“Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.” Hippocrates
Homemade food is one such platform which allows mothers to meet their growing baby’s nutritional requirements making sure that they achieve their milestones in a timely manner – be it the physical milestones like the regular height and weight gains or the developmental milestones like the cognitive, social and fine motor skills. It is therefore important that we present a diaspora of recipes to the baby, staying assured of its freshness and pureness while meeting all the nutritional requirements.
Some questions keep beeping in our mind when it comes to feeding our babies.
Is my baby eating properly? Is she getting the right nourishment? Should I go ahead with the instant packaged food? Which ingredients should form her platter? Is it possible to prepare a wholesome meal in a jiffy?
Getting the right nourishment is required throughout our lifespan, but PROPER nutrients are sine qua non as infants grow into toddlers, as the baby’s body undergoes dramatic number of changes in a short span of time.
A mother’s concern related to her baby’s food during this phase is that it should meet all the nutritional requirements so that her baby is well nourished. Homemade foods have the advantage of offering healthier and fresher ingredients to babies. They give the mothers the opportunity to present a platter of colourful meal to her little ones, so that they get all kinds of essential macro and micro nutrients.
Advantages of Homemade baby food…
Lack of proper nutrition can lead to malnourishment which can impede body’s capability of growing and staying healthy. Under nourished babies can have poor wound healing capability, severe loss of weight and hampered mental health. Therefore, giving right balanced nourishment is not only a must but imperative.
Hence the importance of right nourishment cannot be underestimated. Moms can plan out homemade meals in a such a way that one time they can give calcium enriched food, while in the next meal iron rich food can be given while the mid meal can be the one loaded with vitamins.
In short, the baby’s meals should be nothing less than being a powerhouse of proteins, vitamins and minerals. The question that arises here is HOW? This answer is lost somewhere in this new era of commercialization. The ancient whole grains like the millets, quinoa, amaranth are the real superfoods and have remained unpolished since years. They are mainly composed of fiber and starch and have all the three layers of the grain – bran, germ and endosperm intact. They get digested slowly and maintain gut health. Sprouting these whole grains not only makes it easier for the tiny tummies to digest them with the limited digestive enzymes they have but also increases the nutrient absorption multi-fold.
Although whole grains should be a part of the baby’s diet, we must not forget that fruits and vegetables are equally important and its essential to incorporate them as well in good amount of servings in the baby’s diet. They are an excellent source of vitamins and help keep the body hydrated. Hence its always advisable to prepare baby meals using whole grains with added fruits and veggies that not only enhance the taste but also add to the nutritional value.
Thus, a balanced diet that can provide a wholesome nutritional package to the little ones, is detrimental in meeting the required weight and height gains along with other milestones.
The weaning journey…
With the numerous questions in our mind, when we set on a journey where any kind of information or any advice is always most welcome, we are often guided by the experienced ladies of the house, friends and relatives. Their guidance along with our access to almost any kind of information in this new era helps us take informed and smart decisions.
We all know that homemade food is the best choice for our little babies, especially when it comes to the first foods or the stage 1 baby foods. We start looking for options for 6 month baby food as soon as our baby turns 6 months and is ready to explore the world of textures and flavours.
The whole grain mixes can be prepared ourselves by sprouting, drying and grinding grains in a batch and stored in a refrigerator. But the process is definitely time-consuming. So, in case we are short of time, and we need to look for healthy options for babies outside home, we must always keep in mind the ingredients that should go in – Organic Baby Food that’s pure, hygienic and has a variety of flavours with no added preservatives, salt or sugar should top your list.
Homemade Baby Food vs Commercial Baby Food
- Organic Baby Food – Very few brands in India offer organic baby food options. Making your own baby food helps you choose the best of organic non-GMO grains for your baby and keep the harmful chemicals at bay.
- Ingredients – Sugar, preservatives, additives, milk solids, thickening agents etc. are the kind of ingredients we see on almost any baby food. As we all know, sugar and salt are not advisable in baby food until the baby turns a year old. Kidney problems, early dental caries and obesity are some of the buzzwords associated with these artificial taste enhancers.
- Shelf-Life – The longer the shelf-life, the higher the number of preservatives or shelf-stable ingredients it has. Homemade food mixes have a shorter shelf life and hence provide fresh nutrition always.
- Artificial Taste – Artificial flavours and thickening agents just add up to the volume and instant energy and taste but do no good to the health of our babies. Refrain from packs that contain taste enhancers, fruit concentrates etc.
- Be creative – Explore the plethora of options that can be offered to babies and innovate new recipes for them to maximise nutrition.
Instant Homemade Food Mixes?
Knowing about homemade baby food mixes is definitely a boon. Not only can we prepare them in a jiffy by just adding water and giving a boil but also add the ingredients, natural sweeteners, and mashed fruits and veggies of our choice. These mixes allow us spend time with our growing babies without compromising on their diet chart. Just a matter of 5 min to cook a meal that’s as fresh and pure as homemade baby food.
Whole grains, lentils, fruits, vegetables, spices – plenty of ingredients to mix and match and create your own wonderful recipes for your babies! Exciting, isn’t it?
Babies have a very neutral palate which helps them adapt to any kind of flavours. In fact, this is the best time when they can appreciate the natural flavours of the fruits and vegetables which goes a long way in building their taste habits in future. Hence it is important that we don’t load their meals with artificial additives which do more harm than good. Giving them the right palate from the beginning helps them grow into adults who are mindful of their eating habits.
So, let your baby grow to the fullest with the right nutrition and be assured about the strong foundation of healthy eating habits that is being laid.
Give your baby the best possible start to life!