Everyone has an opinion about parenting best practices. “Cloth diapers are the way to go!” and “Breast milk is best!” have all but sloganized these opinions.
But the truth — the only absolute truth, I’ve learned since becoming a mom — is that every parent and every baby are different. What works best for some might not work for others.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum of green living, it might interest you to know that making baby food at home, rather than being a burden, could end up saving you time and money, and giving you the peace of mind of knowing exactly what your baby is consuming.
New parents might cite lack of time and storage space, as well as the convenience factor of pre-packaged purees, as reasons for not tackling the DIY baby food challenge. If you fall into this camp, it might surprise you to think that homemade baby food can be:
- More economical — The advice for budget-conscious adults striving to include more fruits and vegetables in their diets is the same as for those who seek to provide healthy, homemade food for their children without breaking the bank: Buy local and in-season. Since 1) the window of time when babies are eating only purees is small, and 2) we typically introduce new foods to babies one at a time (to watch for signs of food allergies), it’s not necessary to buy, cook, puree, jar and store every type of fruit and vegetable at once. If cost is your concern, being a good locavore is your best bet. Also, if your food processor works for you, there’s no need to buy one marketed specifically for making baby food unless you can afford it and choose to.
- More convenient —What could be more convenient than tiny, pre-filled jars of ready-to-eat food, you ask? How about walking into your kitchen, plugging in your food processor and blending half a banana to see if your baby even likes banana before you go out and waste money on 24 jars of it? Starting your baby on foods your family already eats is just good groundwork for transitioning the little one out of the high chair and into the booster seat. Experiment with small batches of fruits and vegetables that are staples in your kitchen — if your baby likes them, and all you have to do is puree, how convenient is that?
- More healthy — The healthfulness of homemade vs. store-bought baby food is the most objective point of discussion here. We all have our own idea of the best way(s) to be healthy. But for those of us on a need-to-know basis, the peace of mind that comes from making our own food is often non-negotiable and could offset any lingering worries about money and convenience. If you’re already gardening, farming, homesteading and/or buying local and organic, making your own baby food is just another way to be conscientious about limiting exposure to pesticides, growth hormones, genetically-modified foods, free radicals, non-nutritive fillers and high levels of saturated and trans fats.
Momtastics Wholesome Baby Food is full of information about the various stages of introducing solids into your baby’s diet, and even gives some good preparation and storage tips, including using ice cube trays to measure and freeze baby-friendly portions.
So green, so Smart and so healthy.