Tips for Using Frozen Veggies in Homemade Baby Food
As you load up your cart with fresh veggies in the produce aisle, you’re probably thinking you’re going to be feeding your baby the most nutritious, homemade baby food possible. But are those so-called “fresh” vegetables really as rich in nutrients as you think? Are they actually even fresh to begin with? If you’re shopping at a local farmer’s market, then yes, they probably are. But if you’re like most busy parents rushing to the supermarket to grab what you need, you might be surprised at the reality behind the produce you see labeled as fresh.
The fact of the matter is, because not all veggies are grown locally and/or in season year-round, they typically have to be transported long distances. To avoid spoilage, these vegetables are often picked before they are completely ripe. This means there hasn’t been sufficient time for their vitamin and mineral content to develop fully. And although the vegetables may ultimately ripen, once they are picked they can never be as nutritious as those that are allowed to fully ripen.
Furthermore, while produce is being transported, it’s inevitably going to be exposed to heat. Once it reaches the supermarket, it may then sit on the shelf for several days, all the while being exposed to light. Research indicates that both heat and light can cause deterioration to the nutritional value of vegetables.
This is why frozen may actually be better than fresh for your homemade baby food. That’s because frozen vegetables are picked at the precise point of ripeness, when all of rich vitamins and nutrients are at their peak. The freezing process is performed extremely quickly, locking in the nutritional content. And since frozen veggies are kept cold and protected from light, external factors cannot damage them. Lastly, with frozen, you don’t have to worry about what’s in or out of season in your area.
Tips for Making Homemade Baby Food with Frozen Veggies
To make your own baby food, start with frozen organic veggies. Steam them as instructed, drain them and pop them into a blender or food processor. Set to puree and blend. (Note: If you’re using a blender, you may find adding a bit of water is necessary in order to make your purees smoother.) Play around until you find the right consistency. Once pureed, it should be ready for your little one to eat.
Try different veggies to introduce your baby to new foods and see what he or she prefers. A few good ones to start with include green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots and peas. Or, try a garden blend that includes any combination of frozen green beans, carrots, peas, squash and sliced potato.
If you have leftovers, you can freeze them unless the recipe contains breast milk that has been previously frozen.
And, please keep in mind that you should consult with your baby’s pediatrician before making any changes to his or her diet. Once you’ve got the green light, head to the frozen food section, stock up and start experimenting! Your baby will enjoy healthier meals with wholesome, natural ingredients that you can feel good about.