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How to Grow a Green Baby | Feb. 18, 2009

In our environmentally conscious world today everything seems to be “going green”. So when I recently heard someone in the grocery store asking for “green baby food” I had to presume she didn’t mean beans, peas or spinach. In the old days that’s what green meant. Today when it comes to baby foods, the term “green” often is synonymous with “organic.” The difference is that one term is regulated and one isn’t. The term “organic” is regulated by the USDA’s National Organic Program. Organic foods are grown without the use of conventional pesticides and artificial fertilizers, including industrial or human waste. Animals are given only organic feed, have access to the outdoors and are not given growth hormones or antibiotics. Unless certified by the USDA, foods and beverages may not be marketed as organic.

While many families want to feed their baby organic baby food, cost can often be a barrier. Some of the new frozen and fresh organic baby foods are brighter in color and may have a few more nutrients than the jarred versions, but they can also cost two to three times more. Organic jarred baby food is about 30 cents per ounce and nonorganic is about 23 cents per ounce.

If you want to ensure that your baby is getting “green” food, and if you want to keep costs down, try making your own. Just wash, peel and cut fresh fruits or vegetables, steam or microwave them until they are soft. Create a very smooth texture with a blender and add a little water if too thick. (You want a pudding like texture.) Poor into storage trays (ice cube trays work great), cover and freeze overnight. Pop the cubes out into freezer bags and VOILA--green baby food. Homemade baby food has no preservatives, chemicals or additives. It should last up to two months in the freezer. The average cost of homemade baby food is about 4 cents per ounce.

Last, but definitely not least, invest in a baby food grinder. Baby food grinders are very economical and allow you to serve your baby whatever the rest of your family is having. Just make sure you add a little water, breast milk or formula after grinding up the food so that you have a smooth consistency. Offer plain foods, rather than mixed, and avoid spices. Spicy foods are an acquired taste. Babies need time to learn to enjoy the tastes of single food items, even green babies!