Certified nutritionist Jill Hillhouse believes that homemade baby food is a great way to start preparing babies to lead healthier lives.
Processed, store bought baby food is like fast food: they may be easier to have on the go, but they trade in convenience for the nutrients babies sorely need. Hillhouse said that commercially made baby foods are typically laden with additives like potatoes and starch, which take away nutritional value.
"Not to say that potatoes don't have value. (But) if it is a meat product or a broccoli product, then shouldn't we want to get all those nutrients?" she said.
Hillhouse said that by making homemade foods, babies not only get more nutrients than they normally would from store made ones, their palates will also be trained to appreciate the taste of natural foodstuff. It also eliminates the impression that babies should only be fed bland food because, Hillhouse pointed out, babies in other parts of the world have herbs and spices with their food.
"They're eating spices and herbs pretty much everywhere else except in North America," says Hillhouse.
In her latest book and co-authored with Chef Jordan Wagman, Hillhouse explains why homemade baby food is the best for babies and their families. Titled "The Best Baby Food," the full color book is packed with recipes that are easy to make and can be made from fresh ingredients. Each recipe also comes with cooking tips and nutritional information to guide concerned parents.
"Helping your baby acquire a taste for wholesome, healthy food is the best way to ensure that he or she develops eating habits that will promote good health throughout life." said Hillhouse. She herself had grown eating whole foods so the thought of eating artificial and processed foods, especially for babies, is out of the question.
"The idea of just cooking the carrots and squash and roasting the potatoes, or whatever it was, wasn't a foreign concept to me." She explained. Her love for wholesome foods carried through to her own family, where she cooks homemade meals for her children.
The book's recipes include a wide variety of pureed vegetable meals and recipes that add fruit and meat for babies six to nine months. Hillhouse strongly advised parents to set a few hours a day to prepare food and to choose organic produce whenever possible for the recipes as pesticides are proven to have stronger detrimental effects on babies.
She adds, however, that the most important thing is that babies are getting the right kind of food, organic or not.
"The key message with organics, I still believe, is it matters more that you actually eat fruits and vegetables, whether or not they're organic." She said.
Photo: Yoshihide Nomura | Flickr