Saving Money on Baby Food

It's very important for babies to get proper nutrition as they grow. There are ways to spend less on baby food while still giving them everything they need. This is guide about saving money on baby food.
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August 28, 2006 Flag
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I am thinking about making baby food for our second child so at the store today I checked out the frozen fruit choices. I was amazed that 2 pounds of peaches were $4. If I did the math right, I would get 8 -- 4 oz jars of fruit. I know I would have to add water or baby cereal but I thinking straight numbers here. I can buy baby food 4 oz jars for 50 cents each, so basically my cost is the same.

Am I missing something? We have horrible produce where I live and I can't imagine the time it would take to wash, peel, cut and puree fresh fruit. Canned fruit is not an option for a baby because of all the sugar added.

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Does anyone have any sugesstions for what food is the best to make myself? Thanks so much!

Mindy from Oregon

August 30, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Mindy....I live in your neck of the woods....I cooked and blended foods for both my boys (except with the youngest I did buy some that we normally didn't eat, but switched to "canned" alternatives, like pumpkin (Libby's). If you have a Winco in the area, their prices are the best for frozen veggies, this will cut down the prep time and guarantee the best in terms of vitamins. Cook them until they are just soft (not for the full time) then puree in blender by slowly adding the broth. Freeze in ice cube trays and pop out one-two for a serving (equals about 1-2 tblsp.) This is also handy when you have to go out, as the cubes can defrost! I did the split peas for awhile, as I was on WIC, but frozen peas do not usually have extra salt. You can go fresh if you have a garden, but still buy carrots frozen, as the AAP has warned about nitrates in soil and the carrots can make it worse, so stick with frozen or canned for that (as they are all pre-cooked.)

I also prepped rice based dishes with that, and they ate meats at 6 months (my oldest ate Moose for 6 months, and boy did he grow!) They are easy in the blender too. Buy your applesauce and juice in the regular aisles, don't fall for the fancy baby packaging! You don't have to cook bananas before serving, so that is the easiest baby food! For special cookies, there are many recipes, but zwieback is a nice treat (unsalted crackers are a must during teething!) I also make oatmeal cookies and omit the chips, especially for after doc appointments (cookies are mandatory.) But especially during Thanksgiving, try buying the cans of pumpkin on sale, and if the baby doesn't like them, Nestle/Libby have great recipes for brownies, pies, cakes, etc and they are great for thickening soups. My babies still need their veggies snuck in to their diet, though they eat better compared to most kids (please, only whole grain wheat toast!)

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August 31, 20060 found this helpful
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I made pureed food from vegies and fruits for both my children when they were infants, and even as they were toddlers and the textures began to change. It is true that it is easier to teach kids about good foods and flavors if you use real stuff from the get-go. In fact, my boys now ask for things like asparagus, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes (real, not canned), blueberries, etc, etc, and they prefer my home canned applesauce (without sweetners) to store sauce. My method was to steam a bunch of a certain veggie or fruit, and then puree when it was still somewhat crunchy. Then, I would freeze in small containers and only use what I needed. I also pumped and froze breast milk to mix with cereals. To this day, my boys are good eaters and prefer natural to processed. So, even if it doesn't seem like you are saving money in the short run, you are teaching healthy eating habits an a taste for quality!

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September 9, 20060 found this helpful

Thanks for all the suggesions....I hadn't thought about having the need for them to adjust to "regular" food. I freeze or can most of our dinners (mini once a month cooking) so our food is already seasoned ....but I got the idea from here to set some aside first and freeze it. I saved most of the baby jars.

One thing I did with the first is take unsweented organic applesauce, yogurt (when he was ready) and other baby fruit and mix it with the baby cereal and freeze those. I 'm the type with the two full freezers of everything...lol. Lots of savings there!

Thanks again!

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September 9, 20060 found this helpful

I think you'll do fine, Mindy...And alot more companies are making canned foods with no salt added or less sugar, but read the label to rule out "hidden" sweetners (especially artificial!) If it is just salt, most of it can be rinsed away, and a little doesn't hurt, especially if you don't eat alot of seafood (for iodine.)

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April 16, 20070 found this helpful

October 31, 2008 Flag
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Tips for Saving Money on Baby Food as suggested by the ThriftyFun community.

Use A Hand Grinder To Make Your Own

I made our baby food; the only time I bought was when traveling, and couldn't be sure of ingredients. (The only baby food I did buy more often were the cereals--it was easier to be able to make the small quantities; and I also used them at times to thicken foods.)

I bought the hand-grinder, (around ten dollars) and used it every day. I would save out single ingredients (before mixing/seasoning, and so on: for example, if I was making chili, I would save some plain ground beef for the baby, as well as a few plain kidney beans). I was careful to read labels, and bought items with less salt, etc.) I didn't use salt, sugar, or other unnecessary ingredients.

I also kept a bag or two of plain veggies in the freezer, so I could have some veggies for her if we were having salad, or the like. For the "starch", I often used pastina or nuked a potato, and fork-mashed it.

I had a Tupperware divided dish that I used and made double quantities, so I could save some for the next day's lunch.

I did the ice cube tray thing early on, when we were just introducing foods, so that they might be eating all squash for a week. Later I did it occasionally so that I always had a convenient back up.

My father-in-law thought the grinder was the neatest thing he ever saw, when I first whipped it out at Thanksgiving dinner to grind some turkey and carrots. (She also had mashed potatoes that I gleaned from the kitchen before the butter and milk were added.) My mother-in-law tended to cook like I did--without salt, etc.; so it was always easy to get what we needed.

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I also believe the varied textures of the foods made the adjustment to "real" foods seamless. My kids would eat anything I offered them.

One thing (speaking as a therapist): parents, please be reminded that it can take your baby up to 12 times to try a new food before they will accept a new flavor. Don't offer it once or twice, then stop, because they didn't accept it! (That is how we get kids with a repertoire of four or five things they'll eat!)

By Jilson

Tips On Buying And Making Food

If you are buying food. I always went with the cheaper brands and lots of coupons. I tried the whole baby food making but I work full time and could not keep up with my daughter. So when she was at the sitter, she ate jarred food and at home we made homemade baby food. I used the book "Super Baby Foods" http://www.superbabyfood.com I still use it, it has great tips on what produce is good in what season, how to store them, how to freeze them. One tip I found helpful was getting the old aluminum ice cube trays. The food pops right out. I bought some on eBay. Hope this helps!

By Anner2001

Buy It On Sale And Stock Up

Here's a "good old days" story. You may think I am old but I am only 39! Anyway, when my 10 year old was a baby, the Winn Dixie near us would have .10 a jar baby food specials (limit 10 per visit). I would go every day - and send my husband too! Of course we checked all dates. We got several stages and types of food and kept them in storage containers in the kitchen corner. I do not think we ever ran out - but somehow we never had too much!

Buy Smart

My son just turned one - when he started on solid foods I signed up on the internet sites for baby food companies so I would get coupons. Also, near me, the cheapest place to buy jars of baby food is Wal-Mart. I also was able to buy jars of discontinued flavors at Big Lots for 25 cents that were not anywhere near being expired.

When he got a little older, I bought 100% Juicy Juice and mixed it with a little water instead of paying almost $3.00 for little bottles of "baby juice". I also bought MOTT'S no sugar added applesauce in different flavors instead of baby applesauce.

When he graduated to finger foods, instead of buying Gerber Graduates I bought single serving size veggies at Wal-Mart (they come in little one serve containers like Jello) and then I rinsed them very well and just put them on his high chair tray. I also feed my son some of whatever we are having for dinner if it isn't too spicy or hard to chew. He has had no allergic reactions to anything. He also ate things like cottage cheese or chunks of banana.

By Cindy S.

Don't Pay For Convenience

Make your own, it isn't difficult or time-consuming. You are paying for convenience when you buy the little jars. Check your local library for baby food "cook books."

I probably have at least 10 books that I own, purchased at Half Price books and given to me. The Internet is also a resource for ideas.

Use a blender, cheap grinder or a fork. Remember, your infant doesn't need any food other than breast milk until he is at least 6 months old. And, he doesn't need any teeth. Don't continue to feed an 8 or 9 month old baby only finely pureed foods; it isn't necessary.

Google: making homemade baby food. If you truly want/need to save money, don't waste it on convenience foods.

By Grannie

Breast Milk and Homemade Are Best

I'm mother of two and strongly believe breast milk and home made food are the best for babies. I started with fruits juices, like squeezing mango, banana pulp, and apple pulp. I used to give mashed boiled vegetables, boiled potato with little butter. I used to mix samolina in milk make a paste, and give as solid food.

By Subhamitra

Mash Up Dinner Veggies

I use to make extra vegetables when I made dinner and cook them until the mashed up very easily. I would freeze the puree in ice cube trays and when it harden I'd pop the cubes out and store it in the freezer until needed. I also did this with fruit. I would buy fruit in season to save even more money.

By Michele

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November 7, 20080 found this helpful

I wanted to add that an ALL-NATURAL way to preserve baby foods, if they are being stored for any length of time, is to mix in some lemon, lime, or even orange juice.

This is already done in 'natural' store-bought baby foods and many 'organic' adult foods, because lemon and citrus juices are high in ascorbic acid, which is Vitamin C! The acidity prevents many common molds and bacteria from growing in the stored food.

Just a drop or two per tablespoon should help keep foods fresh - as an added bonus, it will also help keep colorful foods vibrant, as it will prevent oxidation.

You can even use freshly squeezed lemon juice, as long as you make absolutely sure there are no seeds or large pieces in it.

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November 7, 20080 found this helpful

I wanted to add that an ALL-NATURAL way to preserve baby foods, if they are being stored for any length of time, is to mix in some lemon, lime, or even orange juice.

This is already done in 'natural' store-bought baby foods and many 'organic' adult foods, because lemon and citrus juices are high in ascorbic acid, which is Vitamin C! The acidity prevents many common molds and bacteria from growing in the stored food.

Just a drop or two per tablespoon should help keep foods fresh - as an added bonus, it will also help keep colorful foods vibrant, as it will prevent oxidation.

You can even use freshly squeezed lemon juice, as long as you make absolutely sure there are no seeds or large pieces in it.

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February 15, 20090 found this helpful

I love the idea of using aluminum ice cube trays from ebay, thanks!

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August 12, 20090 found this helpful

Only my first child ate baby food of any kind. My second child got only breast milk for the first 6 months, then he got some real food from the time he was 6 months old. He started with bread cubes and unsweetened cereals like cheerios. Later, foods that we were eating, he ate - potatoes and carrots are easy to mash with a fork, meats were just cut very small or shredded (these he didn't get until he was quite a bit older, though). He also really enjoyed frozen peas - they were great when he was teething. But still, for the first year it was mostly breast milk. By the time he was 1, he was capable of handling more foods. We never pureed a thing for either of our two youngest children. The youngest had texture issues and wouldn't touch the pureed stuff.

Ripe bananas, avocados, and peaches need only be cut into small pieces. Any veggie can be cooked and cut into tiny pieces. Keep in mind that for the first year, their calories should be coming from breast milk or formula. Solids are just for practice. By the time they should begin to get calories from solids, their bodies are able to handle more foods. Purees really aren't necessary at all for most babies.

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November 2, 2004 Flag
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When my daughter began solid foods, I was shocked at the price of jarred baby food! It is easy to make your own, and is much, much cheaper! There is a lot of info available on the specifics (it's not complicated). You can access this info at your local library, or do a web search. An example of the cost savings: I can get an entire pound of bananas on sale for less than the cost of a single jar of baby food bananas!

By Leann D

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November 2, 20040 found this helpful

Years ago, parents would just chew up a small bite of whatever they were eating and then poke it in the baby's mouth. This seems pretty crude today, now that we have better ways to do it, but before there was Gerber (or blenders or food processors) that's how it was done.

You are right though, baby food is absurdly expensive, and there's no reason you can't make it yourself for a fraction of the price. I wish someone had suggested this when my daughter was little; we were dirt-poor back then but I just couldn't go with the pre-chewing idea, so I splurged and bought the stuff in jars. Heck, we could have saved a fortune and the food would have probably been better for her too. Fresh is just healthier than canned.

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