okay… i am just gonna say it. baby food has to be one of the biggest rip offs in the grocery store! so, you get 3 – 6 ounces of baby food in one jar, for about $1.00 – $1.69 for 2 tubs in one package. your baby will go through at least 3 jars a day. so unfortunately, it seems we can spend at least $3 a day in baby food. well, not anymore. baby food is extremely easy to prepare. you can ‘tailor’ your little one’s meals and you know the quality of ingredients within the food. this is the way i do it…
vegetables – they are the easiest to prepare. lets pick a vegetable. let’s say…carrots! i buy a package of whole carrots, which will run you $0.99. not baby carrots, which are more expensive since they are actually ‘trimmed down’ carrots. i wash the carrots well, leaving the skin on for more nutrients. chop the carrots into large chunks and place them in a medium sized saucepan. i add a very little amount of water, about 1/4 cup. bring to boil and let simmer until very tender, about 10 minutes. let cool. reserve the cooking liquid (optional), and put the cooked carrots in a blender. as the carrots are blending, add breast milk, formula or the reserved cooking liquid as needed to get it to the consistency of you and your baby’s choice. pour into a container and place in the refrigerator. the vegetables should be fine for the week (see freezing info below). this method applies to most vegetables. baking is another option as well. my little one loves sweet potatoes! i place the sweet potato on a lined baking sheet, prick it with a fork all over and bake it for an hour at 400 degrees. once cool, i peel off the skin and toss it in the blender. using breast milk, formula or water to thin to the consistency we like, i have sweet potatoes for the week!
fruits – our little one’s favorite! very similar to the way you cook veggies, but some fruits will turn brown and need to be prepared for single servings only.
bananas - they will turn brown fast but easy to mash as needed. you can simply mash with a fork and add breastmilk or formula to thin as needed. if you can find baby bananas, they are perfect for smaller portions. they are sweeter and are smaller than normal bananas. if you use regular sized bananas you can cut it in half, use one half to mash for the baby and place the other half in the refrigerator leaving the peel on. another great way to give your baby bananas is to cut the banana in half and spoon out the flesh with a spoon. the peel makes a great bowl!
apples – another easy way to prepare apple puree for a baby. peel an apple, cut it into chunks and simmer in a small amount of water until tender. then blend until smooth.
applesauce – chop apples roughly and place in a pan. add very little water or apple juice. simmer until chunks are tender but still holding their shape. depending on the sweetness of the apple you use, you may not need sugar. however, feel free to spruce it up by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, or even vanilla extract.
freezing baby food – one of my favorite and easiest methods is the ice cube tray method. make a little extra food when you have some free time or freeze already prepared food before it goes bad. using sanitized ice trays, place your prepared baby food in each ‘cube’ of the ice tray. cover with plastic wrap and freeze. when frozen, pop out each cube and place in a freezer bag if you need to free up an ice tray. each cube is about 1 ounce, which lessens the chances of wasting too much food. i love being able to take out a different variety of 1 ounce cubes for my little one’s food for the day. make sure to label each tray with the date. the trays will last a max of 3 months. given purees contain a lot of moisture, you may find ice crystals forming on top of each cube. they are in no way harmful or dangerous.
so let’s calculate! you have the potential to spend at least $21 a week on baby food. however, you can have an abundance of anyone of these fruits or vegetables for under $1. woo-hoo!