When selecting first foods for weaning your baby onto solids, there are three factors you need to consider: texture, flavour and nutrients.
Home cooked food
Preparing food at home is a great way to go. For a start, you know exactly what is going into the food. There can be no fillers (starch), preservatives and added salt or sugar if you do it yourself. So home-prepared food ticks the nutritious box. In addition, home-cooked food is often more flavoursome and textured as you can choose the ingredients and cannot get it quite as smooth as jarred baby food. This means your baby gets used to textures and varied flavours sooner and this means less fussy eating in the toddler years.
To prepare your baby food at home, you can buy pre-peeled and chopped veggies, which will make preparation much easier.
You will need to steam the veggies and then mash or puree them. A steamer – blender combo is a fantastic investment as it steams and purees the food for you.
It also makes sense to produce the baby food in bulk so that you have a store in the freezer in little baby food pots for convenience.
Prepared baby foods
Prepared baby foods from reputable brands are a good choice for convenience. Some of the lower quality baby food brands add sugar, salt and modified starch to bulk up the food. Read the labels and avoid these brands.
A good baby food should taste like the food it says is in the container (ie -butternut should taste like butternut) and have added herbs and spices to increase the flavour variety. Look out for prepared meals that contain superfoods like beetroot and quinoa when selecting flavours.
Be sure to move your baby onto more lumpy jarred or pouch baby food soon after 6 months so that they don’t get ‘stuck’ on smooth purees.