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As we adults can buy good food from outside or prepare them at home. This option is also available when it comes to infant nutrition. To be frank, we cannot advise one over the other as they both have their advantages and disadvantages in different conditions.
However, for the preparation of baby food at home, you need to be aware of certain factors that are important to mothers and guardians. Adequate knowledge of all these factors helps in making healthy meals free of pesticides, dirt, and other agents that can cause harm to the child.
What Measures Should I Take While Preparing Food for an Infant?
If a mother decides to make supplementary foods for her baby, there are certain measures she should not overlook (especially if the food involved is fruits and leafy vegetables). If the mother picks food that involves leafy vegetables, she has to look out for things such as mud, pesticides, insects, and so on. These leaves have to be washed properly. Depending on the type of fruits and vegetables involved, there are different ways of washing fruits and vegetables. These methods include:
Washing with rice water
If the vegetable is a leafy vegetable, the following steps are required:
- a. Boil some amount of rice and drain it to obtain the rice water.
- b. First, clean off the mud and other dirt by washing the leaves with clean water.
- c. Soak the vegetables in rice water for about 30 minutes. The vegetables should be covered while being soaked.
This rice water method is very much advisable because it removes all forms of residual pesticides from the fruits and vegetables.
Washing with saltwater
If the vegetables are flowers or other fruits like strawberries that are not flat, it is most advised to wash with water that has a little salt in it. This is because most of these substances like strawberries have crevices from which dirt can hide, therefore using only water is not an option. When using this method, the following steps are involved:
- a. Wash the fruits, flowers, or other vegetables with clean water first.
- b. Allow soaking for 2-5 minutes in salt water. This is for the pesticides and other forms of dirt to be well removed.
Peel off the skins
For most fruits and vegetables that have skins, you can clean them by peeling off their skins with a fruit knife.
What Tools Do I Need When Making Supplementary Food?
Well, every mother or guardian has to be properly equipped if he or she decides to embark on this journey of making supplementary food herself. Based on the fact that babies are very selective and their needs seem to change with time, getting all the necessary equipment is very necessary. The tools that you need but are already in your house include:
- A chopping board. This is necessary especially when vegetables are involved. However, chopping boards or substitutes are to be disinfected or washed regularly to avoid infections. Also, it is much more advisable not to use the same chopping board for both household cooking and baby supplementary food cooking. This is to prevent cross-infection.
- Knives. The knife used by the entire household should be different from the one used for the baby’s supplementary food. Please be informed that the knife used to cut raw food and peeling barks for the baby’s meals should not be the same knife used when slicing fruits or other fragile foods for the baby too.
- A grater. This is a very necessary tool as it is used in making silk and puree foods. It is cleaned with a stainless steel wiper. It is to be cleaned and dried after every use. It is best to use a grater for soft foods than a blender because using a grater would make the slices very thin and easy for the baby to eat.
- A steam cooker. Using steamer to cook is a very common cooking method for supplementary foods. Foods cooked with steamer are easier to digest, taste fresh and tender, contain less oil, and do not lose their nutrients in the process of cooking.
However, some tools are not in a usual household kitchen of which the mother or guardian would have to get by themselves. These tools include:
- A small soup pot. This pot saves time and energy as it is faster than an ordinary soup pot.
- A meat grinder. This simple tool holds extreme importance in the production of supplementary foods. It should be soaked in water before use.
- A juicer. Fruits and vegetable juice are to be added after three months of artificial feeding. When making a choice, go for the juicer that has a detachable filter. This is because it is a common tool and it is very easy to breed bacteria if it is not cleaned properly.
- Filters. It can be in form of a net or gauze. It is to be soaked in hot water before every use, then dried and washed properly after every use.
- Stirrers. It can be in any form, but it is mostly a stick-like object. It is used for making foods or stirring. They can be replaced with a blender. Make sure it is always cleaned before and after use.
When sterilizing these tools, make sure they are done one after the other. Do not forget that plastics are not to be sterilized under high temperatures.
Are There Common Recipes for Supplementary Foods?
Of course, there are recipes for supplementary foods! A single ingredient like potatoes can be used to make different types of supplementary food. Some recipes alongside their ingredients and method of preparation are explained below:
Fresh corn juice
Ingredients: sweet corn and water
Method of preparation
- Peel the sweet corn and wash it.
- Detach the corn kernels from the cob with a knife
- Pour the corn kernels into a pot with water, and boil on high heat.
- When the corn kernels boil and start giving out foam, reduce the heat to low or medium and allow to boil for 10 minutes.
- Bring it down and allow it to cool.
- Pour the corn kernels alongside the water into a blender.
- Remove from the blender after blended and filter to remove the chaff
This is how to make proper and healthy fresh corn juice.
Apple rice noodle puree
Ingredients: 1 apple, 2 tablespoons of rice noodles
Method of preparation
- Wash the fresh apples
- Cut the apples and steam in a steamer.
- After being steamed, put them into a blender to make the puree.
- After the apple has been blended properly, add it to the rice paste
- To the mixture, add a little water and stir evenly.
Following this guideline to make a healthy apple rice noodle puree.
Colorful fish porridge
Ingredients: 50 grams of fish flesh, an appropriate amount of rice, an appropriate amount of carrot, a little number of boiled peas.
Method of preparation
- Remove the bone from the fish, and cut the fish flesh into pellets
- Soak the pellets in water several times to remove every form of blood
- Cook rice porridge with a little more water than necessary.
- Ensure all vegetables have been sliced and kept aside
- Into rice porridge, pour the fish cubes in first, and then pour the vegetable cubes and soak normally.
Note: if the child is under the age of one, do not add salt to this colorful fish porridge. The rich taste of the fish is enough to taste the food.
Other essential food substances include rice cereals, minced vegetable soup, carrot rice noodles, and carrot juice. These foods have very high nutritional value, especially minced vegetable soup.
Which Foods Can Easily Cause Allergies In Babies?
Honestly, different babies have different allergies due to different causes. However, the causes of these allergies (that are food-related) can be grouped into major categories which include:
- Seafood especially those that have shells
- Fruits like kiwi, mango, and other hairy fruits
Allergies that can be shown from these foods include diarrhea, vomiting, itching, rash redness, or rash next to the mouth after eating. Mothers are to be vigilant to notice these signs immediately and notice what food or ingredient is the cause. If the signs that have shown are very intense, or the mother or guardian is not able to trace the cause, the baby should be taken to the hospital.
The digestive system of children is extremely fragile; therefore anything entering the moth must be very clean and healthy. Personal hygiene should be maintained at its peak. Foods should be cooked with suitable ingredients and with the proper techniques to preserve their nutritional quality. In this stage of feeding, children show their dislike for certain foods and allergies to certain ingredients; therefore, mothers and guardians should be very vigilant to notice these reactions. Whatever food is given, the health of the child should be the signpost in the minds of the mothers and guardians.