When it comes to baby foods, there are plenty of convenient options to choose from. Here are 17 easy homemade baby foods and their shelf life.
With homemade alternatives, you are able to tailor-make recipes best suited for your little one’s needs. In addition, you are guaranteed of high-quality and healthy ingredients.
Highly convenient as it doesn’t require cooking, pureed avocado is a timeless baby food. Avocado is nutrient-dense. As such, it is appropriate for providing nourishment for babies. Pureed avocado is buttery and creamy on its own. Alternatively, you can add baby formula or breastmilk to make it lighter.
Stewed and Pureed Apples
Apples are not only nutritious, their sweetness makes them appealing to babies’ palates. Their versatility renders them effective for both sweet and savory foods. When preparing apples, ensure you peel and core them since the peel and seeds are choking hazards. Steam in minimal water until softened, before pureeing.
Squash members are highly valued for their potent nutrients. They are considered super foods, thus their high popularity among baby foods. Both pumpkins and butternut squash are ideal for pureeing. You can steam or bake until soft, before pureeing. In addition, cook with the peel on as it has nutrients.
Beans and legumes provide you with endless options for puree. From black beans to green beans to chickpeas, essentially any type of bean or legume lends itself worthy. Furthermore, they are some of the richest source of protein, minerals and vitamins. In order to curb dryness, add breastmilk or homemade stock.
Readily available and inexpensive, bananas are some of the easiest baby foods to prepare. Plain bananas are enough. Go a notch higher and incorporate tarty fruits or formula for creaminess. For older babies, mash with a fork into sizeable chunks.
Mashed sweet potato is not only filling, it is sweet and loaded with vital nutrients. Like squash, cook with the skin on. You can steam, bake or grill, before pureeing. Sweet potatoes are wonderfully creamy on their own.
Carrots are choke-full of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Including it among the first foods is essential. Steam or cook until soft before pulsing. Cooked carrots are creamy on their own.
Like apples, stewed or pureed pears are perfect for your baby’s palate. Not only are they sweet, they provide hydration as well as nourishment. Pears are ideal when served in between meals.
Highly touted for releasing slow energy whilst being nutrient-packed, lentils are not only great for adults, but for babies too. Besides, you have plenty of options to choose from – red, yellow or green lentils.
Another superfood, broccoli doesn’t disappoint in providing nourishment for babies. For extra caution, blend thoroughly to ensure the florets are mashed to a pulp. If left with rice-like consistency, they are likely to cause choking.
Potato leek Puree
You may be used to these two combination in soups. However, they also make a filling and tasty baby food. Due to their strong, onion smell, use a few leeks.
Due to its high water content, you may need to combine it with denser vegetables like potato. However, pureed zucchini is still epic on its own – for a light, hydrating meal.
Pureed papaya comes in handy for your baby’s digestive system. Since the system is still developing, this creates discomforting scenarios like constipation and reflux. Papaya is touted for soothing and healing such complications. Besides, its sweetness is always appreciated.
This timeless tropical fruit never fails to impress. Its creamy, delicious flesh is a much deserved treat for your baby’s daily fruit intake.
There is more to baby food than pureed vegetables and fruits. Cereals are also crucial in creating satiety, providing nourishment and enhancing growth. When it comes to preparing rice cereal, opt for whole, unrefined varieties, for example brown rice. Grind the grains into fine powder, which you can cook in water like porridge. Allow the meal ample time to cook through.
Oats are highly convenient baby foods. In addition, you can easily use instant oatmeal, which is soft and cooks fast. Alternatively, you have the option of grinding rolled or steel-cut oats into fine powder, before cooking. Whichever form, oatmeal is highly nutritious, induces sleep and soothes the gut.
Popularly sold in stores, multigrain cereals are a combination of several cereals. These include: millet, oats, whole wheat, quinoa and sorghum. You can also mix your own at home and grind into meal. Such combinations provide a cluster of nutrients that may lack in single grains.
Shelf Life of Pureed Baby Foods
Due to the delicate nature of babies’ digestive system, extra caution is paramount when it comes to food storage.
As such, ensure optimal hygienic practices such as: sterilizing of food containers, washing of food items prior to preparation, personal grooming as well as suitable cooking temperatures which don’t alter the food structure.
When storing baby foods, the general rule of thumb is – use as soon as possible. Prolonged storage is not ideal for baby foods.
In addition, leaving cooked purees at room temperature is not recommended. This can easily cause food poisoning due to bacteria multiplication.
Whereas it may not be practical to prepare single-serving portions, try as much as possible to prepare reasonable portions.
In view of that, utilize the fridge or freezer to maximize the shelf life.
How long does pureed baby food last? (In the fridge)
As per pediatricians’ guidelines, use up any refrigerated leftovers within 2-3 days at most. Foods with high water content such as zucchini deteriorate faster, hence use them up quickly. For meat, fish or poultry, use within 1 day.
Shelf life of frozen pureed food
Freezing is ideal for a longer shelf life. The recommended period of frozen baby food is between 3 to 6 months.
On the other hand, commercially packaged baby foods have an extended shelf life, some up to 1 or 2 years when frozen. Follow such guidelines.
Whereas the listed 17 easy homemade baby foods and their shelf life are not exhaustive, it gives you a glimpse of how simple you can customise your baby’s foods.