The first year is a very important time in a baby's life as they grow and learn. A new sense develops as the child becomes aware of the world around them. The senses will develop at different rates depending on which part of the brain they are born with, but children always develop early milestones first before later ones.
When infants reach these milestone ages it is a good idea to give them food-related to what their respective milestone is focusing on... for instance if a child reaches their ability of tasting then give him/her sweet things because that would be stimulating what they can currently do. By giving your child organic baby food you can provide them with nutrition from fresh fruit and vegetables without any added chemicals or preservatives that may cause allergies or illness.
Why do you need to make organic food?
Babies are young and susceptible to infections in their early days. Most food, particularly meats, is not organic because the cows tend to be given hormones that impact the quality of its meat. If you buy non-organic meat for your baby it increases their risk of getting sick which can often result in long-term health problems. Children are more likely to eat what they see on the plate so if you buy them non-organic foods then it may affect their eating habits later on when you don't offer it again.
How do I make organic baby food?
It is fairly simple to make fresh organic baby food at home with a blender or grinder that will provide your child with nutrients that will help him/her grow into a healthy individual. If you feel like you don't want to make baby food then your child may benefit from the introduction of fresh fruit and vegetables into their diet.
Organic fruits and vegetables are easier than ever to find in local stores. They will more than likely be displayed near regular varieties so it is important that you know what to look for when trying to locate them. Organic produce will have a sticker somewhere on the packaging with a variety of certifications such as "USDA Organic" or "NOP Certified". These indicators confirm that the items inside meet guidelines for organic labeling and they can be trusted to provide nutritious food for your baby... and eventually, even yourself!
Organic baby food can be made from fresh fruit and vegetables as well as other foods such as meat, rice, cereal, and bread. There are a few ways to prepare the food for your child without exposing them to any harmful toxins or chemicals. If you don't want to cook it yourself then you can buy organic baby food in jars from a store, but it is always better to make your own organic baby food from scratch. This way you know exactly where each ingredient came from.
It is important that you remember these 3 golden rules when making organic baby food:
- Never give honey to a child under 1-year-old. The spores of certain bacteria can be found in raw honey which may botulism poisoning if given at a young age.
- If a baby cannot be satisfied with less than 4oz of food then it is better to wait until the next meal time instead of giving him/her extra, which will only cause problems such as bowel obstructions and tooth decay due to an excess intake of sugar from fruit juice.
- Organic baby food jars are not recommended by many pediatricians if they are used more than once or twice a day because they can result in developing allergies and stomach problems. A homemade organic baby food diet is much healthier for your child in most instances.
A balanced approach to healthy eating for infants and toddlers
There is no one correct way of preparing an infant's menu; what works for some families may not work for others. A common misconception is that young children need to eat only "baby food" but this isn't true because infants and toddlers grow at different rates. One method that works well for many parents is to introduce new foods slowly until their child has mastered the art of chewing solid foods; save the most difficult items for last!
Phase 1: Stage one is usually cereal grains, followed by vegetables or fruit in small quantities. For example, try mixing 2/3 cereal with 1/3 breast milk or formula before introducing pieces of bread and fruits.
Phase 2: Introduce crackers, cheese cubes, pickled products (e.g. olives ), and vegetable dips then gradually mix in larger portions of vegetables or fruits into your infant's diet.
Phase 3: By this time you can start providing them with meats like lamb chops, grilled fish (not battered), egg yolk, liver, lean beef, etc. As your child grows older you can introduce dairy products but only if they have been properly pasteurized.
Phase 4: Once they are past their first birthday you can start feeding them food that is suitable for the whole family.
What equipment do I need for making organic baby food?
You will need the following equipment when preparing your own organic baby food:
- A blender or food processor (a manual masher product also exists).
- Saucepans or pots with lids (if you want pureed meat or eggs).
- Microwave safe plates and bowls (especially useful for infants who can't tolerate sitting at a table yet).
- Plastic sandwich bags or freezer containers.
- Spatulas and spoons.
- Oven mitts for removing hot plates from the oven.
A steamer is a useful tool to have on hand if you make a lot of organic baby food because it helps to speed up cooking times which reduces your chances of burning or overcooking your ingredients. It also ensures that your product retains a greater level of nutrients during cooking, but isn't necessary to prepare healthy meals.
At what age should I start giving my child organic baby food?
As soon as your baby is ready for solid foods you can introduce them to eating organic fruits and vegetables as either a compliment or as their main meal. Some babies prefer to slowly ease into it, just like weaning from breast milk, whereas others may want more than the recommended amount of food at each meal.
You will find that some days your child eats well and has no problems adhering to a healthy diet and then other days they may be fussy eaters that don't want what you offer them. Babies are unpredictable in this way which is why you should always have an alternative option planned out for those days when he/she refuses to eat.
You can make homemade organic baby food by blending together fruit or vegetables with water, rice cereal, meat, or eggs. Recipes are readily available for organic baby food which you can find online or purchase in books from your local bookstore.
The USDA publishes an extensive list of approved foods that are safe to give to babies and toddlers under two years old. There may also be additional products listed on the National Organic Program's website, but it is always best to check with your child's pediatrician if you have any questions regarding the suitability of certain foods for infants.
Benefits of making organic food for your children
Aside from the obvious benefit of providing only organic foods for your family, there are many additional benefits that you may not have considered. Here are some examples of how making organic food can impact you and your young ones positively:
- Organic farming is better for the environment. It uses fewer chemicals which means it has a smaller impact on our planet. This reduces pollution in soil and water which will ultimately result in healthier plants and animals, including humans. It also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming.
- Organic crops are more nutritional. Crops grown using conventional methods tend to be lower in certain nutrients such as Vitamin C when compared with similar products grown organically. Organic diets are healthier overall because they contain a wider range of vitamins and minerals.
- Organic foods taste better
- Organic produce tends to be more flavorful than conventional fruit and vegetables because it is grown in richer soil that has plenty of nutrients.
Disadvantages of making organic food for your children
There are a few disadvantages of providing a completely organic menu for your young ones, but the benefits outweigh the cons in most cases:
- It can be more expensive. Organic food usually costs more to purchase from stores or online. This is due to the fact that it is difficult and time-consuming to grow organically because there are rules which must be followed to ensure its certification status. Because of this, buying organic may cost almost twice as much as conventional items. However, you won't need to buy all organic products. There are many common foods that contain high amounts of pesticides which you should avoid buying while others can be purchased non-organically and eaten freely without worrying about pesticide ingestion and harm.
- Organic food is perishable. Organic fruit and vegetables are more likely to spoil faster than their conventional equivalents because they have thinner skin. This is due to the fact that they contain higher levels of water which makes them more susceptible to mold and bacteria.
- It is harder to find organic products in stores. Most big chain grocery stores don't carry a large selection of organic produce. It may be easier for you to buy only the ingredients that your child needs if you shop at a specialty store or farmer's market. You can also save money by purchasing organically grown fruit and vegetables in bulk online instead of trying to get everything at one time from your local retailer.
Homemade vs store-bought organic baby food
There are several ways in which homemade organic baby foods can be healthier than those available from stores:
Store-bought products may contain preservatives. Most store-bought organic products need to remain refrigerated to prevent spoilage. This means that they usually contain a number of preservatives that help them to last for longer periods of time.
Store-bought products may contain added sugars. Many organic baby food manufacturers inject their products with fruit juice or other forms of sugar to make them taste better and be more enjoyable to infants and toddlers.
According to studies conducted by the American Heart Association, many common sugars found in canned fruits contain empty calories that provide no nutritional benefit. These types of ingredients can contribute to weight gain if eaten too often and increase your child's risk of suffering from dental caries as well as hyperactivity disorders.
Homemade organic foods are better tasting than those purchased from stores. The flavor of homemade organic vegetables and fruits is much better than those found in big chain stores. This can be attributed to the fact that they are fresher and contain fewer preservatives so cooking times may be shorter and many spices and ingredients such as salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. can be added to enhance their flavor.
Homemade organic baby foods usually contain less salt. Salt has been linked to high blood pressure which puts infants at risk of cardiovascular disease later on in life. According to studies conducted by the American Heart Association, most Americans eat double the amount of sodium recommended for a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true when it comes to food made for children who tend to be more sensitive to flavor enhancers like salt because their taste buds haven't fully developed yet.
Homemade organic baby food contains less fat. Since homemade organic foods aren't processed, they contain less fat than those made in factories. This means that you don't have to worry about your child adding excess weight or suffering from obesity later on in life.
Even if you are feeding them full-fat milk or yogurt, the fats are natural which are easily broken down by their digestive systems whereas store-bought items may be high in harmful trans-fatty acids.