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If you have little ones at home, you’re always thinking of their safety. You put them to sleep on their backs, scour the house for choking hazards, cover your electrical outlets, move blind cords out of reach, and install baby gates at the top of the stairs. But a recent report from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) found danger in an unsuspected place — baby food. So, what’s a concerned parent to do? Make your own baby food!
You can’t completely avoid lead by making your own, because this heavy metal occurs in regular food as well. But it can help lessen the risk. Plus, making baby food from scratch lets you save money, avoid added sugar, and know exactly what went into your child’s food.
Here’s how to make fruit or vegetable purees for your baby.
Step 1: Pick Your Tools
You can use a regular blender or buy a food mill designed for baby food or an all-in-one baby food maker that both steams and purees food. Some soft foods like bananas or avocado require only a fork!
Step 2: Pick Your Produce
Popular first fruits and vegetables include apples, pears, mangoes, blueberries, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, peas, green beans, and zucchini. Don’t be afraid to add small amounts of spice. Cinnamon is a good choice to add to most fruits. Need some inspiration? Check out these recipes.
Step 3: Prepare Your Work Space
Wash your hands and be sure utensils and work surfaces are clean. Then wash the produce.
Step 4: Get Cooking
Steam and puree your produce. (Foods that are soft while raw can be served raw.) For babies new to solid food, thin the puree with water, breast milk, or formula. As your baby gets more accustomed to solid food, you can make the purees thicker.
Step 5: Store Your Stash
Purees can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen. An ice cube tray is handy for freezing small portions. Thaw frozen food overnight in the fridge, or defrost in the microwave.
Making your own baby food is just one strategy for avoiding lead in baby food. You can also feed your baby a wide variety of foods, research the brands of baby food you do buy, and avoid giving babies juice. Serving your child foods containing vitamin C, iron, and calcium can also help, because these nutrients help impede the absorption of lead.
Have you made your own baby food? Do you have any tips? Share below!