I am always thrilled to read of parents who've decided to make their own baby food. Cheap, nutritious, and simple - it's a great way to introduce your baby to a variety of textures and flavors that she wouldn't get from bottled baby food. Despite how easy of a process it is, often parents aren't sure of how to prepare these yummy first foods for their baby. Wondering which foods should be cooked and which foods can be eaten fresh? Here's your answers.
How to Prepare 99% of Fruits and Veggies
When preparing puréed baby foods, most of the resources I have found state that you should cook your fruits and vegetables first up until 8 months of age or so. Steaming the fruits and veggies is often the preferred method, but you can also boil or bake the foods in a small amount of water. The reason being is that cooking the foods helps make digesting them easier, and it allows your baby to process more of the vitamins and nutrients. That being said, it is quite doubtful that eating raw fruits and veggies before 8 months will harm her. It simply makes digesting the food easier and possibly prevents tummy aches.
Peeling Fruits and Vegetables for Baby Food
Whether you should peel the fruits and veggies first is often debates as well. One camp says to leave the skins on for a more nutrient-rich meal, the other says that the nutrient benefit is minimal and may actually cause tummy trouble. The choice is essentially yours, (as for me, skins off).
Bananas and Avocados the Exception
So that 1% that gets prepared differently is a pretty short list. You can put your steamer pot or bake pan away when fixing bananas and avocados. All you need to do is mash these up with a fork and add a splash of breastmilk or formula should you need a thinner consistency. Both of these foods are prone to preventable browning, but it does not affect their nutritional value or taste.
So in a very little nutshell, that is some very basic information about how to prepare fruits and veggies for your little peach. Check out these additional tips for starting solids.