Mamas, you know that feeding a baby isn't cheap! Today, we've got a solution for you. Let's learn how to make homemade baby food! (Don't worry; it's WAY easier than you probably think!)
Who knew a tiny jar of baby food could cost SO much?! Are those tiny little portions convenient? Sure! Cost-efficient? Not a chance.
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If you think making baby food is hard, we're about to change your mind! With just a little effort you can make weeks' worth of homemade baby food using ingredients you already have in the kitchen. We'll show you how to save money and feed your little one a well-balanced diet!
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BABY FOOD: 10+ FRUIT PUREES TO TRY
Ah, fruit! The most classic baby food around, right? Babies love the sweetness, and you probably love that you're sneaking in a healthy dose of vitamins. Well, guess what else we think you'll love? You can puree fruits. you already have in the fridge and serve them up to your little one. Try one of these ideas:
- Avocado (Yep, that's a fruit!)
Oh, and you can mix and match these, too! Apple/Banana or Peach/Mango sound mighty fine to us. Before you puree a harder fruit (like an apple), wash and peel it, then boil it until it's soft. Once you've softened it, pop it in the blender or food processor and puree away.
Pro Tip: You can add rice cereal, breast milk, or formula to your fruit purees, too! Just add a little at a time and go slow. Blend until you get your desired consistency.
HOMEMADE VEGGIE PUREES FOR BABY: 10 IDEAS
Getting babies to eat their fruits is usually a breeze, but they need a healthy dose of veggies, too! From our experience, the sooner you introduce them, the better. Here are 10 easy ideas to try:
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potatoes
- Red Peppers
- Pumpkin (Yep, that's a veggie!)
There are hundreds of ways you can prepare these veggies for your baby! If they're 6-9 months, it's usually best to serve them in a puree. Older tots can eat a mash! Like you did with the fruits, you'll want to cook the veggies first and then run them through a blender. Feel free to add some fresh herbs (like thyme) or a little coconut oil for an extra dose of healthy fats.
Pro Tip: Do you have a picky eater? Trick them into trying veggies by blending your fruits and vegetables together! Hide some carrots in peach or mango, or some green peas in a pear and apple blend.
WHERE'S THE MEAT? 5 WAYS TO TURN LEFTOVER PROTEIN INTO HOMEMADE BABY FOOD
Ready to introduce your little one to meats? Don't overthink it! You can transform your leftovers into baby food with very little effort. Try one of these homemade baby food ideas:
- Ground Chicken & Sweet Potato – If you've got a baby who's nine months or older, it's the perfect time to introduce a little meat into their diet! One of the best ways to start? With finely ground chicken! Grab some leftover shredded chicken and pop it in a blender with a small, cooked sweet potato. You might even want to sneak a bite!
- Beef & Veggie Puree – Grab about 1/2 cup of beef broth and toss it in the blender with a handful of shredded beef. Toss in a little spinach or some peas, if you'd like, and baby's dinner is served!
- Salmon – Okay, this one is just easy peasy! There's no blending required. The next time you're making salmon for the fam, save a little for the baby, too. Just chop it up in small pieces and let them enjoy! It's such a soft, easy-to-swallow food, and perfect to introduce after 8 months. Oh, and it's so stinking HEALTHY!
- Chicken & Apple – Blend some shredded chicken with a little applesauce, then divide your mixture into muffin tins or an ice cube tray. You can freeze them for later and thaw each portion as you need it.
- Basic Chicken Casserole – Finely chop and sautee some leftover veggies, and then mix with rice and toss in some finely shredded or pureed chicken. Top with a little cheese and bake at 350°F for a few minutes, or until cheese bubbles. YUM!
Pro Tip: When you're making baby food, skip the salt! Excess sodium is a no-go for babies. Try seasoning their food with natural herbs and spices, or fruits and veggies.
TIPS FOR STORING ALL YOUR HOMEMADE BABY FOOD
Want to make ahead a bunch of baby food at once and store it for later? Good thinking, mama! We're all about batch cooking and meal prep around here. Check out these three ways to store your homemade baby food:
- Jar It – Grab that case of mini-mason jars that have been collecting dust, or round up those old baby food containers you saved! With a tight seal, jarred homemade baby food will last for 1-2 months. If you open the jar and have leftovers, refrigerate and use them within 3 days! And be sure to follow food safety best practices when jarring or canning homemade baby food. Get all the safety guidelines from NCSU, as there are some foods you don't want to preserve in cans or jars.
- Freeze – If you have freezer-safe mason jars or other containers, go ahead and use them! If not, ice trays, popsicle molds, or muffin tin liners work just as well! After your cubes are frozen, just pop them in a freezer-safe bag. Be sure to use any of your frozen baby food within one month. Just thaw in the refrigerator, or place your container in a bowl of warm water to defrost.
- Pouch It – When in doubt, toss that baby food into a pouch! You can buy travel food pouches on Amazon, or you can store your food in ziplock bags and freeze them. When refrigerated, plan to serve the food within 3-5 days.
We've got a whole post about using your leftover baby food in grownup recipes, too, so be sure to check that out! Now, onto one last order of business! Ready for snack time?
SUPER EASY SNACK IDEAS FOR BABY
Growing babies love to eat, so in between mealtimes, here are some super cheap and easy snacks to serve:
- Popsicles – Here's a perfect snack for the teething babes! Make your own if you can. Natural fruits and veggies are much healthier than processed popsicles with added sugar.
- Smoothies – Sneak those veggies in where you can! Smoothies are the perfect treat to serve in a sippy cup.
- Toast – Easy, peasy! Serve it plain or with a little plain cream cheese on top.
- Yogurt – Again, watch the sugar content, but yogurt is a great snack!
- Apple Sauce – Serve your sweetie some unsweetened applesauce from a cup or pouch.
- String Cheese/Cheese Cubes – Our kiddos love cheese in all forms. String cheese is great on the go, but cubed cheese is more cost-effective. Just watch out for choking hazards!
- Crackers – Goldfish, crushed Ritz, animal crackers, or mini Saltines are all good options. Teething babies love chewing on crackers.
- Graham Crackers – Add a dab of peanut butter to some graham cracker pieces. They dissolve in the baby's mouth in no time!
Pro Tip: Letting your baby practice feeding themselves snacks is a great way to help them develop gross motor skills, so spread those snacks out on their highchair tray and let them go to town!
WHAT'S YOUR BABY'S FAVORITE FOOD?
And there you have it! With just a little effort, you can turn food you already have into a proper feast for the youngest family members. No more buying special food and throwing money down the drain!
What's your baby's favorite food? Leave a comment and let us know!
Looking for a few more ways to save money on food?
- One of the best ways to save money is by eating your leftovers! We've got tips for learning to love them.
- Learn how to use leftover rotisserie chicken. Spoiler alert: you can get several meals out of one chicken!
- Grab a free kitchen inventory printable so you can keep track of all your food. No more waste!
Break out the blender and have some fun!