out of town and I didn’t have enough – again with the big eater – and got back to the house to find that one of the pouches had onion in it… not really something I was ready to feed my 7 month old, even though he was eating the veggies that were advertised on the front of the pouch. ALWAYS READ THE LABELS if you aren’t the one making it.)