Clean everything first• Before you start preparing food for your baby always wash your hands with soap and hot water and dry them with a clean towel.
• You also need to make sure all your cooking equipment is as clean as possible and all your baby’s bowls, cutlery, bottles and cups are clean. Sterilised if they are younger than 6 months.
• Choose the freshest fruit and veg you can find. Wash it, peel as necessary and take care to remove any seeds or stones as they’re a choking hazard for babies. Then dice it up before cooking.
Buying and preparing ingredients
• Choose tender cuts of beef, pork, lamb or poultry. Cut away all fat before cooking. Once cooked, remove any bone or gristle.
• If you choose to prepare fresh fish ask the fishmonger to carefully remove all skin, scales and bones. Once cooked, check again for any remaining traces of bone and skin.
• Some foods are not suitable for babies and are best avoided.
How to cook your baby’s food• Watch out for the amount of salt in food you give your baby. Most food already contains salt so there is no need to add any yourself, because it may strain their little kidneys - which are still developing. You shouldn’t add sugar either as it can cause tooth decay and may lead to a sweet tooth. Use fruit or naturally sweet vegetables instead.
• Meats and fish can be steamed, grilled or microwaved. They can also be fried or roasted but make sure you don’t add too much extra fat. Always ensure that meat is cooked thoroughly with no pink bits left. Fish should be firm and flaky – if it’s still a bit squidgy it’s not cooked through.
• Fruit and vegetables can be steamed, boiled or microwaved. You can also oven-cook some fruits such as apples and pears. The best option to go for is steaming as it retains the most nutrients but you don’t need to splash out on a steamer - simply use a metal colander, a saucepan of boiling water and a saucepan lid.
• At first your baby’s food should be completely blended so it’s a smooth purée. As your baby gets older, you can start to make their food gradually chunkier. You can either use a blender or a mashing fork to mix the food to the right texture.•Always serve your baby’s food warm rather than boiling hot but make sure it has been cooked to piping hot and then allowed to cool.
How to serve