February 29, 2012

Natural Foodie: Homemade baby food offers nutrition, safety, savings

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Christine Wirth and her 14-month-old son, Joseph, make applesauce using a metal food mill.

Photos by Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

click image to enlarge

Joseph samples the blend made with strawberries and raspberries.

BABY FOOD-MAKING SUPPLIES

FOOD MILL, FOOD PROCESSOR OR BLENDER: Use these to grind and puree food. Small, hand-crank food mills can come in handy in restaurants or when dining away from home.

FINE-MESH SIEVE: Use these to strain out seeds and other bits that are hard to chew or swallow.

STORAGE CONTAINERS OR ICE CUBE TRAYS: Use the containers to refrigerate or freeze extra baby food. These days, many companies sell BPA-free storage containers in special baby sizes.

WHAT TO FEED BABY

CHILDREN UNDER AGE 1 get the bulk of their nutrition from breast milk or formula. The main purpose of feeding baby food to infants is to get them used to eating solid food. Feed children under 8 months pureed and strained foods. After 8 months, you can introduce mashed vegetables and other soft foods. As the child gets older, you can start feeding him or her adult food that is mashed or cut up to make it easier to chew.

LEARN MORE

BABY FOOD BASICS – Learn the basic steps of how to prepare your own baby food with UMaine Cooperative Extension educator Kathy Savoie

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. May 14

WHERE: MaineHealth Learning Resource Center, 5 Bucknam Road, Falmouth

HOW MUCH: $5 per family

INFO: Register at mainehealth.org/LRC or call (866) 609-5183

WHAT ELSE: For more information about making baby food, visit: umaine.edu/publications/4309e

In addition to steering clear of BPA, parents who make their own baby food find that it comes with significant cost savings.

Kristie Green is the mother of two children – Violet Milliken, 2, and Oliver Milliken, 1 – and she's made their own food since they were born.

"The cost savings is really the unbelievable thing," said Green, owner of the artisinal gelato maker Maple's Organics.

A price comparison conducted in New Hampshire in 2010 and posted on wholesomebabyfood.com found that on average, making your own baby food saves 23 to 27 cents per ounce. This may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a year, the savings can add up to more than $500.

Not only does Green want to save money, she wants to make sure her children get the best-quality food possible.

"I wanted to be able to use fresh, organic produce and know exactly what went into the food," Green said.

She found that a combination of avocado, spinach and sweet potato was a favorite with her children, as was anything with banana in it.

Noting that many people seek out her company's gelato and sorbetto because it's made in small batches by local people, Green says she's skeptical of how large food companies manufacture their wares.

"The reality is you don't really have any idea what is in that food," Green said. "It's probably fine 99 percent of the time, but I'm much more likely even now to buy stuff to feed the kids from smaller manufacturers."

But most days, she just feeds them homemade food.

 

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila

 

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