Saturday, July 19, 2014

Blending and Storing Baby Food/Organic Food -- But Not Just for Babies




Close friends of ours are expecting a baby girl next month -- so exciting!  Recently they reminded me that I had made most of my daughter's baby food and were asking for some pointers. Ah yes,  making baby food...

...it is really quite simple and can be done with a food processor/blender,  a mini food processor, or even a ricer or tomato mill.  If done properly it can help save on the food bill; and it allows parents to know exactly what is going into their child's body.  Preparing baby food also aligns the child's eating habits with the parent's.

Before I share some baby food ideas, here are a few important points:


  • Absolutely DO NOT feed your baby solid foods before the age that is recommended by your pediatrician!  Like everything else in a small person's body, the digestive system needs time to develop. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology is suggesting that feeding certain solid foods to predisposed babies is contributing to the food allergy epidemic, and you don't want that! See link:
http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/prevention-of-allergies-and-asthma-in-children.aspx
  • Store food in glass or BPA free containers. Bisphenol A (BPA) grosses $6 Billion yearly and is the center of large controversy stemming from studies showing links to miscarriage, low sperm count, hyperactivity and anxiety. It is banned in Canada and elsewhere. See link from the Environmental Health News:
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/2013/07/boys-bisphenol-a/













  • Formula - if you are using or supplementing with formula and your child gets gassy, try using the premixed formula.  We switched early on from powder to premixed and saw a HUGE difference in intestinal upset and burping issues.  
  • Try to use organic food whenever possible. Limiting your children's exposure to pesticides and other harmful toxins helps stave off problems down the road.  Besides, organic foods simply taste better (to me) and have shown to have higher levels of antioxidants. 

Conventional Fruit and Vegetable Pesticide Loads 


This chart is very helpful in making food choices:
Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the Environmental Working Group and included in their Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce, the following 12 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organically:
Peaches
Apples
Sweet bell peppers
CeleryNectarines
Strawberries
CherriesLettuceGrapes (imported)
PearsSpinachPotatoes

In contrast, the following foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables:
Broccoli
Cabbage
Banana
KiwiAsparagus
Sweet peas (frozen)
MangoPineappleSweet corn (frozen)
AvocadoOnion
  • Always test the food before giving it to a child for taste and temperature.  
  • Do not use a Vitamix when your baby is still young.  Seeds should be removed and not blended. Even apple seeds can produce minute levels of cyanide and have a strong protective coating which are not ideal for your child's young digestive system. 










Ok, so let's make some baby food!


It's simple:

Wash the equipment that is going to be used to mill the fruits and vegetables.
Scrub and peel fruits and vegetables.
Bake, steam, or roast fruits and vegetables until tender.
Puree in your processor or mill with some liquid (filtered water or formula).
Store in BPA free containers.
Warm when it's time to eat and test to make sure it's not too hot.

Our daughter's first solid meal was mashed peas.  She also liked avocados, broccoli and almost any type of fruit.  She enjoyed fruits and vegetables mixed together, mostly carrots and apples.  As she got older, we would puree fully cooked chicken and meat. Do not add in any unnecessary starches, such as rice or cereal.  After all, before long, a high carbohydrate diet will replace this baby food, and will become a staple.


Advice:

One more food-related recommendation that I received from my mother:

For the first few months, start a daily journal and place it in the kitchen (or someplace where everyone can access).  In this journal keep a record of how much formula (or food later on) is being taken in, quality/frequency of material coming out, what solids are being eaten, and any other eating/health related items (eg. if fever, write down readings).  If the child starts getting sick or reacts poorly to something that is being eaten, you will be able to point back to this journal for details.  This journal will also ensure a continuity of care between the parent and anyone else that is helping to take care of the child (spouse, sitter, nanny, grandparent, etc).