According to an article by Parents, manufacturers are not required to disclose the percentages of ingredients in food, including baby food pouches. That could mean there’s a scrap of kale and quinoa sandwiched in between a smörgåsbord of filler purees without any real nutritional value. It’s anyone’s guess what’s really going on.
These baby food pouches may be nutritionally misleading, but they’re convenient to toss in a diaper bag to combat a freak-out at the playground. And while our own mothers lament that they had to feed us with spoons and let us lick applesauce off our own trays, today’s babies are going to throw that mess against the wall unless you present it in pouch form.
Plus, we all know how important it is to get baby up and running and ready to self-feed. One of the easiest ways to do that in those early months is with a handy little pouch. But don’t confuse easy with inexpensive. Strolling the baby food aisle of any grocery store presents itself with a dilemma: buy hundreds of pouches at $2-$3 a pop to get you through the month, or pay the mortgage. Hmmm….
Fortunately you can make your own delicious and organic baby food pouches at home without breaking the bank. You can even disclose your own ingredient percentages to your baby, who will surely be sitting on the edge of her high chair in anticipation.
Not into pouches? All of these healthy, homemade baby food recipes can also be spooned into the hundreds of leftover baby food jars you’ve amassed and re-purposed. Refgierage or freeze until you’re ready to go!
1. Pineapple and Broccoli
Who doesn’t like a good pouch of puréed pineapple and broccoli? We’re guessing that would be everyone besides a baby. This simple pouch just needs two ingredients before you’re ready to squeeze into your reusable pouches. This recipe gets bonus points for pineapple’s Vitamin C and manganese, and broccoli’s fiber, Vitamin B6, and other goodies.
Family Food on the Table suggests one cup of cut pineapple and 2/3 cup of cooked broccoli florets. Throw into a food processor and purée until your pineapple-y pouch is ready to go.
2. Blueberry Bonanza
You can add potassium and a jolt of health into just about anything with a banana nearby. This tasty-looking recipe combines antioxidant-rich blueberries and a lone star banana.
Super Healthy Kids advises throwing a cup of blueberries and a banana in a blender or food processor and letting it whip until smooth. This smooth and tasty treat can also help prevent constipation and is super easy to make.
3. Rockmelon and Raspberry Purée
Get the party started with a rockmelon and raspberry-infused purée that will knock baby’s socks off. And yes, we get it. Your baby probably pulled off her own socks already.
Little Mashies recommends throwing together 1/2 cup of raspberries and a cup of melon before puréeing it to perfection. But we’re thinking an additional 1/4 cup of strawberries will sweeten up this pouch and add some fiber. Because we all know the party really starts when the fiber takes effect. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
4. Cannellini Bean Purée
Cannellini beans make for an amazing, healthy baby food purée with a little basil or other herbs to jazz it up. This bean is also stuffed with antioxidants and has a detoxifying effect on the body.
Weelicious features an elegantly simple cannellini bean purée recipe with a cup of cannellini beans, 1/4 cup of red bell pepper, and dash of mint. For the true culinary baby, include cilantro. If your kid still isn’t digging it, add a dash of fresh lemon juice to give it some citrus flavor. Or just give him a truck to play with while he mindlessly sips away at his beans. That works too.
5. Broccoli, Pears, and Peas (oh my!)
A recipe including peas just begs for a home garden in your backyard. The combination of broccoli, pears, and peas makes for an awesome source of vitamin K, not to mention tons of fiber and magnesium.
The Organic Authority advises using 16 ounces of cooked and puréed broccoli before adding in 10 ounces of cooked and puréed peas. The finishing touch is three medium puréed pears that are ready to be touched up and devoured after nap time.
6. Oh, Avocado!
We love the idea of this incredibly simple yet healthy baby food purée. Take two avocados, peel the skin, and remove the seeds before throwing into a blender. Blend until smooth and you’ve got a delicious pea soup-looking baby dish ready to pouch up.
Here’s a bonus round on avocados: they boast even more potassium than their spotlight cousin the banana. Avocados are also loaded with fiber and super-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids to help your baby’s heart.
7. Carrot, Apple, and Prune Purée
This recipe from the Green Forks sounds like something they would do on Top Chef and scramble against the clock before adding in that surprise prune.
Steam your carrots and add the applesauce in while it’s still hot, and mix together. We suggest adding in your prunes when the purée has mostly cooled off and tossing in a food processor or blender until smooth. You might want to save one to eat yourself, or deal with the judgemental staredown from your baby as you sneak tastes for yourself.
8. Mango, Pears, and Kale
We admit it: we kind of want to try this one ourselves. Mango, pears, and kale just remind us of a fruit salad gone right, where kale steals the show. Why is this one so good for you? It’s got Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium, iron, and calcium, to name a few.
Baby Foode recommends using 2 red mangoes, 2 pears, and a cup of packed kale. If your baby has a refined palate, try a teaspoon of ginger for additional flavor and nutrients. Cook it up and place in blender until nice and smooth.
9. Green Veggie Monster
Anything with the word “monster” in it is sure to be a hit with babies and toddlers alike. This recipe inspiration comes from Hint Mama with recommendations to throw together 1/2 cup of puréed green beans, 1/2 cup mashed avocado, and 2 tablespoons of applesauce. To go ultra high-end monster, use homemade applesauce.
Worried about your baby getting enough protein? Those green beans can help. Green beans are stocked up with protein, as well as chromium and Vitamin B1.
10. Pumpkin Applesauce
Nothing says Fall like a pumpkin applesauce pouch! And also pumpkin beer, of course. Save the beer for the grown-ups, and put together a baby pouch filled with Vitamin A and carotene-packed ingredients for baby.
Little Green Pouch suggests a cup of organic canned pumpkin, but if you want to go nuts, opt for the all-natural stuff. Add three cups of organic or homemade applesauce and cinnamon to taste. Save this little gem and give it to your baby when you want to avoid kicks to the head as you get ready to buckle her into the car seat.
You’ve probably noticed nothing on this list is a big shocker or a People’s Choice Food Award winner. You’ve already seen all of these delicious-sounding pouches lining the shelves at the grocery store.
And that’s the beauty of homemade pouches: you can replicate the store-brand kind just by looking at the ingredients, or even just the name. Pouches are also a good way to pack more nutrition into your baby’s day while using up leftover fruit and veggies from the day before. All you need is a blender or food processor and a pouch system.
If you’re new to the homemade baby food pouch game, you may have no idea how to actually get that purée you just created with your bare hands into a pouch. Look for a starter kit from a company like Foodii or one of their competitors for easy squeeze snack packages. A quality set should also come with a silicone soft spoon that can attach right to the pouch and encourage self feeding.
And perhaps the best part of homemade baby food is putting your older kids to work on these recipes. You lovingly “supervises” this culinary science experiment while surfing your favorite guilty pleasures. Like photos of clean houses.
Do you make your own baby food pouches at home? Let us know what your favorite recipe is in the comments below!