Cooking your own baby food doesn’t have to be difficult. Usually it is also cheaper than buying ready-made baby food. With, for example, a garlic press, a grater and a mixer, small portions can be made to suit the youngest children.
Children aged six to twelve months cannot eat as much at a time and therefore need to eat frequently. When children start to taste ordinary food, the portions are very small. From the age of six months, you can start giving so-called taste portions, which are usually about a teaspoon large and then slowly increase to larger portions. You can also let the child pick up small soft pieces of food himself.
If the child is curious about the food you eat yourself, you can from the earliest four months of age let the child taste a tiny bit of that food. You can take some of the food on your finger or on a spoon, about as much as a spice measure. It is about affirming the child’s interest and letting it experience new consistencies and tastes, but it does not matter to the nutritional intake. Do not increase the amount of food until the child is about six months old.
To prepare the food
When cooking for young children, especially children under one year, it is important to remember that they are susceptible to infections. Therefore, you need to be a little extra careful with the hygiene. You should wash your hands before you start cooking and after handling raw meat. Foods that should not be heated should be rinsed, for example vegetables of various kinds.
Keep raw foods apart and things that are ready to be eaten. Use special cutting boards and knives for raw meat. If you do not have different cutting boards and knives, it is important to wash them carefully after cutting chicken and raw meat.
The food that is prepared from the refrigerator for cooking should not be at room temperature, but needs to be cooked right away. If food is taken out of the freezer, they can be thawed in a water bath, refrigerator or microwave.
Not salty but preferably other spices
Most children enjoy tasty food. When children are under one year you should not salt their food because they have difficulty regulating the salt balance. Even later it is good to be frugal with the salt so as not to accustom the child to salty food. Salt can affect blood pressure both during childhood and later in life.
There are many different spices and flavors that you can use instead. Many children enjoy both mild herbs, such as basil, tarragon, parsley, dill and oregano, and stronger flavors such as curry and pepper. Children also like garlic. There is unsalted broth that can be used for the smallest children, but lightly salted also works well if it is not too concentrated.
If you cook food for more than the child, you can avoid salting completely and then have salt afterwards or salt at the end of cooking when you have taken away some food for the child.
It is not necessary to avoid salt completely, but it is good to keep the amount down as much as possible. If you give tiny tastings it doesn’t matter if they contain a little salt because it’s about so incredibly small amounts.
Cooked food best for young children
For children under one year, it is best to eat cooked meals in front of fried or grilled dishes as they are more easily digestible and better for the stomach. You can also cook in the oven by oven cooking, on the other hand, it should not be any frying surface. When the child is about ten to twelve months, you can start giving easy dishes. When children are about a year old, they are usually able to eat the same food as older children and adults, but still you may need to take in some extra fat and chop, mash or divide the food into pieces to suit the child.
When cooking the food it can be convenient to cook each food individually as the cooking time is often different. But it is also possible to cook the foods together, so you have to put in the different foods depending on how long they need to cook. It is important that minced beef and chicken are cooked through.
The food gets ready faster if you cut it into smaller pieces and put it in boiling unsalted water. You can cook food in a saucepan or in a microwave. Boil in a little water so that it just covers what is to be cooked, and under the lid. Do not cook any longer than needed as nutrients and vitamins disappear as longer vegetables, root vegetables and fruits are cooked.
Mashed potatoes, mash or chopped food for young children to eat
When preparing small portions for children who have not yet learned how to chew, shape or swallow the food into pieces, the food needs to be given either as puree, mash, finely chopped, chopped or in smaller pieces. To make a very finely divided mash or puree you can use a hand mixer, food processor, garlic press or wire strainer. A fork is enough to mash potatoes.
You cook the foods until they are soft and use a portion of the cooktop to mash or mix into a mash or puree. The very first days or the week when you start giving flavor portions it can be good to mix in some breast milk or breast milk substitute in the food. This way the child can recognize the taste and easier to eat. Breast milk replacement is also called breast milk replacement.
When the child can chew better, it is good if the food is coarser. It can then be mashed or mixed in a slightly coarser form, roughly chopped with a knife or fork or grated using a grater or food processor.
Some suggestions for vegetables to cook and puree are potatoes, parsnip, carrot, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, beans and peas.
Fruits and berries can be eaten both fresh and cooked. Most nutrition is retained if you eat fruit and carry fresh. You can make puree on fresh or cooked fruit. Some suggestions for fruit and berries to make puree are apple, banana, pear, apricot, avocado, kiwi, melon, currant, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and strawberry. When you cook fruit and berries, you do it in the same way as vegetables and other foods. If you want to give fresh fruit, but the child is not yet able to eat pieces, you can scrape with a spoon, tear on grater, mash or mix.
Meat, fish and chicken or other birds are prepared in the same way as vegetables. For it to be clear faster you can either split into smaller pieces or mix raw meat or chicken and other poultry until cooked and then cook. You can also mix the raw food and freeze it to produce when to cook.
Many children like sauce. It can be served as an accessory to the food and also makes the food more lightweight.
Milk and fat in the food
Children under two years may need some extra fat in homemade food. It is usually enough with a teaspoon of liquid margarine or oil to mix in per serving, two to three times a day. If you have had fat in the food during cooking or taken in foods with a lot of fat, such as cream you do not need to have any extra fat. In fruit or berry purees no fat is needed.
Children younger than one year should not drink milk or eat whole portions of file and yogurt, but you can use these in the food.
Mix the flavors eventually
Some children like most food right away, while others need more time to get used to new food. When children have tried different foods and flavors and you notice that they like them individually, you can start mixing more. For example, you can make pots that are then mashed, mixed or chopped so that the child can eat.
The child can eat from the family’s food right from the start only it is cooked, unsalted and does not contain any of the foods that children should avoid, such as honey or spinach for children under one year.
When cooking for children aged 6-12 months, you can make a larger amount of food and then freeze it in small portions, to easily prepare and heat when it is time to eat. If hot food is to be frozen, it is good to first cool it down as quickly as possible, for example in a water bath.
When the child eats flavor portions or small portions, it can be convenient to freeze puree and mash in small buns or pieces by freezing it on plate. Then you can store the frozen pieces in a plastic bag or in a jar. Leftovers of ready-to-eat baby food can be frozen in the same way. But if you have fed the baby directly out of the jar, you cannot freeze the leftovers as bacteria may have entered that food.
If you want to freeze flavor portions where you have in breast milk or breast milk substitute you can either have it before you freeze or when you order the food. Foods with breast milk can be frozen for six months. The extra fat that is needed in homemade food for young children can also be either before you freeze or when you prepare the food after thawing.
The amount of fat in the food determines how long it can be frozen as fat is destroyed and the food poor when a certain amount of time has elapsed. Foods with a lot of fat can be frozen for about three months, foods that have a little fat for about half a year and foods that have no extra fat can be frozen for a year.
Thaw and heat food
Frozen foods can be thawed in a water bath, microwave or refrigerator.
The food can be heated in a microwave, in a saucepan or in a plate with a lid over a saucepan of boiling water, so-called water bath. Stir every now and then during the warm-up, everything gets heated, but the food should not simmer for too long as vitamins can then be destroyed. Then let the food cool down a little so that the baby does not burn. You can feel if it is just warm to the child by placing a click on the inside of the forearm.
If you are going to give the child food that has been stored in the refrigerator and has not been frozen, it must be properly heated and stirred so that it becomes hot.
- Cut the food into smaller pieces and cook it faster.
- Instead of salt you can use spices or unsalted broth.
- To get the right consistency on the food, you can mash with a fork or use garlic press, food processor, stick mixer, grater or wire strainer.
- Grate or mix vegetables, for example into pots.
- Make many portions at one time and freeze in portions. Freeze leftovers from the food, even industrially made baby food can be frozen. To freeze small taste portions, for example, you can use small bull molds or click out the food on a plate and then freeze the different clicks.
- Thaw frozen food in water bath, microwave or refrigerator. Heat food in microwave, saucepan or water bath.