Feb 17, 2016

Explaining the Benefits of Homemade Baby Food

When it’s time for babies to begin eating solid foods, parents are often torn about what to feed their precious little ones. Many wonder whether it’s best to go the homemade baby food route or if store-bought options are OK.

Below is information you can use to encourage those in your childbirth classes to make their own baby food.

Health benefits 

Homemade baby food has become popular with parents because its many health benefits, which include:

  • Greater variety – Parents are able to select more fruits, vegetables, and other foods than are available in store-bought varieties. This allows babies to get used to eating different types of foods, helping them to have a well-balanced diet and develop a more diverse palate.
  • Increased nutritional value – Homemade baby food preserves the taste of food and maximizes its nutrient content.
  • Elimination of additives – Preparing food at home means babies won’t be ingesting the chemicals that are often included in manufactured baby food.
  • Improved freshness – Of course, homemade food tastes, looks, and smells significantly better than any mass-produced version.

An additional benefit is that homemade baby foods may protect babies from developing food allergies. When comparing diets of infants who were fed more fruits, vegetables, and homemade foods with the diets of infants who were fed more processed or ready-to-eat meals, the study found there may be an association between diet and food allergies and that homemade foods can potentially help to prevent the development of food allergies.

Homemade vs. store-bought

While store-bought baby food isn’t the worst thing in the world, the nutritional value of homemade baby food really is unbeatable. When comparing equal amounts of homemade and store-bought baby foods, the manufactured ones typically contain more sugar and sodium and less fiber. And, since store-bought foods are cooked at very high temperatures to kill bacteria and achieve a longer shelf life, many vitamins and minerals — and flavor — are lost in the process.

In the end, even the healthiest baby foods on the shelves are still processed foods, and homemade beats processed any day, whether it’s baked goods, adult food, or baby food.

Preparation is simple

Though many parents are under the impression that making homemade baby foods is extremely time-consuming, it’s actually simple, especially with planning and preparation.

Many families make baby food in large batches on weekends and then freeze single servings in small containers to be used throughout the week. It’s also easy to make a baby food puree from the foods that will be used to prepare the family’s meal. For example, if chicken and veggies are for dinner, a portion of some of the ingredients can be set aside to make a delicious chicken and vegetable puree for the baby.

A great starter recipe that’s perfect for demonstrating the ease of homemade baby food is this apple butter recipe from Weelicious. With only four ingredients, it’s both flavorful and simple to make.

Can’t go wrong with homemade

Parents really can’t go wrong with making homemade baby food. They’ll have peace of mind knowing exactly what they’re feeding their babies, all with just a little extra effort to shop for ingredients and prepare the foods. This investment of time and energy is well worth it if it means providing their babies with a more diverse and nutritionally sound diet.

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