Many parents are looking for ways to cut costs these days, especially when it comes to the many expensive items required to care for infants. Between diapers, clothing, and baby food, you’re likely spending a lot of money each month on the smallest member of your family. And if you’re also interested in eco-friendly living you could be shelling out even more for organic fabric and foods, as well as cleaning services and chemical-free detergents for your sustainable items (cloth diapers and organic clothing, mainly). But there are ways to save and still give your baby the toxin-free diet that will keep him healthy and happy, and it starts with making your own organic baby food.
The transition from breast milk to solid food can take a while to accomplish, but in the meantime you’ll want your baby’s digestive system to acclimate to the composition of the solid foods he will soon be eating. So baby food is a necessary step for most infants (although remarkably, some seem to go straight from milk or formula to whole foods). However, the products you buy at the store are fairly expensive to begin with, electing to buy organics will cost you even more, and often, you can only rely on general recycling options for the leftover jars. So it is both greener and more cost effective to make your own.
You may want to start by talking to your pediatrician about nutritional concerns in order to ensure that you’re feeding your baby the foods that will give him all the nutrients he needs. But you can also get a good idea by simply looking at the jars already on store shelves for reference. You’ll find that there are options for fruits, vegetables, and meats in the baby food arena, so these are probably the items that you’ll want to make. From there it’s easy enough to get started, although you’ll need some equipment, including a food processor and several reusable mason/jam jars.
As for making the food, you pretty much prepare it just as you would for yourself. Meats should be cooked, vegetables steamed, and then pretty much everything gets pureed in the food processor. You can easily prepare all the food you’ll need for the week at once to save some time and store it in mason jars in the fridge. Of course, you’ll want to keep it pretty bland for your baby’s delicate digestive system – it’s not like you’ll cook spiced meats or Shahiya recipes. So keep it simple and skip adding spices or preservatives like sodium and sugar that can counteract the healthy benefits of your baby food.
The only other thing to think about is where you’ll get your organic items, and you have a couple of options here. Although it is probably easiest to simply pick them up at your local market, you might not find the variety you crave and you’ll likely end up paying more. So think about frequenting a local farmers market, looking for co-ops in your area that can offer you organic meats and produce, or even growing your own organic garden at home to save a ton of money. And consider buying in bulk during summer months and then canning items for use throughout the winter.