Is good food wasted on babies? Of course not. Even before the first teeth breaks through, babies have little taste buds, just waiting to be tantalized.
Transitioning babies to table food used to overwhelm me. I mourned for the convenience of those little baby food jars, so portable, so convenient but really, so blah. When confronted with real food, my toddlers balked, unused to the sudden influx of flavor. But with Baby Sophie, the transition to “real food” has been seamless. She was eating good food with the rest of the family all along.
With five years of breathing room since my last baby, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and have done a lot of things differently this time around. I put less pressure on myself to breastfeed, and ended up having greater success with it than ever before. I also made all of Sophie’s baby food by hand. Sophie has her own little freezer section, chock full of colorful cubes of goodness.
Making Sophie’s food was actually more convenient (and significantly cheaper) than buying those little jars. I just pureed up whatever I was making for our family. When the big kids got apples slices for snack, she had apple puree. A few carrots were held aside for her when I sauteed ours in butter and honey. (No honey for babies until 12 months.)
At first I simply used a hand blender to puree up her food, but was contacted by a few PR companies to try out various baby food making systems. My favorite was the Nuk baby food maker ($99 at Target). Other baby food makers left choking hazard chunks when steaming vegetables and are gathering dust in my basement closet, awaiting the next charity pick up.
The Nuk baby food maker machine has earned a permanent spot on my counter. We use it not only to make Sophie’s food, but also to blend smoothies for the big kids too. Instead of trying to do everything in one automated motion, it cooks with me, letting me doctor up Sophie’s food to her liking, and giving me valuable by-products that let me use every bit of nutritional goodness from what I prepare.
I’m attaching recipes for our favorite smoothie as well as a roasted butternut squash apple fruit puree Sophie’s been enjoying lately. But what I love most about the Nuk is the spontaneity of having it out: whatever fruits and veggies we have lying around can be transformed in 15 minutes.
- ½ cup of frozen or fresh strawberries
- ½ cup of frozen or fresh peaches (with skin on)
- 1 cup of peach baby yogurt, such as Yobaby
- ½ cup of orange juice
- Place all ingredients in the Nuk baby food maker.
- Pulse on the highest speed (double chop symbol) 10 to 12 times, until smooth.
- Add a little more orange juice if the smoothie is still too chunky.
- Serve with a spoon and a straw for maximum fun and goodness.
- 2 apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
- ½ cup of previously roasted butternut squash
- Peel the apples, core them and cut them into small pieces about an inch by an inch.
- Place the apples in the two steam baskets in the Nuk baby food maker. Close the unit and screw it in.
- Add water in the steam dispenser. Press the steam button to turn it on.
- Once the steam cycle is complete (about 14 minutes), remove the apples and pour them into the bottom of the unit. Add the roasted squash.
- Puree the apples and squash together. Store in the fridge up to five days, or freeze in cubes.