201 Organic Baby Purees by Tamika L Gardner
Published by Adams Media
I really enjoy the book 201 Organic Baby Purees. Tamika Gardner really makes a point to let her readers know that making baby food does not have to be difficult. Instead it is a rewarding experience that allows parents to make healthy nutritious food for their babies. In the introduction the author states, “when you make your own organic baby purees, you’ll say goodbye to long receipts and limited choices. You’ll have creative control of every ingredient, texture, and taste your baby experiences without limiting her food world to what is sealed in vacuum-packed glass jars.” And that is exactly what this book shows you how to do.
The first chapter starts by telling why organic food is best – it reduces chemical exposure. Gardner points out that the EPA states that “Children’s internal organs are still developing and maturing and their enzymatic, metabolic, and immune systems may provide less natural protection than those of an adult. There are ‘critical periods’ in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual’s biological system operates. Children may be exposed more to certain pesticides because they often eat different foods than adults.” Yikes. That is pretty scary. The ONLY way to ensure that your baby/toddler is not eating pesticides is to buy organic. She then goes into more detail about what organic means , how to determine if a food is organic, the difference between ‘natural’ and ‘organic’, the top twenty foods you should always purchase organic (The ‘toxic twenty’ are the same ones listed on the EWG’s website), and what foods she considers superfoods and why. There is a lot of information just in chapter one alone!
Chapter three describes all the tools you will need, different methods of cooking (If possible, I also bake my baby food as it retains the most nutrients and flavor), consistency, and freezing.
Chapter four covers the first state meals (6 to 7 months). I love that this chapter tells parents how to make their own homemade rice, oatmeal, and barley cereals. Before I read this book and started making my own baby cereal, I was always worried about what the manufacturer really put into their baby cereal; now I don’t have to worry, I can just make my own! Other starter recipes include, pretty peas, simply sweet potato, blushing bananas, pumpkin patch puree, nectarine king, and so many more. I just wish my baby liked purees more, but he is more of a “if it’s not real people food with chunks, I don’t like it” kind of boy!
Chapter 5 introduces semismooth purees with recipes such as cheesy mashed potatoes, fruity chicken stew, meaty squash pasta, pumpkin crème pie, avocado and kiwi mash, and quinoa (this is my baby’s favorite food especially mixed with a fruit puree).
Chapter 6 is for around ten to twelve months and introduces a broader range of food and a chunky consistency with foods such as black beans, couscous, citrus, cooked diced vegetables, grits, plantains, rice cakes, strawberries, and breadsticks.
The final chapter, chapter seven, is entitled “fun and fingerlicious food” for twelve months and beyond and introduces new flavors and textures such as whole cow’s milk or soy milk, fruit smoothies, fruit muffins, fruity freezer pops, sweet potato fries, a healthier vanilla birthday cake, blueberry pancakes, breakfast pizza, and more. Although my baby is not old enough for this type of food yet, I am excited to have so many yummy ideas for him to try when he gets older.
I really enjoy the meal plans that are included in the book. It gives me some great ideas on what to feed and when.
All the recipes say if they are freezer friendly, if they contain foods that are known for powerful nutritional qualities and health benefits, if the recipe is no cook, and if the recipe can be tweaked for an older person to enjoy.
I think this is an awesome book packed full of great recipes that parents can really feed their children with ingredients that are readily available. Even if you don’t want to purchase organic food, you can make the recipes using regular food as well.