Have a little one in your life and are wondering if they’re ready to venture out and start eating some solid foods? Had a peak at some of the leading baby food labels and not like what you see?
If you said yes to either question, consider adding an Immersion Blender to your kitchen repertoire!
Immersion Blenders can help you to quickly whip up whole foods to the perfect consistency for your baby. It’s one of the best-kept secrets of parents wanting to make fresh food for their baby.
We honestly believe there’s no better tool for the job, despite many dedicated baby food makers on the market. Seriously, don’t waste your money—the stand-alone Immersion Blender is the perfect baby food maker!
First and foremost, be sure to gauge if your little one is truly ready for solids. There is no need to rush as it can be detrimental to your baby’s digestive tract if you introduce solids too early.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that babies who start consuming solids too soon may be at risk for developing chronic diseases such as celiac disease, obesity, eczema, and diabetes.
Health experts recommend that the best time to introduce solid foods to a baby is right around the six-month mark. This is about the optimal time where baby’s digestive tract is ready for solids and at the same time can avoid the health risks associated with starting solids too early.
Since we can’t really observe if the digestive tract is ready visually, we can depend on some developmental signs to judge readiness.
Some key developmental signs you want to look for in your little tyke are:
- Being able to sit up without support.
- Being ready and willing to chew as well as having lost the tongue-thrust reflex which automatically pushes food out of his mouth.
- He/She has developed a pincer grasp where they grab food between the thumb and forefinger.
So, how is this done exactly?
We break it down below in our easy-to-understand, user-friendly guide!
- The Proper Stages of Baby Food Introduction
- Stage 1 Baby Food: Let’s Start to Eat!
- 7 Simple Steps For Making Baby Food
- Things to Consider When Making Baby Food
- Three Core Stage 1 Fruit Recipes
The Proper Stages of Baby Food Introduction
Baby food for a six-month-old looks a little different than baby food for a ten-month-old. It’s important to get these distinctions correct so your baby has the best chance of proper digestion.
Let’s explore the differences between these stages, shall we?
Stage 1 Baby Food: Let’s start to eat!
Stage 1 baby foods should be very thin and runny. You can mix fruit or vegetable purees with expressed breastmilk or formula to create this consistency.
At this stage, the foods you give your baby should also be the lowest on the allergy scale. By being lower on this scale, they are much more easily digested by a baby’s tiny stomach.
Some common examples of these types of foods include:
- Sweet potatoes
Pediatricians recommend a ‘4-day wait’ rule while trying out any new foods with your baby. This means feeding your baby the same food over a 4-day period before moving on to a different food to gauge how they are tolerating that food.
If you or anyone in your immediate family has food allergies this is especially important—and just generally good practice—to spot any allergic reactions.
Common allergic reactions can range from a runny nose to hives and breathing difficulty so it is important to take note of any concerns and discuss them with your pediatrician prior to introducing any new foods.
In reality, almost any food is capable of causing an allergic reaction, but there are eight primary foods to look out for that cause the majority of reactions:
- Tree nuts
7 Simple Steps For Making Baby Food
Before we explore some core fundamental recipes for the first few months of your little minions life, let’s take a look at the basic use case of your Immersion Blender to make these recipes.
An entire week’s worth of meals can be prepared with just 7 easy steps, and it’s all made possible by the convenience of the Hand Blender.
We’ll look at this using vegetables as an example, while the recipes that follow are mostly fruit based.
The 7 Steps, Explained
- Step 1: First, the veggies need to be prepped. To prepare a vegetable for puree, wash the vegetable in cold water to remove any dirt or debris while also removing any greens (for example, the leaves of a carrot).
- Step 2: Cut the vegetable into small pieces; no more than an inch in diameter, otherwise the cubes won’t fit under the blending head come fun time.
- Step 3: Boil some fresh water in a medium sized pot, 6 cups or so.
- Step 4: Throw in your vegetables and let ‘em boil until soft. This typically takes around 10 minutes—give or take—depending on the vegetable.
- Step 5: After the batch has cooked to a soft consistency, you can then transfer it to the beaker/cup that came with your Immersion Blender, or any tall, wide container.
- Step 6: Add just a touch of the same water used to boil the veggies to the cup for good measure.
- Step 7: Insert your Immersion Blender into the cup and use an up and down motion to puree the food. You can add more water if your mixture looks too thick at this point, but we recommend you start the process with just a touch of water. You want your puree to be thin and runny.
Things to Consider When Making Baby Food
I know we talk a lot around here about blending foods right in the cooking pot, but unless you’ve boiled a lot of vegetables, this probably won’t work well here.
You want the batch of veggies in the tightest space with the least amount of surface area to get the best blend. We find that the cup or beaker that comes with most Immersion Blenders works well.
Once complete, the pureed baby foods can be kept safely in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you have more than a few days worth of food, you can pop the leftovers in the freezer safely for up to 3 months.
Typically we don’t like to cook too much anyway because you never know how much the little chap will like a certain food, so be sure they like it before you make a larger batch.
Three Core Stage 1 Fruit Recipes
Now that you know the basics, let’s take a look at the three most essential recipes that are perfect for a stage 1 baby food. These will likely form the core of your babies fruit intake and they combine well with other ingredients in the later stages.
We can almost guarantee that your baby will love these recipes, and each are different enough to give them a much needed variety.
Bottom line—if you can master making these three recipes, you’ve done 80% of the work!
The first recipe on the list we like to call The Perfect Simple Rice Cereal, is our personal favorite.
What’s great about this recipe is that it can be mixed with either of the other two recipes to create variety. You could absolutely make a batch of each of these recipes and feed your baby a different combination for a whole week!
The Perfect Simple Rice Cereal
WHAT YOU NEED:
- ½ cup uncooked brown rice
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup breastmilk or formula
PREP TIME: 5 Minutes
COOK TIME: 15-20 minutes
YIELD: 4-6 servings
- Step 1: Add ½ cup of uncooked brown rice to the food chopper attachment of your Immersion Blender.
- Step 2: Chop until you have a fine powder.
- Step 3: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
- Step 4: Add the rice powder to the pot, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes whisking often (If your Immersion Blender came with a whisk attachment, this works great here!).
During this time you can also add in about ¼ cup breastmilk or formula to the mix.
Alternately, if you don’t have a food chopper attachment for step 1, just cook your brown rice according to package directions. Once cooked, use the standard Immersion Blender blade to smooth it out in the pot before whisking.
Remember, you want your mixture to be runny and thin so be prepared to add more liquid if you need to for either method.
Next up is always a favorite. This Fresh Homemade Applesauce will introduce your baby to slightly more textured fruit, while still being the right consistency for this stage. When you taste this, you may be tempted to add in some sugar or other sweetener prior to serving it, but it’s not really necessary.
The natural sweetness of the raw fruit will be plenty for your baby, and in-fact, they will probably think of this as a desert at the end of the day.
The procedure to make this in small batches quickly is really only possible with an Immersion Blender. This is definitely a recipe that will make you wonder how you’ve made it this far without one, if you’re just getting started!
Fresh Homemade Applesauce
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 3 Apples (red variety)
- Water (amount varies)
PREP TIME: 10 Minutes
COOK TIME: 15-20 minutes
YIELD: 6-8 servings
- Step 1: Peel, core and cut 3 apples into chunks.
- Step 2: Place apples into a pot, then add enough water to just barely cover apples.
- Step 3: Bring to a boil; let boil for 15-20 minutes.
- Step 4: Remove cooked apples from water, then place some into your blending beaker as they fit.
- Step 5: Using the standard Immersion Blender head, pulse blend to desired consistency.
You can add some of your cooking water during step 5 if desired as well to thin it out a bit.
At this stage, we would recommend you leave out the spices or extra flavorings. It’s important that your baby gets to know the actual flavor and sweetness of the raw fruit.
For apple sauce, you want your mixture to be a little bit thinner than what you would typically think of as apple sauce, but you can increase the thickness as time goes on, depending on your baby’s progress.
And last but not least, we have the Super Simple Creamed Bananas. The banana is undoubtedly one of the most versatile fruits on the spectrum. It’s a complimentary fruit that pairs well with other, more bold fruits.
Which is one reason why you should definitely be adding this to your baby’s diet.
A little known secret is that you can also use bananas for masking the flavor of the greens babies may dislike. I must admit, we did this a few times back in the baby days!
There are a lot of cases where you may just pull out a banana and mash it up quickly to feed to the little guy. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you should still give this a try—especially if they are younger and need thinner mixtures.
Super Simple Creamed Bananas
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 1 medium banana
- Add ¼ cup breastmilk or formula
PREP TIME: 5 seconds
COOK TIME: 60 seconds
- Step 1: Drop a banana into your cup or beaker, while breaking it up a bit.
- Step 2: Add ¼ cup breastmilk or formula.
- Step 3: Blend until you have a thin consistency.
Remember to use an up and down motion to incorporate the liquid, and to get the mixture smooth. Babies seem to really like this one as a first food!
Stage 2 Baby Food: Let’s test out the waters!
At 8-10 months, your baby should be ready to explore a bit more. So now is the time to bring on those spices and more textured foods…finally! You can still use your Immersion Blender to make the same recipes as above, but add a little bit less liquid and blend for a shorter period of time.
The idea is to leave more texture or chunkiness in the food at this stage.
For example, you can add cinnamon to your applesauce, then mix in some strawberries with your creamed bananas. You get the idea.
This is also an appropriate time to introduce yogurt if you like. Which really opens up the possibilities in terms of variety.
Just add ½ cup yogurt and ½ cup of your favorite fruit or combinations of fruit and blend in your Immersion Blender. You can also add fruit juices, but I recommend using fresh juices or no-sugar added juices if using store bought brands.
At this stage, you can also add softly cooked small pasta to your Immersion Blender and blend with fruits or vegetables for some chunky texture. I know this sounds strange, but your baby will love it!
Basically, stage 2 looks a lot like stage 1 but chunkier and more flavorful. This is where the fun really starts!
What About the Meat?
At this stage in your baby’s food journey, it’s now time to try out some meats. If your family eats meat on a regular basis, it’s recommended to start early.
Feeding your baby meats as early as possible will help them get more iron, zinc, and protein in their diet at the age when they really need these nutrients the most.
So what is, exactly, the best meat to start with? Experts say that white meat like chicken or turkey are the best as they can get the softest. We agree.
Without getting too deep on the topic, we break down the best method of making baby food with meat using your Immersion Blender. And of course, chicken is our example.
How to Turn Chicken Into Baby Food
- Step 1: Poach or bake a chicken breast with low heat so it will be a soft texture—I like to use my crockpot for this as the result pretty much melts in your mouth!
- Step 2: Add your desired spices.
- Step 3: Cut the chicken into chunks; a good dice will work here.
- Step 4: Transfer the chicken to your beaker along with some of your chicken broth.
- Step 5: Pulse with your Immersion Blender until shredded to your desired consistency.
Stage 3 Baby Food: Eat all the things!
At 10-12 months, your baby can eat what you eat—it just has to be cut into small chunks so they can grab with their fingers.
That said, you are probably wondering:
“…should I put away my Immersion Blender for good in the back of the pantry or sell it on eBay?”
Your baby is almost a toddler now and toddlers are busy, busy, busy! Since they can also be picky eaters, what better way to get some nutritious fruits and vegetables into their growing body than a smoothie?
I can promise you even a kid who swears up and down that they don’t like a certain fruit or vegetable will try it in a strawberry banana smoothie! Odd how that works, but also genius.
We’ve also been known to mix probiotics or sometimes even medicine into a tiny smoothie to ensure that my little ones get the medication that they need. Sneaky? Yes, but when you are on a 10-day course of antibiotics again and your little one is tired of taking his medicine, a little sneakiness will do!
How To: Kid-Friendly Smoothies
At this age, you can usually follow the standard recipe for a smoothie you would find, but be sure they are well blended. It’s important that you get all of the large chunks of ice crushed.
Depending on the model of Immersion Blender you have, the ability to crush ice smoothly will vary. We have found that the mid-range models will usually get the job done, but if you’re going to be making these often, I would definitely avoid the lower tier models.
For a simple smoothie, you will want to have:
- The Base: Milk, nut milk or juice
- The Thickener: Yogurt, peanut butter, or any other nut butter (if you haven’t introduced nut butters yet, make sure to check with your pediatrician first)
- The Fruit: Strawberries, blueberries, bananas & mango are our favorites
- The Freezer: About 1 cup of crushed ice is preferable, but if your Immersion Blender is powerful enough, whole cubes should be fine; about 5-6 cubes will work
- The Supplements: Vitamins, probiotics, medications (check with your pediatrician first)
After Age 1: The Age of Food Enlightenment
Now that you are a pro at making baby food and smoothies for your little one, no need to stop there. Use your Immersion Blender to try out new recipes that your family can share and experiment with.
While your 3-year old doesn’t necessarily need pureed bananas, applesauce is always a kid favorite.
As your child grows older, they can even help in the kitchen and cut up their favorite fruits and make different flavor combinations to suit their tastes.
This can be tons of fun on a hot summer day when everyone’s craving a healthy snack!
The important thing to remember here is that your Immersion Blender will grow with your family and if you choose the right one, it can last for many years to come.
Check out a few of our favorite Immersion Blenders below. Each one of these are well-suited to make every recipe on this list and have been confirmed to be able to crush ice for smoothies!