Simple Baby Food Recipes

Your baby has entered the whole of solid foods. But, before you go out and buy your favorite brand of baby food, consider your options. What are the benefits of making your own food? What are the easiest foods for them to eat? And what are some quick and simple recipes that won't break the bank?

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Featured Expert

Featured Segments

  • Breastfeeding Remedies

    You breastfeed because you want your baby to have all the benefits. But even moms with the best intentions need some problem solving for their breastfeeding challenges. We’ll help you remedy the situation so you can concentrate on your special bond instead of the barriers.

  • A Parent’s Babysitting Guide

    Don’t let months and months go by without taking a much needed break. Finding the right babysitter can be a challenge, so we’ll provide you with some tips and tricks to finding the best person you can trust.

Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Simple Baby Food Recipes

Please be advised, this transcription was performed by a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.


Katherine Emmennegger : At about six months old, your baby enters the world of eating solid foods. What makes baby food different than adult food? Is that affordable and easy to make your babies food? I am Katherine Emmennegger from Great News! Cooking School to teach you some principles of making simple homemade recipes to make for your baby and this is Parent Savers, Episode 2.

[Theme Song]

KC Wilt : Welcome to Parent Savers broadcasting from the birth education center San Diego. I am your host KC Wilt. Parent Savers is all about helping new parents preserve their sanity by getting new expert advice from the baby years to the toddler years. Be part of our show. Feel free to send us your comments or suggestions to our contact link on our website, or you can call our Parent Savers hotline at 619-866-4775. I am a new parent, my son is 15 months old and I am also joined by three new parents in this studio.

Care Messer : Hi, my name is Care Messer. I am a Hypno birthing educator and I am 39 years. Oh! Actually I just turned 40 years.

KC Wilt : Oh! 40 years that’s Okay.

Care Messer : I have two children one of them is in special needs she is almost 4 years and we are just starting her on baby food.

Dawn Dickerson : Hi, I am Dawn Dickerson. I am just 33 years old now and I am the owner of Mammas and Milk. I teach Prenatal Yoga, Mamma Yoga, Birth doula and lactation consultant. I have two boys and I have my baby food.

Mark Ranallo : Hi, I am Mark Ranalo. I am 32 years. I am a computer programmer. I have a daughter who is five and a half months old now. So, I have not made baby food but we are right on the process of doing it.

KC Wilt : Yeah, it’s good timing.


KC Wilt : Before we start the show here are some great breastfeeding remedies for new parents.

[Featured Segment: Breastfeeding Remedies]

Robin Kaplan : Hi, Parent Savers I am Robin Kaplan, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, owner of the San Diego Breast Feeding Center and the host and producer of the Parent Savers sister show the Boob Group. I am here to offer some advice on different breastfeeding remedies such as how can I treat my sore nipples? Painful sore nipples are the worst thing ever when you are a breastfeeding mom. My younger son is almost 5 years old and I can still remember crying every time he woke up to breastfeed that first week of his life. There are so many horror stories about painful nipples out there that some women are petrified of breastfeeding. So, let me give you the low down about sore nipples and how to prevent and overcome them with a few simple tips and the support of breastfeeding village you should be able to avoid painful nipples, or at least know how to get your nipples back on track. When dealing with sore nipples we have a broad spectrum where these nipples may lie. One side of the spectrum is nipple tenderness and this is normal. I mean, when is the last time you have had hours of nipples stimulation in a 24 hour period? My guess is never or not since the last baby was born. The nipple, this spectrum is painful feedings with maybe some cracking. This shouldn’t happen but it could have been as a result of poor latch here or there. This is something a lactation consultant or a support group leader can take a look at just to make sure. The far end of the spectrum now are bleeding and cracked nipples. Hello, red flag this is not supposed to happen. This is your body’s way of telling you that you could use some assistance from a lactation consultant to see what is causing this pain? And hopefully, figure out how to stop this so it doesn’t keep happening? So, how do you prevent these painful sore nipples? Short and simple, a nice wide latch now you don’t need your whole area in your baby’s mouth but the latch should be more than your little nipple. Also, your baby’s lips should be flange like a fish’s mouth. Lastly, don’t push on the back of your baby’s head to bring him or her into the breast instead try lean back-feeding position. Bring your baby’s torso into yours and his head will follow. The remedies for sore nipples and even slightly cracked nipples are simple. The easiest remedy is to express your breast milk on your nipples right after your baby has fed and let the girls hang out for a few minutes. The next best thing is organic coconut oil; coconut oil is anti-fungal, light and non-cubby and has a minimal scent. Plus you can also use it for diaper rash, bonus! This could be found in your local grocery store in the olive oil section. For those moms with cracked and bleeding nipples, you might need to try a few little options. Hydra gels are great; they use wet wound management and could be placed on your nipples in between breastfeeding. Another great product is Earth Mamma Angel Babies natural nipple butter. Lastly, definitely call a Lactation consultant. When your baby is latching correctly and his or her tongue is doing exactly what it should, a mom’s nipple should not become cracked and bleeding. A lactation consultant should be able to figure out the cause of your pain and offer suggestions of how to fix the situation, a.s.a.p. For more great information about different breastfeeding remedies check out my blog at
and be sure to listen to the Parent Savers and the Boob Group for fantastic conversations about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.


KC Wilt : Today on Parent Savers, Katherine Emmennegger from Great News! Cooking School is with us to discuss how to make baby foods? So, Katherine, let’s start. What are the good reasons for parents to make their own baby food as opposed to be buying in the store? What are the benefits?

Katherine Emmennegger : Well, I know often at times will seem like such a time saver for parents to just go crab those jars of the stores and there are kind of labeled with there are different stages and it makes it simple and easy seeing anyway.

KC Wilt : Yeah, there is stage 1 and stage 2, there is no problem with that.

Katherine Emmennegger : Exactly, but what you are doing is really spending a lot more money in purchasing the pre made baby foods and in all essence, there is a lot of fillers in those baby foods that we don’t really necessarily think about. So, the health aspects and the nutritional aspects aren’t really quite as good as making your own homemade baby food. In fact, homemade baby food just on average can costs about 44 cents a serving whereas purchasing a jar of something readymade can be over $2 dollars of a serving. So, you know, from that aspect alone it makes sense not to purchase something pre made.

Mark Ranallo : Is there any other difference between just nutrition between homemade food and the jarred food?

Katherine Emmennegger : Well, in nutrition alone you can purchase organic fruits and vegetables and things like that, that are seemingly I guess if you go to the store and compare organic foods vs. non-organic in the vegetable department of course we are gonna be spending a little more there to purchase the raw materials to make the baby food. But then if you are looking at jarred baby food that is organic then again we are talking significant price increase of course and then there are again the fillers and such. By making your own baby food home what you can do is have a better control of the cooking time, keeping the nutritional value of the raw ingredient and then storing it the way you like to store it and having it ready to go, we can talk about that as well. But definitely there is more benefit if you take the time may be once a week if you map out a little section of time in your week to make baby food and then stored away you will really will not only save your nutritional value and earn more money too.

Mark Ranallo: Are there certain types of fruits and vegetables where it’s like more beneficial to buy them organic? I know that certain things like bananas, they you know spend a lot on organic bananas but there is only a little benefit from my understanding to buy organic bananas. They are even like frozen.

KC Wilt : Yeah.

Mark Ranallo: You know can we use frozen products?

Katherine Emmennegger: Frozen products is great because in certain circumstances there can be more nutritional value to those than buying fresh.

Mark Ranallo: Okay.

Katherine Emmennegger: Mainly certain vegetables can spoil a little bit faster as a raw product and now this wouldn’t necessarily be one of your baby’s first foods by any means. But broccoli tends to have a very short shelf life when it’s a fresh product. But if you buy a frozen the nutrients will be there because it’s been blanched and frozen right away. By blanching what I mean is it’s just simply cooked minimal amount of time to keep it from changing colors and such when it’s in the frozen state of darkened and what not. But you know spinach and things like that are also good products that are frozen. And again buying organic, if we are looking at, you know, pesticides free kind of thing, we really don’t want our babies eating that kind of stuffs. So, you know, and even bananas actually can also have pesticides on the skin but, you know, if you are peeling and touching the banana then you are kind of transferring that into the food. So you have to be careful regardless whether you are buying organic or not. Apples certainly again also I think it’s very beneficial to buy organic or at least local, farmer markets and certainly, you know, different ways of purchasing things that you can get is a farmer’s market bank. There are plenty places around town that are doing that where you can pick up your vegetables, you know, at different time periods and those on good ways you can get some of those really awesome organic sort of products and the freshest available and then certainly make baby foods from these products as well.


Mark Ranallo: Is there anything like CSA Shares?

Katherine Emmennegger: CSA Shares but there is also special T products on Handcuff streets that has like farmers market bank that you can order and you go online and just kind of tell them what you want to add they do produce as well as meats, cheeses and things like that. So, your whole family can be enjoying those foods.

Care Messer : For example there are other cities as well, right?

Katherine Emmennegger: Yeah, probably.

Care Messer : So, do you think is it important to start our babies with organic food rather than conventional food?

Katherine Emmennegger: You know, I think if you are gonna buy conventional food for the reasons of expense then I would take extra care in washing or pealing, you know, all of these kinds of things that could make a difference to porting some of the things that we don’t want our babies to adjust.

Dawn Dickerson : I know that lot of the fillers in fruits like peaches or strawberries, they collect a lot of pesticides more than the other like bananas let’s say. And I read something that may be new mammas, doula mammas can help me but something about up into the attitude that children’s are very susceptible to the chemicals all over and it affects the brain development. And I thought when I learned that I was like Wow! You know everything we touch nowadays is you know have got chemicals in some sort to help it grow or whatever else keep bigger, better whatever so. That as you were saying like making the baby food it can be cost effective if we even if we buy organic but if we make it can be still cheaper than other stuffs.

Katherine Emmennegger: Absolutely, definitely more cost efficient, organic vegetables, raw product to make your baby food rather than buy organic.

Mark Ranallo: What is some good foods to begin with that are say I mean I, from my Pediatrician we got the, you know, the pamphlet that had that mentioned a lot about rice food, cereals. We bought that we know that seems to be what you would give the babies first. Is that what you give the babies first? Is there anything else or is there an order to it?

Katherine Emmennegger: You know there is not really an order necessarily but I think mapping it out so that you can have some of the easily digestible foods within the first several weeks of trying new things and, you know, making sure that you have 3 to 4 days where the child eats only that and of course breast milk formula, however you have to do that and you know may be working some of the cereal into those fruits and vegetables that you might be trying. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be cereal as the first food. It can be things like avocados, apples, apricots, peaches things like that, Pumpkin, squash, sweet potato very, very good and high in nutrition.

Dawn Dickerson : As it is easy to make pork it with the fork and through the knife.

Katherine Emmennegger: Exactly, very easy again giving the child 4 days of that so that you can ensure that they are not having any kind of allergy or any kind of issue with that.

Mark Ranallo: So, those are the kind of foods that are less potential that have like a less potential to cause allergy reaction.

Care Messer : What foods do you stay away from you know first in a month or two?

Katherine Emmennegger: Oh! My gosh, foods to stay away from would be anything really super acidic or gas causing of course broccoli and things like that. The other thing that I would not do is, you know, season any of the foods like if you are preparing something that you think “Oh! Little salt, little pepper may be some.”

Care Messer : What about make a little cumin or a little bit of garlic salt?

Katherine Emmennegger: I would hold off on all of that, I would keep it very, very simple initially and then save the spices and herbs and things like that till the 8 to you know beyond sort of timing 8, months to beyond.

KC Wilt : And something else to remember with anything new that you are giving to the baby is that it’s not just introducing to the food, it’s also their learning and your skill of eating and being able to move the food to the back of their mouth and there is that kind of process that goes into it too. So, if you can give them the really easily digestible and nutritious and easy to eat things as well one of the reasons why we start with that moves stuff because they are learning how to do that? So, in the beginning they may react say they don’t like a food but it may be that they really are just getting used to it actually.


Care Messer : They are teething. I mean you keep trying but they didn’t not like the foods being the worst phase stop it or keep going the next day.

Dawn Dickerson : I, in the research that I’ve done, it can take babies upto 15 times of trying something before they will accept that.

Katherine Emmennegger: I know. (She laughs)

Dawn Dickerson : It doesn’t mean that you start and keep on going 15 days in a row. No, you don’t like not too bad you can do it again. But if they tend to not prefer something you could wait a little bit and then try again, offer that food again just because.

Katherine Emmennegger: Like cocktail mixing.

Dawn Dickerson : Yeah, the mixing because if they don’t like it one time it doesn’t mean that they are not gonna like it the next time, they have it.

KC Wilt : Thanks, Katherine when we come back we will learn about the best starter foods for your babies and will provide with some simple recipes that you can make at home. Will be right back!


KC Wilt : Katherine Emmennegger from Great News! Cooking School is with us to discuss how to make baby foods. So, how do you make baby food? I mean I gotta if I wanna feed my child I will do banana smashed up. If I want avocado, smash it up but what about peaches? How do I cook it? Start it from the beginning.

Katherine Emmennegger: Okay, well let’s start at the beginning really because when we think about the first foods that we give to the baby, we want to certainly give them something that’s gonna be easy to digest. So, like I mentioned avocados but we also talk about cereals and things like that as being appropriate first food. And of course we can go to the store and buy boxed cereal and mix it up and what not. Usually those have been processed to the degree where they have been precooked, dehydrated and kind of ground up. So, all we have to do is take it out of the box, mix it with some water and warm a bit and it’s ready to go. But what I would suggest is that maybe we potentially start thinking about grinding up some of our own cereal to the form of taking brown rice and using things like maybe a vita mix or one of those blender typed products that will actually grind grain and prepare a flour or buying flours such as Bob’s bread milk produces a very nice brown rice blend for glutton free kinds of diet.

Care Messer : So, if I blend up the flour or I blend up the brown rice and then what?

Katherine Emmennegger: And then you are gonna take up a quarter cup of that flour and shift it or shake it very loosely into boiling water. Now that’s where it’s going to get tricky because if you want to create a thicker sort of cereal for the baby, then you are gonna use less water of course. But more water will give you the loose sort of consistency that possibly your baby would like to have. So, what you can do is anymore from three quarters to a cup of water boiling and then again shake that flour into a constant stirring for your grind to receive a properly cooked product and then it will give you that wonderful cereal and that nutrients will be there because now you are using a whole grain that we have ground ourselves. It’s an organic product possibly and, you know, you are gonna just have a lot better….

Dawn Dickerson: How can you store it because I can’t do that every single time I need my baby to have cereal? Can I store it for future use?

Katherine Emmennegger: You can grind the grain and store that for future use and I would recommend if you have got space in your fridge or freezer may be store that dry flour product that you have prepared in that refrigerated environment so that it won’t go rancid. Of course, you will be using it pretty rarely but it will just hold up a lot better and be a lot more healthy. You know, planning a little bit yes, of course in cooking and it will take maybe, anywhere depending on the type of grain that we are using 5 to 10 minutes to cook properly. And yes, you can put it in microwave if you wish to and have it ready within a minute or two. That would be again a personal decision as to whether or not the microwave is something you wanna do.

Care Messer : Okay, my question is if you know the broccoli is already frozen in the freezer, can I, do I take it out and thaw it and then make my baby food and then refreeze it or am I giving it to them right after I thaw it?

Katherine Emmennegger: If you are dealing with frozen vegetables and such then it just makes it really convenient because you can take out only what you need for that time and thaw it appropriately whether you are pulling it out, putting it into a container and putting into the refrigerator to thaw, and then processing it for the use maybe the next day or however you are planning the meal. Or, you know, you can just quick thaw it in either a water bath as you maybe place it into a zip-loc bag or something of that nature or some kind of container and set that into a water bath and thaw it. But refreezing it after you prepare it would not be a necessary option at all or really not a good option.


Mark Ranallo: So, the best option seems to be buy fresh, prepare and then freeze if you have to freeze.

Katherine Emmennegger: That would be the ideal flavor, I mean you know, the baby is learning about these flavors and textures.

WC Kilt : He is fine he doesn’t need enough flavors. (The group laughs) There is some salt in it you know…..

Katherine Emmennegger: I look at it as a laying a fore ground to future textural and flavored sort of complements. And what we wanna to do is get the babies kind of ready to enjoy those flavors later as they grow older because, you know, you don’t want them to turn around and go “Cheese! That’s really nasty” you know, “I don’t want to eat this.” But, you know, even though my daughters first feed was avocado I have to say that for years she would not touch an avocado. It’s now that she is 17 years that she is actually eating avocado again but you know so we can’t really gauge on what’s gonna happen there, but we just really wanna lay some really good ground work of, not only the nutritional aspects but you know, we want them to be able to eat healthy and understand that “Hey, that does tastes good and I like it.” And if it doesn’t tastes good or it’s texture is not pleasing then they are not gonna go for it.

KC Wilt : So, you have walked us through on how to make rice cereals? Now, how do we make the fruits and veggies?

Katherine Emmennegger: Fruits and veggies basically the same kind of process now for the very new baby eating process you wanna take just very plain, no butter, no oil you know nothing is going to….

KC Wilt : Tastes good…[laughs]

Katherine Emmennegger: You know we are trying out new things we wanna just map out what’s good work for them whether it be an allergy or other. But for instance, I love the idea of feeding my babies squash or you know really beautiful yellow squashes from the winter sort of variety of kabocha, those deep sort of green little pumpkin shaped squash that has such great flavors or butternuts or any of those. And what I do with those rather than cutting them in half and seeding them and putting them in the water bath to cook in the oven, I just take it and poke some holes into either with the paring knife or fork or something that kind of nature to poke the skin a little bit and then put it on the heated oven under 400 degrees and let it roast therefore. It takes around 40 minutes depending on the size of squash and then you will go ahead and ensure that it is tender again with a knife or fork or something. And then pull it out let it cool and cut it open get those seeds out at that point and then scoop out the flesh and puree that, once it’s cooled because it’s going to be hot and then you can put it either in the ice cube tray and freeze it in that form or however you know, little containers you would like to do. Adding water as you process is definitely an option but then you have the possibility of putting a nice purified water if you have such thing.

KC Wilt : Or breast milk?

Katherine Emmennegger: Breast milk, absolutely. You can do basically the same kinds of things with carrots and green beans you wanna steam those. And sometimes when we’re talking about green beans or peas you know, with the skins or the streamy fibers that are included, you may wanna hold off on those until the baby is little bit more experienced eater because of the issues that we just discussed in terms of swallowing and working that food back into in the mouth there. And you know certainly it just rolls simply things that are soft by nature like bananas and things like that, we can take and smash. The avocados, take and smash, don’t need any extra cooking or processing of any kind. Again with apples, pears, you can kind of steam those a little bit and then process those. You can incorporate, once the baby is more experienced and has the mind to determine that they are not sensitive to any of these things you can incorporate two things together or three even if you wish. And like we mentioned earlier incorporating little sweet with some of these things that aren’t so pallettable or that the baby finds pallettable in order to kind of entice them to eat it. Of course adding a little bit of sugar, it helps the medicine go down as we heard that sometimes we wanna hold off on the sweet things because first of all they fill the baby up and we wanna get the high nutrient kind of items in first. But, nonetheless, they are kind of keeping them from enjoying or understanding that they should enjoy some of these green leafy and things like that as they grow older. So, we don’t necessarily want them to choose the sweet things first and that’s why I always recommend that you know, we try to go with the not so sweet items as the first foods and……


KC Wilt : Like vegetables and some sort of?

Katherine Emmennegger: Yeah, like avocados are really ideal and sweet potatoes even though they are on the sweeter side they are but not kind of like having a banana or peach. Do you know what I mean?

KC Wilt : When I was in Italy, and my son was four months old and baby foods there, the second ingredient is sugar and I was so surprised I mean it’s one of the things that I wonder you know what’s the hidden sugar in our jarred food that we kind of start this process of feeding our child cookies and treats and stuffs like that and try to like “Okay, no I want my child to back up start at the beginning.” And then, like your food without salt like your food without sugar”.

Katherine Emmennegger: Or butter or any like even with the cereals. The tendency is they get a little older to add butter but you know, we have talked about adding breast milk to foods and such and that has a natural sweetness to it as well. So, you know, by doing that we can again give them the flavors that will entice them to consume it.

Mark Ranallo: How long is the baby gonna be eating like mostly pureed foods and what point do they move on?

KC Wilt : That is the pizza?

Mark Ranallo: Yes.

Katherine Emmennegger: That is a great question. You know, I when I was growing through my kids and they both were of course very, very different and I tried very hard to make sure that they only either breast milk or formula up to six months. But my son who at 4 months started of course getting teeth and you know he was just going crazy every time we were sitting down for a meal. So, you know, we tried very much to just give them pureed stuff but eventually very shortly after his beginning eating, he needed to have something more. He was the kind of person that gave us the indication that he was ready.

Mark Ranallo: The individual?

Katherine Emmennegger: Yeah, absolutely individual, absolutely, you know, just let the baby lead you. Don’t be you know, kind of stuck into a book telling you what to do. Of course the doctor is always there to help you guide you.

Mark Ranallo: Yeah.

KC Wilt : Thank you so much Katherine for helping us to create homemade foods for our children. So, we didn’t discuss all the recipes that we wanted today but we got to talk about a few. So, look for this on our website, you can download them at Just look for our episodes page on the website for today’s topic “Simple Baby Food Recipes.”

[Theme Song]

KC Wilt : Before we wrap up today’s show here is the Parent’s Guide to Baby Sitting.

[Featured Segment: A Parent’s Babysitting Guide]

Jody : Hi, Parent Savers this is Jody with Urban Sitter, a website that connects you to friend-tested sitters. I am here to help you figure out the right questions to ask when searching for a baby sitter such as “I used to sit her nobody is dead, Shall I use her again?” The first time you leave her alone with your kids make it up for a short time that way if anyone melts down including the sitter its short lived. “Does the sitter wash the snack plate? Is the plate missing? Or did she leave it on the ground with ants marching towards it? Are the toys put away? Or did she offer to help put them away? Was TV allowed in your household? And was it on when you got home?” So, if your child can talk, this is great input. But when your child is too small to communicate, you have to look for the details. “Is the baby’s diaper wet?” Or that I have to tell sometimes that you are not mom. If everything appears to have gone smoothly then try it for a bit longer. Don’t worry it’s completely normal to check your phone every 2 seconds to see if the sitter called. When my husband and I went out for the first time after our daughter was born, I set my phone right in the middle of my table so that I could see if the sitter was gonna call. And we joked with our waiter about how paranoid I was. He even bought us a bottle of wine, what great way to top of the night? Okay. Parent Savers its time say Hello to your old friends spontinaety. Visit to find a book baby sitters, your friends know and love.

KC Wilt : That wraps up today’s episode. We would love to hear if you have a parenting topic that you would like to suggest or if you have questions for Katherine about today’s show on topics that we discussed call us on our Parent Savers hotline at 619-866-4775 or send us an email through our website and we’ll answer your questions in the upcoming episode. Coming up next week we have Dr. Sears with us to help us to navigate the vaccine basics. Thanks for listening to Parent Savers, empowering new parents everywhere.


This is been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Suggestions and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. For such information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical or advisor care. And should not be used for diagnosing or treating house care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please receive assistance from a qualified health care provider.

[00:31:07] End of Audio

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