Saturday, August 4, 2012

Baby Food: Saving Money, Reducing Waste

I've recently noticed that the little pouches of baby food which squeeze out of a little opening only slightly larger than the opening on a tube of toothpaste have exploded on the market. I first noticed them from companies such as Happy Baby in health and specialty food marts. But now it seems that every baby food company is making them and countless varieties now line the shelves of every grocery store's baby section.

These products are marketing genius. Babies and toddlers can suck the food down with little mess. The problem is that the packaging produces a lot of waste and the price is pretty steep for a mere 40-60 calories of pureed fruit and veggies. The obvious solution is to just puree fruits and veggies at home and put them in some sort of re-usable pouch. I did a Google search and so far haven't found any reusable pouches for sale. The closest I've found is baby spoons with attached food dispensers, but that really isn't any less messier than spooning baby food out of a jar; it's more of a travel convenience. 

My mother suggested using a pastry pouch. I did happen to have one at home which I could try out on my 8-month-old. It was the type of pouch with an open back, but I took care of that with a giant chip clip. And huzzah - it worked! But if you try this at home, just make sure the baby food you puree is thick enough, or else it'll just spill out all over the kiddo's face and clothing.

Other money-saving must-haves for parents with babies and young toddlers are a mini-food processor/chopper/blender (which can be purchased for as little as $15.) and mini steamer (which can be purchased new for as low as $5.) With that parents can make all the baby food they want for way cheap and with very little waste. Save the jars and disposable pouches for traveling.