Friday, December 17, 2010

Real Baby Food

Babies are the easiest category of people to feed real food to. It's also a lot less complicated than people make it out to be.

We steam and puree vegetables to make homemade baby food and store the extras in the freezer. The bottles of natural unsweetened applesauce from the grocery store are great for babies if you don't want to make your own and is still a better deal than the small jars. For Wyatt we've even made him homemade rice cereal. We sent brown rice through the wheat grinder and then cooked it like creamy wheat, another option is to cook up a batch of rice first and then puree it.

The thing that I have noticed with my babies is that they don't actually like "baby food" for too long before they are ready to move on.  I don't push them to eat too much baby food so that we don't compromise the nursing relationship, so by the time they are getting used to eating "people food" and moving on to larger portions they are ready to move on to finger food. 

The next step is to take the vegetables that would have been cooked and pureed and simply cook them.  Little diced sweet potato, squash, and carrots are great baby food.  The baby picks it up and basically mashes it to a pulp before it reaches his mouth--then gums it and swallows it down. 

We feel good about peas right now as well as cubed bananas (of course never leave an eating baby unattended, and always assure that your chosen source of medical advice --not me-- deems the food appropriate for your baby's stage).  And eventually we'll move on to add plain beans and chunks of cheese. We also start feeding them oatmeal and other hot grain cereals just like the rest of the family. Raisins are good once babies have a nice set of teeth. 

Moving quickly along to include foods with textures other than just smooth-puree is good to help babies be open to trying new things.  And the most important thing is to never stop giving them the vegetables they've been eating all along. 

When we could tell Wyatt was ready for some food of the teething biscuit variety I started looking for recipes. I found some recipes on this baby food website which is also where we got the info on making the rice cereal.  I wanted a non-wheat recipe, no extra sugar, and having no eggs was a good thing too.

The recipe we tried out recently --Oat and Banana Drops-- was a hit.  It made a biscuit that was soft and mushy in the baby's mouth (as opposed to the type that is hard and dissolves as the baby sucks on it).  They were delicious--tasting similar to a banana-walnut-type muffin but with 753 less calories a piece and containing only happy baby ingredients.  And they made for one satisfied baby.

This is the only picture I have because the entire family ate up the half batch within 12 hours.  (Had to let the baby share his nourishing snack with the rest of us--we need it too!)

Oat and Banana Drops -- Baby Biscuit Recipe:

1 c quick oats
1 c ground oats (oat flour)
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t baking powder
1 c (2-3) ripe bananas, mashed
1 t vanilla extract
3 T oil

Mix dry ingredients together, set aside.  Mix wet ingredients, pour into to dry mixture. Drop by the spoonful onto parchment paper or greased baking sheet, or use a piping bag to make long bars. Bake 12-15 min at 350.

This is (before cooking) how I made mine.  Wyatt likes to be able to grab on and have something sticking out of his fist to chew on.  This was a half batch and made 16.  A full batch should make about 32 bars or 64 drops and should hopefully last more than a day. 

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Have you tried anything new recently?  I love to get new recipes.  Link up here to share your real food recipes.

Real food is just what it sounds like: real ingredients, fruits, vegetables, milled grains, basic dairy products, things in forms close  to the way they can be found in nature. (We don't  take ourselves too seriously --if a recipe is made from combining the  ingredients from six tin cans--we are probably not interested--but if  you have an ingredient here or there that is typically on the "do not  invite" list we'll still be your friends-- 'cause we do it too.)

If you've blogged your recipe grab a "Real Food Friday" badge for you post or sidebar and leave us a link.  If you don't blog.  Link to an online source of the recipe and leave a comment on this post telling us about it.  I'll leave the linky open all weekend, and see you back for the next Real Food Friday in a fortnight.

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