Homemade baby food; why, how and what…?

Homemade baby food

Getting your baby used to your homemade food is a great way to introduce them to family foods and encourage their love of the foods the rest of the family like to eat.

Avoid……

  • Added salt
  • Added sugar
  • Hot spices and chillies
  • Readymade sauces and processed foods which are likely to contain added salt

It’s ok to include

  • Herbs and milder spices such as cumin, coriander, parsley thyme, garlic, onion if that’s what you enjoy cooking with.
  • Baby stock cubes are or very low salt stock cubes are available to buy and are a better way to flavour food than regular stock cubes for your baby
  • Beyond 6 months there aren’t many foods that your baby can’t have so get adventurous, include variety and just be sure to avoid added salt and sugar

Keeping baby food safe

Batch cooking is a great way to stock up on homemade baby food. To store and reheat baby food correctly follow the tips below:

  • Cool cooked food quickly and store it in the fridge or freezer
  • Baby food can be stored in the fridge for 48 hours and in the freezer for 3-4 months
  • Make sure frozen food has been thoroughly defrosted before reheating. The best way to do this is by defrosting the food slowly in the fridge overnight.
  • When reheating food make sure the food is piping hot throughout and then allow to cool to body temperature before feeding it to your baby.
  • Best practice is to avoid using microwaves to reheat baby food as it doesn’t heat evenly and can create hot spots.
  • Stir the food well and check the temperature before feeding it to your baby.
  • Food should only be reheated once

Recipes

Other than the ingredients to avoid mentioned above there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to recipes for your little ones. If you’re just starting out with weaning look out for my blog post on first foods to introduce but otherwise go for lots of variety and get adventurous. There are many weaning recipe books available so have a browse and find one that feels right for you or take a look at some online accounts for inspiration. Remember though, there is no reason you can’t take your own favourite home cooked family recipes and adapt them for your baby by using no added salt, sugar and hot spices.

I have included a couple of simple recipes for you below which were firm favourites with my two little ones. My online weaning course also includes lots more recipes if you’d like more.

Simple Broccoli Puree

Ingredients:

1 small head of broccoli

Method:

  1. Wash and chop the broccoli head into florets. Place the florets in a saucepan with a small amount of boiling water (enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Cover with a lid and steam until soft (approximately 5-7 minutes).
  2. Place the steamed broccoli in a food processor or blender and pulse until you have reached the desired consistency.

Tip: Freeze leftover puree in ice cubes trays. Leftover puree can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days or in the freezer for 1-2 months.

Vegetable Bolognase

Ingredients:

Makes approximately 12 portions (will vary depending on the age and stage of your baby)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely diced

1 green pepper, washed, deseeded and finely diced

1 small courgette, washed and finely chopped

3 mushrooms, washed and finely chopped

1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes

1 can (400g) cooked green lentils, drained

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion until soft.
  2. Add the pepper, courgette and mushrooms and cook until softened (approximately 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the tomatoes and lentils and simmer until all the vegetables are tender.
  4. Mash the bolognese until you achieve the desired texture for your baby.
  5. Serve with baby pasta, mashed pasta or large pasta shapes, e.g. rigatoni, as finger foods.

To book an appointment with Catherine, visit her directory page below.

Catherine Lippe
Children's nutritionist specialising in weaning, fussy eating, pregnancy, new mums and early years nutrition.
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