Infants are vulnerable to food-borne illnesses, so it’s important you take precautionary measures when preparing homemade baby food. Just a little knowledge of food safety will go a long way to keeping your baby healthy.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water before preparation and in between handling raw and cooked food. Wash all surfaces, boards, and utensils with hot soapy water and rinse them well. Take apart food grinders, blenders, and baby food cookers after each use and wash thoroughly. Dry each part with a clean, dry cloth or disposable paper towels before putting appliances back together. In fact, food safety tips are not only about the food itself, but also about the surroundings.
- Use fresh, high-quality food that has been stored in clean containers at correct refrigerator temperatures (between 35°F and 38°F [1.7°C to 3.3°CJ). Fresh fruits and vegetables should be used within a few days of purchase to preserve the vitamins; root vegetables can be stored for at least one week.
- Wash, scrub, or peel all fruits and vegetables. Remove seeds and pits.
- Rinse fish, meat (except ground meats), and poultry before preparing. Remove skin, bones, gristle, fat, and connective tissue. Use a separate cutting board for all meats.
- Grind tough food, seeds, and nuts. Puree, mash, or cut food into small pieces appropriate to your baby’s age and use breast milk, formula or water to thin food to the desired consistency.
- Microwave, steam, stir-fry, bake, broil, or roast food for optimum nutrition.
Try to avoid boiling, as this method allows nutrients to leach into the water. If you do need to boil, use as little water as possible and save the cooking water for thinning purees or in soups.
- Cook ground meat to a temperature of at least 165°F (74°C), so it’s no longer pink but uniformly brown throughout (“medium”). Use an instant-read meat thermometer.
- Do not add salt, pepper, sugar, or sweeteners to your baby’s food. Instead, season with pureed fruit or fruit juice. At one year, you can begin using herbs and spices.
- Discard leftover food in baby’s dish after a meal. However, leftovers from the pan or serving dish can be put in clean, covered containers and refrigerated immediately. Refrigerated leftovers should be eaten within three to four days.
- An infant’s mouth is much more sensitive to heat than an adult’s, so be cautious when serving your baby freshly heated or cooked foods. Be sure that the food is lukewarm or room temperature and test it first by tasting a little bit yourself.
We hope these food safety tips will be beneficial to you.
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