10 Baby Foods ‘not’ to make at home!

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babyfoodMaking your own baby foods at home is neither as challenging nor as involved as it seems at first blush, and it allows you the opportunity to control each and every ingredient so that you know exactly what your baby is eating. In a world where genetically modified food and questionable agricultural practices make parents more concerned than ever about what they’re feeding their children, homemade baby food seems like the healthiest and most viable option.

After all, the lack of transparency regarding where commercially produced baby foods come from and the source of the produce used is disconcerting, to say the least. Still, one thing that commercial baby foods may have over those of the homemade variety is large-scale nitrates testing and extensive knowledge of food safety as it relates to growing infants.

As long as you make the effort to inform yourself regarding which foods can safely be used to make baby food, however, there’s no reason why you can’t whip up safe, nutritious and delicious food for your little one in no time at all.

  1. Beets – Nitrate poisoning, medically known as methemoglobinemia, is most commonly caused by an infant’s ingestion of contaminated well water. It can also result from feeding of foods with high levels of naturally occurring nitrates. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies under the age of three months not be fed beets or homemade baby food containing beets to avoid methemoglobinemia.
  2. Turnips – Leafy greens are a staple in a healthy adult diet, but root vegetables like turnips and the leafy, edible green tops are a source of high nitrate levels and should be avoided when it comes to baby food.
  3. Collard Greens – Like turnip greens, collard greens are naturally dense in nitrate content and should be avoided for babies less than three months of age.
  4. Spinach – Another green leaf whose many benefits are touted for adults, spinach has a nitrate content that makes it potentially problematic for little ones. Popeye might have relied on his favorite leaf to boost his strength, but it could be dangerous for your little one.
  5. Green Beans – On the list of veggies that can have a high level of nitrates, green beans rate relatively high and are not recommended for young infants.
  6. Squash – Bright yellow and mild in flavor, squash seems like an ideal choice for baby’s first solid food. After all, it’s easily pureed and smooth in consistency. Still, the nitrate content can be problematically high, which causes the AAP to recommend restrictions for infants less than three months old.
  7. Carrots – Carrots are naturally sweet and packed with nutrients, causing parents to consider them a healthy and tasty treat for babies that are new to semi-solid foods. Unfortunately, they’re a root veggie that’s not ideal for little tummies due to the potential for high levels of nitrates.
  8. Fruits Sweetened With Honey – Fruit puree is a refreshing delight for babies and adults alike, but can be a bit on the tart side. Before you reach for the honey to add a bit of sweetness, realize that honey can introduce bacteria that causes botulism into the digestive tract of a child under two years of age.
  9. Strawberries – In the world of fruits, few are as universally loved as strawberries. They’re also a common allergen, so it’s best to hold off on introducing them until your child is at least one year old.
  10. Tomatoes – Another tasty bit of produce that’s a known trigger for some with food allergies, tomatoes are another entry on the list of ingredients not recommended for use in homemade baby food for little ones under one year old.

Because the World Health Organization recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for at least the first six months of life, the issue of nitrates is not as pressing as it may initially seem. Since the greatest danger of nitrate poisoning is for babies three months old or younger and is almost always attributed to contaminated well water, parents that hold off on introduction until the recommended six month milestone aren’t likely to encounter methemoglobinemia.

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