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Making your own baby food is a wonderful way to save money and also have more control over the foods your child eats as they develop. Pre-packaged baby food can contain added sugar, sodium or artificial ingredients and preservatives you may want to stay away from.

It may seem overwhelming at first, but making your own baby food is a lot easier than you might think. If you’re looking to ditch the jar and make your own food, here are 10 tips to help you create the most nutritious — and delicious — meals for your baby:

  1. Shop for whole, organic and non-GMO (non-genetically modified) produce as much as possible. Foods to avoid are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, which are known to give babies gas. Soy and nuts should also be avoided until your child is older, to reduce the chance of them developing allergies. You can always stock up on more seasonal items and freeze them for later use.
  2. Thoroughly clean your produce before using with a fruit or vegetable wash. A wash will clean off any bacteria or germs from shipping and handling in the market. Foods with a tough outer skin, like apples, should be peeled prior to cooking.
  3. Have the right equipment on hand to get the smooth texture that’s easiest for a baby to consume. We recommend a blender, food processor, a ricer, peeler and good knives for chopping. A steamer will help as well.  The Vitamixis the must have for mommies with cash to splash
  4. Once fruits and vegetables have been peeled and chopped, you can steam, boil or bake them. Just avoid adding any cooking oil. You want to make the produce soft without overcooking, which can zap the nutrients out.
  5. After cooking, just blend the produce until it reaches a soft, smooth consistency. Feel free to add some water to thin it out, if needed. Once the food has been blended, you can experiment with adding spices like cinnamon for additional flavor, but leave out any added sweeteners or sodium — fruits and veggies will taste sweet enough to a young child.
  6. Get creative by making your own blends as you introduce new foods to your child’s diet. Chicken can be added as well as whole grains like quinoa or oatmeal, as long as they’re of top quality. These heartier meals will fill your child up and give them the energy they need to move and play more.
  7. Store baby food in air-tight containers to prevent the growth of bacteria and maintain freshness. They can be made of BPA-free plastic with a tight-fitting lid or glass. Just make sure to clean and sterilize your containers properly in between uses and you’ll never have to buy more.
  8. Keep food in the fridge for up to three days. If you make a larger batch, portion it out into small containers or even an ice cube tray and freeze.
  9. Only serve baby food one portion at a time by scooping it into a serving dish. Otherwise, dipping your baby’s spoon back into the food will transfer their saliva, which can lead to the growth of bacteria during storage.
  10. Make sure to keep a journal of recipes as well as any food dislikes or allergies so you can use it later on as a reference or to show to their doctor at their next checkup. You want to plan meals that provide all the essential nutrients your child needs, so keeping a written record can help you stay on track.

Making your own baby food can lead to better meals for the entire family, since you’ll be purchasing more produce to keep on hand. With the money you’ve saved, you can stock up on all the other must-haves for your baby while keeping them fed and, best of all, happy.

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