Cheap & Easy Homemade Baby Food Recipes Using Pantry Staples
Hey ladies, its ya girl comin’ at you with war makeup and a DIY shaved mohawk, prepped for the thunder dome. I know we’re feeling all types of ways about this coronavirus thing. Scared, anxious, and bored from self-quarantine. We aren’t very certain of what the future is going to hold for us, but I think I speak for many when I say we are going to take a financial hit from this. That is a very scary prospect.
Like many of you, I have a baby who is of age to eat real food. And I’m noticing some scary shortages in the super market. What started as toilet paper has now spread to baby wipes. People who don’t even have babies have begun purchasing baby wipes for their adult behinds! I’ll reserve all my name calling and F-bombs for my personal Facebook page and leave it there (I am heated about this subject). Produce is beginning to run scarce as well in many places. I’m praying the baby food isn’t next.
For that reason, I’m providing some quick baby food recipes and tips on how to stock pile on baby food. But first, allow me to share this info graphic on DIY baby wipes for just in case, you can find how to make them here.
Ok great. Now disclaimer time: DO NOT AND I REPEAT DO NOT PANIC BUY. DO NOT OVER STOCK WITH MONTHS WORTH OF FOOD. PLEASE BUY WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR YOUR FAMILY SO THAT THE STORES CAN KEEP UP.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way lets begin.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes (yams) are a high-yield produce, meaning a lot of baby food comes from these awesome taters. I love yams because they are jam-packed with nutrients for brain function and the developing mind, and even has cancer fighting properties. Look it up! You will love adding this into your baby's diet. I purchased four yams from my local HEB for about $4 with tax. These yams turned into NINE full jars of sweet potato puree! They even came in a microwave safe bag, so all I needed to do was nuke the suckers, throw them in a blender with a half cup of breast milk (water will do just fine) and blend. Bam! Done.
This was the easiest recipe and it made excellent dinners for my daughter. If your baby is ready to be eating multiple things at once, then you’ll likely be able to use half a jar a night as a side paired with their main course. When you do that, those nine jars turn into 18 if you use proper refrigeration. I try to use these as dinner or dinner sides because they are filling.
2. Kidney Beans
Speaking of filling and high-yield, kidney beans are an excellent source of protein and are full of iron, fiber, folate and magnesium. I prefer to use beans as a substitute for meat because they're easier to make and have a higher yield for less cost. Now, I’d be a little careful with these if your baby is just starting out on solids and/or has gas sensitivity. Remember, “Beans, beans good for your heart. The more you eat, the more you…!”
I spent $2 at my local market for a POUND of kidney beans. This was the easiest thing to make, all I did was soak the beans in cold water in the fridge overnight, then drain and blend the following morning. That’s it! And I can’t tell you how many jars it made because I RAN OUT AND STILL HAD HALF A BLENDER LEFT. I want to go out on a limb and say anywhere between 17-20 jars could have been made if I had known to prepare better. Be warned, one pound of kidney beans approximately makes a bath tub amount of beany beany baby food. Also be warned, it comes out looking the same way it went in.
3. Fruits and veggies
My mother raised me to always pair a green veggie with every meal, and green beans are my favorite! They too, are an easy, inexpensive and relatively high yield green veggie. My market sells them for $2/pound. One pound of green beans is enough to fill up a small cruise ship. Approximately. So don’t worry about filling up a big ol’ bag!
Most fruits and veggies pretty much follow this simple recipe: steam until soft and blend with a little bit of water or breast milk. Just remember to cut off the hard stems of the produce. Steam and blend times will vary, of course, depending on the veggie. I eyeball everything. If I can easily stab it with a knife I consider it done.
Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are excellent for antioxidants. I love to make “snack packs” out of them. I throw in a banana to counter the tart taste and sometimes even throw in a little spinach for added antioxidants and nutrients. Be careful, these stain! All berries are great tasting and healthy and can be interchangeable in case you store is running short. They can also be kind of pricey and the smaller berries tend to have a small yield and can be runny so I never blend them alone.
Here are some quick pro tips.
For fruits with skins, don’t worry too much about peeling them because the skins have the most nutrients!
Remember to cut the hard stems off. This includes spinach.
Spinach tends to puree super loose and watery for me, I like to mix it with other, more binding fruits and veggies.
If your baby is ready for multi ingredient purees, mixing is a great time saver and can help make produce go further. I mix apples, pears and a handful of blueberries all the time.
If you buy a lot of produce, prepare to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Two large apples and one pear will get you a surprising amount of jars, so start there before you go buying bags of fruit in bulk.
Have an older baby who likes to chew, but isn’t quite ready for hard foods? Just skip the blending step and dice up the soft steamed produce.
Always freeze the jars. Every night, move the next days meals into the fridge.
Be sure to have plenty of freezer space!
So whether you’re in it for survival or to save money after the inevitable market crash (it’ll get better soon) by going home made, you’ll be paying cents on the jar vs. dollars.
All pricing mentions are based off prices at my local HEB in Texas, prices may vary.
JOIN THE SOCIALMAMA TRIBE!
Download the best app for moms to find support & friendship on App Store and Google Play.
About the contributor:
After seeing her first episode of Gilmore Girls, Sarah Diehl had been obsessed with the idea of becoming a girl mom. Now, she has Audrey and Serenity! Sarah lives in a beautiful and quirky small town on a lake with her dogs, cats, and her husband, Chase. She is a photographer in her spare time because she loves showcasing the world in a different way, something she finds enlightening and inspiring.