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Don’t be afraid to experiment! If your baby is spitting out a broccoli puree, try adding a quarter of an apple for sweetness. “Making your own baby food can expose kids to a variety of flavors early on,” says Courtois. “Make sure you’re using foods that can be found at your family’s table, including favorite spices and herbs. This way, your baby is less likely to grow up to be a picky eater.”
Try adding new flavors slowly so you can better pinpoint your baby’s likes and dislikes or any food intolerances. “I introduced my son Spencer to baby cereal when he was five months old, and started adding one type of vegetable at a time two weeks later,” says Holly Grunsell Arrindell; 41. “As he’s getting older, I have to be more creative by giving his food more flavor to keep him excited. For example, I dip organic steamed broccoli in applesauce or sprinkle cinnamon in sweet potato puree. I want the best for my son, and I believe nutrition is a big part if that.”
See more: How to spice up your own homemade purées >>
Here are the top baby-food making tools to help simplify your life and get your little one on the path to healthy eating.
Béaba Babycook: This all-in-one baby food maker lets you create your own baby food in just 15 minutes from start to finish. First, it steam cooks the food of your choice, from fruit to vegetables to raw meats. Next, the blending function lets you control the texture, from soupy to chunky. You can even use it to defrost or reheat baby food you’ve made ahead of time and frozen for storage. ($119; amazon.com)
Vitamix 5200: The Vitamix is an excellent choice if you’re looking to invest in a high quality, multi-tasking blender that allows you to easily whip up baby food, as well as purees, smoothies, soups, and even ice cream for the entire family. It cuts back on waste and maximizes nutrition because the machine pulverizes seeds, stems, skin, and all. The shatterproof container is BPA free. ($449; vitamix.com).
Béaba Multiportion Freezer Tray: You could use plain old ice cube trays for storing baby food (as long as they’re PBA-free!), but why would you want to when you could have these silicone trays with airtight plastic lids to help safeguard flavor (and spills)? Each tray has seven separate two-ounce compartments for perfect individual portion sizes, and they come in fun colors such as purple and orange. ($24.99; buybuybaby,com)
Wean Cubes: These eco-friendly, leak-proof containers hold four liquid ounces so you can easily carry an extra serving with you in your diaper bag without having to pack multiple containers. Plus, the tempered glass containers are dishwasher and microwave safe. ($22.99 for a pack of four; vine.com)
Beaba Babypote: Fill this reusable silicone pouch with baby food and your little one can ditch the spoon. The fun container holds five ounces and makes it easy (and less messy!) for your baby to feed herself. ($14.98; diapers.com)