Make Your Own Healthy Baby Food

We don’t buy baby food. Well, I did buy a couple jars when Bella (our 10th) was about 8 months old, but other than that we don’t buy baby food.

We buy real food and prepare it for our baby. Cheaper, healthier and simpler well not more simple, but still fairly simple. I don’t have a lot of time for complex, so we’ve worked to make feeding our babies as simple and healthy as possible.

Here is my basic, super flexible, life-saver baby food recipe.

Baby Cereal Recipe

Use a grain mill or blender to grind the whole grain or legume into flour. If you’re using a blender grind in small batches.

After I grind the grain or legume I put the flour into a quart sized mason jar,

label it and store in the fridge.

This allows me to easily feed baby a good variety of food without extra effort. I simply mix and match flours as I make this recipe.

  • 1 part flour  – Adjust amount of flour to achieve a good consistency. Since we don’t have/use a microwave I make our baby cereal thick. This allows me to add hot water to heat it up when it’s time for little one to eat. When making a grain and legume cereal I use just less than a quarter of this amount bean flour and the remainder grain flour. (It doesn’t have to be exact.)
  • 4 parts water

Bring water to boil on the stove top. Turn the heat down and whisk in the flour. Allow to cook for 10 min. stirring frequently.

Cool and serve to baby or store for a day or two in the refrigerator. I like to make enough to last for a few days. I heat it up by adding hot water when baby is ready to eat.

Here is a list of the foods that we give our babies in the general order which we introduce them.

Starting foods:

Next foods:

  • millet
  • oatmeal
  • carrots
  • egg yolk
  • peas
  • green beans
  • apples

Food for our ‘big’ baby: (around 9 months)

  • kale (we feed lots of kale)
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • beans, split peas, lentils and more legumes, ground into flour and cooked as above
  • cheese
  • most fruits
  • most vegetables

By the time baby is consistently eating solids, we generally feed one ‘yogurt’ meal and one grain meal each day.

Here is one of Bella’s meals when she was 7 or 8  months old.

Baked sweet potato

 

with brown rice cereal

and an egg yolk

When we’re ready to add a third meal it’s generally time for little one to start eating legumes. We increase the water a bit and add a the bean flour with some grain flour in the baby cereal recipe (above).

Do you make or buy baby food?

A special thank you to my friend Kimarie for steering me toward Super Baby Food where you can find a lot more information about baby nutrition and making healthy  food for your baby.

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31 Responses to Make Your Own Healthy Baby Food
  1. Sarah
    June 27, 2011 | 8:36 am

    Mashed banana and yogurt is brilliant for outings and keeps well in a wide necked thermos for a few hours.
    We made our own baby food-it seems silly to throw money away. Generally, once they were beyond the first few weeks of solids, we used the vegetables that we were eating with some potato/sweet potato and pureed everything (mashed fairly soon). I don’t add salt to our veg to this was very easy.

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  2. abba12
    June 27, 2011 | 8:38 am

    I make baby food in batches ahead of time and freeze it, when I am at home and it’s meal time I simply reheat a couple of ‘bricks’ of food. When I am out and about I use store bought organic baby food as, obviously, frozen bricks don’t work so well and I don’t always have access to a heat source. We’re trying to move our bub onto foods that I can take off my plate, chop small and serve, but for the next one I hope to have a system worked out so I can cut out store bought food altogether, letting the frozen food defrost in a container in my bag, and reheating with parents-room microwaves or something.

    I also still use store bought baby cereal because a.I don’t have a grinder, and b. because I need something to quickly thicken baby foods that are too runny, making the dried, ‘stir and serve’ kind very convenient. Bub has a tongue issue that means she simply can’t take the very runny baby foods.

    I do buy all of these organic, and have avoided wheat (using rice at the moment, it’s white rice, but better than nothing). Bub actually dislikes the taste of the cereal, so we are focusing on fruits and veggies at the moment. Hoping to bring in yogurt soon, but we’re having some feeding issues right now, she’s gone from loving solids to refusing them, any hints?? Is that normal??

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    susan Reply:

    Hi, I have been grinding legumes and oats into flour and making porridge. I haven’t found much on the web about doing it and am glad someone else is! What a great idea. Thanks for the tips.

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  3. ChristineG
    June 27, 2011 | 8:38 am

    I just feed table food right from the get-go. As long as we are having something suitable for baby, he can eat. Otherwise, he’s outta luck. :)

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I tried this for a while but found that often he/she wasn’t getting as much variety as we would like. Do you notice that?

    Also, since we start our baby on solids much later than typical, they usually need more than just veggies at each meal, we have voracious eaters. :)

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    ChristineG Reply:

    I do find that quantity and variety can be a challenge when feeding the table food way. I don’t stress about it since I want nursing to continue to be the main food source, anyway, but I definitely agree that this would be the table food method’s biggest downfall.

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    Kimberly Reply:

    With my two (hopefully there’ll be a third in the oven soon!), I did this same thing. We tried store-bought and homemade cereals and baby foods first, but both kids were reluctant to eat them. They were more than willing, however, to eat tiny bites of whatever was on my plate. I like the idea of baby-led weaning, and both of my kids were eager to eat “real” food very young. Now (at ages two and one) they are both fantastic eaters, and are willing to try anything. My little boy is walking around chewing on a raw radish as I’m typing this. :)

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  4. Chantelle - ThousandSquareFeet
    June 27, 2011 | 9:29 am

    I have made my own baby food in the past, just cooking the food really soft, pureeing in the magic bullet and freezing in muffin-sized portions. A quick question: fresh ground wheat flour is very hard on the body to digest and, apparently, especially hard on the pancrease if it is not previously fermented. The great nutrition is also bio-unavailable. I use fresh milled flour in my bread/buns and always soak/ferment it over night. Are you concerned about using it unfermented for a child’s wee little body?

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We don’t introduce wheat until later, generally after their first birthday.

    I’m planning on moving to sprouting grains rather than soaking them. I’ve read about some questions that have recently been raised with just soaking and think that sprouting may be easier for our family anyway. We haven’t implemented this in our bread making yet, but it’s the next thing I’m going to tackle.

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  5. Katie
    June 27, 2011 | 9:57 am

    Great ideas. I have always just blended up foods that we eat for baby (a stick blender works great and is easy to clean). I never did use store bought baby cereal after the first few feedings to our first child. Have you ever smelled that stuff?! Eww!

    I usually grind brown rice in a coffee grinder (we don’t use it for coffee but for flax seed and herbs) and that works great.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Brilliant to use a coffee grinder. Thanks!

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  6. Rachel
    June 27, 2011 | 10:13 am

    I just gave table food from the start, apart from using some baby cereal until they could manage things like pasta and rice. My first fed himself from 6 months by gnawing on wedge shaped foods I put into his hand. My second had more of a tendancy to drop things so had the same foods, but in smaller pieces from a spoon.

    I noticed you didn’t include any meat or fish in the lists above. What age do you start giving those? I gave them from about 7 months because I read that they need them to get enough iron if you are nursing.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Dried beans and the dark green leafy veggies (kale, spinach, etc.) provide iron. Focusing on these iron sources and the complete proteins provided by the yogurt and whole grain/bean combo allow us to introduce meat later.

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  7. Suzanne
    June 27, 2011 | 11:53 am

    Thanks everyone for the good ideas! I have only ever usually used organic jar baby food. We don’t start feeding baby food until after 7 months, my kids tend to choke on even semi-solids before then.

    My new baby was due yesterday, so I it will still be a while before I need to make baby food. But I really appreciate the great ideas, for later!

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  8. Heather
    June 27, 2011 | 1:41 pm

    I made baby food for my first but, it always seemed like so much work to feed one tiny person. I just gave my second small pieces of whatever we ate or mashed it for him. (He didn’t start solids until 8 months so it worked out well.) I think I will be doing the same for my third who is 2 1/2 months now.

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  9. Cassie
    June 27, 2011 | 1:50 pm

    Ok, I am totally confused by this. I recently started milling wheat for bread, waffles, etc. Am I supposed to be soaking or sprouting it first? If so, where do you get this type of information from? Thanks!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Cassie,

    I know, I know. It sometimes makes me want to give up, no one agrees on what ‘healthy’ is.

    I first saw the soaking info in Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. Since then many ‘health’ people have jumped on the band wagon and debate has ensued.

    Katie has a lot of information on soaking, sprouting and fermenting grains in addition to info about the debate here.

    This post has some of the info about soaking vs. sprouting.

    Confused yet? :)

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  10. Dawn@OneFaithfulMom
    June 27, 2011 | 2:06 pm

    LOVE the book Super Baby Food!! That is such a wealth of information.
    I fed our babies later too, around 6-7 months before starting solids. For my babies’ yogurt meal, I added some natural applesauce, a bit of cinnamon, and for my baby who had trouble with constipation, I added 2 Tblsp. of wheat germ. It kept him perfectly regular every day.
    He always had his oatmeal/brown rice meal for breakfast, yogurt meal for lunch, and veggies/fruits for supper. It worked great for us!!
    I only wish I had had the book for my first 7 kids!! LOL!!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Great ideas, it makes me want to eat like that. :)

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  11. Ruth Yaron
    June 28, 2011 | 1:58 pm

    Thanks for the kind words or Super Baby Food. I’m so glad it helps in feeding your baby!

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  12. Liz
    June 28, 2011 | 6:39 pm

    I made baby food mainly, except for a few occasions, usually travelling, where it was easier and more hygienic to just buy jars. We started off on baby rice and mashed banana, and gradually added cooked pureed fruit (apples or pears) or vegetables (carrots, parsnip, plain stuff like that). After baby got used to those things and had had a good variety of tastes, we just pureed up some of what we were having (minus salt). I would just put aside some of our evening meal and whizz it up, and then reheat it the next day for baby’s dinner. It wasn’t long before they were onto toast and porridge as well!

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  13. Laura
    June 28, 2011 | 11:48 pm

    For my first two, I used the baby food grinder/mill that my mother used with me! I still have it around here. My second went straight, or nearly straight, to table foods. I only bought the jarred stuff for trips or for the foods that I couldn’t cook or grind as smooth as I would like- carrots were my downfall.
    My third had texture issues and would NOT take lumpy foods. He got the jars, as did my fourth. I have a jarred food preference, lol.
    All my kids are good eaters and enjoy a variety of foods.

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  14. Taryn
    June 29, 2011 | 8:20 pm

    We only gave our babies/grandbabies baby oatmeal cereal(after 6 months) because the rice cereal would cause constipation. We would cut back on bananas if we saw they were causing constipation. Our 5th granddaughter,Morgan, was born last week(one week late).

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  15. Karen
    July 5, 2011 | 11:39 pm

    I have always made my own baby food, since I cannot stomach the cost of purchasing jarred food. Most restaurants, gas stations, churhes, airplanes, etc. are very accomodating about heating up any food I’ve brought along for babies so I’ve never had to buy it. My husband bought me an immersion blender for Christmas when my boys were 3 months old, and then we took the plunge and bought a vitamix when our third was starting solids (I use it for more than baby food though!!). If you consider the cost of purchasing ready-made baby food over the course of 2 or 3 or more kids’ lives, purchasing good equipment to make your own makes sense.
    With my first three, I started them at 4-5 months on solids, but it took them sooo long to catch on and despite my best efforts, it still took a long time for them to begin sleeping through the night (I thought solids early would help. I didn’t.) I also noticed a sharp decrease in my milk supply around 7-8 months. Now with my twin girls (babies 4 & 5), I’ve learned my lesson and have just begun feeding them some solids at just over 6 months. I started with avocado, and it’s going great!
    A question: How quickly do you progress on to new foods? My doctor recommends no more than one new food a week (She’s talking about grain cereals, though).
    Also about introducing bananas: A friend taught me to always add orange/orange juice to bananas. The orange combats the constipation-causing properties of bananas perfectly and you’ll never have any problem. It has worked great for me!

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  16. Jamie
    August 10, 2011 | 2:21 pm

    First , thank you for the encouragement and the list of first foods. I made the brown rice today but it turned out really lumpy. What did I do wrong? jamie_arnp@hotmail.com

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  17. Autumn
    August 24, 2011 | 3:57 pm

    Out of curiosity, I know that your family likes raw milk. When do you start giving it to the littles? My oldest started out on regular whole milk at 1 year, but shortly after she started sharing our raw milk (we milk our own cow). Everything I read says NO RAW MILK for young children lol.

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  18. Jenn
    September 8, 2011 | 6:36 pm

    How long does it take to get the legumes (I’m using lentils) to the right consistency? I have been grinding them forever and they seem stuck at the same size (half powder, half too big).

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Jenn,

    Lentils cook up nice and soft so I don’t usually grind those.

    You want to end up with bean flour. Since I use a grain mill for grinding, I’m not sure how long it would take in a blender, but you’re aiming at a flour consistency.

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  19. Sarah
    January 9, 2012 | 12:00 am

    Thank you for this! I’ve been looking for something that was simple and straightforward but healthy too. Very much appreciated! My LO (my first!) is 5 months but still is pushing food out of her mouth so we have a wait some more. :D

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  20. April
    May 23, 2012 | 4:42 pm

    In Nourishing Traditions, she mentions not giving grains to babies under one year old. I just wondered if you have read some information contradicting this because of the grain/bean flour baby food you mention? My eight month old has not started grains yet, but I’m wondering when to begin with him.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’ve not seen anything contradicting this. We start solids ‘late’ with our babies (usually not until 8-9 months) and after introducing fruits and veggies we move to grains (usually around 11 months to a year). I just figure that a month or so early won’t make a big difference. :)

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