How to make your own baby food on a budget

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Baby food

Baby food carrot and apple pureeMaking your own baby food isn’t as hard as you might think, and you could save yourself around £30 a month. Here’s how!

Our basic cost table below compares prices for six of the most popular commercial baby food products to the cost raw ingredients – from basic store brands to high-end organic versions.

Whichever way you look at it, you’ll always save money. If you make all your baby’s meals yourself, you can save an average of over £31 a month.

Buy the best ingredients you can afford and remember that frozen vegetables are as nourishing as fresh.

Food Home-made baby food Cost per 100g

 

 

 

Commercial baby food Cost per 100g

 

 

 

Baby rice 1.2p – 20p 33p – 62.4p
Baby porridge 7.5p – 30p 37p – 50p
Fruit puree Apples 10p – 20p 36.3p – 99p
Bananas 7p – 18p
Pears 13.5p – 39p
Vegetable puree Carrots 9.4p – 10p 47p – 82.5p
Peas 9.4p – 88p
Potatoes 5p-15p
Chicken dinner 8.7p – 19.6p 44p – 60.8p
Pasta bolognaise 15p – 24p 37.5p – 50.8p

Timesaving tips

Making your own baby food needn’t take much extra time.

Often you can separate out the baby’s food when you make the family dinner; it’s very easy to make several portions at once to keep in the fridge or freezer.

Plastic ice-cube trays are ideal for freezing tiny portions. Once frozen, tip into freezer bags for storage. Defrost as many as you need.

How to make baby rice and porridge

Baby’s first solid food should be smooth and bland. Rice is ideal, as it’s gluten-free and unlikely to cause digestive problems.

Make your own baby rice with either ground rice or rice cooked for the family without adding salt to the water.

Cook the baby’s portion until it’s soft, and use the back of a spoon to push it through a sieve, or use a hand-held wand blender to puree it with breast or formula milk for a suitable texture. Brown rice contains more vitamins, but takes longer to cook.

Don’t add sugar or salt; babies don’t need sugar and their kidneys can’t deal with salt.

Cool and freeze leftovers immediately, and never keep portions that your baby has eaten from; bacteria grow fast on cooked rice.

Make your own baby porridge the same way as baby rice, either by grinding oats before cooking or sieving or blending oats cooked with milk or water.

How to make baby meals

Once baby takes rice comfortably from the spoon, add other flavours. Give any new food to your baby on its own three or four times and watch for a reaction before mixing it with familiar food.

Sieve or blend steamed or microwaved vegetables or fruit; mash softer food like banana or ripe melon with a fork. Use baby rice to thicken food that’s too liquid. You can add well-cooked and blended lean meat or fish to baby’s vegetables.

Making baby meals interesting

Baby food doesn’t have to be bland. For example, you can use seasonings such as herbs, spices or garlic, or vary fruit flavours with different fruit juices. Never use honey, which can carry botulism.