Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making Baby Food - The Who and Why

Who:  Not just for hippies. We are a fairly food conscious household to begin with-but by no means are we crunchy hippie types.  I say this to point out that making your own baby food is not just for "hippies"!  We eat gluten-free because of my celiac disease, and Steve is a fan of lean protein because of his bodybuilding/wrestling background.  I kept a gluten-free pregnancy, and plan to avoid gluten for the Nug until he is schoolage and even then, we will introduce gluten with great caution.  However, those who know us would say our favorite foods are doritos (me), peanut m&m's (Steve) and red meat (both of us).  
Anyone can make their own food, it takes very little extra effort if you are already comfortable in the kitchen, and saves us a ton of money.

Who else: Why, Nug of course!  While Nugster still thinks that BM is the tastiest thing going, he showed great interest in solid foods around the age of 6 months.  (Around 5 months we fed him a bit of avocado, more for our amusement than his nutritional needs.  Since most of it ended up on his hands and clothes, we can hardly count that.)  I still nurse him before every meal, but he now (at 6.5 months) enjoys solids for breakfast and dinner as well.  

Why: As a proud owner of a Baby Bullet, I was beyond excited to begin making my own baby food

Good for more than just baby food (ahem, margaritas  mango smoothies anyone?)

I've probably lost a few of you with that statement, but let me share a few benefits.

Health: Jarred baby food has a shelf life of 2-3 years.  I actually found one brand that had an expiration date that was a whopping 5 years away.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to eat a banana/carrot/chicken/squash that had been sitting around for 5 years!  Yes there is organic jarred baby food, and yes, it is expensive.  The bottom line is, when I make the food, we know exactly what is in it and can be sure of the freshness.
Cash money:  Babies are expensive.  With the cost of diapers, gear, toys, clothes, etc, even those with disposable income want to save a buck. Jarred baby food is about $1/jar. A jar is about 4 oz.  If Nugster ate jarred food, his food budget would be about $50/month.  While that may not sound like much, let me show you the math for making our own food:

2 sweet potatoes ($1.50) = 60 oz of food ($60+ worth!)
1 bag of organic frozen mango ($2.97) = 15 oz of mango puree ($15 worth)
2 avocados ($1) = 10 oz of food ($10 worth!) 

You get the idea. So, for less than the cost of a grande soy with whip, we feed Nug for over 2 weeks!
Time:  Instead of going to the store, selecting foods that baby may or may not like, hauling it home, and then storing it, we simply pick what foods we want the Nug to try for the week (more like 10+ days) and then blend it to perfection.  It takes less than 5 minutes to puree an avocado or banana.  It takes less than 30 to prepare a months worth of chicken-carrot-spinach dinner for the Nug. 

Fun! It's incredibly rewarding (Mommy Bliss!) to make baby food for the Nugster.  Choosing what new food he will try next, and how to prepare it (bake, chop, puree, blend, steam, boil, peel, mash...)  He looks forward to each meal, and we are more dedicated to sharing mealtime with him because we invested time into making his meals.

Nugster enjoying some pureed squash.
My next post, since Nug is waking from his nap, will be about what makes for yummy homemade baby food!

How do you save money as a mommy (or daddy)?  Have you tried making your own baby food?

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