Processed Versus Homemade Foods
Processed and homemade foods can both have a place in your baby’s diet. However, homemade food is preferable in place of package or processed food.
While these need to meet stringent quality control standards for preparation, hygiene and nutrition and can be very convenient for busy parents and when away from home. They tend to be extremely smooth in texture, which doesn’t promote much chewing and are also often blended with other foods, so individual flavours are masked. Babies who have also only been fed processed foods often find it hard to transition to family foods later.
Ideally, babies should to be exposed to home-cooked solids as they tend to taste and look more like normal food.
However, there are a few things to consider when preparing homemade food for your baby:
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before starting any food preparation
- If you are only using a small amount of food from a jar or container, scoop out what you need and place it into a separate bowl. This will avoid contaminating the whole jar or container of food. Any food remaining in the jar or container should then be refrigerated
- Use a clean cutting board for raw meat and another clean one for fruits and vegetables
- Thaw food in the refrigerator or in the microwave. Avoid leaving frozen foods on the kitchen bench to defrost at room temperature.
- Don’t offer your baby food they could choke on. Puree or cut all meat and vegetables into small, manageable portions which won’t pose a choking risk
- Always test the temperature of your baby’s food on the inside of your wrist before offering it
- Stir the food routinely to ensure even cooking and make sure meat is well cooked before offering it to your baby. Keep in mind, however, that not all babies like to have their food warmed.
Other Useful Tips
- A blender or hand blender is handy to puree or mash baby food, but you can also do this using a sieve, a grinder or a fine gauge potato masher
- Grating is a quick and easy way of chopping fruit and veggies for young babies
- Avoid adding salt or sugar to your baby’s food, as they aren’t necessary
- You may want to keep a little of the family meal separate for your baby before adding extra flavouring or seasoning to the family’s portion.
Remember to always supervise your baby when they are eating, keeping them in view close to you to help prevent any accidents.