We screwed up big time with the four-year-old. I got stuck in a trap, and have been trying to get out of it for... 3 years? It's the baby food trap. Let me be clear on the front end here, I generally don't have an issue with purchased baby food for convenience. My beef with baby food (the kind that lines the shelves at your local grocery store) is that it gives you the impression that it is what you NEED to feed your baby.
I was about 3 weeks into feeding the four-year-old baby food (not when he was four... when he was a baby) when I realized that the bananas that I was buying from the store, were nothing more than mashed up bananas. I was eating a banana when I realized it. I took a fork, mashed the banana, and voila -- mashed bananas. That was the end of the purchasing of banana baby food. About a week later, I realized that the applesauce I was feeding him out of the little jar, was the same as the applesauce I eat out of a big jar. So, I only bought big jars from then on. Only for some reason, I was never able to translate that to his other foods. Sure, at some point, we transitioned out of giving him the pureed food in a jar, and transitioned him into finger foods, and more of what we were eating... sort of. I have to say, though, the jarred food had really messed with my mind. Even though I had always planned on making our own food for him... I grew to depend on this food in a jar for the convenience, and then I was stuck in a box... okay, a jar. In any case, we ruined the four-year-old something awful. Here's where it's particularly heartbreaking... Mr. Lindstrom and I are foodies. We LOOOOOOOVE food. Lots of food and lots of different kinds of food. The four-year-old... not so much.
So, when the Twinstroms were ready to start eating solid food (which Mr. Lindstrom often called "people food." Which still makes me kind of laugh... for obvious reasons) we were going to take a whole different approach. Partly out of necessity, and partly out of and urgent need to not fall into the same rut we did with the four-year-old, we began offering them some version of whatever we were eating during our meals. Save for those high allergen foods (peanuts, tree nuts, strawberries, egg whites, the like) we made good use of our food mill, immersion blender, and Magic Bullet to puree our dinner within an inch of it's life and hand it over to those sweet little growing babies. I never once have worried about what they were going to eat for dinner, they will (for the most part) eat whatever I put in front of them, and I feel like, with these two, we are well on our way to raising adventurous eaters. Now, don't think that we didn't feed them some prepared foods in a jar -- we TOTALLY did when it was convenient, but for the most part, we have given them what we are eating. As for the four-year-old, we are still undoing a lot of the damage we accidentally did with him. I say he is a picky eater, but the truth is... I sort of made him that way by not giving him the full range of options that were available to him from the get go. Every time I have a showdown at the dinner table with him about trying something ("Just one bite. Seriously, just one. You don't know if you don't like it. You haven't tried it yet...") I think to myself, "you created this monster, deal with it."
Really, all you need to make your own baby food is some sort of blending apparatus, and some ice cube trays. There's not much more to it. Plenty of companies are marketing their baby food apparati, and they are probably all just fine, but it complicates what should be the simplest action - eating. As long as you're paying attention to keeping the allergens OUT of the food you're feeding and being particularly mindful of potential cross contamination, there is nothing difficult about making your own baby food. I tell you this because if you're on the fence, or you'd like to do things a little different than you did before, I want you to know that it takesno extra time to cook for your babies, especially if you maintain a healthy diet. They are just fine eating a version of what you are and you won't waste a whole lot of money on a pureed version of what you could make yourself.
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