Your Own Baby Food
How to Easily Make Inexpensive, Nutritious Baby
Cereal and Food
by Rachel Keller
Stroll down the baby aisle in any store and you will see an
overabundance of baby food. Those little jars (which contain water mixed
with fruits, vegetables, or meats) cost mere pennies to make, yet sell for
astronomical prices. As your baby grows, he or she may devour several jars
in one day. Manufacturers make a hefty profit on those little jars that
eat into your family budget.
While coupons help reduce the cost of baby food, you still pay plenty
for convenience. Making your own baby food is really very simple. Over the
course of a few months, you can save hundreds of dollars by making
nutritious baby foods that have "all their nutrients intact and not
processed our during refinement" (p. 2, Super Baby Food, Ruth
Baby foods are fairly simple and take very little time to prepare. Ripe
bananas and peaches require no cooking. Mash bananas with a fork and puree
peaches for younger babies. For older babies, just break or cut into small
Use a hand-held grinder, blender, or food processor to mash canned
fruit, sweet or white potatoes, as well as cooked vegetables and fruits.
Make your own pear or applesauce by cooking pears and apples in water
The younger your baby, the more water or juice you need to add to your
fruits or vegetables to obtain the right consistency. Either add water
while cooking or when pureeing. (Save the cooking water to add to the
food.) Add formula or breast milk to mashed potatoes.
As your babyís eating repertoire expands, try grinding the same foods
you cook for your family, including meats and whole grains. Remove a
portion of the food for your baby before adding seasonings. Babies donít
need salt or sugar added to their food.
Save even more money by making your own baby cereal. I used my oat
roller to grind oat groats, barley, and brown rice for baby cereals.
However, you donít need an oat roller. A good blender (or food
processor) will work.
The following recipe for homemade baby cereal comes from the book Super
Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. (Every mother of young children should
own, or at least read, this book. It includes many great and healthy
baby/children recipes). When cooked, this Super Porridge" looks very
similar to commercial boxed baby cereal mixed with liquid, but it is a
natural cereal made from unrefined whole grains rather than processed,
Some babies who are used to commercial baby food may refuse to eat
homemade cereal. In that case, try mixing homemade with commercial,
gradually increasing the homemade cereal. (For more suggestions, ideas, or
sample recipes, visit the Super
Baby Food website. Specifically note the update page for Super Baby
Foods, 2nd edition, for questions about Super Porridge.)
To make the cereal, put a cup of water in a saucepan to boil. While the
water is heating, measure 1/4 cup brown rice into your blender. Grind it
very well for about 2 minutes. (It's very noisy, but if you have a
beginning eater grind for the full 2 minutes. When your baby eats chunkier
food, you may reduce the grinding time to 20-30 seconds.)
When the water boils on the stove, turn the heat down to the lowest
setting. Sprinkle the ground rice into the water while stirring briskly
with a wire whisk. (If you fail to stir, you will have lumps.) Cover the
pot and keep it over low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir frequently with
the whisk to prevent scorching as well as to remove any lumps. When done
cooking, the rice cereal looks like porridge.
If the cereal is too thick, stir in a little breast milk, formula, or
water. If it's too thin, add a little wheat germ, ground nuts, ground
oatmeal, commercial powdered baby cereal, etc.
Cover the cereal and refrigerate. The cereal will keep in the
refrigerator for 2-3 days, or you can freeze for several weeks.
If you donít have a blender, you can make this cereal by pureeing
cooked brown rice with an equal amount of liquid.
You can use a similar process to make barley cereal. (I used hulled
barley and added more water and cooked a little longer.) Make oatmeal by
grinding oats in a blender and adding liquid. For a fast and easy meal,
use the microwave.
To save time, batch cook fruit and vegetables and freeze in ice cube
trays or very small containers. After the cubes freeze, pop them into
resealable bags or airtight containers. When ready to serve the food,
remove the desired number of cubes and heat in the microwave or on the
Making your own baby food requires very little effort. Not only will
you save money, but you will have the satisfaction of serving your baby
nutritious food without extra processing or additives.
While many resources are available for mothers of young children, here
are two I found very helpful:
Baby Food by Ruth Yaron 1-800-255-1138 (for order only)