Why you should try making baby food

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Let me preface this article by making one thing perfectly clear: I am not a crazy over-achiever mom. I don’t hand-knit adorable baby clothes. I did not stencil paint cute little animals onto each of their rooms and hang a homemade mobile over each of their cribs.

Try making your own baby food

I feel like this is important to emphasize right from the get-go, because a few years ago I would have thought that any woman who made her own baby food was completely nuts. I put it in the same category as making granola from scratch–possible, but way more fuss than it was worth. I considered that something for the domestic goddess types out there, but certainly not for busy, stressed-out me.

But I’ve changed my mind for several reasons, and even if you’re not 100 percent convinced, I think you should give it a shot. Here’s why:

It’s a whole lot easier than you think. Your baby isn’t necessarily interested in elaborate, complex dishes. In fact, they’re more likely to be turned off by them. Baby food can be literally as simple as throwing some cooked carrots or a banana in a blender. That takes less than 10 minutes, start to finish, including clean-up. As your child gets a little older, you can puree parts of your dinner (as long as it’s fairly bland. Spicy or bitter foods are likely to end up on the floor).

It’s cheaper. Commercial baby food isn’t outrageously expensive, but it starts to add up quickly, especially if you spring for organic or premium brands. And as any new parent can tell you, there are enough expenses already involved with having a kid. Why spend extra when you don’t have to?

You know exactly what your kid is getting. The makers of commercial baby foods are generally more interested in finding economic ways to make their product taste good than they are in providing exceptional nutrition. This means the stuff you buy in the jar typically has surprisingly high levels of sugar, sodium and, in some cases, additives like mono sodium glutamate (MSG). There’s really very little reason to give most of this stuff to your kid. Most of these additions are to make up for the fact that old, jarred carrots don’t exactly taste so good. Fresh baby food doesn’t need much of anything extra to make it palatable.

You’re developing your baby’s taste preferences. If your child gets used to extra sugar and salt in their food, they’re going to want more of both down the road. Think of this as an opportunity to get your baby to appreciate simpler, more natural flavors. Plus, it gives you the chance to introduce new flavors. By giving your baby little bits of what you’re having, or toned down versions of adult favorites (mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes are big favorites, just hold the butter and cream), you’re teaching them to love a wide range of foods later in life.

Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I just haven’t had the time and I’ve purchased baby food too. I read the supermarket labels carefully and I choose brands that have a short list of easily pronounced ingredients (no “potassium sorbate” in my kid’s “mashed beets”, thank you very much). But more and more, I’ve found myself creating my own. One of my favorite places for easy recipes is Smitten Kitchen Baby. In Bangkok, you can buy good quality ingredients in a bunch of places, though I’m a big fan of both Sunshine Market and the monthly Bangkok Farmers’ Market.

Photo Credit: mrgreen09 via Compfight cc


Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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