Feeding Your Green Baby

Source: By Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers

If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, making organic baby food is a great way to go. Consider the green facts:

Organic—Organic fruits and vegetables are the best choice for making baby food. They are the most natural ingredients, and organic foods drastically reduce harm to the environment.

Less waste—When you make your own baby food, there are no jars, labels, or metal lids to dispose or to recycle.

No factory required —Just a little energy to steam foods and run a blender is all you need to make your baby’s meals! Did someone say near “zero” greenhouse gases?

Local—Your baby’s food does not need to trucked to you from a factory thousands of miles away. Instead, you can simply buy organic produce from your local farmers market and get started.

Healthy—Homemade baby food is safe and nutritious. Baby food jars are often lined with bisphenol-A, a controversial hormone disruptor that should be avoided. In addition, homemade baby food has no preservatives, additives, or chemicals—it is pure and natural goodness.

Homemade Baby Food and Healthy Meals in Less Than 30 Minutes per Week

To prepare: Wash, peel, and cut fresh fruits or vegetables, then stovetop steam or microwave in less than 10 minutes. Create a very-smooth texture with a blender or food processor. Add a little water, if needed to reach pudding-like texture. Pour into baby food storage trays, cover, and freeze overnight. Pop cubes out and store in freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag. Frozen baby food cubes last up to 2 months.

To serve: Select frozen baby food cubes from the freezer place in a dish and thaw or warm. Stir food before serving and check the temperature. If you want to thicken something, use baby cereal, yogurt, or mashed banana. For thinning, use breast milk/formula, 100% juice or low-sodium soup stock.

Making healthy meals: You can mix different baby food cubes together to create tasty, healthy meals. You can also add yogurt, melted cheese, ground nuts, or mashed pasta/rice to introduce new flavors and textures. Here are a few ideas:
• Green peas and sweet potatoes
• Butternut squash and mashed banana
• Broccoli, cauliflower, and melted cheese
• Peaches, pears, and oatmeal baby cereal
• Black beans, corn, and rice
• Strawberries, apples, yogurt, and ground pecans

The bottom line: Making baby food is a great gift to give the environment and your baby. Plus homemade baby food tastes great. Who knows? Your baby may even grow up to like the taste of Brussels sprouts and mangoes!

Apple Purée

6 medium golden delicious apples

Step 1: Prep —Wash, peel, core, and cut apples into one-inch slices.

Step 2: Cook —Place apples in a microwave-safe dish. Cover. Cook 5 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes. Cook an additional 5 minutes. The apples are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

Step 3: Purée —Place apples and cooking juices into a blender or a food processor. Purée to a smooth texture.

Step 4: Freeze —Spoon into So Easy Baby Food Trays or ice cube trays. Cover. Place in freezer 8 to 10 hours or overnight. Remove cubes from trays, place in storage container or freezer bag, and return immediately to the freezer.

Makes 24 (1-oz.) servings. Stays fresh for 2 months in the freezer.

To serve, select frozen apple cubes from the freezer, defrost, and warm—check the temperature and feed.

Age to introduce: About 6 months.

About the authors: Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of 5 children and founders of Fresh Baby ( www.FreshBaby.com ). They are the creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit and Good Clean Fun Placemats, available at many fine specialty stores and national chains, including Target and Whole Foods Markets.