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Confession: We all dream of making our own baby food.


We really do want our little ones to eat the healthiest possible food, but sometime (all the time?) life gets in the way. Whether it's work deadlines, cleaning up after your toddler tornado, or that seemingly never-ending pile of laundry, our schedules fill up and purees-from-scratch fall off the to-do list.

So we made healthy baby food easy. Here are 5 strategies that simplify homemade baby food—

1. Create a cooking schedule that works for you.

Meal prepping isn’t just for the trainers in your Instagram feed! Steal their tips and make them work for your baby-food-making schedule. Pick a night where you can block off 3-4 hours (Sunday nights are often good choices to kick off the week) and spend the time cleaning, steaming, and blending all your veggies. Portion out enough for the week, and freeze what you won’t use right away. (We love these glass storage blocks from OXO for easy freezing and reheating.) Labeling each container with the night you plan to serve it will help you stick to your schedule and avoid wasting food. (Just don’t save leftovers — it’s too easy for bacteria to grow. Toss whatever your baby doesn’t eat.)

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2. Test a Pinterest-loved recipe.

You’re much more likely to stick with something if you actually enjoy it, so look at your baby-food-making sessions as an opportunity to flex your culinary creativity. Get recipe inspiration online or by scouring the baby food shelves at your grocery store. If your little one isn’t crazy about a new flavor, don’t give up! This stage is all about palate training, and it can take several tries before they learn to like a new taste. Keep mixing it up until you find what works for both of you.

3. Get fresh baby food delivered + ready to blend

Skip the heavy prep and let a professional tackle the shopping and shopping! Purchase a subscription with Raised Real, a company that sends you flash-frozen, pre-portioned servings of organically-sourced ingredients you simply have to steam and blend. They even give you an all-in-one baby food steamer and blender to do it. The ingredients grow with your child because you decide how much to puree or if you want to serve whole as finger foods for toddlers. And the company was founded by Michelle Davenport, a registered dietitian with a PhD in Nutrition, so you can trust you’re giving your baby the best.

4. Take a cue from your own plate.

As those little taste buds are maturing, they won’t always need a special meal. If you see your baby start to eye what’s on your fork, consider steaming and pureeing it so she can have a taste. It’s a great way to fend off picky eating from the start, and soon (BONUS!) you’ll only need to cook one meal for the whole family. If you’re not sure about the right nutritional mix your baby should be eating, talk to your pediatrician or take a cue from Raised Real’s expertly-researched recipes.

5. Shoot for an 80/20 approach.

What’s that? We’re not expecting you to be a perfect super mom? What a novel idea ?

Rather than insisting every bite your baby gums is made from scratch, consider a compromise. Use the above tips to create large batches you can serve for main meals 80 percent of the time, but let yourself off the hook if you hand your baby a squeezy pack or a few puffs now and then. There are so many great organic options available, you don’t even have to feel bad about it.

Sponsored by Raised Real.