Make Your Own Baby Food and the Infamous Super Porridge

You can’t really argue with the fact that making your own baby food costs less.  But did you know that it is also more nutritious?  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be a stickler and only allow my baby to eat homemade foods (I will definitely use HappyBaby Organic foods as the alternative), but I will make a realeffort to make my own.

There are two books I’ve been looking into lately (though I have not bought either yet): Super Baby Food (by Ruth Yaron) and Baby-Led Weaning (the Gill Rapley method).  Both of these books have very different approaches to making your own baby food, but I really like them both and intend to incorporate both theories for my 5 month old daughter.  Homemade baby food generally takes little effort but your baby gets maximum benefits.  There are no additives or extra processing, leaving all nutrients intact that are usually not present during refinement.
Preparation can be simple or elaborate. It can be as easy as pureeing some steamed organic vegetables with some liquid (the younger the baby, the more water/formula/breastmilk you add), pureeing the food you’re already making for your family, mashing a banana or avocado with a fork, or even sticking a fresh strawberry into a mesh feeder. Want the easiest approach I’ve seen and read?  Then, take a look at my post for tomorrow on Baby-Led Weaning.

Most of the time, I’m all for the easiest approach, but I have to say that I will be trying the not-so-convenient but oh-so-nutritious (and by nutritious, I really mean out of this world wholesome) Super Porridge, made famous by Ruth Yaron. (There are lots of variations on tis super food.)  It’s not excruciatinglydifficult, and you can make large quantities ahead of time to store in individual containers.  Actually, I need to be eating it, too.  In summary, the book encourages incorporating nourishing “super foods” into your baby’s diet (not just your average veggies, fruits, and grains).  We’re talking whole grains* with split peas, lentils, soybeans, or other legumes and some super fruits.

Basically all you do is grind organic grains* like millet, brown rice, oats, or barley in a grinder, blender, coffee grinder, or food processor (it can be a bit loud, so prepare yourself) for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on desired chunkiness and age of the baby).

[Note: If you don’t want to use the “noisy approach,” you can always soak and cook the grains first, then puree.] 
Then, soak the ground grains overnight, cook them, and store them in the fridge for future use. When you’re ready to serve a portion to your baby, mix the porridge with some mashed or pureed “super” veggies and fruits (which could be done ahead of time and frozen into ice cubes), add a mashed hard-boiled egg yolk (every other day), flaxseed oil or ground flax, and brewer’s (nutritional) yeast.  Process this until smooth (if needed), heat it up (to body temperature), and Voila!  Super Porridge!
I can’t attest to it yet, but supposedly kids really, really love it. Plus it’s made from unrefined whole grains and not processed grains.  On the downside, I’ve heard it can be gritty, but that’s perfectly normal. And if it’s too much for your younger baby to handle, you can always strain ground grains to get the bigger pieces out until he/she is used to eating them.
Man, I need to get that book!
*There are some controversies on when it’s okay to start feeding grains to your baby. Some say to use it as baby’s first food, while others say that babies can’t digest grains until after a year.  Not every rule applies to every baby, so as with any new baby food you try, I recommend that you consult your pediatrician.  
**For more detailed information on Super Porridge and Ms. Yaron’s approach, including the appropriate ages to introduce certain foods, visit the Super Baby Food website.
***Another good resource for recipes and general questions and information is
Wholesome Baby Food.
RECIPE FOR SUPER PORRIDGE, VARIATION:
(Yields enough for about 3 meals)
Grind whole grains into a powder for up to 2 minutes, as described above.  Though not completely necessary, it is best (nutritionally speaking) to soak grains overnight.  Soak 1/2 cup of a ground grain like brown rice, millet or oats (start with a single grain first) in 2 cups of water overnight with 1 tablespoon of kefir, whey or lemon juice. Add 2 tablespoons of dried ground legumes (like lentils, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, split peas, soybean).  Cook covered, by bringing to a boil and then reducing the heat to low, stirring continually with a whisk, until the grain thickens (about 10 minutes).  Cool it and refrigerate it into individual servings.  When you are ready to serve it, defrost one serving.
Optional (for maximum nutritional value): Add one or two of the ingredients listed below, plus one or two pureed/mashed super fruits and veggies (like papaya, avocado, kale, banana).  Every other day, add a mashed up (fully cooked) hard-boiled egg yolk.Ground Sunflower Seeds
Ground Flax Seeds  or flaxseed oil (read Wholesome Baby Food for correct amounts)

Tahini (ground sesame seeds)
Brewer’s (nutritional) yeast

Comments

  1. 1

    I want to make baby food. I hope I find the time.

  2. 2

    Why is the super porridge infamous? Because it’s gritty? Because it causes diarrhea? What is so notorious about the super porridge? I don’t understand. The article doesn’t say.

  3. 3

    Sally, it’s a very known recipe for an extremely wholesome power-packed baby food.

  4. 4

    Good to know that porridge is good for the bubbas. Thanks for this article!

  5. 5

    Val, have you tried it with the kiddos? Do they like it? Also, is it something that’s good for toddler/pre-K ages, or really just for the little ones?

  6. 6

    Rachel, I tried it with my daughter as a baby and it worked well. With our toddler son (at the time), it was so-so. But then again, everything is so-so with him. But we mostly did Baby-Led Weaning and no purees or traditional baby foods. Pretty much, what we ate, the baby ate (with a few minor exceptions) – and not pureed. We do the same for our youngest and it works really well with him, too. I will never again use baby food with any of my babies. :)

  7. 7

    I think Sally’s comment was because ‘infamous’ usually has a negative connotation, as in – it’s famous for a bad reason!
    Super-famous might be more helpful.

    I was also confused when I saw the title, and as I read the article, I was waiting for the catch about why the porridge isn’t such a good idea!

    But, I have a question:
    If I make the oatmeal part of it by cooking the oats in milk, how long can the oatmeal be kept refrigerated?

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