I am obsessed with food. Like, I think about it all the time. I am always asking my husband, “What did you want for lunch?” at like 9 am. “What do you want for dinner?” at like 1 pm. (I drive him crazy…haha). Part of this, is just that I need to plan in advance but also because I am just always thinking about my next meal. Before I went down the chemistry path, I was full on on a chef path. I just LOVE to eat and also cook.
Sidebar: I do realize that there are a lot of people out there, who hate to cook and its a big chore for them. I totally get that. It can be really stressful to constantly have to come up with food ideas on what to make, then actually go through the process of food shopping, finding recipes and then actually cooking. Which is why having to make food for a tiny human can be extremely daunting. That’s why I wanted to write this post. Making baby food is actually easier to make than adult food. It requires less thinking, but it will need some upfront work. The best things to have are a blender, steamer of some sort (or an INSTAPOT!) and a freezer. I also recommend these ice cube things that help too (which I link below).
I like having the Instapot for this because, its literally “set and forget.” When the time is up you don’t have to rush back to open it. It will just sit there, and stay warm for you for when you remember. Genius! (You can also use it for other things too…)
Ok back to story:
So, when it became time for X to start to eat solids, I was psyched!!! As a mom, we all want our babies to eat the “right” things at the “right” time. We started X on solids, I think…, right when he hit 5 months. He was sitting up and had become really interested every time we were eating. My dad kept telling me, “Give him food! He wants to eat!” Naturally, I became obsessed with his “first” food. I know that many people introduce rice cereal first, but when as I went down the google rabbit hole about this subject (cause you know we all do this), I learned you don’t have to and avocados are also a popular choice. YES!….love avocados! This made sense to me, because avocados are fairly neutral in flavor, have lots of nutrition and fat!! (And you know how I feel about my healthy fats…EAT OF THEM!).
So, we did it. At first, he was like “WTF are you shoving in my mouth?” But then on the next go, he LOVED it!! I literally just took some avocado and pureed it really smooth with a fork. Put some of it on his baby spoon and he happily ate it. I could basically add anything to avocado now and he would eat it.
Next came the actual purees. I decided to wait to give X fruits. I was very adamant about not giving him sweeter things from the get go because 1. He doesn’t need them 2. Breast milk is crazy sweet anyway 3. He needed to experience other flavors 4. He needs to love veggies.
Initially, I was just steaming whatever we were making as a veg. Then added a splash of water (never had to use breast milk because I never had any to spare, if being honest). Water works fine. Then just threw the food into my ninja and blended the crap out of it.
First foods were: carrots, peas, kale, broccoli, spinach, beets, butternut squash, cauliflower, green beans, and sweet potato. Basically any veggie I had, I just steamed and pureed. Then, later I introduced apples, pears, and bananas.
PS, Beet puree is crazy good. I could see a chef using that as her fancy puree add on to a fancy dish. Just sayin…
The only tricky thing we noticed was after pureeing peas, we had to push the puree through a strainer to get it smooth. Just FYI.
Enter the Instapot!
So, here’s the deal. Even though I am a stay at home mom. I still barely have time to shower, let alone make baby food at every meal. That’s insane and to the supermoms who are doing that, you are a supermom. I am never that together. The days I get showered and dressed are special days. So, I batch cook his baby food now. Enter the Instapot. (Note: if don’t have one, you can still steam the old fashioned way, but having the Instapot means if I forget it on the stove, it won’t burn..which I have done and he has had burnt carrots as a result..#truestory).
Organic produce is preferred (if you can swing it). Just less chemicals for a tiny growing human is just better in my opinion. Also, there is evidence that organic produce does contain more nutrients than conventional.
I have actually been using Misfits Market, (<referral) which delivers a box of organic produce for like 20 bucks every week. Super easy and I don’t have to go to the store!! We love it. So, if you hate going to the store, I would try this, if your area supports it.
Lets use the example of
- Wash, peel, core, and cut up apples into cube pieces. Three apples makes enough to last a while.
- Add to Instapot with a dash of water.
- Put lid on, and tighten, make sure its set to SEALING.
- Press Pressure Cook (normal), and set time to 8 min.
- Walk away.
- When you remember you are cooking something in your Instapot (I never rush back to it when it stops, I usually let it sit for a few extra (or lots) or minutes…never hurts anything), go and vent it (or just open if its been a while). We have babies remember and therefore #mombrain.
- Now, if you have a stick blender, you can blend straight in pot. If not, just transfer apple mixture into blender and puree.
- DONE. EASY.
- Repeat with next veggie/fruit.
You can also leave them chunky and not puree, if your baby is eating more chunky solids. It will be soft enough for them to pick up and eat, which is why I cube it at the beginning.
Now, this is when I batch freeze. I bought freezer trays from amazon for this. This is the one I have. I love it, everything pops out really easily and I just transfer them to a freezer bag once they are frozen.
I have bags of apples, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, green beans, beets, rice cereal, tofu, farro cereal, oatmeal, etc. in my freezer.
You can do this method with just about any veggie or fruit you have. If you choose to, you can add a seasoning. Certain veggies you might have to peel first like apples, pears, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, etc. But the same method applies for steaming.
So to make life easy, if you do this on one afternoon with a few different veggies, you will have enough to last you a LONG time.
My method is do this every now and then to up my stash. Then during dinner (or whatever meal I am having), and I am making something I think would be easily smooshable or just soft enough, I give him that instead (also to keep the variety up). If I have extra of that meal, I just put it in the mold for later.
This method really will always ensure you have food ready. No thinking about food later. No need to buy food. Its also super portable this way too.
Time to eat
When its time to eat, I just pop out a food block and thaw it (usually in microwave because I am HUMAN). Easy. Done.
For cereals: You can blend rice (or farro, or whatever grain) in a blender until fine powder. Then cook like you would be making porridge or oatmeal (1/2 c ground rice: 2 c water). You can individually freeze this too. You can do this in the Instapot too…same time, 8 min OR the use rice function. Both work the same, I found.
Never buy baby food again.
You honestly don’t have to. Its expensive. They always add something to it. Once you see how easy it is to make it and batch freeze it, you will see that it isn’t hard. Plus, you have the peace of mind of knowing EXACTLY what you are feeding your baby, which is ultimately what every parent wants.
Also, what I have learned is that you don’t have to be so choosy with his foods. He literally eats what we eat. With that said, you need to up the variety in your diet, so your baby has variety too (if you are a picky eater yourself).
The other night, I roasted cauliflower and onions with some olive oil. Then just smashed some up for X and he loved it too. Your baby is not that picky. This is something I learned. He actually prefers the veggies over the fruits now. Which is awesome, in my opinion.
Also, I have bought this book which was SUPER helpful in the beginning. (I bought the kindle version, which was cheap!).
What do you think? Was this post helpful? Would love to hear your thoughts!