1 month of baby food, 1 hour, $20

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.

Baby food 8

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.

Sweet potato

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.

Eating

We picked up a few of these pouches to travel with to Las Vegas, and she slurped them down.

Baby food 3

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:

Bnut baby food

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:

Baby food 6

Baby food:

Pumpkin and banana

Oats (apple, pear and banana)

Butternut squash

Sweet potato

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.

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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

-4 bananas

-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

Baby food 5

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?

xoxo

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Comments

  1. If you put the baby food in ice trays to freeze, how to keep from getting frost bite? How do you cover it?

  2. If you put the baby food in ice trays to freeze, how to keep from getting frost bite? How do you cover it?

    • Fitnessista says:

      Freeze in ice cube trays until solid and then pop out the cubes into storage ziplock freezer bags! Seal and keep in the freezer :)

  3. Krystle says:

    Thanks for the recipies! LOVE the the idea of using the garlic masher!

  4. This was a big read, but totally worth it. You are a genius when it comes to making baby food recipes. This alone makes me consider having a third baby just so I can make this recipe!

    The chicken soup bonus was a good one too. I was looking for some new recipes to try out and me and my husband will be having “Livi’s chicken soup” this very evening!

    Thanks a lot!!!

  5. how are you defrosting and heating these foods?

    • Fitnessista says:

      defrost in the fridge overnight, pour out the next day and either warm gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.

  6. Lourdes Leather says:

    Thank you so much for investing time in your site for moms!!!! I looked everywhere for tips, recipes, etc and I was terrified. Been excited of the “idea” of making Alethia’s food (6 mo old) but no one posted instructions and recipes like you have…… still nervous but more confident! Thank you!

  7. I love making baby food for our little 6 1/2 month foster son! I started doing one ingredient purees and he wasn’t that impressed with them. But when tried those pouches ( like the ones you mentioned ) with the different blends he really perked up! So I started making blends in my VitaMix and he can’t get enough! I blended Carrot & Apple, Acorn Squash & Butternut Squash melted together so he liked the blended squash flavors. Then I tried some greens…Kale, apple, acorn squash. He loved it! I’m loving making his own foods…makes me feel better because I know what’s in it. Can’t wait to try more! Thanks for your post!

  8. Hi! Thanks so much for these wonderful recipes! Heading to the grocery today with your shopping list in hand. Quick question – do you ever make your own pouches? If so, are you able to freeze them the same way and then thaw in the fridge? Didn’t know if freezing pouches would work….thanks for any input! :)

  9. Thank you so much for this! I have a three month old little girl, so we’re not quite ready for baby food yet but it will be here before I know it! What kind of oats do you use? I’m going to borrow my sister’s baby bullet. Starting solids kinda scares me because that is the one thing I really know nothing about when it comes to babies, so another reason to love advice like this!

    • My 7 month old twins are pretty much through all the basic foods that the pre-made baby foods offer (jars anyway – thank you WIC), but we supplement with our own recipes and it’s so much fun! You will love it!! :))) I’m guessing that you guys are a couple weeks in to a few bites here and there..it gets better and easier. My girls hate the rice cereal (that they tell you to start with) but we mix it in with pureed veggies to bulk up the meal and they love it. :) Bananas and Carrots (appx 4-5 very large carrots and 1 banana) seems to be their current favorite, but anything with pears or sweet potatoes is good, too! GOOD LUCK!

  10. My son really likes the combo of sweet potato and apple. I freeze all my fruits and veggies separate then combine a cube of two or three different ones at meal time. I found some small silicone ice cube trays that work perfectly! It’s definitely worth the little extra time to make your baby’s food.

  11. suzan j smith says:

    Microwaving is not good for food. Steaming is best. Also, why use frozen veggies? Lastly, making baby food is super easy to do fresh daily. Takes all of 2 minutes to steam and smash.

    • From a mommy of twins – I find microwaves, freezers, and frozen veggies SUPER beneficial! :) To each her own, I guess!

  12. Hi, great ideas! My guy at 15 mos is too big for purees, but weekly did 90% of his homemade. Didn’t do a lot of combos but wish I had.
    For storing what I made, we received a large gift basket of baby food as a gift, so I washed and reused. Basically free and portion sized. I didn’t freeze as I cooked weekly so not sure how the jars would freeze, but if you leave space at top should be fine!

    • Oh, yes! We LOVE those new Gerber plastic “jars”! We reuse the HECK outta those…not the glass though, simply because we were afraid to freeze them also. :/

  13. Buy silicon mini muffin pans, put pureed food in the molds, freeze, pop out and store in freezer ziplock bags.

  14. I just had to leave a comment and say that our baby is getting ready for solids and I remembered this post! Thank you so much for sharing :) I can’t wait to try these for her.

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