Make Your Own Baby Food and Save!

By Selena Garrison, MS, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida, and Michael Gutter, PhD, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida
Reviewed by Gayle Whitworth, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, University of Florida, Brevard County

Here you are. You have a baby whom you love dearly and who, of course, is adorable. You want the best for your baby, but between diapers, clothes, toys, and all of the rest of the baby “essentials,” he or she is stretching your budget to its limits!

There certainly are many new expenses that come with having a new bundle of joy in our lives. For some items, such as clothing, toys, or DVDs, we can use hand-me-downs to reduce costs. But for others, such as quality nutritious baby food, we have to look for other options.

While there are many brands out there, and coupons may also be available, making your own baby food can help save money and make sure your child is getting the best possible nutrition. It also allows you to know exactly what your child is eating.

Homemade baby food is easy to make, actually looks, tastes, and smells like the food that it claims to be, and costs a fraction of the price of jarred baby foods that you would purchase in the store.

What do you need to get started?

The Equipment

In order to get the baby food to the right consistency, you will need something to puree the food. You can use a variety of products, including a processor made specifically for baby food (do a web search for “baby food processor” and you will see a long list), a regular kitchen blender, a food processor, an immersion blender, or the most basic tool: a fork.

Use ice cube trays to freeze your foods in convenient one-ounce portions, then pop out the cubes and store them in plastic freezer bags. Label the bags with the date and type of food and then heat up the portions when needed. There are also a variety of baby food containers available online.

The Food

Even more important than having the right equipment is having the right food. There are several options, including both frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables.

The first option is plain frozen fruits and vegetables that you find in the freezer aisle at the grocery store. You want to be sure that you buy just the plain frozen fruits and vegetables without any added flavoring, preservatives, etc. Some parents may also want to choose organic options. Easy ones to start with include peas, squash, green beans, and peaches! Just boil frozen fruits or veggies with a little water, add them to your processor of choice, puree, and you are done!

If you prefer, you can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables instead of frozen. You would then steam or boil them and prepare them the same way as you would the frozen foods. Some fruits and vegetables are already soft and do not need to be steamed or boiled. Examples include bananas and avocados. Again, some parents may prefer organic options.

When your baby is first trying solids, you will want to stick to fruits and vegetables, but you can also prepare meat for your baby when he or she is a little older. Processors designed for baby food come with recipes and suggested feeding schedules for the various stages, but you can also find many healthy baby food recipes online. Before starting to feed your baby solid foods (usually around 6 months), make sure you research signs of readiness, allergenic foods, and the proper age to introduce each food. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some good basic advice on Switching to Solid Foods.

Does it really save that much money?

Yes! On average, baby food costs about $.50 a jar. Babies may start out eating only one jar a day, but as they get bigger, this will increase to two or more jars per feeding. So at four jars a day (conservatively), you would pay $2.00 a day and $60 a month for baby food. A pretty penny!

By comparison, a bag of frozen peas costs $1.69 at the local grocery store and makes 12 servings! That’s $.14 a serving, as opposed to $.50 a serving. So if you made your own, at four servings a day, you would pay only $.56 a day and $16.80 per month for baby food. Compared to the premade food, that’s a savings of 72 percent!

Even the more expensive foods, like peaches, cost around $3.79 for a bag, which makes about eighteen servings. That is only $.21 per serving, which is still less than half the cost of an average jar of baby food.

Doesn’t it take a lot of time?

No! You can make all your food for the week in less than 30 minutes. All you have to do is put the frozen or fresh vegetables in a pot or steamer, boil or steam them, and stick them in your processor of choice. Then you put a couple days’ worth in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer, and you are finished!

As parents, saving money is important, but even more important is making sure that our little ones get the best nutrition they can. By making your own baby food, you will be able to do both of those things! You can feel good about saving money, but feel even better about being in control of what goes into your baby’s body.

Like most things that are worthwhile, making your own food will take some of your time and energy. However, with some planning and cooperation with other family members, this can be an investment in your family’s finances as well as your new baby’s nutrition.

(Photo credit: Homemade Baby Food by The Dabblist. CC BY 2.0. Cropped.)

Further Reading

Switching to Solid Foods —Reliable info on when and how to start solid foods with your baby, from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Homemade Baby Food–Make it Safely–Tips from


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Posted: August 11, 2014

Category: Health & Nutrition, Relationships & Family, Work & Life
Tags: Family Resource Management, Nutrition And Food Systems, Parenting, Personal And Family Finances

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