Thank you so much for the awesome feedback (and pins!) on this post! For even more recipes, be sure to check out Round 2. xoxo
Feeding and making solid foods for Livi to try continues to be one of my favorite things. I really looked forward to introducing solids to Liv, especially during my breastfeeding woes, and it’s just as fun as I thought it would be.
At first, while Olivia was just getting the feel for swallowing food (instead of pushing it out with her tongue), she would only eat a few bites unless it was an avocado. I figured she wasn’t super hungry or ready for solid foods yet -breastmilk/formula is the main source of nutrition for the first year, solids are really just “for fun” and getting into the habit of eating- and continued to try to feed her different things that I had made. I would usually just offer one food at a time, she’d take a few bites and that would be it. I figured she was just still satisfied from the bottle she had an hour or so beforehand, and was still getting the hang of it.
Then when I was a little under the weather, I made some soup, threw it in the food processor and she GOBBLED it up. For the record, it was probably the best soup I’ve ever made- she absolutely loved it. I quickly learned that little miss likes combos- if it’s one food at a time, she’ll eat it, but if I mix different flavors and a combo of sweet and savory, she goes crazy for it. I also figured out she likes a lot of the robust flavors I love and ate while pregnant. I always joked that she’d come out a spicy meatball since I love spicy foods so much.
We picked up a few of these pouches to travel with to Las Vegas, and she slurped them down.
For the trip and convenience factor, they were awesome. On the plane, I would offer Liv a bottle to clear her ears, and if she didn’t want it, she would eat some fruit/veggie from the pouch and wash it down with some water. It was perfect.
I love the ingredients, they’re all organic and BPA-free packaging, but they’re expensive for what they are. Almost $2 per pouch, and even though we could stock up and mostly feed her those, I’m always looking for ways to save money, and I enjoy taking an hour or so every Sunday to make her food.
The Vitamix even gives it that silky smooth texture:
So instead of $120 per month on pouches (that’s 2 pouches per day), here’s a month of baby food I made in a little over one hour for $20:
Pumpkin and banana
Oats (apple, pear and banana)
Broccoli and apple
Spinach, peas and pears
1. Pumpkin and banana: Blend 1 can of organic pumpkin with 1-2 banana(s) and enough water to thin it out. If you’d like to make your own pumpkin, check it out here.
2. Oats: Cook 1.5 C (dry) of oats on the stovetop according to package directions. While it’s cooking, “steam” your apple and pear in separate bowls in the microwave. To micro-steam the apples and pears, I peel them, chop into chunks and add about 1 inch of water to the bottle of a glass bowl. Microwave each bowl for 2 minutes. Then, add 1/3 oat mixture to the Vitamix (or food processor), the entire bowl of chopped “steamed” apples (plus the water and juice in the bowl) and blend. Store. Repeat for the pear mixture, and then with the last amount of cooked oats, add 1 banana. Oats freeze surprisingly well, so I’ll keep a couple of containers in the fridge to last a few days, and then just grab one from the freezer when I run out.
3. Butternut squash: Trader Joe’s makes this one super easy, as they sell ready-to-steam peeled and cubed butternut squash. I’ll put this in a glass bowl with about 1 in of water, cover with a moist paper towel and microwave for about 6 minutes. Then blend in the Vitamix. *If you aren’t fan of the microwave, you can also steam your veggies in a traditional steamer basket, or bake them in the oven.
4. Sweet potato: Preheat oven to 375. Wash sweet potatoes well, then using a fork, poke with holes. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour, flipping once halfway. Scoop the flesh out, and either blend in a high-speed blender, or using a hand or stand mixer for fluffy sweet potatoes.
5. Broccoli and apple: Steam or microwave the broccoli to defrost, and then blend with 1 chopped “steamed” apple (method in #2 above), or you can boil the apple for about 7 minutes. Many of the packaged baby foods will have a ratio of about 2/3 to 3/4 fruit with 1/4 to 1/3 veggie, so they’re very sweet. I try to flip it and do mostly veggies with a smaller ratio of fruit, just to cut the bitterness. Make sure to peel and chop the apple.
6. Spinach, peas and pears: For this one, I’ll steam the peas and peeled, chopped pears together, then blend up with defrosted frozen spinach (either in the microwave or a pan). Store. As in #5, I’ll do more veggies and less fruit (like 1/2 bag of organic broccoli and 1 apple, 1/2 bag of organic spinach wilted down, 1/2 bag frozen organic peas and 1 pear), but see what your baby prefers.
If you’re going to do all of the above:
-Turn on the oven, wash and poke the sweet potatoes. Get the sweet potatoes in the oven.
-Start boiling the water for the oats, and another pan for anything you want to make on the stovetop
-Peel and chop the apples and pears
-Make one bowl of apples, one of pears, and defrost the spinach, broccoli and peas (either in the microwave or steamer).
-Microwave the butternut squash (or you can bake it in the oven, cut side down with the sweet potatoes), then the pears, then the apples in a little water with a moist paper towel on top (that’s optional, but definitely helps with a squash). The apples and pears can be boiled in water instead of microwaved, too.
-Start blending and storing.
I like to use the Baby Bullet storage containers, and ice cube trays work well, too. I couldn’t find ice cube trays while we were at Target, so for now I’ll just pour whatever’s left into freezable BPA-free ziploc baggies and lay flat in the freezer. Put a couple servings in the fridge, the rest in the freezer to defrost as necessary.
*Baby food in the fridge seems to last max 3 days over here before I toss it out, so only keep what your baby will eat over the next day or so in the fridge- everything else in the freezer.
Here’s what we like to add in for fun:
-Little Ducks snacks, avocado, mashed banana, bites of whatever I’m eating to try (brown rice tortilla, egg yolk, lentils, beans)
-For breakfast, she’ll usually have fruit/oatmeal and for dinner, I try to mix up one of the sweeter veggie options with a starchy option (like sweet potato or butternut squash with a greens/fruit combo).
-While I heat up her food and make myself something to eat, I’ll give her something in the mesh feeder to keep her busy until the main course is ready. She especially loves crispy apple, cantaloupe, or bites of whatever I’m eating. The mesh feeder has been great for restaurants, and one mom gave me an awesome tip: keep a garlic press on hand to instantly puree whatever you’re eating while out and about.
Grocery list for the above combos:
-2 organic sweet potatoes
-1 can organic pumpkin
-2 C oats
-4-6 organic apples
-a pack of frozen organic spinach (or you can use fresh and wilt it down in a little olive oil, which is what I did)
-pack of frozen organic peas
-4-6 organic pears
Bonus recipe: Livi’s chicken soup = $20 for 3 huge adult servings, 4 baby servings
*Keep in mind that I’m not a baby food expert or baby nutrition specialist in any way- these are just the foods that Liv likes and an inexpensive list of combos. Always check with your doctor regarding the best method for feeding your baby. Baby led weaning works really well for many of my friends, but doesn’t seem to be the best method for us right now. For now, we’re pureeing most of Liv’s food and she loves it.
Do you have any fun baby food combos to share? Easy methods of preparing baby foods? Something unique that your little one surprisingly loves?