CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Lifestyle

July 31, 2013

More nutritious baby food

CULLMAN — Jennifer Underwood takes her baby’s food seriously. “I have a moral obligation to be the ‘gatekeeper’ as far as what goes into Alyssa’s body,” said Jennifer.

The first-time mom is careful about what she feeds her baby, where she buys it and how it’s prepared. “I buy organic produce whenever possible,” she explained. “I grow a good bit of it on my own.”

She is scrupulous about cleaning whatever she buys so as to remove any pesticides or other residue from the fruits and vegetables she prepares for eleven-month-old Alyssa.

Jennifer has made it a point to get to know her local growers. She trusts their growing methods and practices.

“I’ve learned that processed baby foods must be heated at extremely high temperatures to comply with laws concerning their safety, but I believe that foods cooked at those temperatures lose their nutritional value,” Jennifer pointed out. “I prefer steaming to boiling, which I believe preserves most of the nutrients in the foods.

“On a moral level, I feel that we as a country need to be more aware of genetically modified foods and what they might cause years from now,” Jennifer said. “I think it’s very important that we preserve the integrity of our food supply for future generations.”

 “I actually googled ‘Frankenfood’ which is a real word now,” she laughed. “Basically it’s another word for genetically modified food. These days companies are not required to label their products as genetically modified,” she noted.

Because she is environmentally aware, and because she is very conscientious about what she feeds her daughter, Jennifer is careful to feed her baby foods that will help instill good eating habits far into her daughter’s life. “My advice to new moms is to keep trying,” she said. “Sometimes a baby might not like a particular food, but keep trying and they usually learn to enjoy it.”

It’s really not as hard as you might think to feed your baby wholesome, nutritious choices rather than reaching for the baby food jar in the pantry.

Jennifer shares with us some of the nutritious foods that Alyssa eats. Some are her own recipes, some are from cookbooks where she found homemade baby food recipes.  

 

Make-Your-Own Rice Cereal

(for 4-6 months and older)

1/2 c. rice (basmati, jasmine or brown rice)

1 c. water

Breast milk, formula or additional water (to thin, as needed)

Optional additions at 6 months: Bananas, steamed sweet potato, steamed apples, or steamed pears, diced finely

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the rice and stir. Simmer for 20 minutes or according to package directions; stir again halfway through cooking time.

When rice is finished and a bit cool, add it to a blender, half cup at a time, slowly adding the liquid of your choice (breast milk, formula, or additional water). Purée to desired consistency for your baby. Keep a watch as the mixture purées so that it does not turn into a paste. Serve lukewarm. Once your child has reached 6 months, add fruit or sweet potato if desired.

Refrigerate cooled purée in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or fill ice-cube trays or other containers to freeze for up to 3 months.

 

Mama’s Sweet Potato Purée

(6 months and older)

Makes approximately 2 cups

Sweet potatoes, 2, scrubbed

Breast milk, formula, apple juice, pear juice or water (to thin, as needed)

Preheat oven to 425º. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork, and place on a baking sheet. Bake until wrinkled and tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 45-60 minutes. Let cool.

Halve sweet potatoes, scoop out flesh from the skins, and purée flesh in a food processor until smooth. Add water, breast milk, formula or juice, a tablespoon at a time, to thin sweet potatoes to desired consistency for your baby. Serve lukewarm.

As baby gets older and can eat thicker purées, you can mash some or all of the sweet potato with a fork instead.

Refrigerate cooled purée in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or fill ice-cube trays or other containers to freeze for up to 3 months.

 

Peachy Banana Purée

(7 months and older)

Makes approximately 2 baby servings, 2 tablespoons each

1/2 c. peaches, halved, pitted and cut into chunks

1/3 banana

1 T. breast milk or formula, if desired

Using a steamer basket, steam-cook peaches until tender. Drain. Place peaches and banana in a blender and process to desired consistency for your baby. Include breast milk or formula if desired.

 Refrigerate cooled purée in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or fill ice-cube trays or other containers to freeze for up to 3 months.

 

Whipped Cauliflower

(8 months and older)

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups

I large head of cauliflower (broccoli may be substituted)

2 T. unsalted butter

Trim cauliflower of its core and cut head into similar-sized florets. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover, and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Drain.

While still hot, purée the cauliflower with butter in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Serve lukewarm.

Refrigerate cooled purée in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or fill ice-cube trays or other containers to freeze for up to 3 months.

 

Hard-Cooked Egg Yolk and Potato Mash

(9 months and older)

Makes 3 baby servings, 2 heaping tablespoons each

1 small well-scrubbed, unpeeled potato, steamed and cooled

1 hard-cooked egg yolk

1 to 2 T. breast milk or formula

1 teaspoon unsalted butter (optional)

Mash cooked potato with a fork. Mash the cooked egg yolk and mix with potato. Add the breast milk or formula and butter (if desired) and mix well. Test temperature for safety before serving.

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