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First Year

Last Reviewed: March 2017
Do you have this equipment at home?
  • A potato masher or fork
  • Blender
  • Knife and cutting board
  • A pot

If you do, prepare food for your baby. It’s easy to do and you don’t need to buy any special equipment.

Preparing Homemade Food for Your Baby

  • It’s easy to make food for your baby. You can use the same healthy foods that you feed your family. The food should be prepared with little or no added salt or sugar. Do not use honey when preparing food for your baby. You need to wait until your baby is 1 year of age before offering honey in any form. This is because honey can cause infant botulism.
  • Once your baby is about six months of age and consistently shows the signs of readiness, you can introduce iron-rich foods first, followed by any combination of foods except those foods that are known to cause allergies.
  • When introducing commonly allergenic foods for the first time, offer it early in the day and watch for signs of allergic reaction. Wait two days before introducing another food allergen.

Commercial infant foods are not needed and can be high in added sugar.

Making homemade food for your baby will provide him with a variety of textures and foods that your family eats. All you need to do is set aside a bit of the food that you are already preparing for your own meal or your family’s meal.

It also:

  • Saves you money
  • Let’s your baby try a greater variety of foods from your culture
  • Helps your baby get use to different tastes and textures
  • Gives you control over the food’s texture to meet your baby’s changing needs (pureed, soft, lumpy, mashed, chopped or soft finger foods)
  • Let’s your baby eat the same foods as your family
  • Allows you to have control over the ingredients (leave out the sugar and salt)

Grocery Shopping on a Budget
You can stretch your food dollar budget by trying the following tips:

  • Plan meals ahead and make a menu (prevent waste by buying only what you need)
  • Prepare foods from scratch and plan for leftovers
  • Make a shopping list and check to see what you have in the fridge and cupboard
  • Check newspapers and store flyers for specials and coupons
  • Shop at supermarkets rather than convenience stores
  • Buy staple foods (pasta, rice, flour) in bulk
  • Check items on the bottom and top shelves. Higher-priced items are stored at eye-level
  • Store brands and no-name products are cheaper than brand name products with similar nutritional quality
  • Avoid buying high fat, sugary, lower nutritious foods (packaged foods such as chips, bars, puffs; and pre-packaged, frozen and canned meals)
  • Buy fruit and vegetables in season, or large bags of frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Serve tap water when you and your baby are thirsty and avoid buying bottled water
  • Babies don’t need juice
    • If you do buy juice make sure it is 100% fruit juice (not punch, drink or fruit blend)
    • If you do serve 100% fruit juice, limit it to 125 – 175 mL (4 - 6 oz) per day and do not dilute it
    • Too much juice may cause diarrhea or stomach upset
    • 100% fruit juice does not have the same nutrient content as whole fruit. It is better to serve whole fruit rather than juice

Here are a few tips to remember at the grocery store:

  • Check the expiry date of any products you are buying by reading the label
  • When buying meat, choose leaner cuts of meat when possible
Remember to wash your reusable bags regularly



  • Place packaged meat in separate plastic bags to prevent spreading of bacteria.
  • Pack raw meat in a separate bag from fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Buy refrigerated or frozen foods at the end of your shopping trip

  • When you get home, unpack your meat and place it at the bottom of your fridge, so it doesn't drip onto any other foods.

Safety Tips

Preparing food safely is very important. Here are some tips:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water:
    • before starting food preparation,
    • when switching foods,
    • after using the washroom, and
    • whenever hands are dirty
  • Use clean utensils and cookware

Plain foods help baby learn about flavours. You don't need to add sugar, salt, margarine, or butter.

How to prepare different types of foods:

Infant Cereal

Cook fruits and vegetables before serving them to your baby, except soft, ripe fruits like:
  • Bananas
  • Mangos
  • Avocados
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Canned fruit (in real fruit juice)

These fruits can be blended or mashed or chopped without being cooked

  • Homemade baby cereal is not recommended because it will not provide the needed iron for your baby’s growth and development.
  • Iron-fortified infant cereal is especially made to meet the iron needs of a baby.
  • Remember to offer your baby single grain iron-fortified infant cereal first.
  • Follow the instructions on the infant cereal package.
  • Use breast milk or water to mix the cereal.
  • Mix the amount of cereal that you need for the feeding.
  • Do not reuse leftovers and do not freeze cereal.
  • You may start with smooth or lumpy texture. Provide the right texture for your baby
  • Serve the prepared cereal within 2 hours and discard uneaten portion
  • Some foods that are more likely to cause a food allergy need to be introduced two days apart

Vegetables and fruit

Cooking vegetables and fruit

  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit
  • Wash, peel, pit, and/or seed before slicing
  • Slice into strips
  • Place vegetables or fruit in a small amount of boiling water
  • You can also steam vegetables instead of boiling them
  • Prepare them the way you would for your family
  • For your baby continue to cook vegetables and fruit until tender

    You may decide to:

  • Put cooked vegetables or fruit into a blender with some of the cooking water


  • masher
    mash withh fork
    Or use less cooking water and mash them with a fork or a masher
  • Or give soft, well-cooked strips of carrots to your baby as finger foods (always be present when your baby is eating, ensuring that he is sitting up in a feeding chair and the food is the right texture for him)
  • Some soft fruit doesn’t need to be cooked (e.g., banana, avocado)
  • Serve a portion of food right away
  • Once cooked, either serve or store the food in the fridge/freezer within two hours to prevent food from spoiling (or growing bacteria)
  • Prepared vegetables and fruit can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month
  • You do not need to start your baby on pureed food. You may want to start with soft, lumpy, mashed and soft finger foods.

Meat and fish

Prepare meat (lean beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb and goat) and fish the way you would for your family.

When cooking fish, use deboned fish fillets. Never wash raw meat or seafood because it could spread bacteria if the water splashes. Follow the HEAT step to kill bacteria that naturally exist in raw meat and seafood.

For example:


  • Remove meat from package using tongs.
mash withh fork

  • Cut meat into small pieces.
  • Remove all visible fat and skin.
    • You can cook meat with the bone in but remember to remove the bones before you prepare food for your baby.

  • Place small pieces of meat in a saucepan.
  • Add just enough water to cover the meat.

  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
  • Boil meat until tender and thoroughly cooked.
    • You can bake, stew or steam the meat, the way you would for your family
  • Check meat is cooked enough using a meat thermometer.
  • Cooked meat will easily fall from the bones or the fish flakes easily with a fork.

  • Let the meat and cooking water cool.
  • Once cool, remove bones.
  • Transfer meat into food blender or mixer.

  • Add some cooking water.
  • Add more water to make the food more liquidy for younger babies.
  • Add less water to make the food thicker for older babies.

  • Blend meat until it is the right thickness for your baby.


  • Once cooked, either serve or store the food in the fridge/freezer within two hours to prevent food from spoiling (or growing bacteria)
  • Meat and fish can be refrigerated for up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 1 month
  • Fish is a common food allergen, so wait two days before introducing another food allergen

Meat alternatives

Lentils and Beans

  • Some legumes such as chickpeas, kidney and navy beans need to be soaked for 24 hours before cooking.
  • Other legumes such as lentils and split peas do not need to be soaked, but cooked according to package directions.
  • Dried legumes are a healthier choice than canned legumes because they do not contain any added salt.
  • Whenever possible and available, choose no added salt and BPA free canned legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils.
    baby food baby food
  • If you use regular canned legumes, rinse them under cold water to remove salt

    baby food
  • Mash or puree legumes to provide the right texture for your baby
  • Legumes can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month


  • Use plain tofu, chopped into small pieces and follow cooking instructions on the package Tofu Tofu
  • Let the tofu cool
  • Add water to mash the food
  • Soft cooked pieces of tofu can be served as finger foods
  • Tofu can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month
  • Tofu is a common food allergen, so wait two days before introducing another food allergen


  • Cook eggs well until yolk is no longer liquid
    • Serve scrambled eggs
    • Serve boiled eggs by blending with a little breastmilk/water or mashing with a fork
  • Eggs can be refrigerated for up to 1 day
  • Egg is a common food allergen, so wait two days before introducing another food allergen

Your baby will not need pureed or blended foods for long. It is important for your baby to move quickly to foods with a lumpy texture. Your baby will need extra time to eat finger foods and foods with a lumpy texture than pureed foods.

Serving Milk products

Offer full fat plain yogurt, cottage cheese and other pasteurized cheeses.

  • Grate cheese or cut it into small pieces
  • You may use whole milk as a recipe ingredient (e.g., add to mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese)
  • Wait until your baby is 9-12 months of age and eating a variety of iron-rich foods before offering whole milk (3.25% milk fat) from an open cup
  • Milk and milk products are a common food allergen, so wait two days before introducing another food allergen

Storing Homemade Food

Serve food within two hours to prevent bacteria growth.

If you prepare extra pureed, minced or mashed vegetables, meat and alternatives, you can freeze them for future meals.

  • Put extra pureed food into an ice cube tray and freeze it for a future meal.
  • Once frozen, remove the ice cubes from the tray.
  • Place frozen cubes into a freezer bag.
  • Label the bag with the food's name and the date you made it.
  • This food can stay in the freezer for up to 1 month

Thawing Frozen Homemade Food

  • Remove the portion needed for the meal
  • Put it in a small pot on low heat until heated
    • Microwaves can cause hot spots, resulting in burns
  • Warm it to a safe temperature
  • Do not refreeze unused portions
  • Stir well and ensure all the food is the same temperature before serving it to your baby

Information on foods, food safety and healthy eating for all ages:

For more information:

Region of Peel - Public Health
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
to speak with a Public Health Nurse

Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216

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Revised: Wednesday June 28 2017

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