Susan Brewer, a professor of food science at the University of Illinois, is urging parents to consider serving fish to their babies when they start solid foods. Traditionally in America we serve pureed fruits and vegetables to our babies and then move on to cereals and grains. However, Brewer says that eating fish will provide babies with those precious Omega-3 essential fats that promote a healthy brain and heart, among numerous other protective elements. Read about starting your baby on solid foods and speak to your pediatrician about adding healthy, low-mercury fish to your baby’s diet.
How to Make Your Own Baby Food
Homemade purées These work out much cheaper than shop-bought jars. Start off by introducing one taste at a time: puréed carrot, potato, parsnip, turnip, apple, pear, mashed banana or avocado. Later you can mix purées to make new flavors – apple and mango, for example, or carrot and zucchini. As your baby grows, don’t be afraid to make your own concoctions using flavors you know he or she likes. Babies generally love sweet potato, so try mashing sweet potato, salmon and broccoli together to make a delicious and nutritious meal. Just blend it down, using milk or water to get the right consistency, then freeze in meal-size containers.
Baby rice and cereals These are expensive, but did you know that baby rice is simply ground rice? Use a coffee grinder or a super-efficient blender, pour in the rice grains, grind away and store the powder in the freezer in a resealable plastic bag.
Family food As your baby grows and you feel more relaxed about what he or she eats, structure mealtimes to fit in with your own – if you eat a sandwich lunch and a proper dinner, do the same for your baby. That way, your baby can eat a little of the family food instead of you having to buy and prepare different meals at different times of the day.
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Special Tip for Freezing Baby Food
Any mom who has ever struggled to make homemade foods for her fussy little darling will know the value of this tip: Once you have gently steamed and carefully pureed that butternut squash, portion it out into ice cube trays and freeze. After it’s frozen, pop the cubes into a ziplock plastic bag for storage. Not only does it make all your hard work go further, but the trays make the ideal portion size for baby’s dinner.
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TIMELY TIP: Blending baby food
To prepare babies’ meals faster, buy a hand-held blender designed for soups and sauces. All you have to do is blend a batch of cooked food and it’s ready to eat. Freeze leftovers in small containers and you’ve got food to go, too.
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