It can be a confusing and stressful time for new parents when it’s time to start a baby on solid foods.  Although it’s traditional to start a baby on solids with a single-grain cereal, there’s no medical evidence to show that introducing solid foods in a particular order will benefit your baby.  Single fruits, vegetables, or meat purees are all good alternative first solid food options for babies.

 

When thinking about first foods to introduce to your baby, consider homemade applesauce.  Not only are many different apple varieties available year-round, they are inexpensive, easy to prepare and digest, filled with fiber, and rich in Vitamin C.  When making homemade applesauce for your baby, choose apples that are firm and free of bruises and blemishes.  Apples such as Red Delicious and Gala have a sweet and mild flavor, whereas Granny Smith apples are more tart.

 

Some parents may only want to use organic foods when preparing baby food at home to help limit their infants’ exposure to any potential harm that could be caused by pesticides.  If a vegetable or fruit is labeled organic, it meets certain standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  For example, only approved fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides can be used, and man-made products are discouraged.  Since apples top the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen (foods with the highest pesticide residue), I chose to use organic apples so that I could use the peel in this recipe.

 

What’s great about this recipe is that it can be easily adapted to meet the needs of your baby.  For younger babies, you can puree the applesauce to a smooth consistency and dilute it with breastmilk or formula.  To upgrade the texture of the applesauce for older babies, simply serve a coarser puree with a few lumps. Homemade applesauce can be used as a single ingredient baby food or mixed with other fruit/veggie purees.  It’s also an excellent way to sweeten slightly bitter vegetable purees like kale or broccoli.  So next time you’re in the grocery store, instead of grabbing the commercial jar of homemade baby food, try making this easy and delicious homemade applesauce recipe for your child!

 

Servings: Yields about 1.5 cups
Total Time: About 25 Minutes
Ingredients:
2 organic apples
2-4 tablespoons of water
A dash of cinnamon
Directions:
Wash, core and chop the apples into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces.  Put the water in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft (15 -20 minutes).  Add more water if mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Cool slightly, add cinnamon and puree to desired consistency.
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Resources:
Feeding Baby Solid Foods from 6 to 12 months of Age: Alberta Government.  http://www.healthyalberta.com/BabySolidFoods-Nov2012.pdf
http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/
http://www.eatright.org
http://www.mayoclinic.com

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