Writing about and teaching about baby food making is what we are all about. As you know from our social media posts, I love sharing the great work that other people are doing in the baby food making world. I am happy, in fact, exuberant to share it all: recipes, products, tips, books, and websites that make baby food making easier, more productive and more tasty and nutritive, One site that is knocking it out of the park is Baby Prep Sundays. I found Baby Prep Sundays on our Instagram feed and I was amazed at the sheer volume of baby food preparation methods that were displayed in beautiful multi-color pictures. When I visited the Baby Prep Sundays site, I was even more impressed. I decided we had to know more and the creator of BabyPrepSundays, Arianny Rodriguez, generously agreed to talk to us. I hope that we asked the questions you would have asked and that you learn some helpful hints.
Arianny, thanks for talking with us today. We love your website. Any mom who shares ways to make feeding baby and toddlers easier is a hero to us!
Can you tell us why you got started with your site, BabyPrepSundays.com?
Aw, thanks – but I’m just a mom helping to encourage other moms to at least try making their own baby food. Actually, BabyPrepSundays started out only as a an instagram account. The website just came naturally a few months later. My friend is the mastermind behind the very successful Instagram account @mealprepmondays. This account is about how to prep your meals for the rest of the week so that it encourages people to eat healthier. I had been following him for years. Then one day last summer, I was at home making my daughter baby food which is what I do every Sunday. Out of nowhere I thought “other moms must be doing this today too!” I then posted my prep to my personal instagram account and tagged @mealprepmondays. I asked what he thought about “babyprepsundays” and he loved the idea! And here I am!
Many new moms are intimidated to make their own baby food. They feel that the baby food in jars on the grocery store shelves are better for their baby and that making their own baby food is too difficult. What would you say to those moms to encourage them to try to make their own baby food?
This is a great question. At least once a week I feature a prep from a real mom that l refer to as “Monster Preps”. This is usually over 100 ounces of food at a time. I do this to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment but I am always reminding moms that you don’t always have to make “Monster Preps”. Even I don’t always make them! It’s about doing what you can – a small prep – any prep is awesome! If that’s what feels right for a mom, then by all means, stick to your small preps. Once you get the hang of that, the rest will fall into place. Also, I think sometimes moms that are new to this imagine it to be a very complicated recipe. It’s the complete opposite of that. Combine any two veggies and or fruits, peel and steam them together, and puree. I bet you that most of the time it will taste amazing. No complicated ingredients, no spices – simple is key. When you use fresh, organic produce, it will be delicious!
What is the most important benefit from making your own baby food in your experience?
For sure the answer to this is that your baby is getting the best nutrients possible. Fresh, clean eating. You know exactly what’s in it. You can’t beat that! Then of course, there is the added benefit of it saving you so much money which all families can use.
What is your most helpful tip in making your own baby food in your experience?
Plan ahead! This is true for when an adult wants to eat healthier and this is true for meal prepping for babies as well. My husband does the food shopping every Saturday so every Friday night I’m planning on what meals I want to make my baby for the week ahead. Usually nothing fancy – pick 3 veggies and 3 fruits. Sometimes I don’t have a chance to make it all but at least I have the ingredients in the fridge for when I do have some time to slot in the cooking.
We see you have an ebook for sale on your site, a getting started guide. Can you tell us more about it?
Yes, it’s intended to be a quick start guide. The basics all rolled into a document that you can read on your mobile device when you have some time. It includes: Food chart by age, how to address food allergies, what equipment options you have, how to cook foods, guidelines for storing food, how to thaw the food and of course my favorite recipes! There are some great bonuses as well like how to plan your baby food prep party and some productivity tips for moms.
What were your babys’ favorite baby foods?
My 1 year old absolutely loves bananas. She eats one almost everyday and she’ll eat anything I make with it, like smoothies. My 4 year old loves rice & beans with ground beef.
What is your inspiration for new and exciting baby food ideas?
Usually it’s what’s in season. I had a great time this past fall making all things pumpkin!
Are there plans for a Baby Prep Sundays Cookbook and/or what is next for your site, BabyPrepSundays.com?
I would absolutely love to feature preps from real moms! I have a few there now but I’d love to really grow that page and show all the cool little tricks that even I’ve learned from moms like using press n’ seal plastic wrap to cover the ice trays. If you’d like to feature your baby prep, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, Arianny, creator of BabyPrepMondays for sharing your ideas, tips, and help!
Sweet potato is a perfect first baby food and it is great for toddlers too!
Sweet potatoes are one of our favorite “first foods” for baby. But once your baby reaches a year old into toddlerhood there is no reason to stop feeding her sweet potato! Make sweet potato fun to eat for her by preparing Mr & Ms Sweet Potato Heads! Sweet Potato heads are delicious, nutritious and super fun to make. It might look like mashed sweet potato alone but it is actually a delicious combination of sweet potato, yogurt, organic honey, and a bit of orange juice combined for the filling of decorated “potato heads.” Use “decorative touches”: olive eyes, carrot stick hair, and avocado mouth was used in this picture. Have fun creating your own. Full recipe below.
Mr/Ms Sweet Potato Heads Recipe from Super Baby Food
(remove the organic honey for baby under one)
Slice 2 cooked sweet potatoes in half. Scoop out flesh, being careful to keep skin intact to be used as a bowl later. Mash flesh and mix with:
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
Replace mashed sweet potato mixture into reserved skin bowls. Use “Decorative Touches” to make eyes, nose, mouth, hair, etc.
Send us your own Mr & Ms Sweet Potato Head creation and we will will post them on our Facebook Page and pick a few winners from the entries for a free copy of Super Baby Food, 3rd edition.!
I had to share this fantastic, easy, delicious recipe for banana and oat pancakes. I found the recipe on Mountain Mama Cooks website and I tweaked it a little. The pictures are all mine!
Here is what I love about the recipe:
The banana oat pancakes are made with organic oats and almond milk and cooked in coconut oil…no white flour in sight. It is also so easy to make. You basically place all the ingredients in the blender and puree it up. It also has some cinnamon in it.
Cinnamon is a super spice! Cinnamon is rich in fiber and polyphenols (think anti-oxidants), is known to be an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It also helps to control blood sugar levels, triglycerides, cholesterol, blot clots and heartburn. Sold yet? Here is the kicker…kids love these pancakes. Make a batch and the whole family will be chewing down on them. Put leftovers in the fridge and the family will want them for breakfast.
Banana – Oat Pancakes, from MountainMamaCooks.com
2 cups gluten free oats
1 1/4 cups vanilla almond milk
1 large ripe, organic banana
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 heaping tablespoon local honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large organic egg
coconut oil or butter for cooking
Place all ingredients, except egg and coconut oil in the base of a blender and blend until smooth. Add egg and pulse a few times until egg is fully incorporated.
Heat a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat and melt a teaspoon or two of coconut oil. When hot, pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side) and serve hot with maple syrup.
*If batter becomes too thick to pour easily, add a tablespoon or two of almond milk to thin.
Beets are so darn healthy for baby (and you too!) because they contain calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and high fiber. With such a great nutritional report card, I know you are excited to get started feeding beets to your baby. Cooked beets can be fed to baby from 9 months old. A beet is a root vegetable and as such, nitrates are an issue. Babies who are under the age of 6 months old have not developed the stomach acids necessary to fight beet nitrates. Since I do not recommend feeding cooked beets to your baby until the age of 9 months your baby will be safe from nitrates.
How to prepare beet baby food
Beets can be baked, boiled, or steamed and then peeled and pureed. Note that you need a little time on your hands to cook beets:
Steam: Wonderful for holding in nutrients but you need the time, it takes about 60 minutes!
Boil: Simmer whole beets for two hours. Peels will easily come off and juices will be better retained in whole beets.
Bake: Wash thoroughly, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 90 minutes to two hours—the larger the beets, the longer the baking time.
Peel and purée: After cooking beets, remove stems. If you wish, slip off peels under cold running water before puréeing. Pureed beets will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
Mix: some great foods to mix with pureed beets: sweet potato puree, applesauce, and yogurt!
Freezing: Use the Baby Food Cube Method or Tray-Freeze Method, and keep for up to 2 months. Remember to store in a stainless steel ice cube tray and then store in a organic waxed paper lined plastic freezer bag.
Storing for later use: Immediately remove the greens so that they do not pull moisture from the root. Leave an inch or two of stem on the root, or it will bleed during cooking. Store beets in the refrigerator wrapped in organic, bleach-free wax paper and then in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.
Beet Baby Food Fun Facts:
Leafy green beet tops are edible
Lemon can help remove beet juice stains from your fingers while preparing cooked beets
Beets in your diet can: prevent cancer, boost your immune system, and reduce blood pressure later in life
Beets may put your baby in a good mood…a substance fond in beets, betaine, may relax the mind thereby improving your mood.
In a pinch, canned beets have lots of nutrition too…not as much as you would preserve making them yourself but enough to make it worth your while.
Gross but interesting fact: beets are a good indicator of the time it takes food to pass through your baby…let’s put it this way…you can’t mistake it!
Quinoa is a a seed…a very powerful seed. That statement is actually redundant because a seed, by design, is packed with nutrition! Even though quinoa is a seed, it can be fed to your baby much in the same way as brown rice super porridge or other whole grain super porridges (barley, millet, oatmeal, etc.). It is a terrific base with nutritive value that you can add other foods to for taste, variation, and texture variety. Consider mixing prepared Quinoa with smashed blueberries for you 8 month old baby.
Quinoa / Blueberry Baby Food Recipe
To prepare quinoa super porridge, grind 1 cup of quinoa to a fine power, cook the powder (1 cup ungrounded) in two cups of boiling water, whisking throughout the cooking process to prevent lumps. Blueberries are a perfect blender for quinoa super porridge. They are full of antioxidants, plus fiber, vitamin A, and Vitamin C. The current wisdom is to feed mashed blueberries when your baby is 9 months to 10 months old. Watch those blueberry peels, though. Make sure they are good and mashed before adding to quinoa as peels can be a choking hazard.
What do you mix with quinoa super porridge for your baby?
Kale is a great choice for baby food, starting at 9 months old
Kale is a super duper green and a great food to your feed your baby at 8 months and older. When you see this great big bunch of kale in the grocery store, though, the thought of preparing it might might seem a little overwhelming. Do not fret.
Kale Baby Food Puree How-to Video
This quick video shows an easy way to prepare kale baby food puree. Remember to mix the pureed kale with a fruit, such as a banana, or yogurt in order to cut the strong flavor.
If you have discovered any tricks to preparing kale baby puree, please share it!
Give Brussels Sprout Baby Food a Try
Brussells sprouts are probably not the first vegetable that comes to mind when choosing a baby food for your baby. They have a bad reputation. Most of us remember being forced to eat them as children. You probably also remember their unique smell as they boil. I am here to suggest that you give them another try. Brussels sprouts are so full of nutrition and goodness. A member of the cruciferous family, brussels sprouts are considered a Super Green Veggie, chock full of vitamin C, folate, lutein other goodies that are too good to miss!
Preparing Brussels Sprout Baby Food
Babies eight months old and older are ready for cooked brussels sprout. (raw brussels sprouts are a no-no for baby) tasty brussels sprouts start with selection. Pick small sprouts whose leaves are tight, firm, and bright green. Select the smallest ones you can, they are sweeter and will have a milder flavor. Pick off any yellow leaves and trim close to the stem. It is important not to overcook your brussels sprouts as they will become mushy and the flavor will be too strong. Best to steam them whole for 15 to 20 minutes until the stem end is done…then puree and add to cereal or yogurt or freeze using the food cube method for a later time.
Preparing Brussels Sprout to Freeze for the Family
I found a terrific blog post on blanching brussels sprouts to be frozen and used either in a family recipe immediately or frozen for future use. MommaToldMeblog describes with some great pictures an easy way to blanch the brussels sprouts, place them in an ice bath so that they do not overcook, and freeze at the height of freshness for future use.
How do you like to prepare your brussels sprouts?
Quinoa – Grain or Seed
Quinoa, commonly referred to as a grain is actually a seed! It is a very special seed. Quinoa’s nutritive value, particularly its protein value is out of this world. It is considered a complete protein (all of the essential amino acids are represented and in correct proportions) and 1/2 cup will fulfill a child’s daily protein needs.
Feed Quinoa to baby
Recommended to start to feed baby at 8 months old, Quinoa can be a super porridge base and I suggest grinding the quinoa to a powder, just as I suggest preparing super porridge brown rice cereal or super porridge oatmeal. Cook the powder (1 cup ungrounded) in two cups of boiling water, whisking throughout the cooking process to prevent lumps. As always, you may cook the quinoa whole and then blend to desired consistency for your 8 month old. Mixing the quinoa porridge with fruit, try a banana, vegetables, or yogurt is always a good idea.
A Super Baby Food fan, (thanks, Amanda) suggests preparing quinoa by blending cooked quinoa with 1 steamed squash, 1 steamed zucchini, 1 banana and a dash of nutmeg with about 2 oz of formula or breast milk. She swears the the taste and texture is perfect for an 8 month old!
Feed Quinoa to Family
Recipes using quinoa instead of meat for protein needs can be very tasty. Here are a few ideas for quinoa recipes for the family:
Vegan Quinoa Stuffed Peppers by Greatist.com
Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna by VegetarianTimes.com
Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-fry by Skinnyms.com
Please share your family recipes using quinoa. Thanks!
Kale is a super duper green and can be fed to baby, cooked, at 9 months old. Raw kale should not be fed before your baby is 10 months old. You already know that kale is crazy-good for you and your baby. Here’s why: It has phytonutrients, crazy amounts of vitamin K, fiber, iron, and calcium. “Phytonutrients are certain organic components of plants, and these components are thought to promote human health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and teas are rich sources of phytonutrients.”
Kale has a very strong flavor, though, so add a cube to super porridge or mix with banana to make it deliciously palatable for baby!
- swish Kale leaves in a sink full of cold water
- remove the stems –I go into a detailed method for removing the stems that is detailed (and entertaining) on p. 195.
- Chop into bite sized pieces
- Steam the kale leaves or sauté in 1/2 cup boiling water in a large shallow pan. (a frying pan)
- Stir just until kale leaves turn bright green.
- Remove from pan and place in blender (blend in the water from the leaves)
- Puree and freeze using the Food Cube Method for up to 2 months.
Share your kale baby food puree recipes, tips and/or food combinations.
Brown Rice Cereal baby food by Ruth Yaron from Super Baby Food – Super Porridge
Super Porridge is a mainstay of the Super Baby Food diet! Do not let the name confuse you. I am simply talking about baby cereal…a first solid food for your baby…the kind that is generally called “rice cereal” and comes in a box wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store. What Super Baby Food teaches is to forgo the box at grocery store and purchase the grains from scratch (oat groats, brown rice, quinoa, millet, etc), ground the grains to a powder and place the powder in boiling water to make your very own, nutritionally superior baby cereal!
Super Porridge is easy to make, full of organic, superior nutrition AND money-saving. What’s more, the porridge is flexible so that it can be part of a toddler diet, a young person’s diet, and even Mom and Dad’s diet.
Super Porridge is made from whole grains, shown here as brown rice super porridge. Brown Rice Super Porridge is super easy to make. As your baby grows, just a few tweaks to consistency and ingredients can provide the flexibility to keep your baby satisfied and growing.
Super Baby Food Fan Tips For Preparing Super Porridge
Our fans have offered their own tips for successful super porridge preparation:
- Blenders that work well to grind those grains: Oster, baby bullet, magic bullet, coffee grinder
- Grind for the full two minutes, even if sounds horrendous…be patient
- Cook the grins first, and then puree!