Winning At Weaning: The Benefits Of Homemade Baby Food
If you’re a busy parent juggling work, family life, and an appetite for good nutrition, you may take heart at a recent study which found that children whose parents spend time preparing home cooked food tend to make healthier choices when unsupervised. Starting with your baby’s first foods, you can put them on the path to good health, broad tastes and an enjoyment of sociable eating. From boosting your household's happiness with feelgood foods, to limiting your baby’s fat, sugar and salt intake, cooking from scratch has so much to offer.
In a recent survey, the two principle benefits of homemade cooking were clearly demonstrated; babies who were given homemade food had broader tastes and lower body fat in subsequent visits. Using the information and recipes provided on this site, you can check the nutritional value of your ingredients, and seek advice on the healthiest ways to cook them without, for example, boiling out the vitamin content. This gives you the ability to introduce your child to the foods and tastes you enjoy and to control exactly how much fat, salt and sugar go into them. Since more than one in five British children is overweight or obese by the time they start school, this has never been more important.
Tasty, healthy and easy
The British Nutrition Foundation support WHO advice that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. After that, you can introduce fruit, vegetables and non wheat cereals, before bringing in a wider range of foods. Studies have shown that frozen food can be just as nutritious as fresh stored produce, with vitamins locked into fruit and vegetables, and proteins such as lean meat and fish reheating well without losing their texture or flavour. Why not make life easier by batch cooking at weekends and freezing sauces, casseroles and curries for the whole family, with your baby’s food kept separately in small tupperware pots? This means that on busy weeknights when you’re home from work or between after school activities, you can turn to the freezer for healthy food on demand.
By cooking your baby’s food at home, you can soon begin to introduce them to your family’s favourite recipes and shared meals. From modelling good table manners to helping your child feel part of the family, nothing beats sharing a meal together. If you’re one of the 75% of parents who cook multiple meals due to allergies and dietary requirements at the moment, you may also be able to find recipes that suit everyone by checking allergen and glycemic data in advance.
Cooking from scratch enables you to control exactly what goes into your baby’s food, and to prepare it in ways which optimise its nutritional value. It also gives you the opportunity to share with them your family’s food passions, whether that’s gently spiced lentils packed with iron and protein, or cheesy fish pie, rich in omega 3, calcium and love. By preparing in advance when it’s convenient for you, you can put fun and healthy mealtimes firmly on the menu.
Karoline worked as a nutritionist for many years, before leaving to fulfill her creative passions as a writer. These days, she is more commonly seen at home with her children, where she lives a more balanced lifestyle.