Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Healthy Baby Foods and Hearty Soups

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post; as always, we only work with brands and products we believe in.

Over the last several months, many of our friends have become new moms (and several more have little ones on the way)! And as their “mini-me(s)” have grown, many of our friends have developed a keen interest in making their own baby food.  So, we thought it would be fun to call upon our friend, fellow dietitian and founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc., Melissa Halas-Liang to share her tips and tricks for how to make your own baby food. 


Without further ado, here's Melissa!

Food for Baby

By Melissa Halas-Liang, MA RDN CDE

Making meals for the littlest members of your family can be both easy and healthy. Preparing baby food in advance allows you to buy seasonal foods at their peak and at a cost savings. Freezing baby food means fast, simple future meals. With the Champion Juicer, you gain complete control over your baby’s food by making it yourself, which will ensure there are no additives or preservatives. You can use a food processor or blender to make baby food, but the  Champion Juicer has dozens of small blades that quickly and efficiently homogenize the food into a very smooth consistency. Another time saving tip is to use your home made baby food as a base for family meals, like soups.



Tips, tricks, and time savers when making baby food

Saving time is important to modern families and by using the same ingredients to make meals that work for baby as well as all other family members, you will reduce your time spent picking up groceries as well as in the kitchen.

To save time when making squash, roast the squash whole. Cutting a large, hard squash in half is challenging! Skip this step and simply place a whole, washed butternut (or other winter) squash in a baking dish and roast it in the oven at 425 degrees F. Just remember to pierce it with a few fork holes, which allows the squash to vent while cooking. There is no need to preheat the oven. A medium squash that weighs roughly two pounds will take about 90 minutes to cook.

If you are freezing leftover pureed foods, freeze them in ice cube trays.  This saves time when you want to use them again because it makes them easily accessible and you will only have to take out and defrost what you need. You can use these pureed cubes in so many different dishes for both your baby and the older members of your family, including in potato latkes, to enhance the flavor and nutritional value of store bought tomato sauces or salsa, in mashed potatoes, or as the glue for vegetarian bean burgers.

If you’re making your own baby food, you don’t always have to think vegetables—fruit is a healthy and nutritious option for your baby, too! Pureed fruit can be given to a baby and then mixed with plain yogurt and frozen in ice pop molds or silicone squeezable molds as a snack for yourself and your older children.  Or, if you make a fruit smoothie for yourself, freeze the leftovers as pureed fruit for your little one.


Using baby food ingredients to feed the rest of your family 

Basic Butternut Squash Soup recipe

Foods you feed baby do not have to be different from the foods you feed yourself and the rest of the family! For example, when making a chicken and butternut squash meal for baby, think about ways you may like to enjoy these foods as well. Add chicken slices to a delicious chicken Caesar salad, or roast the chicken and butternut squash and serve over whole-wheat pasta or wild rice. Use the mashed butternut squash as a base to make a delicious butternut squash soup or as a creamy base for risotto or macaroni and cheese, which will allow you to cut back on the normal fatty ingredients without sacrificing texture or flavor. Add slices of grilled chicken to both dishes for a healthy, lean protein.


How to use the Champion:

To make baby food with multiple ingredients, be sure to alternate each ingredient for an even consistency. Many babies enjoy the mixed texture that results from two or more foods together. You can also run the finished product through the Champion Juicer once more for an even smoother texture, perfect for younger babies.

Now enjoy making chicken and butternut squash puree for baby and butternut squash soup with chicken for your whole family to enjoy.



Basic Butternut Squash Soup


Basic Butternut Squash Soup recipe




Ingredients:
       1 teaspoon olive oil
       clove garlic, minced
       ½ cup sweet onion, chopped
       ½ cup carrots, chopped
       ½ cup celery, chopped
       1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped (or 1 teaspoon ground dry sage)
       1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
       ½ teaspoon sea salt
       1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
       3 cups vegetable broth
       1 15oz can of pumpkin
       1 ½ lbs butternut squash (peeled, seeded, cubed)

Directions:

1.     In a large stockpot, saut√© garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat, until onion begins to caramelize.

2.     Add carrots, celery, butternut squash and herbs through the Champion juicer for smoothest consistency. Alternately, use a standing blender or food processor to puree.

3.     Then transfer to pot, mix in sea salt, pepper and vegetable broth.

4.     Bring all to a boil and simmer for 20-25. Garnish with additional herbs if desired and enjoy.



Squash and Chicken Baby Food (appropriate for babies 7 months or older)

1.     Fit the blank screen (or use homogenizing body) onto the juicer body. Peel and de-seed a medium butternut squash.

2.     Cut into chunks and bake at 375° for 40 minutes.

3.     When making boneless, skinless chicken breast for your family put some aside for baby! Cool and cut into chunks.

4.     Alternate chicken chunks and squash chunks through juicer. For a finicky baby, run mixture through again for a smoother texture.

Time-saver tip: bake the butternut squash whole and peel after it’s cooked. Don’t forget to prick with a fork to allow the steam to escape.

Ingredients:

       1½ cups of the butternut chicken puree
       2 cups chicken broth
       1/8 teaspoon cumin
       1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
       ¼ teaspoon black pepper
       ½ teaspoon salt

Directions:
1.     Stir until thoroughly heated and serve.

2.     Both the baby food and the soup recipes above work for zucchini, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, roasted red peppers, sweet potatoes, and peas as well.



Melissa Halas-Liang, MA, RDN, CDE is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with a Masters in Nutrition Education who is a nationally recognized childhood nutrition expert. She is founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. where she is “saving the world, one healthy food at a time.” Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and discover how good nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her on-line courses blog, Melissa’s Healthy Living.



2 comments:

  1. Ha, yes, I'd totally eat this soup! (Without baby ;) haha)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I feel like I would want to eat this too, haha. <3 I'm actually on my pediatrics rotation right now--maybe I can coerce some of the mothers to make their own baby food for their kids! :D!

    ReplyDelete