How to Save Big Money Making Your Own Baby Food
But, as your little one grows up and begins to eat solid food, you may start to take a look at baby food costs— and be stunned!
According to Baby Center, on average baby food costs $50-$100 month, and baby food jars and pouches can cost $1 or more—each!
Add up how much your child may eat daily, and the cost of baby food really starts to impact your family’s budget.
With these expenses, you may have considered making baby food yourself but thought it too difficult, time-consuming or even expensive.
But, making your own baby food is actually much cheaper than you think, especially if you follow these tips.
Here’s how to save money making your own baby food!
1) Buy In Bulk
One of the best things about making your own baby food is that you can make it and freeze it for later (check our our guide to choosing the best baby food maker).
This means you can buy frozen fruits and veggies in bulk, saving you a ton of money. If you belong to a big box club, consider buying your fruits and vegetables there to get the best discount.
Throughout the month, search for coupons on frozen fruits and veggies you can incorporate into your baby’s diet.
While big box stores will give you a great deal on the volume of food, you also will want to incorporate new flavors for your baby so you introduce a wide variety of tastes while they’re young.
A great, easy way to save the food you make for your baby is using ice cube trays.
Once you make your baby food, store extra food in the ice cube trays using an ice cream scooper. Cover the trays, then stick in your freezer.
Once you need more food, pop one cube of food out, warm up, and serve!
2) Use Kitchen Items You Already Have
A common misconception when making baby food is needing expensive, specialized kitchen equipment.
Don’t worry—if you have most common kitchen appliances, you likely have all you need to make delicious, healthy and, most of all, affordable baby food.
You can use a food processor to make your baby food, or you can cook the food and use a masher.
No masher? Use a fork!
There are many baby-specific kitchen appliances, but most appliances and kitchen items you have in your house, like the ice cube trays, will do just as well and not cost any extra money.
That said, there are certain kitchen appliances specifically for parents making their own baby food that may make your life easier and time spent in the kitchen shorter, so you can spend more time with your family.
In this case, ask around to friends and family and see if anyone has these kitchen appliances at a discount or even for free.
Some kitchen appliances you may want include ones that steam and puree the food at once. Other handy appliances include juicers that make a delicious juice for your baby, but your whole family can enjoy it as well.
When you grow out of these appliances, you can pass it on to another family, too.
3) Eat The Same Food As Your Baby
No, this doesn’t mean you’ll be eating bland baby food— just the opposite!
You’ll need to buy a little more, but continue buying much of the same food your family already eats. This will save you money and time, so you’re not making two separate meals for your family and the baby.
Some family staples that will work for your baby include bananas, which you can incorporate into your breakfast, mashed sweet potatoes, which can be a dinner side for your family, and even applesauce, which you can have as a snack for your family.
This is a great way to incorporate favorite family foods or cultural foods you want your baby to appreciate.
It’s best to introduce new flavors early to your baby and, since you’ll already be making one meal for your family, you won’t need to tweak the recipe too much to include your baby.
4) Plan Meals Around Your Baby
Following the above tip, consider pairing your family meals around the baby.
If you’re introducing new foods to your little one, incorporate these new meals into side dishes for your family to eat at the same time.
Not only are you saving money and introducing your baby to new foods, but you’re also incorporating the baby in the meal, which teaches your child socialization skills.
Many experts say it’s also good to introduce your baby to as many new foods and flavors as possible while they’re young.
While children can be picky eaters, it’s frequently because they’re not introduced to new flavors early and then never develop a taste for them as they get older.
If your family does have picky eaters, this is a great opportunity to introduce new foods as a side dish.
While your family doesn’t have to eat exactly what the baby eats, it’s a good opportunity for you to continue to introduce new meals and try to change any stubborn picky palates.
5) Search for Baby Recipes Online
No need to try to reinvent the wheel when coming up with foods for your baby.
Simply search online for easy, kid-friendly and budget-friendly meals for your little one.
Specifically, look for new foods or foods your family already likes to eat, so you can incorporate these foods into your family meals.
There are many great options for baby food recipes online, but here are just a few delicious, healthy and budget friendly options:
Depending on how old your baby is, you can get more creative with food as they age.
While you’ll need to stick to purees while your baby is young, you can still choose healthy, tasty and budget-friendly foods, like green peas, carrots, and bananas.
Avocados may be a little more expensive, but many recipes encourage you to add avocados for a little extra healthy fat.
In these cases, look for avocados when they go on sale (particularly around Cinco de Mayo) and only use a small part of the avocado to mix in with your cheaper fruit or veggie.
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Remember you’re shaping your baby’s palate, but there’s no need to stress about making a gourmet meal for your little one. You just need to know how to steam food, mash and puree.
If anything, it’s probably easier feeding your baby than anyone else in your family (including yourself) because babies don’t expect fancy seasoning or beautifully arranged dishes.
That said, do keep in mind you are shaping your baby’s palate.
If you want your baby to grow into a child who is an adventurous eater (or, at the very least, eats more than chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese), make a variety of dishes that you and your family would eat.
This doesn’t have to be expensive! There are a lot of ways to save lots of money by making your own baby food, which we outline in the tips above.
You may have noticed that a lot of the recipes and tips don’t require you to buy anything fancy, in terms of appliances, or any expensive meals.
In fact, you should incorporate regular family meals into your child’s palate, so they learn socialization at the dinner table.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to save money making your own baby food.
If you’ve made baby food for your child, what recipes do you recommend and do you have additional tips?