If you’ve been shelling out hundreds of dollars on expensive (and miniature) jars of baby food and formula each month, then you may be surprised to know that feeding your baby a healthy and nutritious diet doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot. Sure you want to give your child the best, but a larger price tag doesn’t always mean a better diet. By stocking up on these five basic ingredients, you can save lots of money and make your baby’s meals healthier too.
Carrots are an excellent staple food to start giving to your baby at a young age, and they are actually the main in ingredient in many jarred baby foods. They are rich in nutrients like vitamin A, K and C as well as the antioxidant beta-carotene. To make them into baby food, simply steam or boil the carrots and then mash them together with things like potatoes, green beans or grated apple.
2. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes make a great base for baby food and can be mixed and mashed with a wide range of other baby appropriate ingredients like bananas, zucchinis, apples and melons. They are full of vitamin A, C, fiber, beta-carotene and potassium, and are known for being one of the healthiest vegetables to eat.
3. Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash, like sweet potatoes and carrots, makes a perfect starting point for any baby food you are making and is also highly nutritious. It makes great soups, stews and mashes and can be eaten cold or warm. Make sure you mix it up with some good proteins too, like chicken, minced beef or even cheese.
Avocadoes are deliciously creamy and sweet, making them a favorite with most babies. They contain plenty of potassium along with fiber and essential fats like oleic acid. It’s easy to mash and requires no cooking, so you can serve it up in an instant. It can be eaten with both sweet and savory foods, so you have avocado and melon mash one day and an avocado and egg salad the next. Avocado tends to go a bit brown shortly after being cut open, so don’t prepare too much of it at once.
Bananas can be a lifesaver for those times when you’re battling with a hungry, squalling baby who wants his food. All you have to do is peel the banana, mash it with a fork and start spooning it into the impatient baby’s mouth. They are full of vitamins A, B and C, as well as iron, calcium and potassium. For extra nutrition you can mix the mashed banana with some yogurt and another fruit like peach or pear.
Be sure to wash and peel all vegetables carefully to remove any pesticides, bacteria and choking hazards. Additives like salt or sugar are unnecessary as young children don’t need them and they may cause allergies. If your baby is used to eating only store bought baby foods, it is a good idea to introduce just one new food at a time until they are used to the new diet.
Ally is part of the team that manages successful personal finance websites in Sydney, Australia, which provide useful tips about Budgeting Worksheet and Ways to Save Money. Before joining the team, she was a Media Planner in McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning executions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign.