I got a couple of emails and comments via Instagram about what our food prep is like for Caroline. We chose to forego "baby food" and opt for fresh fruits and veggies prepared in purees. There's really not a lot of cooking involved and the fresh flavor is SO much better than that off a shelf or in a jar. (Trust me, I tasted it.)
We chose to make her food, simply for two reasons:
1) I wanted her to know what real food tasted like.
2) It was a LOT more cost-effective than the pre-packaged stuff. And with no preservatives. (For the record, it's my understanding that there are some awesome pre-packaged options out there without tons of preservatives or additives, but they are pretty expensive.)
I will say, there is a little bit more prep involved until they get some teeth, but it really isn't that big a headache. I just choose one day out of the week to prepare her meals and it only takes an hour or so.
In our regular rotation
Turkey (we buy the organic, no hormones/antibiotics added variety from our deli and have them shave it thin.)
Full-fat Greek yogurt (plain, non-flavored)
Every Sunday, I prepared fresh food and put it into large Tupperware containers, which we refrigerate. I know you can make larger batches ahead of time and freeze, but since we're in the process of moving and trying to cut down on food we'll have to transport, I'm making smaller batches weekly.
For squash, I remove the outer skin, then cut it into thin slices. (Usually 2-3 medium-to-large squash will get her through a week.) I spread the slices on the bottom of a sprayed 9x13 glass pan, drizzle a Tbsp. or two of olive oil to get her some of those good fats, and sprinkle with a teaspoon of sea salt to add a little flavor.
Then, I bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the slices are tender and well-cooked.
|Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor, here|
Lastly, I puree them up in our food processor. We actually purchased ours from Dillard's back when we got married and it was relatively inexpensive, ($50 or so.) The brand is Hamilton Beach and it does the trick quite nicely!
Sweet potatoes and carrots
For sweet potatoes and carrots, I cut them into small pieces and boil on the stove until tender. Then, I drain 'em and puree 'em. I don't add anything to these veggies for flavor, as both of these are plenty flavorful on their own.
For avocados, I ALWAYS prepare them right before I serve them to her. No one likes eating a brown avocado - yuck! So, I puree them up after pulling out the pit, then add 1/8 cup of full fat Greek yogurt, then puree with a couple of pulses to get it to a creamy consistency. The kid loves it!
Pears, bananas and apples are all tossed into the processor, too. Just a few quick pulses and they're good to go.
Turkey and Yogurt
We just started introducing her to meat and she loves it. Right now, we are doing turkey. I have the deli assistant to shave 1 lb. per week. (We do a no-hormone/no-antibiotic added brand, which also does not inject extra sodium or preservatives into theirs. It tastes SO much better than that packaged mess.) At home, I'll toss the turkey it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it even easier for her to chew. If there are any pieces that are still a little big, I just use the fork and mash 'em up until they're easy enough for her to swallow.
She also loves Greek yogurt. Our pediatrician said to avoid the "baby yogurts" since most pack a lot of sugar. He has seven kids of his own and said that he gave all of his plain, full-fat Greek yogurt mixed with apples or pears as a daily snack. And, since Greek yogurt is full of probiotics, it's great for little digestive tracks. We give her a little less than 1/4 cup at a time, mix it with pureed pears and she gobbles it right down.
Sample Food Day
Every day, she eats a generous bowl of plain, non-flavored infant, multi-grain oatmeal mixed with fresh peaches, apples or pears.
She'll have a mid-morning snack of yogurt with fresh, pureed fruit, followed by a small 4-oz. bottle.
Generous helping of sweet potatoes, green beans, mashed potatoes, butternut or yellow squash or carrots. Sides of turkey and some avocado, followed by a small 4-oz. bottle IF she's still acting hungry.
Fruit (kiwi, plums or banana), followed by 4 oz. bottle
Same as lunch, just with a different veggie than she had then.
Pre-Bedtime Bottle (5 oz.)
So that's about it. Nothing fancy and pretty simple to execute each week. If you have any specific questions about her eating schedule, the foods we love or anything else, you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org