Awareness of the impact human activity has on the environment is growing and the production and manufacture of food is one of the worst environmental offenders.
The production of baby food is no exception, so if you are looking to do your bit in helping our world be a better place, making much of your own baby food is a great way to start.
Eco benefits for making your own baby food
Commercial food manufacturing involves use of land and water and although we no longer see factories belching toxins and pollution, there are still some emissions.
While many companies are moving to recyclable packaging, it remains true that homemade food doesn’t use any. Recycling however is not perfect, and in terms of waste compared to portion size, baby food in non-recyclable packaging is one of the worst!
If you use locally grown, organic produce you reduce the carbon footprint through a reduction in transportation of the raw ingredients and the finished commerical product. A huge amount of baby food sold in New Zealand is made overseas.
Benefits for your baby
Many people believe that babies who eat mostly homemade food will be less fussy because it tends to be less bland and have a wider variety of flavours. This ecourages children to eat a wider variety of food. Because you are making your own your can regulate the texture and slowly introduce lumps, and variety. This makes for an easy transition to finger foods.
Commercially produced food is often heated to extreme temperatures to kill bacteria, however this also impacts negatively on the nutrient levels. Cooking your own means you can cook until just soft, or even better you can use raw foods such as avocado and ripe bananas that have all their nutrients untouched.
One of the big benefits of making your own is that you know exactly what is in the food – there are no fillers and no processed ingredients, just fresh food prepared with love!
Finally, price – making your own is undeinably cheaper.
Preparing your baby’s food is actually quite simple – and pretty soon you will find you are just whizzing up the same food you are eating!
The key thing with baby’s first solids is that they need to be smooth and runny with no lumps – baby cereal is ideal.
From there you can move on to pureeing fruit, vegetables and then meat. If you can, source fresh organic vegetables, perhaps from your local farmers market. Ensure all the skin, core, and seeds have been removed along with bone and most of the fat.
You can boil, microwave, bake, or steam before pureeing with a stick blender, food processor, or manual food mill. You don’t need to add anything to the food except perhaps a wee bit of milk or water. If you cook up a big batch you can freeze the leftovers for up to a month.
Simple baby food recipes
- Baby’s first vegetable purees
- Baby’s first apple puree
- Baby cereal
- Pumpkin and potato mash
- Carrot and swede puree
- Zucchini, potato and spinach mash
As your baby grows and is able to manage lumps you can replace blending with mashing and also introduce finger foods. As with the puree, making finger foods at home benefits the environment with less packaging and waste while also saving you money.
Written by Robyn
Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.
Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”