This checklist has been prepared by the author keeping in mind various factors and questions that parents might have regarding the preparation of their baby’s food. So, this article has been created for expecting mothers and new mothers who would like to give home-made meals to their babies.
There are many resources available on the internet and in print where a parent can obtain information about feeding babies healthy homemade food rather than those commercially prepared baby meals, but we thought it would be a little easier compiling a resource based on our community’s feedback.
The main aim of this guide is to provide a single source for parents to aid them in the process of feeding their babies homemade food. The items on the checklist are not exhaustive, but rather are meant as general guidelines that might help you during your first few months home with your new baby.
- Broccoli A must: contains calcium for growing bones and iron for blood .
- Cabbage A good source of vitamin C and fiber
- Carrots Contains vitamin A, which helps the immune system and protects the eyes
- Cheese (Paneer) Excellent in calcium content for bone development.
- Chicken or Fish Good source of protein as essential amino acids for growth & hair follicles production
- Eggs Contains a range of vitamins and minerals such as B12, D, Iron & Folate.
- Fish Oil/ Salmon Oil Supplies an essential fatty acid called Omega-3 which is needed to maintain brain function and promotes healthy eye sight. It also aids in boosting immune system functioning & prevents heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels in the body
- Peas, beans and pulses Packed with plant proteins and B vitamins; chickpeas and lentils as long as they’re low in sugar and salt content contain key vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, folate and potassium
- Fruits (Cantaloupe Crumbs) Contain carbs, fiber and beta carotene, which is a nutrient important for eye health. Rich in antioxidants which are helpful in the battle against free radicals. A source of salicylic acid that can help prevent acne while providing vitamin C boosts immunity. Cantaloupe contains both Vitamins A & E which are good anti-oxidants to protect the skin from sun damage
- Tomatoes Cut into wedges for your gurgling bundle of joy to chew on and also contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, lycopene and zeaxanthin
- Ginger When chewed on by your baby it is full of natural anti-inflammatory properties which are good for the digestive system because it can relieve indigestion and gas pains. It also soothes sore throats if ingested orally. Did you know? Ginger juice can also be applied to the skin as an ointment or mixed with water for a solution and then used as a bath salt that can soothe irritated skin !
- Apples Leave the peel on: most of the goodness is just under the skin
- Berries The darker the better, like blueberries, squashed to avoid the risk of choking. They’re fun for your grandchild to pick up. Strawberries have the mot vitamin C of any fruit
- Grapefruit and orange wedges Full of vitamin C and supernutrients
- Eggs (only after 6 months) Hugely nutritious, with all the B vitamins, including B12 for brain and nerve growth
- Porridge Oats Contain fiber, Vitamins B and E which boost the immune system and help plant chemicals called phytonutrients that prevent cancer
- Raisins An excellent source of iron for strengthening your baby’s blood cells
- Banana (ripe) High in potassium, iron & is high in tryptophan : one of the building blocks of serotonin which helps reduce anxiety . Bananas are also a great source of energy, containing lots of easily digestible starch- they’re also easy to mash up with a fork into a porridge consistency!
- Olives From the time they could pick them up, all my grandchildren loved natural olives – a good course of vitamin E and essential fats
- Prunes Soft and juicy to suck on, a rich source of iron, and good for bowel health
- Wholegrains (only after 6 months) Cereal, bread, and pasta for fibre, roughage, and B vitamins
- Pomegranate juice Dilute with water (one in four to 12 months, one in two thereafter) for healthy kidneys
Why Choose Organic Foods for Babies?
There are many reasons why you should choose organic foods for your infant. Chemical pesticides, herbicides and insecticides cause cancer and other serious diseases in adults as well as infants. Once the chemicals enter our body they damage DNA and lead to genetic problems that will pass down to future generations. Children are more vulnerable to these harmful materials because they have smaller bodies, their immune systems haven’t developed yet so they can’t fight off infections like adults, and finally their brains develop rapidly during the first 3 years which make them susceptible to chemical poisoning.
Some studies state that regular intake of pesticides has been linked with ADHD symptoms as well as increased risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In addition research shows that children’s brain development is affected by howthey’re fed as babies. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that children who were breastfed for at least 2 months scored higher on vocabulary tests than those who had been formula-fed.
Currently, there are no regulations in place to control the development of “organic” infant foods because there is such a variety of opinions when it comes to defining organic foods. In order for food to be labeled organic then it must meet certain standards or criteria which include being natural, sustainable and clean without any chemical additives that may pose danger to your baby’s health. A scientific study published by the University of California examined data from more than 5800 children with parental reports about feeding practices over several years; researchers paid special attention to the effects of breastfeeding during infancy.
Another study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology examined a sample of 334 children with ASD aged 2-10 years. When compared with the control group, these children were more likely to report infant formula feeding instead of breastfeeding.
Which Brands of Baby Food in the UK are Organic?
Organic food is the only food that contains no chemical pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, and are therefore safe for babies of all ages.
Here is a little list of the organic baby food brands available in the UK market;
Organix™ Organic Baby Food – This range of organic foods includes cereals, fruit and vegetables, milk pouches, cheese and yoghurts. They are all made with 100% natural ingredients that have been certified as free from any chemical pesticides, herbicides or insecticides. Theses ingredients are specifically chosen to nourish your infant’s development stage. Organix™ is suitable for babies 6 months plus and can be purchased at major supermarkets such as Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s, as well as online on Ocado.com.
Ocado Organic Brand – The Ocado range of organic foods includes cereals, fruit and vegetables, milk pouches as well as natural yogurt with no artificial colours or preservatives. Some of these products are suitable for babies 6 months plus whilst others require a little more chewing capability (as indicated on the packaging). You will find them in supermarkets such as Tesco’s and Asda’s.
Ella’s Kitchen – All ingredients are 100% certified organic. No preservative, flavour enhancers or sugar has been added to any of the products. They claim their product range to be “nutrient dense” which means they have more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients than other supermarket brands.
How do I get my picky eater to try more foods?
You should always offer your child different tastes because some people like eating sweet foods and others prefer salty flavours. Always provide single foods for your baby and offer him/her tastes from various food groups.
If you are concerned about your child’s nutrition or that he doesn’t get enough nutrients then I recommend following the advice of a registered dietitian who can help you determine any deficiencies in his diet and direct you to the best sources of vitamins and minerals.
Despite popular belief, most children do not have a personal preference for either sweet or savoury tastes until they reach the age of 2-3 years old. Before this, babies’ palates are mostly attuned to sweet tastes but this is more or less a matter of habituation. When children are given the chance they prefer savoury foods because these are often flavoured with salt, spices and other intriguing ingredients which make them far tastier than sweet foods
If you want to introduce your baby to new flavours then you should start small: try to find food that consists of only one ingredient such as an apple or carrot stick for example. Once your child becomes accustomed to eating a single ingredient then you can offer him/her different flavours, e.g. cut up apple slices mixed in with carrots sticks – this will help you familiarize your little toddler with various fruits and vegetables without having to overwhelm his/her taste buds with multiple flavours.
Homemade baby organic baby food recipes you can try in 10 minutes!
Banana oatmeal cereal with milk – Bananas make a fantastic first food because they are soft, easy to chew and not bitter tasting. The combination of oats and bananas is also recommended by pediatricians as it helps your baby’s digestive system develop properly. To prepare this recipe you will need 2 organic ripe bananas, 1/3 cup of brown rice flour (or regular flour) , 3/4 cup of water and breastmilk, formula or cow’s milk. Simple add the ingredients in a blender until you have a smooth texture then heat your mixture up before serving it to your little one.
Cooked Beetroot – This vegetable contains beta-carotene which makes it appealing to lots of children but beets must be completely cooked before feeding them to your baby otherwise they can cause tummy upsets. You should peel the leaves and cut the main taproot into small pieces. When cooking a beetroot make sure you add enough water as this will prevent it from burning when you boil it in a pot on the stove or in the microwave oven. Once boiled, mash your baby’s food thoroughly then serve it up while its still hot – remember, if your child doesn’t like cooked beetroot then he/she is probably not ready for solids yet!
Yogurt Parfait with Fruit and Cereal Granola topping – To prepare this recipe you need 4 cups of plain yogurt, 1/2 cup of banana pieces, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce and 1/4 cup of granola. Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl then pour them into parfait glasses or small bowls and serve immediately while its still cold.
Apple muffins with cinnamon – For this recipe you need 3 large organic apples peeled and cored, 15mls apple juice concentrate , 30 grams all-purpose flour, 10 grams sugar (or less if your baby is under 6 months old) , 5g whole wheat flour, 20 ml regular milk and 15 ml water. Simply mix the dry ingredients together until they are well combined then add the wet ingredients to your bowl before stirring everything together until you have a firm dough. Spread your mixture on a baking tray and bake in a oven until the muffins are lightly browned – to serve these delicious treats simply cut them into wedges and serve immediately or chill for future use!
Watermelon Baby Food – To prepare this recipe you need 1/2 cup of watermelon pulp, 1/4th cup cooled boiled rice cereal, 10 ml soybean oil (or olive oil) , 2 mls sugar (add more if desired) , 15 ml water to bind your ingredients with. Simply mix all your ingredients together in a blender until they are well combined then serve immediately while its still cold.