I’m going to share some healthy baby food ideas that are quick, cheap and easy. I totally get it. Your baby is screaming “FEED ME!!!” with ‘subtle’ undertones of disgust that you would wait so long between feeds (30 minutes just isn’t acceptable, really let’s call DOCS). Sooooo… what on earth do we feed these little vacuum cleaners when we hardly get a minute to spare?
I will admit, the thought of emptying my fridge contents (including condiments) into a blender with a few scoops of formula sure is enticing. Buuuuut we all know better and, thanks to these tips can make a quick and healthy meal for our beloved womb fruit.
First, here is what I set out for each feed:
(screw the jars, haha get it? #dadjoke)
Here are the suggestions for each category:
Thanks to the trusty food manufacturing industry, I can get baby food from my local for about $1.30 that has been cooked, pureed, spiced (seriously, who has time for spicing baby food?) and packaged into a sachet that is oh-so-convenient and easy. You can get fruits, vegetables, protein and carb blends. Between 7-9 months, proteins can be introduced, which I find is readily available in the sachets.
- Ingredients I allow: virtually any vegetable and fruit, any meat, most grains.
- Ingredients I sometimes allow: wheat/dairy in moderation (e.g. polenta, pasta, couscous, bread, milk, yoghurt etc).
- Ingredients I don’t allow: salt, sugar (e.g. custard, chocolate, biscuits), preservatives, artificial flavours and colourings, highly processed foods (Corn Flakes, Wheat Bix, canned spaghetti)
Because I have an especially hungry baby, I always need to bulk up my food with a filler. It also allows him to get more nutrition and a his palette exposed to a wide variety of foods (plus I can stretch those sachets longer!) My thoughts are, about 99% of us just don’t have time to steam, spice and basically SLAVE just to make food that will be gobbled/thrown on the floor in 5 seconds. So here are some fillers I use in combination with a sachet:
- Sweet potato / carrots / parsnip / peas / pumpkin, boiled, mashed
- Can of corn (unsweetened), pureed or blended
- Can of lentils / chickpeas / beans, pureed or blended
- Brown rice, made in the rice cooker
- Avocado / banana, mashed
- Prunes – I give this with a fruit sachet to keep him regular!
- Rice cereal, which can cause some ‘blockage’ and therefore given in moderation
- Full fat natural organic yoghurt occasionally
To save time prepare in bulk, fridge half and freeze the other half. I can stretch each filler for at least 3-4 days before discarding. When your baby reaches ‘munching’ age i.e. has teeth and can chew, you can just cook and serve rather than puree/blend.
“YAY! Food all over the floor/table/chairs/curtains/carpet” – said no mum, ever! But, we have to introduce finger food as the chompers come in, so baby gets used to handling food. Side note: how come my son manages to shove an iPhone into his mouth (I am a good mum, don’t judge me) but can’t get a tiny piece of carrot into his trap?!?! Anyway! Here is what I give him accompanying his meal:
- Cooked green beans or carrot coins (no time for julienne!)
- Banana, strawberry or blueberry pieces
- Cheddar cheese sticks
- Hard boiled egg chopped up
Of course, it’s unrealistic to give a baby a 100% clean, organic, raw, paleo, gluten-free hipster diet. However, provided that at least 85% of his food comes from ‘fresh sources’ (stored in the fridge is a good indication) I believe I have set him up for a win when it comes to optimum nutrition for healthy development.
Disclaimer: Please note this is not a diet or meal plan to replace any guidance you have been given by a doctor, child health nurse, paediatrician or nutritionist. This piece has been written to help parents make their own decisions. Please consult with a professional practitioner if you have any concerns about the nutrition of your child.