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As important as feeding babies appropriately is you cannot cut corners in growing a healthy baby. However, without compromising you can save money on baby food. The number one way to save money on baby food will be talked about in this post and how to go about it so make sure you read to the end. Hence, Stop wasting money on baby food and do this one thing you are about to learn.
Essential vitamins Babies Need
We will be looking at the critical growth period between 6 months and two years. Babies require a range of essential vitamins crucial for their development. Here are some of the major vitamins and their roles:
1. Vitamin A: Important for healthy vision, immune function, and cell growth.
2. Vitamin D: Essential for absorbing calcium and phosphorus, promoting healthy bone development.
3. Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage, supporting immune function.
4. Vitamin K: Necessary for blood clotting and bone metabolism.
5. Vitamin C: Aids in iron absorption, supports the immune system, and helps tissue repair.
6. B Vitamins: This group includes thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). They play vital roles in energy production, nervous system development, red blood cell formation, and DNA synthesis.
Breast milk or infant formula usually provides these vitamins in adequate amounts during the first months. As babies start consuming solid foods, introducing a variety of fruits, vegetables, and fortified cereals can help meet their nutritional needs. However, sometimes pediatricians might recommend supplements, especially for vitamin D, as they might be insufficient, particularly for babies who are exclusively breastfed or live in areas with limited sunlight exposure. Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplements for your baby.
Now that we have seen the vitamins babies need. Let’s look at what their food is made of and what ingredients have these essential vitamins.
What baby food is made of
Baby food or cereals or Cerelac as we typically know it contains a blend of various ingredients, depending on the specific variant and flavor. However, the primary ingredients in many baby cereal formulations often include:
1. Cereals: This might include wheat, rice, maize (corn), or a combination of these grains.
2. Milk powder: Usually fortified with essential nutrients like calcium and protein.
3. Sugar: Often added for taste in some variants.
4. Vitamins and minerals: These are usually added to fortify the cereal and make it more nutritious, including vitamins like A, C, D, E, and various B vitamins, as well as minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium.
Other ingredients might be included depending on the variant and intended purpose (such as age-specific formulations or special dietary requirements), such as fruits, vegetables, or specific nutrients catered to the baby’s needs.
The one way to save money on baby food
The number one way to save money on baby food and I also believe it is the only way, is to make it at home. Making baby food is easy and will help you cut down drastically on how much you spend on buying baby food weekly or monthly.
I am not talking about mashing fruits or vegetables for babies to eat. I am talking about homemade cereals or Cerelac as we popularly know it. Yes, you can make baby cereals at home and save money on baby food.
Now that you know it’s possible, once your baby gets to the month where you start supplementing breast milk with baby food don’t panic. Just make it.
How to make baby food
We will be seeing the ingredients needed based on the nutrients they provide and you will see a wide range of ingredients to choose from.
1. For vitamins A, and E, Carbs and Energy: Maize(corn), Rice, Wheat, or Hungry rice. A combination of all is okay but the most preferred cereal is maize. It is easy to process. The second best option is hungry rice.
2. For calcium and Protein: Soybeans (in place of milk powder). Soybeans are the number one plant-based source of protein.
3. For sweetening (sugar): Dates and Tigernuts. These two are natural sweeteners with lots of vitamins and can be dried.
4. For B group vitamins, vitamin E, and Minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium): Groundnuts. Groundnuts have so many nutrients and healthy fats that you can’t remove them from your baby’s cereal.
Notes: Every ingredient must be properly dried for easy storage and preservation. There will be no added preservatives to this homemade cereal hence it must be scorched and kept in an air-tight container.
Quantity and Process:
It all depends on the quantity you want to start with and see if it’s a food you want to continue with for your baby. So let’s start with a moderate quantity then you can increase it.
2 cups of maize(husked maize)/rice/hungry rice
2 cups of soybeans
1 cup of groundnut
1/2 cup of dried tiger nuts
1 cup of dried dates
Step 1: Husk your maize so it gives a fine and smooth powder when ground with the remaining ingredients. If you have the time take off the peel of the soybeans too. However, doing all of this is very optional.
Step 2: Dry fry your soybeans, groundnuts, and tiger nuts separately. You can take off the skin of the groundnut after frying this also is optional. To make it easier roast them in the oven.
Step 3: Mix this ingredients and grind them. Use your dry grains blender or food processor and grind to a fine powder. To get a very smooth finish and rid of shafts sieve your powder.
How to make it:
It all depends on the quantity you want to make for a start. Put at least 3 tablespoons of the powder into a pot. Pour in a little cold water to make a paste. Then pour in boiling hot water into the mixture. Stir on fire until it thickens to the texture you want for your baby. Allow to cool down for consumption. You don’t need additional sugar as this cereal tastes great on its own.
Conclusion on the number one way to save money on baby food
You can absolutely cut down your expenses on baby food and still grow a very healthy baby now that you know how to make homemade cereal.
This tip is not to remove shop-bought/brand-made cereals from your shopping list but to supplement and help you save money on baby food.
As time goes on you can research and include other ingredients that can go into the mix to make a more nutritious food for your toddler. Do you have any questions please drop a comment and if you are excited to give this a try let me know also. You would be glad you made this baby food at home.
Thanks for reading to the end please share so other parents can know there is also a frugal way to feed a baby.