Choosing Baby Food
- Hard chunks of raw fruits and vegetables
- Raisins, hard candy, marshmallows, cough drops, chewing gum
- Large globs of peanut butter. To safely serve peanut butter, spread a thin layer on a cracker.
- Peanuts, nuts and seeds
- Whole grapes. To safely serve grapes, cut into 4 pieces.
- Whole hot dogs or hot dogs cut into "rounds". To safely serve hot dogs, dice into "pea-sized pieces.
- Chicken and turkey with skin and bones
- Fish with bones
- Chips, pretzels, popcorn, and granola
- Melted mozzarella cheese
Making Baby Food
- Choose the texture of baby food that is right for you baby's ability to chew. Use strained or pureed at first. Then advance to mashed, ground, or finely chopped.
- To choose the best foods for your baby, read the labels carefully for nutrition information. The ingredients are listed in the order of their amount in the food. Therefore, the product contains the most of the ingredient listed first.
- Plain meats, vegetables and fruits are usually the best nutritional buys.
- Avoid baby food desserts, creamed vegetables, meat and vegetable dinners and casseroles. They are not as nutritious.
- Avoid baby foods with added sugar and thickeners such as tapioca, flour and cornstarch. These foods have less nutritional value.
- Check the expiration data and make sure the lid is not rusty and that the safety button is down.
Making your own baby food is a healthy, cheaper choice than buying baby food. It is also very easy to do. However, making baby food requires extra care to keep it safe and healthy. You will need:
What to do:
- Something to mash or grind the food such as a food grinder, blender, potato masher, or fork.
- Nutritious food without added sugar, salt, or fat. Use fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, or no-salt added canned vegetables. If using syrup packed canned fruits or regular canned vegetables or beans, then drain and rinse to remove some of the added sugar and salt.
- Containers for storage such as clean, dry jars or plastic storage containers.
- Ice cube trays for freezing in small portions.
- Wash your hands before preparing the baby food.
- Always use clean cutting boards, utensils and containers to cook, prepare and store homemade baby food. Use hot, soapy water.
- Wash fruits and vegetables and remove skin and seeds. Remove bones, visible fat and skin from meat.
- Bake, boil, or steam food until tender. Do not add additional salt, sugar, honey, corn syrup, sweeteners, or slat-containing seasonings.
- Use a food grinder, blender, potato masher, or fork to prepare the food until the appropriate consistency and texture for baby's feeding stage is achieved. Throw away any hard pieces.
- If necessary, add water, formula or breast milk to thin foods that are too thick.
- Pour the food into labeled and dated containers and store in the refrigerator until ready to use, OR
- Freeze in small portions in a clean ice cube tray. Once frozen, put the food cubes into a clean, airtight plastic bag for single-serve portions. Label and date the plastic bag.