Babies can eat Local & Organic, too

30 Jul

Locavoring isn’t just for adults! Despite its unfortunately hipster rep (have you ever seen the hysterical Portlandia episode about local eating gone nutso?), committing to a local/organic/sustainable diet is pretty darned old-fashioned. Not only is it healthier for you, the food simply tastes a whole lot better. And it’s great for small humans as well! I have a six-month-old niece, and on a recent trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, I discovered this thing called the Baby Magic Bullet.

It’s a food-processing system for making your own baby food, and I asked my sister if she was interested in making food at home for Peyton. She said yes, and so I snapped one up.

Portlandia: Is It Local?

Making carrots in the Baby Bullet

Now, basically this thing is a small blender with a cute little face on it. If you have a blender or food processor already, you can just as easily make your own baby food with it, no problem. The Baby Bullet is made with BPA-free plastics and it comes with a terrific recipe and information book, and a bunch of little food storage containers.

They have rotating date markers in the lids, so you can easily twist to the expiration date that your food will have when you make it. Which brings me to something else – check the expiration dates on ready-made, store-bought baby food. They have a shelf life of one to three YEARS! Even the organic baby foods still have to have some type of preservatives in them to make them viable for sitting on grocery store shelves. Do you really want to feed your baby something that can sit in a jar for a year or more? A Center for Science in Public Interest report states, among other findings:

Gerber and Heinz add substantial amounts of water and thickening agents (flours and chemically modified starches) to more than half of their twenty-five most popular fruits, mixed and creamed vegetables, desserts, and dinners for babies over six months (second- and third-stage foods). Not only are those products a monetary rip-off, they are also nutritionally inferior to similar products made without fillers.

Personally, I think that especially when it comes to growing, developing babies, the freshest whole foods available are the best. Add to that the money that making your own baby food saves; for example, a typical jar ranges from .59 cents to around $2.00, depending on the size and brand. But with three carrots (around 30 cents), you can make six jars of food. At 5 cents a jar, that’s considerable savings!  The CSPI report also addresses cost:

Baby foods are very high priced compared to similar regular foods. Baby foods cost far more per ounce than conventional national brands or supermarket brands. For example, parents often pay more than double for baby food fruit juices and applesauce. To give your baby the most nutritious and economical food: Prepare your own baby foods whenever possible.

So on the day I bought the Baby Magic Bullet, I set about preparing Peyton’s first meal with it, along with my brother-in-law (her dad). We went to Green’s Produce, a local produce stand closeby, and bought carrots and avocados. You can cut up and blend directly soft foods such as avocado and banana. For hard foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, beans, etc. you simply boil the food until soft, and then blend them with a bit of purified water.

Voila! It couldn’t be easier. So when thinking about time involved, from my experience I think if you got several types of foods and spent about a half-hour making it on the weekend, you would easily have enough baby food for a week or two. That’s about as much time as going to the store to buy it.

And the verdict from the kid who can’t actually say anything? Well, Peyton only recently started eating cereal and baby food, so it’s all still a little new to her. But she really seemed to like the carrots! I tasted several spoonfuls myself, and found them sweet and delicious. Check out the short video of her reaction to the first taste, below:

So there you have it – if you have a baby or know someone who does, consider making fresh, organic food instead of store-bought.

Eat Well!

One Response to “Babies can eat Local & Organic, too”

  1. Chandler August 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Great info!!!!

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