6 Foods You Can Use to Make Tasty Baby Food

If you’re having a baby, definitely expect your expenses to increase. Between purchasing diapers, baby food, clothing, and perhaps arranging for paid child care if you need to work, you’ll probably wonder if there is a way to raise a little one more economically. There are parents who put in a little extra effort to save money – using cloth diapers instead of disposables, breast feeding instead of buying formula, and even making their own baby food. Yes, it is completely doable.

Look around your favorite department store or kitchen boutique, and you will find that special gadget that process fruits and vegetables into food suitable for young eaters come at an affordable cost. By buying a special processor and reusable jars, you not only save in the long run when your child starts taking solids, but you work a bit to reduce your carbon footprint. You will buy less jars and containers to throw away, and because the foods you make can be frozen or stored for weeks (depending on the system you buy) you can keep a good supply handy.

As for what types of foods are best for baby’s first solid diet, there are a variety of fruits and vegetables that work best with a growing digestive system. If you are considering making your own baby food, here are some good foods to use.

Pears: Pears are not only sweet and flavorful, but are an excellent food to give a baby who is feeling a bit blocked up or experiencing tummy trouble. High in Vitamin C, pears are a great first food to introduce to your little one.

Green Beans: It’s good to start your children on green vegetables early, so that they may continue good eating habits as they grow. Green beans are practically a staple in terms of baby food and first “hand foods.” They are soft and simple to puree, plus they are rich in Vitamin K.

Sweet Potatoes: Creamy and tasty when mashed, sweet potatoes don’t need all the butter and fixings regular potatoes may require. Sweet potatoes contain potassium, calcium, and folate and are a delicious addition to baby’s lunch.

Carrots: Similar to sweet potatoes in that they share the same color and richness in beta carotene, carrots give off a sweetness when cooked and are a popular beginning food for babies.

Peas: Yes, many adults may have a difficult time enjoying peas, but you cannot deny they are a very healthy food and easy to make for young eaters.

Chicken: Meats are typically a late stage food for babies. As your child gets closer to the first year you may wish to incorporate a bit of pureed chicken into his/her diet. Combing a small amount of chicken with a green vegetable may make the food more palatable, too.

You can save a bit of money making your own baby food, and even have fun doing it. The love that goes into creating a meal for your child makes for a wonderful bonding experience as well.

The Mind On Food – How Food Affects Your Mind

Connecting the Gut with the Brain

When we are feeling down, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have unfinished psychological trauma still to process – food sensitivities and allergies may be a contributing factor. In 2010, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway found that people with symptoms of food sensitivities and allergies were more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, as well as gastrointestinal difficulties.

This research confirms previous findings from the University Hospital of South Manchester in the U.K. back in 2004, which discovered that when patients with irritable bowel went on a low-allergy diet, they experienced both a reduction in digestive problems as well as a significant drop in anxiety and depression.

The more we know about food sensitivities and allergies, the more we can see that what happens in our gut affects both body and mind. Foods that lead to allergies and sensitivities cause increases in inflammatory chemicals, such as histamine, cytokines, and prostaglandins, which then can effect both the digestive tract, the heart and the nervous system in a negative way.

While it is different for each individual as to what foods may cause digestive, immune and mood problems, some common problem-foods are grains (especially those containing gluten, such as wheat), eggs, dairy foods, nightshade-family vegetables including tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums and chilies. The only really effective way of determining whether you have a sensitivity to such foods is by eliminating them one by one for a couple of weeks, and then re-introducing them back into the diet to see if it makes any difference in the way you function and feel.

The Missing Nutrients

When talking about food, a lot of focus is placed on carbohydrates, fats and proteins. But while the brain does indeed need glucose, amino acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids, it also requires micronutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to stay healthy and keep moods balanced.

According to information published by The British Dietetic Association online in 2012, there are several key micronutrients which can affect mood balance in humans. B-vitamins, such as B12, thiamin, niacin and folate, are important for preventing fatigue, anemia, irritability and depression. Folate may be particularly important for warding off depression as well as poor brain function in the elderly. Iron, too much or too little, can result in feelings of fatigue, lethargy, and weakness, and a suspected iron deficiency should be checked by a blood test before supplements are sought.

Selenium is a mineral that is only required in very minute doses, but not enough of it can increase the chance of feeling low and depressed. While dietary supplements are available, many of these nutrients are found naturally in nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, dark green vegetables, and whole grains.

What’s the Conclusion?

Not all of your emotions are the result of your food choices, but there is a growing body of evidence that some emotions, like anxiety and depression, have a direct relationship with the foods you eat.

Nutrition is not the whole picture, of course, but it is an undeniable fact that far too many people on a Western diet, with its processed foods high in fats and simple sugars and low in nutrients, miss out completely on the foods essential for mental and emotional stability and robust good health.

Understanding which foods have the greatest impact on how you feel and how your brain functions will give you important knowledge on how to best support your nervous system when you need support the most.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information contained in this article is not intended as a replacement for medical advice or treatment. Any person with a condition requiring medical attention should consult a qualified medical practitioner or suitably qualified therapist. If you have been prescribed medication, make sure you consult your doctor before reducing or discontinuing its use.