A recent report from the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform has parents frightened about commercial baby food purees. The report found that the four major baby food companies (Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain, and Gerber)produced baby food containing heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and cadmium. Additionally, Nurture found that they produced food that also contained mercury. However, they are the only company out of the four that tested their baby food for mercury.
Studies show that “Heavy metal toxicity can lower energy levels and damage the functioning of the brain, lungs, kidney, liver, blood composition and other important organs.”
Although the FDA is working toward reducing the amount of heavy metals found in commercial baby food, parents do not have time to wait. If your baby is at least 6 months old, they can start eating pureed fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats.
Making baby food purees at home is an easy and affordable way to ensure your child isn’t consuming toxic elements in their food. After all, food is meant to nourish their bodies and support all over health! Homemade infant purees guarantee that your baby is consuming nutrient-dense foods that are free from heavy metals and other toxic elements.
How to Make Baby Food at Home
Before we dive into baby food puree recipes, let’s talk about the process, the tools you’ll need, and how to store prepared meals.
Once your baby has reached 6 months old, they can eat a pureed version of pretty much anything you can eat! Of course, it’s important to consult your pediatrician and be aware of common food allergies.
Here are a few tips for making baby food at home:
- Fruits and vegetables are suitable for all babies without known allergies.Thoroughly wash, peel, and de-seed produce to remove impurities, bacteria, and choking hazards.
- Meat must be cooked until it is well done. Internal temperatures should be 145°F for fish, beef, and pork, 160°F for ground beef, and 165°F for poultry.
- Produce should be steamed until mushy. Do not add salt, pepper, or other spices.
- Infant purees can be thinned with breastmilk, prepared formula, or water. Avoid using tap water as it may contain heavy metals.
- Baby food purees can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for later use. You can use an ice cube tray to portion baby food, freeze it, and thaw it when ready to eat.
- Frozen purees can be thawed overnight in the fridge, in an airtight baggie placed in a warm water bath, or in the microwave. If thawing in the microwave, be sure to check the temperature before feeding to your baby. Microwaves can quickly overheat food, which can be a danger to your baby.
- Common allergies: Babies should not consume dairy products, honey, peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts, eggs, soy, or sesame until they are at least 1 year old. These account for 90% of all allergies and can be life-threatening to infants.
Now that you know how to make, store, and serve baby food at home, it’s time to choose your favorite recipes!
Infant Puree Recipes
Here are some infant puree recipes your baby is sure to love!
Avocado Puree is a great way to give your baby some healthy fats. All you’ll need is an avocado and a blender. If the avocado is extra ripe, you might be able to mash it well with a fork. Before serving, double-check to make sure there aren’t any large chunks remaining. Avocado is soft and likely won’t cause choking, but larger chunks can be difficult for your baby to swallow. Add a little bit of lemon juice to the puree if you plan to store it for later.
Bean puree is perfect for growing babies because it has healthy carbs and protein! You can create bean puree with chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans, or white beans. Dump a can of beans into a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Pour the beans into your blender, using water, prepared formula, or breastmilk to thin the mix. You can add other vegetables to bean puree, like butternut squash, carrots, potatoes, or rice.
Blueberry puree is loaded with antioxidants and yummy flavors! Simply toss washed blueberries into a blender by themselves, with some thinning liquid (water, prepared formula, or breastmilk), or with some baby oatmeal. You’ll have to add some extra liquid if you add baby oatmeal.
Broccoli and Sweet Potato Puree
Broccoli and sweet potato puree is packed with vitamins and nutrients. Wash the vegetables and peel the potatoes. Chop the broccoli and sweet potatoes into small chunks (they don’t have to be too small because you will be blending them later) and place in a steamer basket. Steam until they are soft to the touch, then place in a blender. Blend until completely smooth, adding thinning liquid if needed. Allow to cool completely before serving.
If you’re ready to feed your baby meat, it’s recommended to cook ground meat. This is the easiest and fasted to cook well done. Cook ground meat in a small frying pan with a little bit of water. Do not add oil or butter. Once the meat is completely cooked and broken up, add it to a blender. You can add some thinning liquid and blend until smooth.
Feeding your child fresh ingredients will help them grow up as healthy as can be. Introducing vegetables early can also get your baby used to the new flavors, so they’re more likely to enjoy veggies later on.
Preparing infant purees at home is the only way to guarantee your babies aren’t consuming toxic elements in their food. Now that you know how easy it is to do, you can start making your own baby food today!
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